As the name might suggest, Death Valley is a rather inhospitable place. The park contains the lowest place in North America (Badwater Basin, 278 feet below sea level) along with several peaks over 10,000 feet. The lower elevation portions of the park routinely get over 120 degrees in the height of the summer, and are extremely dry, due to the rain shadow effect from the Sierras to the west. So, in other words, it's hot, dry, and dusty - sounds like my typical recipe for a photo trip!
You've no doubt seen many photos from Banff and the mountain parks (Jasper, Yoho, and Kootenay) of some pretty iconic locations. Although my recent trip wasn't solely photography focused (it was a family vacation, after all), I wanted to make an effort to photograph the parks in the best light possible. I also wanted to bring home images that weren't just another version of the iconic shots - to be sure I got some of those, but I also focused on many of the smaller details and my own interpretations of popular places.
If you want dark skies, you've gotta be willing to drive! That was the motto for a weekend trip to Central Oregon in early August. Nate (of Wiggin Outside Photography) and I piled into my old Forester and headed south. Originally we were planning to do something a little closer to home, but the weather wasn't cooperative. Instead, we hatched a plan to hit up some awesome night sky destinations in Central Oregon.
Sun Lakes State Park is a bit of a hidden gem state park, a few hours from Seattle and fairly close to Grand Coulee Dam. It's located in Washington's coulee country, with lots of interesting rock formations, washes, coulees, and more. The park itself is huge, with lots of opportunities to explore, and also offers abundant camping opportunities. As the name suggests, it also has a bunch of lakes, one of which you can swim in.
I wanted to collect my Top 15 of 2015 and share those with you one more time. Obviously I took and published a lot of photos in 2015, and it was pretty hard to whittle them down to just my 15 favorites. In the end, I picked the 15 photos that had the most impact and meaning for me, not necessarily the ones that had the best response on social media or what not. I was also biased towards pictures that had a fun backstory, because in the end I think that's what pictures are all about - telling stories.