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2017 year in review

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

After 15 years of living in southern California, 2017 was one of the most dynamic in terms of weather that I can remember. January rolled in with one storm after another, dropping rain and snow on an almost continuous basis (the Sierra Nevada saw record-breaking snow depths). As I write this, we’re anxiously awaiting our first rain of the season. Our infamous Santa Ana winds have been blowing hard on a regular basis helping to fan the flames of the largest wild land fires in state history. What a difference a year can make!

To some extent, my favorite images of 2017 mirror the dynamic weather of this past year. I was able to revisit some favorite locations in new weather and discover new ones. Some highlights of the year included a phenomenal January day in Joshua Tree National Park (easily one of my most enjoyable of the entire year), a backpacking trip to the Sierra Nevada with Jackson Frishman and our sons, and discovering the Utah’s Tushar Mountains with Heather. In addition, I made some new friends which is always welcome! Those are just a few of the many great things that happened in 2017; there weren’t many lowlights.

As a photographer, I spent a lot of time this year asking myself what I want the world to hire me to do. If you’ve followed my blog this year, I’ve been a clear spokesman for public land, and as we move in to 2018, expect more advocacy for our special wild places. I try my hardest to not jam political views down my viewers’ throats; my goal is simply to share what is out there, because we can’t cherish what we don’t know exists.

To that end, I launched The Wilderness Project this fall. The goal is to showcase the federally-designated wilderness areas in Riverside County, California–my home. There are nineteen total, so this project will be ongoing, but I hope you’ll follow me on my journey by subscribing to email updates at the above link. I’ve already discovered some wonderful things about this county that I didn’t know existed before. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.

I hope you enjoy these ten images! I feel that they represent the year well. I’ve also included a couple of ‘honorable mentions’ or bonus images at the end. Be sure to see my past images of the year at the end of the post.

photo of rocks and bushes as the sun sets in joshua tree national park

Winter sunset in the desert

 

photo of large monzogranite boulders in the Jumbo Rocks section of Joshua Tree National Park at sunset. The sky is a dark blue, with hints of a winter storm, and the boulders are glowing with a golden-orange color.

Stormy sunset in Joshua Tree

 

photo of native american rock art in southern nevada

Desert sentinels

 

photograph of sunset after a rain storm in gold butte national monument

Thankful for rain

 

photo of dogwood blossoms in Yosemite Valley California

Dogwoods

 

black and white photo of Ship Mountain in Mojave Trails National Monument at sunset

115°F at sunset

 

detail of a high altitude hillside in the tushar mountains of southern utah

Autumn in the high country

 

photo of a small waterfall and colorful aspen trees in front of two mountains peaks in utah's tushar mountains

The beginning of fall color

 

Photo of a lone tree on the prairie at sunset near Hawk Springs Wyoming

Lone tree in the prairie

 

photo of 'teddy bear' cholla cacti backlit by the morning sun, giving them translucent halos.

Ending the year back in the desert

Honorable mentions:

photo of the white mountains in California at sunset, with a cloud in the sky and the mountains pink from the setting sun.

In January, Heather and I got away for a weekend to enjoy snow and hot springs (more of the latter than the former). We were able to sit in a hot spring and enjoy this awesome sunset over the White Mountains.

 

Photo of an air tanker flying by a large plume of smoke from the Canyon Fire in Orange County California, September 2017

Sign of the times: an air tanker flies by a large plume of smoke after dropping its load of fire retardant. Orange County, California, September

 

Past images of the year:

2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016