Twenty-twelve was a tough year for me. Some amazing highs and some nasty lows. I got engaged to the most wonderful, creative and supportive person I’ve ever known and fought hard to clear my body and mind of the influence of metastatic melanoma.
I didn’t get to photograph nearly as much as I would have liked, but I’m thankful to still be kickin’ around on this planet and to be able to pursue my passions again. It seems I’m still not out of the woods as far as the melanoma is concerned, I have a new development in my left lung, but I’m enjoying the bit of healthy, non-medicated time I have left before we kick that bastard to the curb in 2013.
I’m heading back to the Eastern Sierra and Death Valley next week for 6 days of photography. I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait for the freedom of the hills.
I usually like to produce a list of 10 or so favorite images from the year, but with all of the time lost to cancer treatments and recovery from cancer treatments I only made about 10 images over the course of the entire year. So, in the interest of actually wanting to pick the images I like the most I chose 6 as my number instead of 10. Hope you like them!
Here’s a little of the context behind each image.
Moonstones: This was an image I’d had pictured in my mind’s eye since I first climbed down to the beach at Soberanes Cove in Garrapata State Beach. This area is the very top edge of Big Sur and it’s pretty accessible as a day trip location from our place in El Cerrito. I headed down there with friend-tographer Lukas and Sammy. There were no clouds so we dilly-dallied around until the stars came out and then headed down to this beach to make some images. The timing was perfect as the moon was rising behind our backs and provided a nice balance of light to the foreground and sea stacks. Gotta love it when a plan comes together!
Muir’s Melody: Sometimes you just need to drop everything and run to Yosemite Valley in the middle of the night. This was one of those occasions. Lukas, Josh and I left the Bay Area at 1 AM so that we could arrive in a (hopefully!) snowy Yosemite before sunrise. We arrived early and drove up to the infamous Tunnel View to scope out the valley. 20-30 minutes after we got there the clouds overhead started to break up. This let the moonlight in to glint off the snowy valley walls.
Tangents: I love Cataract Creek on Mt. Tam. It never ceases to provide me with a new and interesting composition each time I visit and even if the conditions aren’t great for photography the hike still gets your blood pumping. This particular image is a vert-0-rama and really showcases the vegetation around the creek’s many cascades.
Arcs and Arches: Sam and I got engaged during the hour that the camera was recording these star trails. We both love the Alabama Hills and so a quick weekend trip out there to celebrate her successful completion of graduate school exams turned into a time we’ll never forget. This was another image that formed months earlier in my mind’s eye and I was able to make use of the 2012 super-moon to really light up the surrounding landscape while letting the stars glide across the sky forming the trails you see in the image.
Zephyr: Lone Pine has really captured my heart. After I finished my interferon treatments in October I made sure to parse out a little time to get back out in the world and explore the Eastern Sierra. I was traveling on my own — a great feeling after needing the care of others for many months — so I felt very free. I had one very productive morning in the Alabama Hills while a storm cleared the Sierra. This image was from well before sunrise so the exposure was very long and the light across the Sierra escarpment was very soft and even.
Feature Length: This was taken recently on one of those mornings where the forecast does not look all that great for photography. I met up with Lukas and his wife Megan in the headlands and we took the hike down to Kirby Cove. Things were starting to look pretty good and then they just kept getting better and better. We photographed for what felt like and hour at least. I soaked my sneakers in the process, but who cares!?