Now that 2012 is underway, it’s time to take a look back at a few favorite photos from 2011. The highlights of my year included two trips with my husband, one to the Southwestern US and one to Puerto Rico. Both were new experiences for us, and both left us wanting more. My favorite photos from the Southwest are by far those from Antelope Canyon. While not the most serene to actually visit thanks to the many tourists and photographers, the photos from that visit amaze me every time I look at them. The expanse of the Grand Canyon was breathtaking, and I was really surprised by all of the trees and the surrounding forest. I’d always imagined the surrounding area to be desolate.
While the Grand Canyon was on my bucket list, I must say that I fell in love with Bryce Canyon. The intense colors of the hoodoos against the blue sky was simply beautiful, but the most memorable was the quiet serenity of our day there. We’ll be back for sure with much more time to explore. On a completely different note, Puerto Rico was a fantastic getaway, and surprisingly easy to get to. The ability to be in 2500 feet of crystal clear water in only a 20-minute boat ride was amazing! My favorite spots were the rain forest at El Yunque and streets of Old San Juan with the beautiful architecture and brilliant colors.
As usual, it was hard to narrow my favorite photos down to only ten this year. There isn’t really any rhyme or reason for why these photos are my favorites, but there is something about each one that I love. Enjoy the photos and have a wonderful 2012!
If you are avid reader of the PhotoBlog, you’ve likely been wondering if what rock I’ve been hiding under for the last few months. I wish that I’d been on some exotic assignment taking photos at the ends of the earth but I’ve just been busy juggling too many things at once and something had to give. While photography is my passion, it is unfortunately not how I pay the bills and my ‘real job’ was exceptionally demanding in the last few months. Add to that ensuring that I spent quality time with my family and it left little time for shooting new photos or blogging.
Fall hasn’t been completely devoid of new photos, though. There was a trip to Puerto Rico in mid-October, and a long weekend in Raleigh, NC to see some fall colors a couple of weeks ago. All of the photos from Puerto Rico are up on my website, and I’m hoping to have the fall foliage photos up soon. In the last few months I have also been sneaking in some time here and there to get through a backlog of photos that need to be edited, and feel good that I’m getting caught up.
Now that things aren’t so hectic, it’s time to start blogging again, and that brings me to this photo from San Juan, Puerto Rico. While strolling through Old San Juan and trying to take in all of the beautiful historic architecture, it seems like there was something new to see around every corner. The bright Caribbean colors with bright white trim and were absolutely beautiful and gave each building its own character. While admiring the intense school-bus-yellow on this building, a black and white cat wondered by and added a little of his own character to the photo.
Like many other national parks in the Southwest, Kolob Canyon was formed over thousands of years thanks to several types of erosion. A combination of uplift along several fault lines and downcutting from nearby streams and creeks helped form the main finger canyons in Kolob Canyon and shaped the landscape. This photo shows what is known as a hanging valley, formed when uplifting of the rocks along the canyon wall created a gap that water naturally runs through after it rains. After heavy rains waterfalls can appear, but they are usually gone within a few minutes. The dark streaks along the rocks are iron and manganese deposits and are an easy way to identify these sometimes waterfalls and hanging valleys.
Kolob Canyon is one of the little known sections of Zion National Park. While the park enjoys roughly 3 million visitors per year, only ten percent of those visitors ever see Kolob Canyon. The one hour drive from the main Zion National Park visitors center is likely the reason for fewer visitors, but those that do visit are in for a treat.
After absolutely falling in love with Bryce Canyon, my husband and I were headed south on Interstate 15 back towards Las Vegas, where we were flying out the next day to head home. I had seen on several maps that Kolob Canyon was on our way, so we decided to stop and were so glad we did. From the highway, there is no way to know the beauty that is waiting just around the bend known as Kolob Canyon. With steep red-rock cliffs and stunning views that go on for miles, I was delighted for the surprise views and it was an unexpected highlight. This view is one of many from the Timber Creek Overlook.
The big adventure to see the Colorado Plateau officially starts tomorrow! After a very warm few days in Las Vegas with my husband, we are setting out for the Grand Canyon tomorrow morning. Sunday we’ll drive to Page, AZ, to visit Antelope Canyon and will then head to Utah to end our day at Bryce Canyon National Park. Monday we’ll start our day at Bryce Canyon and then visit the Kolob Canyon portion of Zion National Park before heading back to Las Vegas for our flight home on Tuesday. It will be a fun-filled few days!
The route from Tampa to Las Vegas includes flying over the Grand Canyon, and after that glimpse I’m more excited than ever to see all it all up close. This photo is with my cell phone and from 38,000 feet, so it’s not my best, but is a preview of some of the landscape to come. We had already passed the Grand Canyon, so all I know is that this is somewhere in Arizona!
A few months ago I let everyone know that I’d be heading out west to photograph some of the Colorado Plateau – a whole new type of landscape for me. I have a commitment in Las Vegas at the end of June and am tacking a few days onto the trip to explore the area. My husband will be my trusty companion as we attempt to do entirely too much sight seeing in too short an amount of time, a trend on our vacations.
On the itinerary: the Grand Canyon (south rim), Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park’s Kolob Canyon. While we know there is way too much to see everything in detail, we are going to get an overview of several of the hots spots to help us better plan a longer family trip in the near future. Oh, and I might sneak in a few photos of Vegas, too.
Only three weeks to go now and I’m starting to get excited! I plan to post more than usual on our trip to show some of “behind the scenes” adventures we get into. There will certainly be posts here on the PhotoBlog, but I anticipate lots of shorter updates on Facebook and Twitter. If you aren’t already following, now is the time to start! If you are following, thank you!
How do I love to plan trips, let me count the ways! As you may recall, one of my resolutions for the year was to plan at least one photography trip this year. While I still have a few things in the works and a few more locations on my radar, I am delighted to say that I’ve just officially booked a short trip for June! I have a commitment in Las Vegas at the end of June and thought tack a few days onto the trip to explore a part of the country I’ve only ever flown over – the Colorado Plateau.
My husband and I are planing to see the Grand Canyon (south rim), Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Zion National Park’s Kolob Canyon. While I know I could easily spend weeks at any one of these locations, we will be ‘hitting the high spots’ in the small amount of time we have to get a feel for the area. The hope is that we’ll get our bearings and then come back to our favorite locales when we have some good quality time spend. I know it sounds ridiculous to try to fit so much in, but we can sleep on the plane trip home, right?
For the time being, all flights, hotels and required tours are booked and I’ve got my nose in a Fodor’s Complete Guide to the National Parks of the West. I’m also staying busy on the B&H website adding goodies to my wishlist that I must have for the trip. I have to say, I’m having a hard time sleeping at night thinking about all the things we’ll see, but that’s part of the fun, right? I’m looking forward to seeing new things and exploring new places, and look forward to taking you all on the ride!