NEWS and ACTIVITIES
THINGS WEREN'T NORMAL THIS YEAR
Regardless of where you live it's likely things were negatively affected by hurricanes, wildfires, drought, floods, blizzards, hail storms and earthquakes in 2018.
After a somewhat disappointing 2017 had limited my serious photo output (family and health concerns) I spent the early months of 2018 remembering past years' work and researching on the internet the best whens/wheres to go for the blooms and colors I wanted to capture this year.
Despite my Google work and nearly twenty years' experience guiding my decisions, I struck out repeatedly. I was about two weeks early for the legendary Arizona poppy and cactus bloom -- despite the fact it was nearly three weeks late.
The Colorado and Wyoming high country wildflower season eluded me. I was either a week early, a week late, or it just didn't happen this year, depending on where I went. There had been insufficient snow pack carryover or the spring rains had not come. It was just too dry.
I spent a week in the northern Utah mountains hoping to record the changing fall aspens, mountain maples and scrub oak patches. Based on "normal" years, they were running 10-12 days late. As I was leaving the state I spotted a few patches of promising color here and there, mocking me.
The final trip, a junket of some 5,000 miles still held promise. After a week of class reunion and family visits the itinerary included Michigan, western New York state, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and south-western Missouri, all renowned for their stunning autumn leaf shows. No luck.
The locals explained there had been too much late rain, it was far too warm yet, etc. In areas where there had been some change the colors were muted or brown. In some places the leaves were already down. With a fixed schedule of reservations and people to visit, the stops had us arriving a week or two too early, for all 32 days. Arrgh. So, maybe, the lesson is "plan for the worst, hope for the best."
For nature photographers the hope always is to turn the last corner, crest the final hill, and find the perfect setting: great light, calm winds, great color and no extraneous trash/litter or people in our compositions. It would be wonderful if it ever actually happened that way.
So, now I'm looking ahead to 2019. I'll spend the winter down-time organizing and thinning out images, editing new and re-editing old files and scans. I hope to grow more proficient with the newer editions of LR and PS. I'll pull out the atlas and spend time with Google Maps. I'll look into my notes on where I'd like to go/return. I'll figure out how to adjust for the changing climate.
I'll be ready for 2019 and tuck the lessons learned in 2018 into a corner of my mind.
If you're reading this, chances are good that you're a nature and photography buff, too. Photography is a wonderful pastime for the casual shooter and a rewarding obsession for the person who demands more of themselves and their gear. I hope YOU have a great year in 2019, too.
WINNER OF THE COVER PHOTO COMPETITION
This picture of me on the Emerald Pools trail in Zion National Park was taken about an hour before I made the shot the editors of COWBOYS & INDIANS chose for their 2014 annual photography issue's cover.
I had a good feeling as I was settling on the composition for the Virgin River scene. The conditions were promising and the light was getting better and better. The hard part was waiting a week before seeing what I had gotten -- I was shooting medium format FILM through that big Pentax 67.
You can see the actual magazine cover in the Honors & Awards section of this site, and my original image is in the Autumn & Changing portfolio. It's called "A Virgin Autumn."
More than 900 accomplished photographers submitted their work (around 1,400 images) for consideration. I'm proud my image was selected as the face of a special issue.
BY THE WAY
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