Like much of the rest of the country, our winter last year was unusually severe. Fortunately the snows afforded me some photo opportunities, and during one of our worst storms I was able to capture the moment a neighbor joyously fed ever-greedy or ever-grateful gulls.
During my 2014 Winter Walk-Off, I was able to get a picture of a cormorant just before it dove below the surface of the water. This photo speaks to me on a couple of levels. I love the juxtaposition of this humble seabird with the aircraft carriers in the background. Also, whenever I see a cormorant I think about my friend Joellen, who died way too early leaving many of us to fix our own problems.
This shot also came from the Winter Walk-Off, and yes I know the first three photos have all been birds and two of the three have been gulls, and yes I know this is not a bird blog, but look at his attitude and how close I was able to get without a zoom lens.
On the way home from a visit with my brother and the Philadelphia Flower Show I stopped at Nockamixon Cliffs along the Delaware River, where I took what I think were some very artistic shots of the icefalls flowing down the cliffs. However, this photo of two insane men climbing one of the larger icefalls would sell more newspapers.
In April I paid a very photo-productive visit to one of my favorite getaway spots, Chippokes Plantation State Park, and the next two photos made my top ten/fifteen. Parts of Chippokes have been a working farm for nearly 400 years, and they have a herd of well-cared-for cattle grazing there. I gave up eating meat over a year ago, and seeing the eyes and lashes of this black beauty reconfirmed my choice.
I know, I know, it's about time I showed a plant photo, especially since this is ostensibly a gardening blog. The lawn in front of the plantation house at Chippokes is carpeted with Ipheion, and the only way to really appreciate them, or to photograph them, is to from your belly.
On the way back from a kayaking trip I happened to take the Colonial Parkway just as the locally celebrated Yorktown onions (really a wild Eurasian leek) were in full bloom. As long as I have lived in this area, I have never seen this plant bloom, and to see fields of them was a real treat, even if they aren't native.
The next four photos are from our trip to Colorado this past summer. The first one was taken at Summit Lake on the way to Mt. Evans. What you can't see in this photo is obviously the crystal clear lake, or the mountain goats jumping around on the snow capped mountains surrounding the lake. You also can't see my eyes welling up from the absolute and severe beauty of the place, but you can see a group of dedicated volunteers who were happily restoring the ecosystem with plants they grew themselves.
One of my co-workers is from Colorado, and I asked him for some recommendations for places to visit, and one he suggested was Roxborough State Park just south of Denver. You enter the park on the prairie, but most of it is in red-rock formations at the edge of the Rockies, and it is a stunning place. I have yet to complete a blog post on Roxborough, so consider this a tease.
Kenosha Pass is a high mountain pass that looks down onto the basin of South Park, Colorado. It is a beautiful, but lonely, dry, cold (even in July) place. At the top of the pass are a series of impromptu memorials along a barbed wire fence. These offered some of the only bits of color on an otherwise gray day.
Continuing in this morbid train of thought, a few days later we made a quick stop at a roadside pet cemetery near Salida, Colorado. The surrounding landscape was unusually green for summer in this part of the world, as rains had been above normal, but the pet cemetery was mostly brown except for the plastic flowers. I assume someone had sprayed the growth with weed killer, but you can never be sure what will and what won't grow on hallowed ground.
Yarmouth Creek Black and White
This photo is the only black and white in my favorites this year. It was taken from my kayak on Yarmouth Creek, a tributary of the Chickahominy River close to its mouth near Williamsburg, Virginia. This area has become one of my favorite places to paddle, as I feel like every bend in the river and every old cypress have several stories to tell.
In October I was fortunate enough to attend the Perennial Plant Conference at Swarthmore College, which is situated within The Scott Arboretum. The conference was wonderful, but so was the chance to tour the arboretum, which is just beautiful. Though there were many carefully designed garden spaces and beautiful plant specimens there, my favorite photo from the trip is of these three chairs with morning light falling on them.
This photo was take at a farmstand in Pennsylvania, and after some of the other photos I have posted here, it may seem a little "schmaltzy", but I like it.
Like many of my favorite photos over the years, my last photo was taken on the shore of Metompkin Bay near my parent's house. When I visit I usually try to walk there in the mornings to catch the sun as it rises from the Atlantic. This has always been a special place to me and easy to photograph.
I have a collection of all of my favorite photos of the year on my Flickr page, and if you find yourself icebound or bedridden with nothing else to do, then click here for the full set. And if that is not enough, you can click on 2013's, 2012's and 2011's top ten collections respectively.
Do you have photos from 2014 that you are particularly proud of, or that speak to you in a special way? If so, then I welcome you to share them on your own blog or Facebook page. If you do, come back and leave a comment with a link please. I would really appreciate it. Thanks, and I hope all of you have a happy new year filled with many photo ops!