Clearing spring storm, Tunnel View, Yosemite, Monday morning
Last Sunday, for the first time in over a month, we got some significant rain. Well somewhat significant anyway – half an inch.
It looked like the storm would clear around sunrise on Monday morning, which could be good timing. I drove up to Yosemite Valley early, and, as I often do, went to Tunnel View to get an overview of the valley and assess the conditions.
And the conditions looked promising, with lots of mist, and some higher clouds that could light up at sunrise.
Confluence of two swollen creeks, Yosemite, last Thursday afternoon. 1/2 second at f/11, 50 ISO.
California got doused by another series of storms last week. From Sunday (February 5th) through Friday (February 10th) Yosemite Valley received over ten inches of rain, pushing water levels near flood stage again.
My brother Peter came down to visit us from Washington state, and early on Thursday morning we drove up to Yosemite Valley, hoping for the sun to break through. We never saw the sun, but we found innumerable small waterfalls, including many I don’t remember seeing before in over 30 years here. And the big waterfalls were ripping. The overcast light was actually the perfect complement to many of these scenes, and I didn’t know when I’d get another opportunity to photograph the waterfalls like this, so we ended up staying in the valley for most of the day photographing the surging cascades.
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:
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.
Ross’s geese taking flight at sunset, San Joaquin Valley, CA, USA
It should come as no surprise to any photographer that the interaction between subject and light is important. In fact, I’d say that this interaction is the essence of the whole thing; it’s what photography is all about.
But which comes first? Do you look for an interesting subject, and then find the right light for it? Or do you look at the light first, and then find a subject that fits the light?
I think both approaches can work. But having said that, I almost always think about light first. What’s the light now? What might happen to the light in the next five minutes, ten minutes, hour, or two hours? I try to anticipate how the light and weather might change, decide what kind of subject(s) could work with that light, and only then decide where to go.