I think one of my favorite times of the year is the New Year. For some, it’s about making BIG party plans and ringing in the new year with champagne toasts, dancing, and fireworks. For me, it’s a much more reflective time … a time to take stock in the year’s adventures, personal achievements, challenges conquered along the way perhaps … and especially a time to look forward … to 2015!
I made a promise at the beginning of 2014 – to take the time needed to travel at least quarterly. I wanted to experience new places, new adventures, new friends, and of course, new challenges. I had some personal goals related to even this blog and I’m happy to say that I think that I accomplished most of them. As usual, travel and photography went hand in hand and played a large role in my life for 2014. I’ll try to re-cap some of it – very briefly – here.
I travel so much with Tom, aka my husband and “sherpa”, and I began to wonder if I could make it into the wilderness shooting without him. LOL. So, while he went off to snowboard for weeks on end, I decided to head out to Yellowstone NP in the dead of the winter (Jan) without him. I wanted to see “what I was made of” … and to my surprise, I realized that when I needed to get it done myself, I actually could! In addition, I made a bunch of wonderful friends as well on Daniel Cox’s Natural Exposure Invitational Photo Tour.
For 4 months (Jan thru Apr), I had the pleasure of discovering that a pair of eastern screech owls had taken up residence in our owl boxes, but they graced us with raising 3 baby owlets as well. I have to admit that it was a challenge, but the experience was incredible! I’ll never forget my astonishment and joy when we peeked in, via a small “Go Pro-like” camera and saw 3 tiny furry owls, all bopping and circling their heads as owls do. My heart melted and my love for owls immediately soared!
In Feb we joined my daughter and her husband for some snowboarding/skiing in UT and a bit of photography as well. I spent a few days at Antelope Island SP capturing bison, deer, pronghorn, eagle, coyote, porcupine, and other images. Loved it!
Of course, Everglades NP is always just around the corner for us, so several trips to photograph the migratory and resident birds were part of our year.
Orlando Wetlands Park was a new location for me Jess was gracious enough to show it to me one day.
We also made it up to Vero Beach and Blue Cypress Lake for some osprey photography with Jess and Michael … always a pleasure.
In April, we flew out to Denver and made the circuit between Denver, Colorado Springs (Garden of the Gods), Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP, Monument Valley, Moab, Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Dead Horse Point SP, and eventually Rocky Mountain NP. For part of the trip, we met up with Rodney Lange for some landscape shooting, including some night photography. We had such a great time!
From May to June, the early mornings and early evenings were filled with burrowing owl photography, as we’re blessed with having many burrows within 30 minutes of our home. To spend hours with the parents and their young and literally watch them grow up before our eyes is always a thrill and an honor.
Another endearing time was had in June when I almost got to witness the hatching of a newborn sandhill crane colt. I say almost because my friends and I witnessed the cracking of the egg, the hole in the egg enlarging, but the threatening skies kept us from the “whole enchilada” as they say. The next morning we were thrilled to photograph the newborn colt as it already toured around the wetlands with both of its parents. Yes, I’m also a craniac for sure! (Shout out to Monique!)
A quick trip to the Palouse was also made, since I was already in San Diego for work. The rolling hills of the farmlands and the shadows cast during sunrise and sunset provide for variations on the landscape … always beautiful.
“The mountains are calling, so I must go” … for me that was the message I received from the Canadian Rockies. In late June and early July, we traveled within Alberta and British Columbia to Yoho NP, Jasper NP, Banff NP, Lake Louise, Waterton Lakes NP, as well as Glacier NP in Montana. Landscapes to die for were around every corner and amazing wildlife, as well as the company of good friends … I didn’t want to leave.
Our last “big trip” was to Alaska, on our 8th trip. It was as good as any of the others … and in some ways, even better. From photographing the brown bears of the Russian River area, to flying out for a few days of Katmai NP bears (my personal favorites) – in the company of fellow photographer and friend Tom Blandford, to touring Valdez and kayaking the ice caves, to crossing for the first time the Denali Highway on our way to Denali NP and being treated to incredible scenery along the way during the day and the mystique of the northern lights in the darkness of the night, and finally varied conditions while staying at Denali NP, including a winter snowstorm … it was all a blast. All that while catching up with our Alaskan friends. 🙂
It seemed fitting that on Dec. 20th, I returned to the Deering Estate to photograph the winter equinox and it’s sunrise … OK, I know that was one day early, but who cares, it was fabulous either way.
So, as you can see, 2014 was an amazing year for us and one that will be hard to beat. Of course, we’ll give it our best to do so. As I reflect on my goals for this new year, I can assure you that 2015 will have some exciting adventures and big events as well, so stay tuned for more.
Wishing everyone a wonderful and healthy 2015, with lots of photographic opportunities either in solitude or in the presence of friends (both good), but always one with nature. 🙂
Debbie & Tom Tubridy (TNWA Photography)