2017 Top Twelve Photographs
“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” ~ Ansel Adams
It is that time of the year again for me to share with you my 2017 Top Twelve Photographs of the Year. This is the 5th edition of this tradition that began in 2013, which was inspired by Ansel Adam’s quote shown above. Ansel Easton Adams (February 20, 1902 – April 22, 1984), is one of the most recognizable names in American landscape photography. His black-and-white landscape photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite National Park, have been widely reproduced on calendars, posters, books and prints. He is revered by landscape photographers all over the world, and to this day continues to have and operate The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park. http://anseladams.com/
When you shoot a few thousand images, as I do on an annual basis, it is difficult to cull it all down to ‘twelve significant photographs’ so, as in previous years, I determine my Top Twelve, and the order of the selections, by looking back at my Facebook page and noting how many ‘Likes’ I received when they were originally posted on my wall. I am fully aware that this is far from scientific, and could be argued that it is downright arbitrary, but that is the method I have used and arbitrarily choose to continue to do that again this year:)
Before I begin to run down the Top Twelve images for this year, I must say that this one of my most fun, productive, and satisfying years as a photographer. My creative muse is indeed happy for all of the incredible journeys I was fortunate to experience this year. Here is a rundown of locations I photographed in 2017: Yosemite National Park (7 times), Yellowstone National Park, The Grand Tetons, The Palouse, Bishop, Alabama Hills, North Lake, June Lake, Silver Lake, Lundy Lake, Lake Tahoe, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Monument Valley, Hunts Mesa, San Francisco, The Blue Ridge Parkway, Mabry Mill, VA, Big Sur, and some of my local favorites. First time locations for me were ~ The Palouse, Monument Valley, Hunts Mesa, The Blue Ridge Parkway, Mabry Mill, VA, and the island of Molokai, HI.
So, again this year I will count them down starting with Number 12, say something about each image, and provide some basic EXIF data.
#12 ‘Napali Kona Sunset’ ~ this is the magnificent Kalalau Valley at sunset, from the Na Pali Kona Forest Reserve along the Pihea Trail, our first day out shooting in the Waimea Canyon region of Kauai. I had been here many times in previous years but had never seen this canyon lit up like this before. I am happy that this image made the Top Twelve this year as this was my first professional photo shoot! I was hired by a well know San Francisco marketing agency, and the Creative Director of this 9-day shoot in Kauai was a person that I have known for thirty eight plus years, my daughter Michelle. One of the best father-daughter experiences of my life, we were fortunate to have great weather all the way. This location is truly, one of the most beautiful sites in the world!
#11. 'Waves of Wheat' ~ an image from a sunrise shoot at the summit of Steptoe Butte, the Palouse, a region east of the Cascade Mountains, where SE Washington meets Idaho. This was my first visit to this area, described by one of the local farmers as 'earth dunes', which struck me as being an interesting take of this region. The rich farmlands of rolling hills are blanketed with a patchwork of colors, that are lit up beautifully by the low morning light. I have never seen anything like this before, and the beauty and compositions were endless!
#10. 'Blowing in the Wind' ~ one of the last images from a fabulous Arizona Highways Photo Workshop in Monument Valley, led by one of the most knowledgeable, talented Navahoe, and award-winning photographers, LeRoy DeJolie. This was our last morning's sunrise, and I added interest to the sky with a 121 second exposure utilizing a 10 stop neutral density filter. This was one of the most enjoyable and spiritual workshops I have had the privilege of attending, especially the time we spent at Hunts Mesa.
#9. 'As the Wheel Turns' ~ When Edwin Boston Mabry (1867-1936) built his water powered mill in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, he had no way of knowing it would become one of the most photographed places in the United States. The mill, on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 176.1, draws several hundred thousand visitors each year. The gristmill and sawmill have been restored by park naturalists so visitors might see live exhibits, a real mill, and a working miller to demonstrate the milling process. This was another one of my first-time-visit locations this year, and hope to return again to enjoy the fall colors and tranquility of this unique area again!
#8. 'Hunts Mesa Morning Light' - one final image from my Monument Valley, AZ, photoshoot. This is the view of Monument Valley from Hunts Mesa, the morning after we camped out that night. The spirituality and beauty of this place is palpable and special. It was made especially so by the spiritual ceremony performed by LeRoy DeJolie when we first arrived. I will always remember this place, for the views, the way I felt, and the bitter cold winds on the night that we camped out. Also, it will be difficult to forget the journey out here, in huge four-wheel vehicles that were driven on a barely visible trail, that in places was driving on and through massive sandstone rocks!
#7. ‘Yosemite Falls Reflection’ ~ I drove into Yosemite National Park on Friday, February 11, 2017, through one of the heaviest rainstorms I have ever experienced in this area. I shot this image by the parking lot just to the left after you cross over Sentinel Bridge. The temporary standing water in Cook’s Meadow provided a unique opportunity for a refection shot of Yosemite Falls, including a small rainbow that appeared briefly at Mid Falls. California experienced on of the most prolific years of precipitation in 2017, that helped bring to an end a seven year drought that had a profound impact on the State. Because of the huge rainfalls, Yosemite was a wash with standing water not seen in any normal year, and provided photogrpahic opportunites for reflections in areas that again, I had never seen before in Yosemite Valley.
#6. 'Spotlight' ~ captured this Three Brothers reflection on a still Merced River, Yosemite National Park, during my seventh and last trip to Yosemite late 2017. Fall is a great time to be in Yosemite for reflection shots, and I was fortunate to get a sky to go along with a still day. Shot this image from a perfect location to capture reflections of this iconic granite formation. A couple of hours earlier, the sky was perfectly clear, and I began the day by shooting image #3. Then conditions chanh=ged quickly, as they do in Yosemite, creating a ominous looking sky that was perfectly for this composition!
#5. ‘Before the Deluge’ ~ I drove down to Yosemite National Park the first week of January to find very heavy, warm rains falling, thereby removing all of the fallen snow off the Valley trees. This was shot during about an hour's break in the storm on Thursday, with the mist caused by the abundant water, adding a lot of character to this beautiful Valley. NorCal had been under a deluge of rain/snow earlier that week, and a series of storms over the last few weeks in the Sierra Nevada have been very good to Lake Tahoe. According to the National Weather Service, the lake has gained about 33.6 billion gallons of water since Jan. 1, and the lake has risen about one foot in 5 days!
#4. ‘StarLight’ ~ another image from the final sunrise shoot at Monument Valley. After the rising sun broke through the sliver of an opening above the horizon, I found myself chasing the light behind the West Mitten in an effort to capture a sunburst. The resultant low light on the foreground and the sunburst against the Mitten was extremely gratifying, as well as the illumination of the cloud laden sky made it for a very special ending to a very special workshop. I highly recommend this workshop, especially with award-winning Navajo photographer LeRoy DeJolie
#3. Etched in Light ~ I have learned as a photographer, that ‘being there’ has a great deal to do with getting a great shot. However, when you are there ‘knowing where you need to be’ allows you to get the exceptional shot. I began this morning at Tunnel View with clear, bald blue skies. From experience, I knew that this particular spot on the Merced River could be really good, as early morning could highlight the fall colors at the river bend. I guessed right! I was the only person here on this special morning, November 2, 2017, and came away with my favorite image of my Yosemite fall shoot.
#2. ‘Serrano Oak Sunset' ~ ‘Perhaps the crescent moon smiles in doubt at being told that it is a fragment awaiting perfection. ~ Rabindranath Tagore. The rain storms were taking a temporary break in NorCal, which gave us this beautiful sunset and crescent moon last night, at my favorite oak tree a two minute drive from my home. It is aways special and rewarding, after traveling to many faraway places on this planet, that an image shot a few minutes away from where I live, ends up in the Top Twelve Photographs of any year!
#1. ‘Majestic’ ~ one of my favorite locations in Yosemite National Park, a place that I refer to as River Bend, that has this magnificent view of Half Dome and the Merced River. Sunset on a Saturday night, March 4, 2017, provided these beautiful colors, and with a slow shutter speed I was able to smooth out the river waters and pick up more of the reflection colors. The eddies and swirls added that needed interest to the foreground, all adding up to this image being voted #1 in 2017!
And there you have it, my fifth annual Top 12 Photographs for the 2017 year. Also, a continuing tradition, a few observations in closing - 1. Five of the Top Twelve images voted on in 2017 were shot in Yosemite National Park, a very special place on Earth for me, both spiritually and photographically, 2. five of the twelve were shot in first-time locations for me - Monument Valley, Hunts Mesa, AZ, Mabry Mill, VA, and the Palouse, WA. It is always interesting for me to compile these images every year and be reminded of the wonderful accomplishments I was privileged to complete by traveling to these beautiful locations, as well as what excellent tastes that the followers of my Facebook page have. The Likes and Comments each image receives are the basis of determining what appears in this Top Twelve list each year. So a big thank you to all these people for taking the time to do so - greatly appreciated!
In conclusion, and as always, I owe a great deal of gratitude to the many people who support my photography by purchasing my images in print form, attend my workshops, as well as the hundreds of Likes and Comments that so many people take the time to stop by and leave on my Facebook page at http://facebook.com/djgrenier . Last but not least, the wonderful and talented photographers and friends of mine that I travel and live with during these photographic journeys through out the year - again, my deepest thanks!
Looking forward to 2018 and wishing everybody a Wonderful New Year!