Best Photos Of Year: Best Photos From 2023
2023 started off pretty good with some fun photo shoots. I didn't travel much for photography however as I mostly stayed within the Bay Area for photography this year aside from a short-trip to the southern Oregon Coast. My main focus earlier in the year was on renovating and landscaping the home I purchased. Then unfortunately, my 96-year-old grandmother's health started to take a turn for the worse this summer before ultimately passing away in October, so I made several trips to L.A. and didn't really do anymore photography after that.
Creativity is not something that artists can manufacture upon command so these days if I'm not feeling into it, I find other things to do. My son has taken an interest in basketball so I enrolled him in a number of basketball camps and classes, while my daughter started doing ballet. I also rekindled my love for the saxophone last year and started recording music this year. I have six songs that I wrote and recorded on Soundcloud. Relearning something after nearly 20 years has been an interesting experience.
On a professional level, the first half of the year was mediocre and one of the worst I've ever had. Web traffic was also down another 5% (it was -9% YOY in 2022). Since August though, some business has started to pick up and my web traffic has been up 33% YOY. I do about one photography presentation per year so this time I presented my photography to the San Diego Sierra Club Photo Section. In December I was interviewed by SFGate for a story on Yosemite's changing of the seasons. A week later, FOX reached out and interviewed me for a live segment in the studio on KTVU-2 here in the Bay Area.
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Here are the photos that I enjoyed making the best in 2023 sorted in chronological order:
I enjoy photographing seascapes during the winter months when there is a minus tide. Rodeo Beach is an iconic Bay Area location made famous by the legendary Galen Rowell. I had photographed here at least twice before with mediocre results so I was determined to get better results this time. This amazing sunset lingered around for quite a long time as powerful waves splashed around us.
Photographing California Wine Country has been my main focus over the past five years and this year didn't disappoint. I've also gotten fine art print sales from this photo already. My only regret was not making it up there to photograph the historic snow storms during the early part of the year.
After having dinner in Brookings with my family, I went to Harris Beach by myself since it looked like there might be a promising sunset. I nearly missed the sunset as I was distracted by these sidelit sand patterns on the beach.
Harris Beach is one of my favorite beaches on the West Coast. I was fortunate to photograph an explosive sunset on this evening. I should buy a pair of hip waders for the future though as my water boots were completely soaked after this photoshoot.
Despite a solid decade of photographing Wine Country, I had not spent much time exploring the Carneros Region so when I had an opportunity to do a commercial assignment at Bouchaine Vineyards I jumped at the opportunity. The timing coincided with the remnants of Hurricane Hilary which traveled north from Southern California. Though I did intermittent photography this year, I was blessed with great sunsets to work with.
For the past ten years, I've been on a quest to find the perfect cluster of wine grapes. Photographing wine grapes can be a fickle experience however. By the time the foliage starts to get colorful, most grapes have been harvested or are wilting, while the grapes are usually at their peak during the hottest time of year in the Bay Area. My son and I spend a lot of time exploring Napa Valley so we found some very lush wine grapes on this outing.
Rain is not common here during the summer months but it started to rain on us in the afternoon while we were photographing Napa Valley. Despite seemingly little hope for a sunset, I stuck around until complete darkness to catch this purple glow with crepuscular rays. If there's one thing I've learned about landscape photography over the past 23 years is that if you have clouds then you don't leave until it is completely dark outside.
While I have lived in the East Bay for the past ten years, I admittedly have not explored much of the interior valleys since my main interests are water, trees and fog. Del Valle Regional Park is a location I started visiting earlier this year and have returned a few times since. On this outing, a woman warned my son and I about a mountain lion that she had encountered along the trail. While that was unnerving, I was not about to let that deter me from photographing this sunset that captures the East Bay's signature oak trees and rolling hills.
On my 4th and final trip to L.A. this year, I spent a day with the family at The Huntington Library & Botanical Gardens and made some images from the Japanese Garden. I've made similar images in the past but this particular silhouetted arrangement caught my eye.
Happy holidays & Happy New Year!