Best Photos Of Year: Best Photos From 2023

December 22, 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.

Fun Stats

Five Most Viewed Photo Galleries

  1. California
  2. Abstract Nature
  3. Pacific Northwest
  4. Banff & Canadian Rockies
  5. Redwood Trees

Ten Most Viewed Photos

  1. Eighth Wonder of the World
  2. Tree of Inspiration
  3. The Lone Cypress
  4. Dr. Pierce's Medical Discovery
  5. Japanese Garden Maple Tree
  6. Lonesome Cypress Tree
  7. Moraine Lake
  8. Crown Point Vista House
  9. Cataract Falls
  10. Temperate Rainforest

Five Most Read Blog Posts

  1. Top 10 Most Influential Nature Photographers of All-Time
  2. Galen Rowell's Photography & Mountain Light Gallery
  3. Art Galleries Near Me | Where To Buy Fine Art Photography
  4. Will AI Art Replace Photography?
  5. Ansel Adams Photography Legacy

Here are the photos that I enjoyed making the best in 2023 sorted in chronological order:

Rodeo Beach Sunset, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, California, photo

Rodeo Beach

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.

Napa Valley Winter Sunset, California, photo

Napa Valley Winter Sunset

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.

Sand Ripples at Sunset, Harris Beach State Park, Oregon Coast, photo

The Sands of Time

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, Oregon

Harris 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.

Bouchaine Vineyards at Sunset, Napa, California, photo

Bouchaine Vineyards

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.

Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon Veraison, Napa Valley, California, photo

Cabernet Sauvignon Veraison

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.

Summer Sunset in Napa Valley, California, photo

Napa Valley in September

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.

Del Valle Regional Park Sunset, Livermore, California, photo

Del Valle Regional Park

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.

Silhouetted Bonsai Trees at The Huntington Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California, photo

Bonsai Trees Silhouette

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!

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