The votes are all in and counted, and here are my top photographs of 2014!
We had a great response this year: 268 people looked through my initial selection of 40 images and voted for their favorites here on the blog, on Facebook, Google+, and through email. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to look through these photographs and voice your opinions! I also really appreciate all the kind words expressed along with the votes. I wish I could respond to every comment, but please know that I’ve read them all and am very grateful for all your support. And also, many thanks to my wonderful assistant Claudia who tallied all those votes!
To express our gratitude to all of you we’ve decided to give away another print to one of the voters. We assigned each person who voted a number, and used a random number generator to pick the recipient. And the winner is… Jeff Nicholas! Jeff will receive a signed, numbered, matted 16×20 print of his choice from among the 40 original selections. Congratulations Jeff!
So here’s the list of the twelve images which received the most picks, and the number of votes they each received:
1. Image # 1, Sunbeams and fog in a Sacramento Valley orchard, California, 139 votes
2. Image # 28, Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxy over sand dunes, Death Valley NP, CA, 108 votes
3. Image # 13, Lunar eclipse sequence, April 14th and 15th, Trona Pinnacles, CA, 103 votes
4. Image # 26, “Swayback” building at night, Bodie SHP, CA, 88 votes
5. Image # 18, Sunbeams at the mouth of Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods SP, CA, 87 votes
6. Image # 38, Moon setting on a misty night, El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite, 86 votes
7. Image # 39, Moon rising above Yosemite Valley, Yosemite, 86 votes
8. Image # 10, Rainbow over Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View, Yosemite, 83 votes
9. Image #29, Meadow Fire burning in Little Yosemite Valley at night, Yosemite, 84 votes
10. Image # 7, Ross’s geese and reflections, San Joaquin Valley, CA, 84 votes
11. Image # 35, Sun, mist, and oaks in El Capitan Meadow, Yosemite, 78 votes
12. Image # 33, Aspens in fog near Ridgway, CO, 77 votes
As you probably noticed, I expanded this list to include the top twelve vote-getters, rather than the top ten. This is the fifth year we’ve invited readers to vote, and I’ve always reserved the right to override the votes if one of my favorite images didn’t make the top ten. I’ve never done this, as I’ve always liked the voter’s picks. But this year, one of my very favorite images didn’t quite make it: number 33, “Aspens in Fog,” came in 12th place. I could have substituted this photograph for the ninth- or tenth-place vote-getters (they were actually tied), but I liked both of those images also, and thought they deserved to be on this list. So I just decided to include the top twelve, instead of the top ten. Although Jim Goldstein says “5 or 10” for his blog project, I’m guessing he won’t mind. 🙂 (I’ll be submitting this selection to his blog project shortly.)
If you’re wondering about my personal favorites, I mentioned number 33, but probably my very favorite photograph was number 38, “Moon Setting on a Misty Night,” which tied for the sixth-most votes. A couple of other favorites were number 6 and number 9. Number 6 actually got 63 votes, putting it in 16th place. Number 9 only got 39 votes, but I understand that – it’s a subtle photograph, and works better in a large print. Otherwise my choices coincide closely with the votes. But the task was to choose the best images, not my favorites, and I think the collective wisdom of over 200 people is better at determining the best than I could be by myself.
Again, thank you so much for your participation. This has been really fun for me, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it also. Here are the top twelve images:
Related Posts: Picking My Best Images of 2014; 2013: My Top Ten Images; 2012: My Top Ten Images
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Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, Yosemite Meditations for Adventurers, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.
last year 2 out of my favourite were top ten. This time 6 of my favourite are top 12. What a step.
I didn’t move forward that much concerning my photographic expression but I did move forward. Thanks for your blog which I love.
Congrats to Jeff.
Marie, it’s all subjective, so if your picks are out of step with other people’s, that’s just fine. Anyway, thanks for the kind words.
Glad to see that an image from Colorado was one of YOUR favorites!!
These are fantastic, Michael — and love the crowd-sourcing method of making your selections. Really wonderful warm colors cast over the rising flock of geese, and there’s so much depth to that aspen image that I found myself taking it in for a while. All the best for the new year!
Thanks so much Pat! I really appreciate that. Happy New Year to you too!
Your shots are amazing !!!!
I am not a photograher, just one who enjoys such tallent. As a California native, many of these made me homesick.
Thanks very much Kathie!
Thank you so much for sharing all of this beauty. You are helping to make the world a better place.
Thank you Kathy!
All great choices, Michael. I think a few of my favorites made it into the top twelve. 🙂 I went back and looked at #9 again. I can understand why you like it. It’s one that requires some quiet contemplation, and then invites you back to study it again. I am sure if I had the chance of seeing these in person, I’d be changing my mind on which would be my 10 favorites depending on my mood at the time!
Thanks Vivienne. There’s no requirement that you like that photo, but thanks for giving it another look. 🙂
Great collection of images from this past year. Unique idea to let the fans/friends give input into their favorite ones. (Although I wished ‘#31. Late-afternoon sunlight in an aspen forest’ had made it into the top 12). Happy New Year!
Thanks Michael! I actually borrowed the idea of letting people vote on their favorites from someone else (I think it was G Dan Mitchell) a few years ago, although I took it further. Happy New Year to you too!
Great choices by the voters. I noticed that 3-4 photos were night photos and 6 photos involved some element of fog/mist and lightbeams. The double rainbows had a little mist also. To me that means, unusual natural elements make a photo stand out. Only the Ross geese were in clear sky with great reflection. If it were only easy to capture these unusual natural phenomena. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to 2015 photos!
Thanks Karl. Night photos seem to be popular, and it’s no secret that interesting weather – fog, mist, rainbows, clouds – adds something to landscape photographs. Actually the image of Ross’s geese doesn’t have entirely clear skies; the sun was breaking through clouds, and if you look closely you’ll notice that the geese at the top of the frame aren’t getting as much sunlight as the ones in the middle. This creates a bit of a spotlight effect, which is a subtle but important feature of this photograph. That timing was sheer luck of course, but in photography, luck = time expended, and I’ve spent a lot of time photographing geese!
I’m not so bad, I’ve got 4 out of 10. First year I vote. Very nice photos Michael. Out of these 10, I’d chose ex aequo 18 and 7 as my favourites. It is very hard to vote. Congratulations for your nice work!
Thanks Frances! Even if none of your picks corresponded with the choices of the other voters, that would be fine. It’s all subjective, and just because more people like a certain photograph doesn’t mean that necessarily the right choice, or a better photograph than another less-popular image. Although I think the collective wisdom worked well here, tastes change over time, so maybe in five or ten years we might make different choices.
Really outstanding selections! I’m with you that the task of choosing the best images from the year is difficult at best. It is, on the other hand, nice to be able to sit back and look at all the work you’ve created throughout the year and see how you’ve grown.
Hope your year is starting out great!
Thank you Katy! It is always interesting to look back over the year’s work. I think that’s a really helpful exercise, actually, which is one of the reasons I do it.
Congrats on a great body of work in 2014.
My favorite image, since the first day you posted it, is “Sunbeams and fog in a Sacramento Valley orchard, California.”
Thanks very much Bill! And I’m glad you like that image; it seems to be a favorite for many people.
They are all beautiful demonstrations of your work with light, Michael. Look forward to seeing you on a snowy trail in Yosemite someday! Joyful light to you in 2015!
Thanks so much Teddy! I hope to see you out photographing somewhere also, snowy or not.
Wonderful set of images – I have a lot of favorites among them but still consider the full eclipse sequence over Trona to be spectacular. Thank you for sharing your art and experience. Your work always inspires me.
Thanks very much Kyle! I really appreciate the kind words, and I hope you have a great year in 2015.
Now at least I don’t feel as guilty about bringing 12 to our workshop :-). I’m afraid I missed the voting, but love the images in this post.
It’s hard to argue with #1 being the choice; it is spectacular. However, I would also go for #6 as my favorite. I also like #9. It was a “Wow” picture when you first posted it. Plus, I was glad to see #11 sneak in there for some reason :-).
Thanks for chiming in Doug. I’m also partial to number 6, so I’m glad you like it.
I think your images are some of the most beautiful…if not the most beautiful…I’ve ever viewed. And i very much enjoy reading your blog, which I have found to be very informative. Thank you for sharing your talent and knowledge.
Thanks so much Armando! And I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.
You are TRULY talented Michael Frye!! Love all of them..soo hard to choose.. but being a birder, thinking to choose Ross’ Geese..:)
Thank you Cecilia, and I’m partial to Ross’s geese too. 🙂
Congratulations on a stellar year Michael – so many favorites in this fine collection!
Wishing you all the best in 2015.
Thanks very much Russ! All the best to you too.
Great collection as usual, Michael. The sunbeam shot is one of my favorites as well. Hope you have a great new year!
Thanks very much Mike, and best wishes for the new year to you too!
It was a good year for Sunbeams for you, Michael, among other subjects. Your first image, as well as Fern Canyon are both amazing, as are many others. Hope you do more excellent work with light in 2015. Cheers.
Thanks very much David; I really appreciate your kind words. Yes, I do seem to be attracted to sunbeams – and moonbeams.
Nothing like coming in late to the party, but I just subscribed yesterday! I’m not apple polishing, but my favorite is Aspens in Fog. It reminds me of Charles Cramer’s work, which I admire greatly.
PS Is there a place where I can ask a Lightroom question? I bought your book Digital Landscape Photography and your e-book on Lightroom, so I was expecting the previews of my raw files to look muddy and lacking in contrast, but they look just fine. So I thought maybe Lightroom 6 was applying some default settings, but in the Develop module it seems the sliders are at 0. I am confused.
Amazing! It possible to retouching photo more!