Thursday, December 22, 2016

Most memorable images from 2016

1. January 31

Pristine. Sunrise at Dream Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 22mm, F/16, 1/3s, ISO 100.
It's a great idea to look back upon a year and choose one's favorite images. I've been going through my images from this year over the last few weeks and, although the year is not over yet, have come up with some favorites or most memorable images. Some of these are not necessarily the best images but they are images that I am fond of. The image above for example was taken on a solo snowshoe hike in #RMNP Jan 31, 2016 where I encountered deeper snow conditions than I'd ever seen in the park. I was the first person up there with pristine snow everywhere (also unplowed road to the trailhead ;-) ) and it was gorgeous. The sunrise didn't materialize much but I got some good images anyway such as the iconic tree above. I also generated several photosphere panoramas that you can see on Google maps. Be sure to drag your mouse all around as these are fully immersive 360x180 spherical panoramas and they really convey what it is like to be there.

You can find more images from Dream lake, Emerald Lake and Lake Hayiaha in the links.

2. February 21

River of rock
A river of rock. Calhan Paint Mines.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 22mm, F/8, 1/15s, ISO 100. Focus stack from 5 images to get everything in pristine focus front to back.
I visited the stunning and fairly unknown Calhan Paint mines that are hidden in a little town-run interpretive park for a sunrise on Feb 21, 2016. Since the last time that I was there 100's of very impressive wind mills were added all around it but luckily the views were not spoiled. This is truly an extraordinary place and well worth a visit if you're ever near Colorado Springs. You can find an immersive panorama that I made the same morning in this link.

3. March 13

Radiance. Matthews/Winters park.
Stitch from 4 images from Nikon 1 J4, 10-30 mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10 mm, f/4, 1/400s, f/4.0
I took this photograph on a short hike with my wife and son over Dakota ridge. I ride this on my bike often and it is a beautiful trail. Here we were hiking back to the trailhead and we came upon this scene with clouds lit by sunset light. I often like struggling trees as you can tell.

4. May 13

Golden dawn
Golden Dawn. Chautauqua Park, Boulder open space.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 16mm, F/8, 1/30s, ISO 800. Focus stacked.
I was scouting Chautauqua park on May 13, 2016 for a sunrise photography class I would lead the next morning. This is one of the vantage points I identified there. The flowers are fantastic in spring in this place. The next morning was rain and fog the whole time which made for very different but still very interesting images as you can see next. I also hiked up to the royal arch this morning and made a few immersive panoramas there that can be experienced here and here.

5. May 14

Forest scene. Chautauqua Park, Boulder open space.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 at 72mm, F/8, 1/80s, ISO 450.
I got many images like this the morning of May 14. So different from the day before.

6. June 24

Fairytale forest
Fairytale Forest. Boulder Brook, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 16mm, F/16, 1s, ISO 100.

This little micro landscape scene can be found along one of my very favorite places in Rocky - Boulder Brook trail. It is reached from the Storm pass trailhead and the nicest parts are hidden from view from the trail but you can easily hear the little waterfalls. In autumn this place gets covered with aspen leaves that make it look like somebody scattered gold coins all around.

7. June 24

Longs glow
Longs glow. Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 at 48mm, F/16, 1/3s, ISO 100.
The same day as I shot the small forest scene above I drove up to Forest Canyon overlook along Trail Ridge road and enjoyed sunset as it hit Longs peak. Truly a magnificent end of the day.

8. June 25

The ancient one
The ancient one. Mount Evans.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 18mm, F/16, 1/40s, ISO 100.
This image is from a sunrise on Mount Evans in the Mt. Goliath area. When the sunrise didn't materialize much, I hiked around and followed the trail up the mountain and found this tree being backlit by soft morning light. I made the sun peek through some holes in the tree branches and stopped down to f/16 to cause the sunstar to appear. This lens also has the fascinating property that next to sunstars it will show nice diffraction rainbows that are easily visible if you look at the print and even in this web sized version. You can see this image in the rotunda of the Colorado state capitol building for a few more months.

9. July 16

Upper Ice Lake dusk Ice Lake Dusk. Ice Lakes Basin, San Juan Mountains, Colorado.
Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 18mm, F/16, 20s, ISO 100.
This image was taken on a night I spent in Ice Lakes Basin near Silverton. This is a stunningly beautiful place with seas of wildflowers, gorgeous glacially fed lakes, and rugged peaks. I was here to photograph star trails as you can see in this image. I like this image a bit better than the star trails image due to the streakiness of the clouds. If you look carefully you will spot a yellow tent on the shelf on the right. I made a time lapse of the individual images in the star trails image but I haven't shared this anywhere yet.

10. September 30

Epheremal glow
Ephemeral Glow. Bierstadt Moraine, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 at 34mm, F/11, 1/40s, ISO 400.
This image is from a wonderful fall sunset hike I took with my son up to Lake Bierstadt and back. We hiked up the Moraine which was covered in aspen trees that were in full fall regalia. I took many images but this is one of my favorites for sure. Afterwards we had a great mexican dinner in Estes Park.

11. September 30

Night on the moraine
Night on the Moraine. Bierstadt Moraine, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Nikon D600, Nikon 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 at 24mm, F/8, 30s, ISO 100.
This is from the same fall sunset hike as the previous image. This was way after sunset when we were hiking down. The very long exposure caused the lights from one of the RMNP busses to smear out causing the little S in the center. The dusk light really deepened the color of the fall leaves.

12. October 23

Curving. Chasm Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park.
Stitched from 3 images. Nikon D600, Tokina 16-28 mm f/2.8 at 16mm, F/16, 1/6s, ISO 100.
On October 23 I hiked up to Chasm Lake together with my good friend Jean-David to see the sunrise. We discovered many small patches of ice on the edge of the lake and I used this one as a nice foreground element. The blobs are drops hanging from the bottom of the ice. This was a glorious morning in an amazing place. I also created an immersive panorama that you can experience in this link.

I hope you enjoyed this series of images as much as I enjoyed showing them to you! Happy holidays and a happy new year to all.


  1. Radiance has to be my favorite. I love the warm light. Beautiful collection from the year. Wishing you the best for 2017

  2. Thanks Joseph. Wishing you all the best for 2017 too!

  3. A beautiful collection, Jao! My favorites are Chasm Lake and Ice Lake. Wishing you all the best in 2017!

    1. Thanks Russ! Appreciate the look. Have a great 2017!

  4. picking a winner out of this lot would say more about ones mood than about the pictures. I reckon this is an indicator that i) nature is beautiful ii) you're doing a consistently good job at capturing that beauty and presenting it.
    I guess that's the difference between someone who "takes a good photo" and someone who is a good photographer :-)

  5. Wonderful photos Jao! You final image of Chasm lake is especially nice. The detail in the ice is a great touch. Thanks for taking part in my Best Photos of the Year blog project. Happy shooting in 2017!