I was going through my photos the other day, doing a little organizing. So I figured I’d join in on the “Top 2014” posts and post my favorite landscape/outdoor photos of 2014.
How Did 2014 and Photography Go For Me?
Overall I think 2014 was a good photography year for me. I didn’t count how many days I traveled but I was happy that I don’t think it was as much as the years before. Somehow I still ended up with 155,000 miles on Delta last year. I did get to take a couple of trips I’ve wanted to for a long time. One trip was to Oneonta Gorge back in May. Another trip (on the same day) was to Thors Well. And finally, I got to photography Mt. Rainier at a really nice time of year. I also got to take a trip to southeastern Oregon which has been on my list for years. So overall, it was a good year of photography.
Are These My Best Photos Yet?
I don’t think this is my best work ever. I got some great shots, but I’ll probably only use 2-3 of them in my official portfolio. While I got to go to some really great places, weather conditions weren’t always ideal. Lots of clear skies or just blah weather. I’ll even replace a sky when I can, but sometimes it just doesn’t look right. But overall, I’m a happy guy with the results. In fact, putting them on this blog post makes me even happier after I see the collection of all the work and time spent.
Did I Get Better?
Did I get better? Definitely! I really feel like I’ve refined my use of ND filters for long exposure. When I first started using ND’s, I tended to overuse them. But I’ve really gotten a good feeling of when I need them and when I don’t. I also think I my understand of composition has changed. I’m understanding what works in a landscape photo way beyond just the rule of thirds. And as I’m looking for the right spots to shoot, I feel I’m looking at light differently than I had, and how it’s going to affect the photo and my composition.
Most photos were taken with my Canon 5D Mark III kit. I think the Mt. Rainier and Seattle photos were with a Nikon D800.
• My Most-Used Lens: Canon 24-70mm, with the 16-35 close behind.
• Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-33 with BH-55 Ballhead
• Filters: Mostly the Tiffen 2,3, or 4 Stop ND Filters
• Filters: Sometimes the Little Stopper 6-Stop ND
The Best of 2014
Okay, here goes. And they’re in no particular order. I’m just numbering them because I’ll forget and post too many or too little. And some people would just count ahead of time and not actually write what I just wrote, but hey… with me… you get it all 😉
(Don’t forget to Click to see each photo larger)
1) Mt. Rainier – Myrtle Falls
This is one of my favorites. To me, it has it all. Good foreground, nice light, wildflowers in the distance, and the first light of the day on Mt. Rainier.
2) Mt. Rainier – Myrtle Falls
A pulled back view of the photo above. The above photo was taken from just to the left of the bridge you see in this photo.
3) Oneonta Gorge
This was a bucket list location for me and did it deliver. I got way more than I expected. I wrote more about this trip here if you want to read and see more photos. It was definitely a fun one.
4) Oneonta Gorge
Another photo as I waded my way toward the falls for the photo above. Again, more photos about this photo trip here.
5) Alvord Desert Sunset
Taken at sunset on a trip with some friends to the Alvord desert. Was a really cool place. We set up camp for 2 days just a few hundred yards from here so it was easy to get in place to shoot.
6) Downtown Los Angeles
This is a pretty popular spot to shoot downtown LA from. As many times as I’ve been to LA though, I’d never shot it before this year. Overall, I was really happy with it.
7) Thors Well
Getting here from Portland, OR is a long drive. And once you get there, you’ve got to make sure you time the sunset to the tides. If the tides don’t cooperate at sunset, then you just get a hole in the ground (trust me, I’ve been there). But we made the trip this evening because we knew the tide would be high enough to get the shot. Getting to this photo also goes down as one of my stupidest moments of 2014 (actually the last few years). I ended up spraining my ankle pretty bad. And believe it or not, 7 months later, I can still feel it. Here’s more to the story if you want.
8) China Walls – Oahu
I got the chance to take a trip to Hawaii this past summer and this turned out to be my first photo shoot of the trip, and one of my favorites. All I can say is that you wouldn’t believe the size of the wave coming at you to get all of that water cascading on those walls like you see here. It’s pretty intimidating to stand there for it, even though I could duck behind the wall you see to the left.
9) Makapuʻu Beach, Oahu
Another shot from sunrise one morning, just about 20 minutes outside of Honolulu.
10) Mt. Rainier
A short hike in Mt. Rainier to this lake treated me to a perfect reflection and sunrise.
11) Downtown Seattle
I photographed this one for my Photography Cityscapes class that just went up on KelbyOne.com. I love the curve of the highway as it goes toward downtown Seattle. The the sunset was gorgeous so I got lucky with some really nice clouds and color too.
12) Honeymoon Island – Dunedin, FL
This is sunset at Honeymoon Island, which is just about 20 minutes from my home. I’ve been there more times than I can count, but never got a sunset, tide and color like this evening.
13) Sandy Beach Park, Oahu
There’s something about the pattern of water coming up toward the camera that grabs me about this photo. And it’s just seconds before me getting really wet 🙂
14) Lanai Point, Oahu
I had to put this in because it’s one of the most beautiful sunrises I saw all year.
Okay, I know I said above that I was numbering them so I kept track and didn’t go over my 14 photo limit. So what do you do when you realize you have more than 14 photos that you like from the year? You make an honorable mention section at the bottom of the post 🙂
Sunset Along the Bay in Dunedin, FL
A Few Photos of My Buddy Hudson Henry at Steens Mountain, Oregon (thanks for wearing a red jacket bro!)
A Shot of My Buddy (and VP of Marketing and Business Dev at onOne) Rick LePage at the Alford Desert
And I really like this shot of my buddy, Chris Orwig, when we were shooting at Corona Del Mar, in souther California
Through the Trees at Mt. Rainier
Wow! That’s Way More Than 14 Photos!
You like how I snuck those extras in there? I literally wrote this post and grabbed photos as I went along, and that’s what happens. Again, I probably shouldn’t write these things and let you think that was all part of the plan. Maybe I could have called the post my best 23 photos of 2014 but that doesn’t have the same “ring” to it 🙂
I guess at the end of the day I have more photos that I like from 2014 than I thought (that’s a good problem right). Anyway, hope you enjoyed a look back through my year in photography. I’d love to see yours so if you have one, just post it here in the comments. And if you don’t have one, well what’re you waiting for! 🙂
Have a good one!
Hi Matt I am a student from ATMS Middle School and i was wondering what makes a good picture.
I really enjoy your work and your teaching. I’m curious as to whether you ever light your foregrounds when shooting landscapes. Among the above, #1 and #9 look to my eye to possibly have some external light in the foregrounds. I’ve just recently bought my first Speedlight and I’m trying to find ways to integrate it into my landscape work.
Wonderful images. Yes it’s difficult to choose your top images, it’s like a Sophie’s Choice, how can you leave some of your babies behind??
Great photos Matt! Love that some of these were taken in Pacific Northwest, I’d love to go to some the waterfalls mentioned. Quick question, where did you shoot the downtown LA (#6) photo from?
Hi Eliza – Thanks! it’s taken from the 4th street bridge. Easy to get to and lots of parking around it.
I joined your 12 months with Matt…, but can’t locate my January notice and can’t find my link to the site.
Can you provide me with it again.
I should be under the above email.
What really comes through in your photos Matt is the ability or persistence you have to get the shot at just the right time. As any photographer knows that can be an incredible challenge. For example, your first two shots getting the Sunlight shining on Mt. Rainier at just the perfect time.
A short personal story. I have some Oak leaves in my yard I wanted to get a shot of at sunset the other day. I waited and went out at just the right light to get the shot. Turned the camera on, No Card. I rushed into the house found a card and put it in. By the time I got outside the light was gone, It didn’t take more than 2 minutes I bet. I learned several things that day.
Thanks Joe. Interesting you pointed out the Mt. Rainier shots. Because I was the only one there at first light, right at sunrise. About 20-30 minutes later another photographer showed up and then a few more started to trickle in after. I had already picked up my tripod and moved on to a few other scenes but was pretty much done shooting the good light when they started.
Sorry to hear of the memory card thing… things like that have happened to me more times than I can count 🙂
Wow! You had a great year, Matt! I think my favorites are Thor’s Well and Seattle. I had a similar progression on learning to not rely on my 10-stop ND as much, though I think I probably still use it a bit much (it’s just so fun!). Here are my photos if you care to take a look (you can tell I moved from Chicago to Portland): http://www.jeffryanphoto.com/Landscapes/14-Best-of-14/
Hey Jeff. Great stuff! I love it all actually. You’ve got awesome Chicago photos and the landscapes out west are great. Seriously! Love it!
Yes, Jeff is a great photographer. Both him and I have grown together over the years, in photography. We first took a trip out to San Francisco together in 2010. Love his shots, they are always so moody!
Excellent shots btw, Matt! You’ve had a REALLY good year! I’ll be seeing you around the Flickr Group, Matt. I signed up for the 12 months from OnOne 😉 Love the presets!
Here’s my 2014, if you want to check it out: http://www.matthewcrowleyphotography.com/FineArt/Best-of-2014/
Just absolutely breathtaking shots!!!
Thanks so much Don!
Number 11 Downtown Seattle is the tops. Outstanding image.
The more I look at Number 10, the reflection seems to carry more sunlight than the peak> Is my screen playing tricks on me?
Matt, do you try to take most of your landscapes in the horizontal orientation? Looking back at my “best of 2014” I have a lot in the vertical (mainly waterfalls). Thanks
Hi Dave. So much of our work is shown off online these days so I’ve gotten used to shooting wide since it looks better online. I personally find myself attracted to wide photos more than vertical. That’s not to say I don’t shoot vertical, but not much.
Wonderfull Matt. Thanks for share and Happy 2015 photographic year.
Really impressive Matt.
The Mt. Rainier trip must be really cool…!
I’m growing up in photography and always have your portfolio and tips on mind…
Congratulation my friend for the espetacular year… Thanks for share!
Oh, I would like to invite you to come to Brazil… Wonderful places here just waiting to be photographed…!
Thanks! I’d love to get to Brazil. It’s definitely on my “list” 🙂
Hi Matt. Can’t say how much I liked your photos. Is there a particular reason for the most photos been taken at sunrise? You prefer the light over sunset?
Thanks! Actually, as I look through about 70% of them are sunsets.
At Mt. Rainier, the side of the mountain I was on was a better sunrise place. Sun set behind the mountain so it wasn’t as nice of a photo at sunset.
And the beach shots were while I was on a work/vacation. Only time I could get away from the family and other commitments was at sunrise. Was usually busy at sunset.
Other than that, most of them were sunsets. But to answer the question, there’s really no rhyme or reason to it. I don’t think the light is different either way.
The Central Park Sunrise with the bridge is awesome. I wish I had an “honorable mention” that looked like that. Fantastic shot!
Great, great pics Matt.
For any one interested, this is the link to my 2014 portfolio…
… hope they give some pleasure.
Happy 2015 photography year to all!
Thanks Frank! Love the red planes against the clear blue sky. Very cool!
Matt–Great landscape pics. Gives me a benchmark to shoot for. Two suggestions for 2015:
Tutorial in the use of ND filters and long exposure—since you have now mastered them; and secondly, how you use OnOne Software ..I have seen their on-line blogs, but I would love to know your take.
And finally, will you be giving any traveling seminars in your new position. I’d love to see you in Colorado again.
Hey Gerry – Two answers for ya’ 🙂
1) Already did. Here’s the link: http://kelbyone.com/course/mkloskowski_longexposure/
2) Won’t be giving any one-day seminars like I did. I’m sure I’ll do small workshops here and there, and I’ll be at the usual conferences. But I’m trying to travel less and do more online training. Hopefully I’ll make it out to CO again soon though.
What?! No visits to the east coast? Especially New England in the fall.
I wanted to Ken. I spent about 20 days in October traveling for work so I just couldn’t swing any more time away. Hopefully next year 🙂
I’m holding you to it Matt. Autumn in New England?
Sadly not this year Ken. I’ll be in the Great Smokies though 🙂
Wait none of these were taken in your backyard? Looks like a lot of work and you had to travel places. YUCK. 😉
Luckily a lot of them were in the same general area or on the same trip. But yeah, I did travel. Ended up 165,000 miles on Delta last year. Eeeeek!
awesome body of work. Most are happy with one killer shot in the year and you have 14!
Number 11 is my fave.
Look forward to see what you produce in 2015.
Thanks Lee! Yeah, that Seattle view was awesome!
Great work. I’m sorry, I have to call you to task. There is no way you drove to the Alvord Desert in 90 minutes. It’s over 400 miles. I know I live in Portland. Where are the flowers. I’m sure you have another photo that belongs in that spot and it is within 90 minutes. I would like to know where that spot is.
I love yous blogs even though they show me I’m not as committed as I thought I was. That is going to change.
Hi Ron – oooops. I had originally included the Rowena Crest image in that spot. I swapped out the image and the title for the Alvord desert photo, but never changed the description 🙂
Thanks – just changed it. And good luck!