In the Moment:
Michael Frye's Landscape Photography Blog
I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be teaching at the second annual Night Photo Summit next month!
The Night Photo Summit is produced by the folks who created the National Parks at Night workshop series. I gave a presentation at their first summit last year, and that was a really fun event, so I’m excited to be invited back! This online conference is devoted exclusively to night photography, and I’ll be joining over 25 other distinguished instructors, including Art Wolfe, Lance Keimig, Tim Cooper, Colleen Miniuk, Adam Woodworth, Jess Santos, Kevin Adams, Chris Nicholson, Royce Bair, and many more.
The votes are all in and counted, and here are my top photographs of 2021!
We had a great response this year: 562 people looked through my initial selection of 45 images and voted for their favorites. A big thank you to everyone who took the time to look through these photographs and voice your opinions! I also really appreciate the kind words so many people posted in the comments or sent by email. I wish I could respond to everyone, but please know that I’ve read them all and am very grateful for all your support.
Frosted aspens, Colorado
When posting my nominees for best photos of 2021, I realized that I hadn’t posted some of my favorites before. That’s especially true for images I made this fall. We traveled to Yellowstone, Colorado, Utah, and the Oregon Coast, with little break in between trips, and not much time to process everything and post the images.
For me, one of the special treats this autumn (among many!) was the opportunity to photograph autumn aspens with snow. I did write about our brief trip to the eastern Sierra in early October, where I got to photograph some colorful aspens coated with snow. And then we got to do that several more times in Colorado.
Happy New Year!
It’s become a New Year’s tradition on this blog to pick my best images from the past year, and once again I’m inviting you to help me make these difficult choices. I’ve posted 45 of my best photographs from 2021 below, in chronological order. After you look through these, please use the form at the bottom of this post to list your ten favorites.
Please don’t post your votes in the comments, or send them by email, because they won’t be counted! Use the form at the bottom of this post instead.
Half Dome and El Capitan as a snowstorm cleared last week
Last week’s storms seemed like early Christmas presents. We need lots of rain and snow to bring us out of our prolonged drought, so any precipitation is a gift. And for me, seeing snow fall in Yosemite Valley, and being able to photograph two clearing storms, made it even more special.
As we approach the holidays, I’m very grateful to live here and do what I do, and to be able to share those experiences with all of you. To those who celebrate the day, Claudia and I wish you a very Merry Christmas! We hope you have a wonderful holiday, full of peace, joy, the love of family and friends, and special moments to remember.
— Michael Frye
Pink light on El Capitan at sunset, Yosemite, last Tuesday evening. 50mm, 1/8 sec. at f/11, ISO 100.
We’ve reached the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, and this year it actually feels like winter here in the Sierra Nevada. In some recent years the weather has been warm and dry in December – and that’s the way this month began. But last week two separate storms brought over five inches of precipitation to Yosemite Valley.
The first storm was the biggest. It rained hard in the Valley on Monday, but by Tuesday morning rain had changed to snow, eventually piling up about eight inches of white stuff. Our workshop group had to wait out some of that rain on Monday, but then we photographed almost all day Tuesday, with some brief breaks to dry out and warm up.
Aspens and pines in a snowstorm, Inyo NF, California. 141mm, 1/250 sec. at f/16, ISO 1600.
In early October Claudia and I traveled to Utah and Colorado, and on our way we made a brief stop in the eastern Sierra.
Forecasts predicted a cold storm with low snow levels (for early October). That meant we might get to photograph aspens in snow, with autumn color, if we made it over to the eastern Sierra before the storm. So we packed hurriedly, hoping to make it over Tioga Pass before the road closed – which we did, with about 30 minutes to spare.
Sunrise from Tunnel View after a spring snowstorm, Yosemite (2015). In my Landscapes in Lightroom: Advanced Techniques course I show how to subtly enhance the inherent qualities of light in photographs like this.
If you’ve been thinking about getting one of my Lightroom courses, today’s the day, because the prices will be going up at midnight tonight Pacific Time. And until midnight you can still get 15% off the current price for Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide, and Landscapes in Lightroom: Advanced Techniques (or the complete set that includes both) by using the code MASKING15.
Also, if you purchase any of my Lightroom courses you’ll be able to attend the live Lightroom processing webinar I’ll be giving on January 8th, and submit images for possible inclusion in this webinar.
Dogwood blossoms and sunset reflections, Yosemite. I used the Color Range and two Brush components in Lightroom’s Masking Panel to select and lighten just the dogwood blossoms in this photograph.
On Saturday, January 8th (10:30 a.m. Pacific Time) I’ll be hosting a live webinar where I’ll pick two or three images from members of our Education Center and show how I would process them in Lightroom – with special emphasis on using the new Masking Panel.
This webinar will only be open to members of our Education Center. If you’re not a member yet, you can become a member by purchasing one of my Lightroom courses. My latest course, Lightroom’s Masking Panel: In Depth, is only $15 until midnight on Friday, when the price goes up to $20. And my other two courses (Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide and Landscapes in Lightroom: Advanced Techniques) are also on sale for 15% off until Friday (click “Have a Coupon?” and enter the code MASKING15 to get the discount).
Waterfall, North Carolina
I’ve always loved good photographic prints. Some of my formative years as a photographer were spent working at The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite, where I got to see, and even hold, beautiful prints from people like Ansel Adams, John Sexton, Charles Cramer, Alan Ross, Bruce Barnbaum, and Christopher Burkett, among many others.
In the early stages of my photography journey I felt limited by what I could do with prints made from my color transparencies (slide film). I saw amazing color prints from people like Chris Burkett and Charlie Cramer, but their processes were extremely time-consuming and difficult to master.