Favorite Images of 2016

2016 was both an Interesting and Frustrating Year.  It started out very nicely, but in March, things went pretty South, due to an Injury.  It became very Difficult for me to Get Out and Enjoy all of the Things that I Enjoy doing… Photography alone was my Saving Grace for most of 2016 and I made the Best of it and even managed to do a bit of Hiking even in my Aircast, lol  I’m almost back now and have finally started getting some real Hikes in, so I’m really looking forward to more Adventures in 2017.

As a Nature Photographer, I Shoot so many Different Subjects, that it really is Impossible to narrow my Favorites down very far, so I break my Subjects down into Categories and just pick a Favorite from each Category.  I’ve Doubled the Categories from last Year, because again, it’s just so hard to narrow things down and it helps me keep all of these Images organized, lol  Some Images also end up in Several Categories, so it gives a Favorite more than 1 Chance of being Selected too…

And if you have read my 2015 Post of Favorites, you already know that I call these Favorites for just that Reason… These Images may not be my Best Technical Images, but they are the Ones that I enjoy the most, due to Location, Situation, Emotion or whatever, lol

I did have some Good Trips this Year, especially as the Year waned and I was more Mobile.  I hope you Enjoy my Images as much as I Enjoyed making them…

Abstract – Sucked In                                                                                                                           Reflection and Flow on the Verde Riverdscn2963p-suckedin-pambarnhart2016-abstract

Amphibians – Jeremiah                                                                                                                   American Bullfrogdscn8662p-jeremiahamericanbullfrog-pambarnhart2016-amphibians

Architecture – Zebras at the Light Rail                                                                                           Downtown Phoenixdscn2806p-zebrasatthelightrail-pambarnhart2016-architecture

Autumn – Autumn Lagoon                                                                                                                 Reflections of Fall Colors in the Colorado Riverdscn4366p-autumnlagoon-pambarnhart2016-autumn

Birds – Golden Hour Portrait                                                                                                             Great Blue Herondscn4923p-goldenhourportraitgreatblueheron-pambarnhart2016-birds

Black and White – Pollen Party                                                                                                           A Spring Cholla Bloom that was Snowing Pollen in the Arizona Desertdscn4523pppp-pollenparty-pambarnhart2016-blackandwhite

Butterflies – Tiny Diner                                                                                                                       Western Pygmy-Blue Butterfly.  It’s one of the smallest Butterflies in the U.S. About the size of a Dime…dscn2238p-tinydinerwesternpygmy-blue-pambarnhart2016-butterflies

Dragonflies – Ode Love                                                                                                                       Blue-eyed Darnersdscn8823p-odeloveblue-eyeddarners-pambarnhart2016-dragonflies

Flowers – Summer Meadow                                                                                                               At a Northern AZ Arboretum… This could most likely go into the Wildflower Category as well, but since it was in a Controlled Setting, it ends up in Flowers too…dscn9420p-summermeadow-pambarnhart2016-flowers

Hiking – The Pink Hour                                                                                                                       Signature Red Rocks from a Range in Central AZ after the Sun went down.dscn0046p-thepinkhour-pambarnhart2016-hiking

Intimate Landscapes – Golden Mirror                                                                                             I do love my Golden Hours, especially if I get a Reflection as a Bonus!dscn0455p-goldenmirror-pambarnhart2016-intimatelandscapes

Landscapes – The Light Reward                                                                                                         Breakthrough Storm Light on a Prominent Peak in Southern AZ.  The Light was Intermittent and took Patience, but the Reward was pretty Sweet….dscn2514p-thelightreward-pambarnhart2016-landscapes

Macro – The Beauty Within                                                                                                                 A Closer Look at a Thistledscn0821p-thebeautywithinthistle-pambarnhart2016-macro

Wild Mammals – 2 For the Price of 1 – Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels                             This was a tough Choice, but I chose this, because the Odds of ever getting a Shot like this are pretty Slim, loldscn9243p-2forthepriceof1golden-mantledgroundssquirrels-pambarnhart2016-mammals

Miscellaneous – A Restful Path                                                                                                         As a Nature Photographer, any Image that contains something Man Made goes into this Category just to separate it from Scenes that are totally Natural…. So, who wouldn’t want to sit here???dscn6365p-arestfulpath-pambarnhart2016-misc

Miscellaneous Wildlife – Black and Orange – Tarantula                                                               Any Wild Creature that isn’t a Bird or a Mammal….dscn1587p-blackandorangetarantula-pambarnhart2016-misc-wildlife

Nightscapes – Death Valley Risingdscn4807p-deathvalleyrising-pambarnhart2016-nightscapes

Non-Technical Canyoneering – Perennial Flows                                                                           A Canyon you can Hike without Technical Geardscn1416pp-perennialflows-pambarnhart2016-non-techcanyoneering

People and Kids – Paige                                                                                                                       Sweet Baby and I really liked this Image as a Black and White as well….dscn4907pp-paige-pambarnhart2016-peopleandkids

People and Outdoors – Gliding Through Gold                                                                                 Kayaker at the start of the Golden Hour….dscn0472p-glidingthroughgold-pambarnhart2016-peopleandoutdoors

Domestic Animals – Autumn Leisure                                                                                              A Couple of Ranch Hands enjoying an Autumn Meadow during their Off-Time…dscn0259pp-autumnleisure-pambarnhart2016-domesticanimals

Captive Wildlife – Anasazi II – Golden Eagle                                                                                  An Education Bird that is not able to be Released into the Wild due to Physical Problems… She was Beautiful.  I so Appreciate our Wildlife Rescue Groups that not only Rescue Injured Wildlife, but can also give them a Permanent Home if needed….dscn2151pp-anasazi-ii-goldeneagle-pambarnhart2016-captivewildlife

Reflections – Roadside Attraction                                                                                                     Not too shabby of a View from a Rain-filled, Road-side Ditch…dscn0837p-roadsideattraction-pambarnhart2016-reflections

Reptiles – Emerging – Chuckwalla                                                                                                   Time to come out of the Shade and Catch some Rays….dscn0557-emergingchuckwalla-pambarnhart2016-reptiles

Road Shots – Peace and Turmoil                                                                                                       Hard to beat Autumn and Storms and the Roads that Travel through them….dscn0410p-peaceandturmoil-pambarnhart2016-roadshots

Spring – In the Spotlight                                                                                                                    The Spring Blooms of a Hedgehog Cactus in the Desert….dscn1784p-inthespotlight-pambarnhart2016-spring

Sunrise/Sunset – Witnesses                                                                                                               Sunset in the Sonoran Desertdscn0790p-witnesses-pambarnhart2016-sunrisesunset

Technical Canyoneering – Desert River Narrows                                                                          Technical Equipment is needed to go down there.  We did, but I ended up with a Busted Up Ankle.  This is a Canyon I hope to Return to someday and get it Right… It’s too Beautiful to not be Enjoyed….p1020864p-desertrivernarrows-pambarnhart2016-technicalcanyons

The Southwest – Dust to Light – Saguaros                                                                                      Breakthrough Light during a Dust Storm in the Sonoran Desert…dscn2549pp-dusttolight-pambarnhart2016-thesw

Trail Shots – Autumn Path                                                                                                                  A Walk through Autumn in Central AZ….dscn2031p-autumnpath-pambarnhart2016-trailshots

Urban – Art and Architecture                                                                                                             Downtown Phoenixdscn2836p-artandarchitecture-pambarnhart2016-urban

Waterscapes – Flowing Glass                                                                                                             Verde River Currentsdscn2956pp-flowingglass-pambarnhart2016-waterscapes

Weather – Framed with Promises                                                                                                     Sonoran Desert Storm Archesdscn9809pp-framedwithpromises-pambarnhart2016-weather

Western – River Crossing                                                                                                                    A Wrangler crossing the Verde River….dscn2983pp-rivercrossing-pambarnhart2016-western

Wildflowers – Summer Jubilee                                                                                                           The Colors of a Northern Arizona Meadow in Summer….dscn8930p-summerjubilee-pambarnhart2016-wildflowers

I wish you all the Best in 2017 and May the Light Be With You… Onward to New Adventures and Places this Year….


Favorite Images of 2015

I want to start this Blog with my First Image of 2015.  New Year’s Day.  We had an Amazing Snowstorm New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day.  This Hike was Southwest of Phoenix and although the Storm was over and it was starting to clear at 9:30 in the Morning, where we were, there was still Snow at 2000 Feet…That’s right…2000 Foot Elevation.  And I wasn’t even topped out on the Ridgeline yet, and the Peak is way over to the Right, lol  The Superstitions on the other side of Phoenix got hammered with this Storm, but we just saw a Hint of it here… Off-Trail Hike up to a Peak with Endless Views???  It was a Great Way to Kickstart a New Year….DSCN4323p

A lot of Photographers are Selecting their Best 15 Images of 2015.  So how do you define “Best”???  Best Technical, Best Subject, Best Light, Best Landscape, Coolest Wildlife Shot????

I’v decided to Share Images based on two Things…Favorite and Activity/Subject.  And I’ve decided on the Word “Favorite” because the Images I Selected may not be my Best as far as Technical Aspects, or Images that Everyone Else liked the Best… But they are what they are, they are my Favorites, due to the Moment, the Memory, my Emotion and my Experience at that Time.  They may be lacking in Subject, Composition, Light or Sharpness, but they make up for it for strictly Personal Reasons…. They are more about Content, Context and even Sentimentality more than anything… Because, in the End, it’s all about what makes me Happy and I hope that that is what comes through First and Foremost in my Images.  I am Sharing my Life, Love and Passion for the Outdoors and my Experiences out there….So, even though I Love Photography, it’s not just about the Photography… It’s about the Experience and being able to somehow try to Capture It.  I look back on these Images and some of the Others that didn’t make the “Cut” and I remember everything about that Moment in Time.  And for me, that’s what it’s all About….It’s about Getting Out There….

Because I Shoot such a Diverse Range of Subjects and have so many Outdoor Activities that I enjoy, the thought of Selecting just 15 out of all those Activities and Subjects seemed really Overwhelming… So, I’m Cheating in a Sense.  First, I’ve come up with 19 Images to Share…LOL  How did I come up with 19?  Really hard to pick just a Few of my Favorites out of all those Subjects, so I did it by Categorizing my Subjects and my Activities… I came up with 18 Categories, plus the Starter….LOL  And I picked a Favorite from each Category.  And still, it wasn’t Easy… There were several Images that “Fit” more than 1 Category, so they had a few different Chances, lol

And with all of that said, it’s been a Good Year for my Photography.  I finally got to see some of my Images Printed for the First Time, and I’ve been Published for the First Time this Year as well…I hope that both of those Celebrations become Trends in the Future… It’s the Dream of many Amateurs like me….

And as far as my Outdoor Activities goes, it was also a Good Year, even as I sit here trying to Mend Broken Ribs… Things were also very different this Year.  I didn’t go just Hiking much this Year and only did 1 Backpack Trip all Year… That’s got to be a Crime somewhere and I’ll be remedying that… But, I also visited some Places I have never been, or haven’t been to in Years…It felt Great to Explore New Places and Revisit some Great Memories in others….

I got to  spend a lot more Time in Canyons this Year and a lot of that Time in Technical Canyons.  It’s what I’ve been hoping for, for several Reasons.  I’m certainly not getting any Younger, and neither are the Knees, so the Clock is Ticking.  The Two Landscapes that I love the Most are Canyons and the Ocean…The Ocean is but a Memory these Days and that will change this next Year, but to be in as many Canyons as I was this Year, was just Heaven. I hope to Enjoy at least that many again this Year and hopefully a lot of them will be New to me… I would also really like to get to some Bigger Ones this next Year and I hope to work Hard and make that Happen…Technical Canyoneering also has me getting out my Comfort Zone on all kinds of Levels and that’s always a Good Thing…I’ve Achieved some things that I never would have thought were Possible for me and that’s Huge…There is absolutely no Feeling like it and I Experienced it a lot this Year.  And I’ve also made some Amazing New Friends along the Way and it’s been Awesome….

And now that I’ve put you all to Sleep, how about if I Share some Favorites with you??? LOL

Scenic Drives…Getting to and from a Destination or just going for a Drive.  It’s Amazing at Times that I can get anywhere at any kind of Reasonable Time…I tend to Brake for Photographs… On my way home from Utah on a Stormy Day, the Late Afternoon Light and Shadows near Marble Canyon was just too Good to Ignore….


The Waning Light


Camping….Images from a Trip that involved Camping and they don’t fit into any other Category, lol  We got the Remnants of Tropical Storm Andres this Summer and it Rained for almost 36 Hours.  And when it wasn’t Raining, the Mogollon Rim had some Amazing Cloud Action and Fog….I have 3 Images in these Favorites from this Trip…It was very Cool….


A Walk in the Woods


Hiking…Dayhiking….My Birthday Hike last January in the Superstitions…The Weather left something to be desired…With a “slight” Chance of Rain, it Rained for 3 Hours.  I waited it out for awhile under a Ledge and almost made it to the Top before I realized that even if I made the Top on this Day, I wasn’t going to be able to see Anything, lol  It was completely in a Cloud.  I didn’t have Rain Pants and the Temperature had Dumped almost 20 Degrees. So, wet and getting pretty cold,  I turned around and headed back down.  Of course, about Halfway Down, the Weather broke for good and the Light became Amazing in there…I returned to this same Hike 3 Weeks later and finished what I had started…I’m not fond of  Unfinished Business….DSCN4971p


Backpacking….This Image also qualified for a couple of other Categories, but since it was from my only Backpack this Year, this was a No-Brainer.  I spent a lot of Time in this Area this Year.  This may have been the only Backpack, but there was also Technical and Non-Technical Canyoneering to be had here as well….One of my Favorite Areas in Arizona….P1010239p


Non-Technical Canyoneering….Don’t need a Rope or Harness to do these Trips, but these are still Canyons and definitely worthy of my Time…This is a Favorite from Utah last March…A Sweet Slot Canyon that Sucks you in…DSCN1474pppp


Technical Canyoneering….Just an Amazing Experience.  Beauty and Adrenalin come together…This Image is Technically terrible, but it is still my Favorite Image in this Category this Year, simply because of what it was, what it meant and how it made me feel….This Trip to Ouray, CO was really my first REAL Experience with Class C Canyons and I jumped right in, lol  Before I Rappelled this Fall, I had Experienced Waterboarding in a smaller Fall for the First Time… It was a Shock and left me with a Sense of Vulnerable Reality… It left me facing this Rappel with some Seriously Conflicting Emotions.  By the Time I got down, got Off Rope, cleared the Bottom and stopped to look back at what I had just done, I think I had run through every Emotion that is Possible to Describe…. It left me Exhausted, Exhilarated and with an indescribable Sense of Accomplishment that I normally have only felt while Bagging Big Peaks….This Image brings that Moment back like nothing else could….And so, it is here…. That, and this Fall was just Beautiful….P1010786p


Birding…. Toughest Photography that I do… And sometimes, the most Rewarding.  This Image of a Scott’s Oriole was from the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  One of the few Times I exercised extreme Patience to get Shots of these Birds that were coming and going from this Tree…The Best Opportunity I’ve ever had to Observe and get Decent Shots of Orioles.  I spent over an Hour sitting near this Tree, waiting and getting a couple of Shots each Time they visited….My Patience was Rewarded….The Species, the Amazing Color and the fact that I actually got this really Sharp, makes this my  Favorite Bird Image this Year….


Contrasts – Scott’s Oriole


Wildlife…. Wildlife Photography can be a Struggle in Arizona, although I’ve had some Moments here.  But the Winner this Year comes from Colorado.  I’ve seen Images of Pika, but have never seen one and I just thought they were Adorable.  On my Hike in August, along with some Tips from a Friend, I finally figured out where to find them and I got to see them for the first Time.   They weren’t just Adorable, they were Squeaking Adorable!  The Audible just added to the Cuteness!  And I got a Shot I can be Happy with…This was a No-Brainer for my Favorite this Year….


American Pika


Landscapes…. The Big Picture…. This was another Image from the Mogollon Rim during Tropical Storm Andres in June… I Love the Layered Look.  Couple that with the Clouds, the Colors, the Fog, all at Sunset, and this is an Instant Favorite….I took this Shot 20 Feet from my Campsite.  Luckily, it had quit Raining for about 30 Minutes.  Then it started right back up again for another 8 Hours….lol




Intimate Landscapes… Not the Big Picture, but not exactly Macro Either… A smaller, tighter Landscape, usually featuring a more Distinct Study of a Subject… What can you say about this one?  I’m a Sucker for Reflections and my Wonderful Canyoneering Teammates were nice enough to not Disturb the Water until I was Done… The Mogollon Rock Features can be so Amazing in Colors and Textures….


Reflection of Time


Macro… For those pretty Small, but Significant Moments…. This Female Western Pondhawk decided that a fellow Photographer’s Pant Leg would make a Good Perch… Sometimes you could swear that they really are Smiling… Even though I would never Encourage it, it’s Touching to see such Trust and it makes this my Favorite Macro Image this Year….


Western Pondhawk (Female)


Just Because Category… Sometimes, even though it may not be Completely Natural or Wild, it’s very Worthy of some Camera Time just for the Fun of it… During a Canyoneering Weekend, one of my Friends brought a Bottle of Don Julio and some Brand New Shot Glasses to Camp.  I just couldn’t resist playing around with it.  Considering that I do very little of this Type of Photography, I think it turned out pretty well…lol


Shot of Fire


Black and White… Sometimes it’s just Great in either Color or Black and White… Another from Tropical Storm Andres… That Trip became all about the Weather… Most of the Trees withstood the High Winds that accompanied this Storm… This one has seen it’s Share of Storms….


Defiant Giant


Spring… It’s usually about the Flowers isn’t it???  Maybe not my Best Technically, but I just Loved everything about this Image.  The Colors, the Shapes and the Composition….


Spring Days


Summer… Summer means Green…. And Lush is always Good too!  Who knew that Arizona was more than just Cactus???  From a Backpacking Trip in June….


Columbine Paradise


Autumn…. Fall Foliage at it’s Best!  This was a Toughie and I think that my Friends and what they liked the Most became the Tie Breaker!  Having a Composition that included a Waterfall really puts this in my Favorites Column anyway!  One of the few Times I actually had a long enough Exposure that I broke down and used a Tripod… It was worth it…lol


The Slowing of Life


Weather… I had quite a few Images that fit into this Category, but probably my most Satisfying Image was actually an Accident…. I don’t have the Equipment to Shoot Lightning during the Day, but I managed to Capture some inadvertently anyway.  Went out to Shoot a Stormy Sunset and came away with a Daytime Lightning Shot…. And it certainly didn’t hurt that it was at the Height of the Color during Sunset…. Accident or not, I’ll take it!  Sometimes, it really is all about Luck….


Lucky Strike


Sunrise/Sunset… It seems fitting to end the Year with an End of the Day Shot….Just one Example of an Arizona Sunset… The Sky just lit up in Cherry Reds on this Night… I’m so glad I went out, even if it was just to the Local Urban Park…. Another Amazing Finale…


Mirror of Reds


It’s been an Amazing Year… Time to start working on making 2016 even Better!  Happy New Year to you all and a big Thank You from me for all of your Support, both in Photography and in my Adventures! Good Friends can be hard to come by, but I’ve been pretty Lucky the last few Years….