10 Best Lanscape Photos 2011

lenticular cloud sierra nevada mountains californiaPhoto: Lenticular cloud over Sierra Nevada Mountains. April 2011

The last night of a 10 day road trip through the southwest and my favourite photo from the whole trip.  A lone lenticular cloud which had provided some decent color at sunset remained in the sky over the Alabama hills and Sierra Nevada mountains.  A near full moon for
illumination of the foreground and a 2 minute exposure gives a ghostly appearance to the cloud.

My 10 best images from 2011.  Well, maybe ‘best’ is not the correct word and ‘favourite’ would be more appropriate.  I thought about repeating last year’s ‘best from each month’ concept, but it wouldn’t have worked very well for this year.  For the most part I was largely directionless for extended periods of time, with the whole of the spring/summer basically a black hole for me photographically.  For the year overall there were some brief moments of productivity, but most of the time I was failing to achieve my goals visually.  I don’t really feel I grew at all photographically or found myself pushing my boundaries visually.  Much of the time I was struggling to even repeat images/ideas that I had made in the past, much less expand my vision and style forwards.  Hopefully 2012 provides more fertile ground as this last year seems mostly a waste to me.  Barely being able to tread water, much less chase my dreams.

Black Cuillins, Isle of Skye, ScotlandPhoto: Clearing winter storm over Black Cuillins, Isle of Skye, Scotland.  January 2011

Returning from New Year out on Scotland’s Outer Hebrides I decided to stay the night on the Isle of Skye.  As I awoke to heavy clouds and a light falling snow my hopes of sunrise diminished.  Sitting patiently and looking at the clock, I waited an hour to see if conditions would improve before continuing on the long journey south.  Just as I was about to start the car I noticed a bit of contrast in the sky.  I had dreamed of a ‘Skye in snow’ image for years and this was my first chance.  While it can definitely be improved upon, I still am glad for the opportunity.

Callanish standing stones, ScotlandPhoto: Callanish standing stones, Isle of Lewis, Scotland.  January 2011

I’m fascinated by standing stones.  This was my second visit to Callanish in as many months.  The rain held off into the night allowing me a bit of time to play around with some lighting of the stones.  I think this image helps show a bit of scale and how large the stones actually are.

Isle of Lewis, ScotlandPhoto: Coastal rocks, Butt of Lewis, Isle of Lewis, Scotland.  January 2011

Winds and heaves seas battered this most northerly part of the Isle of Lewis.  Rain showers were sweeping across the headlands with only brief interludes as the short winter day transitioned into night.  Beyond these rocks is 500 miles of the cold north Atlantic before one reaches Iceland.  Truly a feeling of being at the end of the world, or perhaps just Scotland.

Bandon Beach OregonPhoto: Bandon Beach, Oregon.  August 2011

With a 13 hour drive back home to California I struggled with the decision to get out of bed in the early morning hours or not.  I couldn’t see the sky from my campground, but I went ahead and made the 30 minute drive down the coast to Bandon.  I arrived to the sound the fog horn blasting into the morning darkness and the roaring of waves against the coast.  On the beach conditions were better than I could have expected.  Low tide and a calm wind, perfect for Bandon.  As the morning progressed a bit of color arrived before the dawn.  I was utterly exhausted by the time I got home late that night, but thankful for it.

Grand Canyon snowPhoto: Bright Angel trail and snow, Grand Canyon.  April 2011

It had been a last minute decision to head to the Grand Canyon.  Arriving in early evening to a foot of fresh snow on the ground and the possibility of the closure of all national parks due to the failure of the govt. to pass a budget I wasn’t really sure it was worth it.  Awaking the next day to a snow covered campsite and gray skies, I went out exploring a bit.  I hadn’t been to the GC in 10 years and finding my way around snow covered roads took a bit of extra effort.  At some point in the morning the storm began to clear and I found my way to the upper section of the Bright Angel trail.  I like the contrast of snow and desert in this image, a sight I don’t see too often.

Lofoten islands coast, NorwayPhoto: Dark skies over Vestfjord, Stamsund, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  October 2011

This is one of my favourite view points while staying in Stamsund.  Not because it’s the most spectacular view in the world, but because it’s a place I can return to again and again and always see something new.  I can watch the spring sunrise from here.  I can see the autumn’s first snow or (as in the next photo) the sky filled with the Northern Lights.  The sea can be rough and white capped with mist filling the air or as still as a pond.  This view reflects the moods and temperament of the Islands.

Northern Lights Lofoten Islands NorwayPhoto: Northern Lights over Vestfjord, Stamsund, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  October 2011

The last night (beginning to see a trend here) of two weeks on the Lofoten Islands.  The perfect conspiracy of conditions for the best Northern Lights I’ve ever seen.  I wish I had had a wider lens to show more of the sky, as it was completely filled with light, dancing and swaying from second to second.

Utakleiv beach, Lofoten islands, NorwayPhoto: Utakleiv, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  October 2011

It was another one of my stormy days at Utakleiv.  The tied seemed particularly low this day and I wandered out on the slippery rocks towards the edge of the sea.  My attention was focused towards my feet as the rain forced me to keep my lens pointing downwards.  I came across this scene of one rock burrowed into another.  The work of a 100 years of waves.

Frankenjura bouldering, GermanyPhoto: Frankenjura bouldering, Germany.  November 2011

Towards the end of November I found myself back among the old familiar rocks of the Frankenjura region.  Dark and misty forests, cold temperatures and short days.  Not the most ideal climbing conditions, but so it goes.  A bit of off-camera flash in the middle of a dyno to the next hold gives a bit of depth to the image.

Bandon Beach – Oregon

Bandon Beach, Oregon

Photo: Outgoing tide at dawn, Bandon Beach, Oregon.

Tuesday morning.  My alarm goes off a little after 5 am.  I murmur a small curse and then lay my head back on the pillow, contemplating whether to get up or not.  I haven’t yet made the decision to go home or not, but checking my route the evening before, I had 830 miles to go.  I figure a bit more sleep could be useful if I’m trying to go that far in one day.  Then I come to my senses: don’t be lazy Cody!  This is what you are here for.

The one benefit of sleeping in the back of my truck is at least I don’t have any sort of camp to take down.  From the alarm going off to heading out of the campground can usually be accomplished in only a couple minutes.  And so I was on the road, for the 30 minute drive to Bandon.

I’ve passed through Bandon a few times over the years, but never at any time or under any conditions for decent photos.  I remember it as a cool looking place, often with crashing waves and an endless assault of lens covering sea mist sweeping across the beach.  As I arrived in the predawn of tuesday things seemed calm and the intermittent blasting of the fog horn was the only disturbance to the peace.  The sky was somewhat overcast but as time passed the clouds began to clear until finally a pink glow filled the sky out over the sea.  I also got lucky with a low tide and a footprint-less beach.

14 hours later, I was back in Santa Barbara. Exhausted, but glad I didn’t sleep in.


Bandon Beach, Oregon

Photo: Pink glow at sunrise, Bandon beach, Oregon.

Netarts Bay, Oregon

Travel landscape stock photography: Netarts Bay and Cape Lookout state park, Oregon

Netarts Bay and Cape Lookout state park, Oregon

Heavy, drizzly clouds around 6am on the second morning of the trip.  Was amazingly quiet, only a few birds screeching in the distance.

Canada and Back

For the last 10 days I was away on a road trip up to Vancouver Island, Canada.  It doesn’t look so far on a map, but it took many long days of driving to get there and home again, plus a couple detours.  Most mornings began before 5am and didn’t end until late in the night.  Made it as far north as Tofino, Vancouver island before heading back.  Weather was hit and miss, zero rain though.  I seem to have been cursed by ‘hazy blue sky’ weather lately.  While it’s nice weather to travel and ‘do stuff’ in, it is probably about the worst I can think of photographically; I even prefer fog.  A couple good sunsets presented themselves anyhow and a I spent an amazingly warm and sunny day cruising around the streets of Victoria, quite a wonderful town – which means a lot from a person who generally dislikes cities.

Most of the trip was along the coast, covering the entire coasts of Oregon and Washington, but only the northern part of California.

Landscape travel stock photography: beach at sunset cove, Central Oregon coast.

Sunset Cove, Oregon.

Crater Lake

From back in the summer. click to see bigger…

© cody duncan photography. panoramic photography of Crater lake, Oregon

Been busy… Will post more often once the holidays are over with.

Part II: Westward

Westward through Oregon:

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Mountains of Crater Lake National park, Oregon. © Cody Duncan photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Crater Lake National park, Oregon. © Cody Duncan photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Crater Lake National park, Oregon. © Cody Duncan photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Old pier on Oregon coast. © Cody Duncan photography

Part I: The Journey North

Part I: Santa Barbara, California to Hart Mountain, Oregon.

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: empty rural highway in eastern Oregon. © Cody Duncan Photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Tuolumne river at sunset, Yosemite National park, California. © Cody Duncan Photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Mono Lake at sunrise, California. © Cody Duncan Photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Old Wooden wheel at Bodie state historic park, California. © Cody Duncan Photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Mount Shasta, California. © Cody Duncan Photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Truck driving down dirt road, Hart Mountain, Oregon. © Cody Duncan Photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: White horse in field. © Cody Duncan Photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Herd of horses in field. © Cody Duncan Photography

Cody Duncan Stock Photography: Beehive burner at abandoned saw mill, California. © Cody Duncan Photography