Photographically speaking I initially thought 2014 was a rather mediocre year for me.  With the exception of a trip to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons with Heather I didn’t take any trips that were dedicated to photography.  I’m traveling about 45 weeks per year for work and most of the images I accumulated were captured during those trips.  Then I started compiling my “Favorites” file.  I discovered that 2014 wasn’t such an average year after all.  In fact, it was quickly apparent that my plan to limit the choices to 10 or fewer images wasn’t going to happen.  I finally settled on 14 images and I don’t call it my “Best of” since technically these images aren’t all perfect.  Some made the list because of an emotional tie to the image itself.  Some made the list simply because I like them.  It was difficult arriving at these 14 though, since all the images I worked with this year are my favorites.  Anyway, after lots of head scratching and some more cutting and slashing I’ve arrived at what I feel are my favorite 14 images from the year.  So settle back and enjoy and if there are any comments please feel free to contribute to the blog.  (Click on the image for a larger view)

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Every year March finds me in Arizona.  I head down there to see some spring training baseball and to visit with my daughter and granddaughter who live south of Phoenix.  This year I was able to witness a wonderful sunrise near San Tan Valley, AZ.

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My first trip to Washington, D.C. was tremendously inspiring.  I shed more than a few tears at the Vietnam Memorial Wall and I was amazed at some of the architecture including this image from the Smithsonian Museum of the Native American.

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One of my new favorite places to find images is the Portland Japanese Gardens in Portland, OR.  This time I was able to get there in the spring when the Tea Leaf Maples are leafed out fully.  These trees are fascinating.  When you see images of them you imagine they’re huge while in reality few of them are more than 5 or 6 feet tall.

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I was on a business trip to Bremerton, WA and one morning when I woke up and looked out the window of my hotel this is what I saw.

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On another business trip to Portland I was able to stay over a couple of extra days and spend some time in the Columbia Gorge.  Wahclella Falls is one of my favorites.  A friend of mine once told me when he first saw this falls he felt like he had just walked into the set of Jurassic Park.  I tend to agree.

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Another of my favorite places to photograph is the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, WA.  I think I may have this one made into a jigsaw puzzle.

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During a trip to visit family in Wichita, KS, I captured this sunrise.  I’ve driven past this scene probably 50 times over the years but never during good photographic conditions…until this time.

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Every other year I take a trip to Yellowstone with my daughter Heather.  This year we spent a couple of nights in a cabin near Gardner, MT.  The road into the cabin goes past this pond with the view looking south towards the Blacktail Plateau in Yellowstone.

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The Oxbow Bend of the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park is commonly thought of as a great sunrise location and there are often 50 to 100 photographers there for sunrise.  In this case we had been driving the Moose/Wilson road looking for a bull moose with no success.  When I saw the clouds start forming I knew it would be a grand sunset so we hauled buns to the Oxbow.

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Another image from the Yellowstone trip.  These trees are on the east bank of the Yellowstone River where Alum Creek runs into the river.  This morning it was a bit chilly and there was mist rising off the river.  The color version was okay but I think it really pops in B&W.

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We have some pretty nice sunsets in the Rocky Mountains but it seems like every time I visit the west coast I see a sunset that’s epic.  I caught this one in San Diego in early fall.

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I didn’t plan a specific trip to photograph fall colors this year but I was fortunate enough to visit southwest Utah in November and happened across this scene in Zion National Park.

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On the same trip to Utah I had a chance to visit Bryce Canyon National Park.  This is another location that’s probably better for sunrise than sunset but after the sun goes down the pastel colors of the area come out to play.

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I’m finishing up with what may well be my favorite image of the year.  I mentioned before that Heather and I visit Yellowstone every couple of years.  Usually we spend the first night out in Cody, WY and the next morning have breakfast at the Irma Hotel followed by a couple of hours at the Buffalo Bill museum before driving into Yellowstone.  This year we changed it up and took a Mustang Photo tour in Cody to view and photograph some wild horses in the McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area east of Cody.  This image epitomizes my idea of a wild mustang.  Small, tough, adaptable.  Truly an image of the American West.

So there they are.  My favorite images of 2014.  Thanks for looking and I’ll see you in 2015.

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