The past twelve months have made for another amazing year for my photography. I am very lucky to be able to do what I do. This is the time of year when everybody does a bit of reflecting on the past year, and I enjoy doing the same.
2022 was the second year of owning my own gallery, and the store has been a huge success in its first two seasons. It’s really great to have a place to display my work seven days a week in the summertime.
This summer, I also made a return to art fairs! This was the first summer since 2019 that I set up my booth. 2020 shut down all fairs, and 2021 was the first season of my store, so I didn’t set up either of those two seasons. But this year, I was at the Fine Art Fair in Sturgeon Bay during Memorial Day weekend, and it was SO much fun to get the booth out there and see so many faces that I missed over the years. I also returned to the 4th of July festival in Baileys Harbor. That has always been my favorite weekend in Door County, so it was great to get set up in the town where I first started offering my work for sale.
Speaking of Baileys Harbor, my wife, daughter, and I moved to Baileys Harbor this year! Making the sometimes multiple daily treks between Sturgeon Bay and Baileys Harbor became too taxing on me. This has been a dream of ours for a while, so it made sense to move closer to the gallery and to where the majority of my work is. Though I still love Sturgeon Bay and always will!
I was also fortunate enough to travel out in the world with my camera! In February, I attended WPPI in Las Vegas. WPPI is a wedding and portrait industry conference. This may be a surprise to some of you, but in addition to my landscape work, I am also an experienced wedding and portrait photographer! I love landscape photography, and I love wedding photography just as much! They are so different from each other and allow me to be creative in very different ways. If you are interested in seeing some of that work, I also made a post for my top wedding photos of the year.
At the conference, I was able to spend four days attending classes and workshops from some of the best photographers in the world. I left that show extremely motivated with new ideas. When I shot my first wedding after the trip, I could tell that my style was affected in a good way. The creativity in my photos and the quality of my work had gone up big time!
After those four days in Vegas, a town I was more than happy to leave, I headed into the desert to spend a week in Death Valley National Park. What a place that park is to experience! It’s such a unique area with a lot to offer photographers. I had a great time hiking out into the salt flats and canyons, but my favorite feature of the park was the dune fields. I absolutely loved hiking the dunes, and I can understand why so many photographers spend a lot of time there. They are such a great feature where the landscape and light are ever-changing. You can spend hours playing with compositions there. I also traveled out of the park a bit and explored the western areas of the park all the way to the Alabama Hills at the edge of the Sierra Nevada mountains. That’s an area I want to see more of!
Probably my favorite experience ever as a landscape photographer was out in those dune fields. Toward the end of the trip, I wanted to capture some night sky photos in the dunes. The entire trip was extremely windy, so when the winds finally calmed, I took that opportunity to capture some of the darkest skies in the world (even darker than Newport State Park). I woke up at 1:00 am, and by 2:00 am, I was hiking into the dunes. There were a couple of other photographers with the same idea, but after a bit of hiking, I was all alone. Nothing around but me and my camera with 700′ tall dunes all around. And millions of stars above my head. I set up my tripod on top of one of the dunes and sat down. I took a few photos, some of them are below, but what I enjoyed most about that experience was sitting there and looking at the stars. I sat out there for hours before the dawn brightened the sky. It was so quiet and peaceful, which is a beautiful and rare thing in this world.
In October, after the busy season subsided, I took another trip out to my favorite place in the world. The Colorado Rocky Mountains. The summer season is a stressful and busy one, so it was nice to get away for about five days. I rented a campervan in Denver and drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park. I’ve visited this park before, but there was still so much of it I wanted to explore. It was great to have the opportunity to check out some new (to me) hiking trails that I had never had time for in the past. I also headed over the continental divide to what has become my favorite town out there, Grand Lake. It was a quick trip, but I was lucky to have had some of the most favorable conditions for photos! Every single morning and evening provided opportunities for epic images. I didn’t get skunked with blue skies once! A dream for a photographer on a trip!
Other than my two trips, 2022 was not an overly productive year for my landscape photography. I was able to capture some really neat images from Door County, but most of my energy was focused on capturing epic wedding photos for my clients. For that reason, many of my favorite images of 2022 are from California and Colorado.
Without further ado, I feel like I’ve rambled a bit too long; here are my top photos from 2022!