In the Moment:
Michael Frye's Landscape Photography Blog
The votes are all in and counted, and here are my top photographs of 2016!
We had an amazing response this year: a record-breaking 728 people looked through my initial selection of 47 images and voted for their favorites here on the blog, on Facebook, 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 and email, 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 the voters we’ve decided to give away two prints this year. We assigned each person who voted a number, and used a random number generator to pick the recipients. And the winners are… Fred Littooy and Geoffrey Robinson! Fred and Geoff will each receive a signed and numbered 16×20 print of their choice from among the 47 original selections. Congratulations Fred and Geoff!
This year I thought the top twelve vote-getters made a more well-rounded selection than the top ten, so I expanded the final selection to include a dozen images. Here’s the list of the twelve images that received the most picks, and the number of votes they each received:
23. Sunbeams and an old road in a redwood forest, northern California coast, USA
Just a reminder that if you want to vote for your favorite images of mine from 2016 the deadline is midnight tonight, Pacific time. Just follow this link to see the nominees and cast your vote. And to those of you who have already voted – thank you very much! We’ve had a great response so far, and I really appreciate the input from everyone.
— Michael Frye
I’ve closed comments on this post, since the voting deadline has passed. You can see the final selections here. Thanks to all of you who voted!
Happy New Year!
Like champagne, Auld Land Syne, and the Tournament of Roses Parade, 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 47 of my best photographs from 2016 below, in chronological order. After you look through these, please post a comment listing your ten favorites.
You don’t have to list your ten favorites in any order, or even name them – just numbers will do. (The numbers are in the captions underneath the photographs. Also, you can click on the images to see them larger.) Once the votes are in I’ll post the top ten on this blog, and submit the final group to Jim Goldstein’s blog project, where he’ll be showcasing the best images of the year from over 300 photographers. The voting deadline is this Tuesday, January 3rd, at midnight Pacific time.
Moonlit winter night with Half Dome, Glacier Point, and the Merced River, Yosemite NP, CA, USA
Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful year in 2017.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting the nominees for my best photos of 2016, and you’ll get a chance to vote for your favorites and help me pick the top ten. Keep an eye out for the post! You can see last year’s nominees here, and the winners here.
I made this image around 4:20 a.m. last Saturday morning (Christmas Eve) after a few of inches of snow fell in Yosemite Valley. I actually drove up to the valley around 9:30 on Friday evening, since it looked like the storm was about to clear. But clouds and snow flurries persisted for awhile, and skies didn’t start to clear in ernest until after midnight.
Reflections along the Merced River, winter, Yosemite NP, CA, USA
It’s become a tradition on this blog to ask my readers to help pick my best images of the year, so on January 1st I’ll be posting the nominees for 2016 and asking all of you to vote for your favorites. It’s always fun to see what people pick!
Last year readers voted this snow scene into the top ten. It actually got the fifth-most votes, which was a pleasant surprise for an intimate landscape like this. (You can see last year’s nominees here, and the top ten here.)
Moon over Yosemite Valley
Claudia and I wish you a very Merry Christmas! And happy first day of Hanukkah! We hope you have a wonderful holiday, full of peace, joy, and the love of family and friends.
I made this photograph on the same night as the moonrise from Gates of the Valley image in my last post. After leaving the Gates I headed up to Tunnel View. For some reason I thought the moon would be behind Cathedral Rocks from there, but instead the moon was plainly visible right over the valley. I would usually avoid photographing right into the moon, for the same reasons I would usually avoid photographing right into the sun: a high probability of lens flare, and extreme contrast. But on that night the backlit mist and clouds were beautiful, so I gave it a try.
Moonrise from Gates of the Valley, Yosemite
As I described in my last post, I drove up to Yosemite Valley last Friday afternoon to see and photograph the high water. Then after sunset I hung around for awhile, waiting for the moon to rise.
The 86% moon was due to rise just after 8:00 p.m. When photographing a moonrise, moonset, sunrise, or sunset, one of the most important considerations is the exact angle or azimuth of the sun or moon. We all know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Most people also know that in the summer, in the northern hemisphere, the sun rises and sets further north, and in the winter it rises and sets further south. The moon, of course, also rises in the east and sets in the west. But compared to the sun its path changes much more rapidly, varying as much in two weeks as the sun does in six months.
Rainbow and Upper Yosemite Fall from Swinging Bridge, Yosemite, Friday afternoon
On Thursday night a large rainstorm hit California. The National Weather Service predicted minor flooding in Yosemite Valley during the night, so the park service pre-emptively closed all the roads in Yosemite Valley at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday.
That was disappointing, since I wanted to drive up to the valley the next morning to see the high water. As it turned out, the Merced River didn’t reach flood stage, everything was fine, and they reopened the roads at 9:00 a.m. on Friday. By that time it was too late to drive up and catch the morning light, so I decided to head to the park in the afternoon.
Misty night, Gates of the Valley, Yosemite
After a long dry spell we finally got some rain. The first storm arrived Thursday, and then a second, wetter system reached us yesterday. Altogether Yosemite Valley received over three inches of rain since late Wednesday. It’s been warm, with the snow levels near 9,000 feet, so there was no new snow in Yosemite Valley, but that warm rain melted generous quantities of snow leftover from previous storms, so the waterfalls are roaring like spring.
Thursday’s storm cleared after sunset, so at about 9:00 o’clock I decided to drive up to the valley for some night photography. I arrived to find plenty of low-lying mist, with the two-thirds-full moon lighting the cliffs above. It was really beautiful, but the moon was high overhead, making the lighting challenging. Then as the moonset approached things got more interesting. Some higher clouds moved in, and those clouds started to catch some color from the setting moon. I couldn’t see that color, of course, but the camera’s LCD screen showed it clearly.
Light beam, Milky Way, and arch, Alabama Hills, CA, USA
Landscape photographers usually work alone, or with a few other people. Even during workshops, when we might have 10 or 12 photographers in the same general area, each person is usually working on their own compositions.
But in our night-photography workshops there’s often a lot more collaboration. It’s common for groups of people to work on photographing the same subject, taking turns with light-painting, and exchanging ideas about how best to light and photograph the scene. And often the collective wisdom produces some interesting ideas.