Favorite Photos From 2014

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It’s time for Jim Goldstein’s annual “Your Best Photos” blog project again. I find participating in this to be of value when it comes to evaluating how I’ve evolved in photography. In case you’re curious, here are my entries from 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.

While my personal life in 2013 had some extreme highs and lows, 2014 was largely a positive one albeit very hectic with the highlight being my wedding. I think back to last year prior to moving back up to the San Francisco Bay Area, how I felt that I was squandering away my prime photography years in Southern California. This move has really rejuvenated me from a creative inspiration standpoint. While it is true that good photographs can be done anywhere at any time, inspiration doesn’t come quite as easily. Sometimes it takes major life changes to get there. Being content with maintaining the status quo is a foreign concept to me. I can’t imagine life without being able to express myself through the creative arts. With that said, here are my top ten favorite photos from 2014 in chronological order:

Pair of Young Trees in Cook's Meadow After Spring Snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, California

Pair of Young Trees in Cook’s Meadow After Spring Snowstorm, Yosemite National Park, California

Samantha’s friends were coming up for bachelorette party weekend but having little knowledge of what their plans were, my friend John and I decided to take a last minute trip to Yosemite. This was in late March but little rain or snowfall had taken place during the winter so it was rather depressing in Yosemite Valley the day prior to this. It poured hard that night so we got up well before sunrise to explore the valley. To our pleasant surprise, the valley was covered in snow and thick fog. This was easily the most memorable morning of photography that I experienced all year.

Samantha Playing Hide and Seek at Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City, Italy

Samantha Playing Hide and Seek at Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City, Italy

Vatican City. What a place! True that it is extremely crowded here and there is a major issue with homelessness, poverty, etc… but there is nothing else like this. The truth is that I can’t stand being in most big cities for very long (in the U.S. anyway) but Rome’s culture drew me in almost immediately. I’m so glad that I got to experience this with my wife.

Lonesome Cypress Tree, Alameda, California

Lonesome Cypress Tree, Alameda, California

It is cold and windy on the San Francisco Bay just about everyday during spring and summer. Since wind is invisible we’re left with photographing the result of it. The first time I saw this cypress tree on my bike route I made a mental note to return with a camera when the light was more interesting.

Queen Elizabeth Park at Sunset, Vancouver, B.C.

Queen Elizabeth Park at Sunset, Vancouver, B.C.

I first visited Vancouver as a six year-old during a family vacation. Vancouver is still every bit as awesome I remember it being as a child. This photo is for my parents.

Fog Rolling Over Bolinas Ridge, Mount Tamalpais State Park, California

Fog Rolling Over Bolinas Ridge, Mount Tamalpais State Park, California

Sunset fog over the ocean is now done to death by photographers and justifiably so. It’s truly a spiritual experience to witness. I find the inner valleys of Mount Tamalpais to be equally as interesting. Seconds before I made this photo, I was completely fogged in but then the scene revealed itself for a brief moment with fog rolling down the mountain right in front of me.

Husband and Wife Looking at Old-Growth Redwood Trees on Simpson-Reed Trail, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, California

Husband and Wife Looking at Old-Growth Redwood Trees on Simpson-Reed Trail, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, California

Few things have given me greater joy over the past year than exploring Northern California with my wife. Neither of us grew up here so everything still feels fresh to me. I’m not sure there’s anywhere else I’d rather be living at this moment.

Old-Growth Redwood Forest in Fall, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

Old-Growth Redwood Forest in Fall, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California

Redwood forests are difficult to photograph well in my opinion. The best photos you often see in other photographers’ portfolios include the rhododendrons in a foggy forest because the fog helps to simplify the scene. I went with the opposite approach for this photo (for one, I never seem to get fog on my visits!) and photographed the old-growth redwood forest for what it is; a chaotic jungle.

Bull Elk Rut in Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Bull Elk Rut in Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

I’m not much of a wildlife photographer but the elk at RMNP are really cool to see in the fall season. I took Samantha to Colorado for a surprise birthday trip this year and the elk viewing was a definite highlight for us. I also had the pleasure of meeting two Colorado photographers on this trip that I highly respect in Dan Baumbach and Erik Stensland.

Virginia Creeper at Empire Mine State Historic Park, Grass Valley, California

Virginia Creeper at Empire Mine State Historic Park, Grass Valley, California

Samantha returned the favor a few weeks later for my birthday by treating me out to a birthday trip to Grass Valley / Nevada City. I visited this area during the fall season once in 2007 to shoot stock photos and had always wanted to see it again. This photo was inspired by the “Virginia Creeper” photo by legendary Sierra Club photographer, Philip Hyde.

Low Tide Reflections at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda, California

Low Tide Reflections at Robert Crown Memorial State Beach, Alameda, California

My 24-70mm lens broke the day after I moved to the Bay Area last year so I made extensive use of my other lenses for a while especially the 70-200mm. That experience has helped me to see landscapes in a different manner than I had previously. I’m not exclusively looking for wide angle scenes anymore but looking for more creative compositions. In-fact I believe only one image in this blog post was photographed at the widest focal length of a lens. Can you guess which one?

Happy New Year!

Special Mention

just married at La Canada Flintridge Country Club

Just Married (Photo by Jennifer Jasso)


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28 thoughts

  1. Wonderful highlights from the year Richard! As the saying goes: like a roller coaster life is full of ups and downs, but in the end it’s about enjoying the ride. I really like your “low tide reflections”…may have to add a print of that to my RWong collection!

    Congratulations again on the next stage of the ride!

  2. Great recap, Richard and congratulations again on the marriage. It was cool to meet you in person and I hope to do it again the next time we are in the same general vicinity. My favorite is the low tide reflections for what it doesn’t show, kinda like jazz. Have a great 2015!

  3. Beautiful collection, Richard! Northern California is certainly a great place to find inspiration. Really love the fog rolling over Bolinas Ridge. All the best for a great 2015!

  4. Pingback: Best Photos of 2014 by JMG-Galleries Blog Readers » JMG-Galleries - Landscape, Nature & Travel Photography

  5. Richard, your move to the Bay Area was indeed good for your photography. I like your two Redwoods images the best, they make me want to return there this spring. 2014 was a good year for you — and Samantha too. Best wishes for 2015…

  6. Pingback: Thought’s on Jim Goldstein’s Best of 2014 project

  7. Congratulations Richard on a wonderful year – both in your marriage and in your photography. This is a beautiful collection that really shows your love for the Bay Area. Wishing you all the best in 2015!

  8. Pingback: Favorite Photos of 2016 | In the Field: Photo Blog by Richard Wong

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