In the past, these year-end recaps have featured a photo from each month of the blog. Being woefully behind all of 2018 (sometimes by 3 months), I had a dilemma. Should the photo come from the month it was actually taken, or the month it got posted? After debating for an entire week, I decided to scrap the entire "photo from each month" format and try a different approach. 2018's "year in photos" will instead highlight favorite photos from the past year - images that embody the most memorable moments, regardless of month. While perusing the blog, trying to whittle down the contenders, I repeatedly asked the same question: "Does this photo represent a defining memory of 2018?"
Here's the 13 that made the cut:
|Happy face on the slopes of Schweitzer
In February I made a trip to Schweitzer Ski Area in northern Idaho. My son, who was supposed to meet me, got sick at the last moment and I ended up skiing solo for two days. Although the weather was less than stellar, I surprisingly had a great time. I usually suck at taking selfies, but this pic from the first day became one of my favorites - fully capturing the joy of the day.
|Grand Canyon sunrise
In March I took on a grand adventure, traveling solo to Arizona and the Grand Canyon. I spent two days seeing as much of the South Rim as humanly possible. Such an incredible place! This photo, taken right before sunrise, was my favorite of the trip.
|Hangover trail, Sedona
After visiting the Grand Canyon, I journeyed south to meet up with blogging buddies Hans and Lisa near Sedona. They took me on several incredible hikes exploring the surrounding red rock country. It was really hard to pick just one photo, but I finally settled on this image from the Hangover Trail, that I think comes close to portraying the grandeur of this area.
|Lone tree on Chatfield Hill
No year end recap is complete without at least one wildflower image. I spent much of April and May chasing after the wildflower bloom in the Columbia River Gorge. Trying to explore new places, I rambled through the Memaloose Hills, and discovered this lovely lone oak tree on flower-filled Chatfield Hill.
|Waves at sunset - Harris Beach
In late April, I finally got back to the southern Oregon coast, a place I'd longed to explore further. It was a wonderful trip, full of gorgeous rocky coastlines, crashing waves, colorful sunsets, tidepools, and even some wildflowers. This photo, taken my first night at Harris Beach State Park really captured the texture of ocean waves and pre-sunset sky.
|Cascade summertime butterfly invasion
Summer 2018 was spent in the Oregon Cascades hiking as many trails as time off would allow. One thing that was constant throughout June and July were the high concentrations of colorful butterflies I found on nearly every trail. It was definitely a good year for the winged insects, and my memory cards were full of their lovely images.
In July my daughter adopted a golden retriever pup she dubbed my "grand-puppy." Another cute photo subject! (My daughter, tired of my constant camera clicking, was relieved I now had something to take photos of besides her) It's been fun to watch the little guy grow, and document his changes.
|Rainbow at Comet Falls, Mt Rainier National Park
August brought another trip to Mt Rainier National Park. This year I concentrated my visit on the SW corner of the park, near Paradise. Lots of wonderful hikes and places to explore! It's no secret I love to photograph waterfalls, so no year-end recap is complete without at least one image. My favorite waterfall photo of year was this capture of a rainbow at the base of Comet Falls. Plagued by terrible light that morning, it was only a fluke that this image turned out as well as it did.
|Mt Rainier's amazing Skyline Trail
Although I wasn't going to include two images from the same place, I couldn't pass up documenting my hands-down favorite hike of the year. After two rainy attempts, the third day I hit weather gold, with sunny skies for a trek on Mt Rainier's famed Skyline Trail. This path climbs up the side of Washington's famous mountain for jaw-dropping high alpine views. And the wildlife - marmots galore! I even witnessed two marmots fighting. An incredibly memorable day.
|Mt Jefferson reflections on Russell Lake
I'd always wanted to backpack into Oregon's famous Mt Jefferson wilderness and capture a sunset at one of the many lakes. In late August, I hitched up my courage and my stamina, and covered the 7-mile, 3000 foot climb into Russell Lake, where I was richly rewarded for my efforts.
|Morning balloon launch - Stratobowl South Dakota
During an early September trip to visit family in South Dakota my niece invited me to watch a hot air balloon launch. Although high winds kept the balloons from rising too far, seeing the process of inflating these massive airships was fascinating. And the photo ops weren't bad either!
|Fall hues brighten Mt Hood
Although I did lots of fall color hikes, most haven't made it made it to my blog's pages yet. But one that did was a mid-September return visit to Mt Hood's Paradise Park. Although mostly known for lovely summer wildflower displays, I can vouch that autumn is equally as stunning.
|Snowy Plovers in flight
In November, sidelined by an injury, a neighbor expanded my photographic horizons by introducing me to the wonderful world of wildlife photography. Being mostly a landscape photographer (where subjects are immobile) it's been a new experience trying to shoot moving animals. My challenge for 2019 will be to perfect the art of capturing birds in flight.
I must admit, my enthusiasm for writing posts took a nosedive this year (as evidenced by the lowest number of entries since starting this blog in 2009). It appears blogging is fading in popularity - many of the people I used to follow have abandoned their blogs, or only post occasionally. I even considered taking a break from the blogging grind myself. It would be easy to just slip off into the sunset as others have done.
But....Linda's Lens has been a wonderful way to chronicle my (mostly) outdoor activities. I very much enjoy rereading past posts, remembering the adventures. It's also been a great avenue to share my work - in both photography and writing (or my attempts at writing). Don't get me wrong - all the pageviews and comments are very much appreciated - but the main reason I stay up late editing photos, or trying to pull words out of a tired brain, is for my own personal pleasure. It's been my creative outlet and mental escape from a dull, technical government job.
Soooo...dear readers, looks like you're stuck with me for another year. :) Already 2019 has some exciting events cued up - my daughter's wedding, another Grand Canyon trip, and quite possibly my retirement (we'll see). Strap yourself in, it's gonna be an exciting ride!
Happy New Year!