2016 year in review

Written by Alpenglow Images on December 26th, 2016

As I write this, Christmas is only a couple of days away, rain is falling outside, and I’m putting together my favorite photos of the year feeling a bit of disbelief that another trip around the sun has already passed. In many ways, the past twelve months have represented contrast, a dichotomy. The world lost several great and inspiring artists this year, but I feel lucky to have discovered new artists who are a source of inspiration. Another contrast is the current state of division that the United States is ending the year in, but personally I feel more complete–less divided–that I’ve felt in quite some time.

Photographically, 2016 was one of contrasts as well. My travels between the desert and the coast really underscored this; two dramatically different landscapes, have–in their own way–become home to me. I finally put together a small (but growing) portfolio of ocean images this year, and of course expanded my portfolios of the deserts and mountains. Of course, in addition to new friends, I was able to enjoy these places with old friends. My girlfriend and I enjoyed several camping trips along the California coast, and I got to introduce her to some of my favorite desert landscapes. A couple of great backcountry trips with Jackson Frishman helped to strengthen my affinity for Great Basin landscapes.

To that end, contrast has certainly been a theme this year as I chose my favorite images for this annual year-end retrospective. I also have been thinking a lot about the role of landscape photography as art.  In 2016, it became more apparent to me the threats that face public lands (see my blog posts here and here), and producing art that changes the way people see the world seems more important now than ever. My friend Mark Hespenheide’s artist statement continues to resonate with me in this regard:

“Mediocre landscape photography can only reinforce the ideas about nature that we already hold. Good landscape photography can introduce us to new ways of seeing the world. Truly great landscape photography can change the way we perceive our place in the world and the way we interact with the world.”

May we all produce a truly great body of work in 2017.

bosque del apache snow geese fly in

Snow geese at dawn, Bosque del Apache NWR, January


montaña de oro beach

Montaña de Oro, California, June


Sunset in western Nevada

Sunset in western Nevada, January


navajo national monument sunrise

Sunrise in northern Arizona, August


Wildflowers in Death Valley, January


jalama beach sunset

Pacific Ocean sunset, June


Escalante River Sunset

Sunset over southern Utah, March


Clouds and fog in the San Gabriel Mountains at sunset

San Gabriel Mountains, November


winter storm and dark clouds over the salt playa in columbus valley nevada

Winter storm in western Nevada, January


white pine mountains sunset

Sunset in eastern Nevada’s White Pine Mountains, August


black and white image of the funeral mountains in death valley national park

Storm in Death Valley, January

Past images of the year:

2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015


24 Comments so far ↓

  1. Beautiful set of images, Greg. Wishing you the best for 2017! 🙂

  2. Russ Bishop says:

    Your images have always distilled the essence of the landscape Greg, and this collection is another fine example. May the new year bring many more visual opportunities your way. Happy Holidays!

  3. LD Millican says:

    Very nice image collection, Greg – but we expect nothing less. 🙂
    Your photographs reveal your deep respect and passion for your subject. Thank you for sharing!

  4. A great set of diverse images Greg, they reflect well Mr. Hespenheide’s statement. The two images that really speak to me are; Montaña de Oro, California, and Winter storm in western Nevada. I love the their graphic qualities!

  5. Greg,

    I’m honored to be quoted. Looking at your work from this year, though, I think I might need to go back and take some of my own advice… I really appreciate the way that you respect the landscape for what it is and let it speak for itself — simultaneously avoiding overt manipulation while still communicating a personal style. Well done.

  6. Mark says:

    Thanks for sharing an inspirational look back on your year Greg! I also like the quote from Mark H.

  7. On the whole, I would say that for you 2016 was the year of desert earth tones with some ocean blues and monotones mixed in for good measure. You sure caught some good light. My favorites are the three from Nevada. I am partial to quality images of such barren, windswept places. My father always loved Nevada and was one of the first to bring its remote mountain ranges to a wider public. In my opinion, you and Jackson Frishman are some of the first to do it justice since then. May you be well and happy in 2017. Look forward to more desert photography from you.

    • David, thanks for the kind comments! Nevada has really grown on me over the last few years, and I find my imagination wandering there more and more. I would say it’s safe to assume I’ll be following my daydreams in 2017, and beyond.

      Thanks again, and best wishes for a great 2017!

  8. Jon Reed says:

    I enjoyed your images and was inspired to try to select 10 of my favorite from 2016. I’m transitioning from a regular working guy into a developing photo guide / instruction role. I hope 2017 is great for you…

  9. Richard Wong says:

    Beautiful set of images Greg. I agree with what you said about public lands. It’s appalling that we constantly have to deal with this every election cycle.

    • Thanks, Richard! I hope you have a great 2017.

      Regarding public lands, sadly we’ll have to deal with it much more often than every election cycle–the attacks are getting more blatant, and are continuing. We’ve got one helluva fight ahead of us.

  10. Wonder series of photos Greg. Looks like you had a great year behind the camera. Always a pleasure to see your year end photos and really appreciate your participation in this years Best Photos of the Year blog project. I hope you and your family have a great 2017!

  11. Beautifully captured and curated. I wish you only great light in 2017!

  12. Todd Henson says:

    Great collection of images for the year, Greg! There are several I’m really drawn to: San Gabriel Mountains, Winter Storm in Western Nevada, and Storm in Death Valley. All 3 share something, perhaps the layering and the lighting. Beautiful work.

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