Diane and I kept up our annual tradition of visiting Landscape Arch in Arches National Park on Christmas morning. It’s still standing after another year and there were even some nice clouds this time!
The end of 2018 is almost here, and that means it’s time for me to look back at all the photos I took throughout the year so I can pick out just a few of my very favorites. I had a rocky relationship with photography this year and mainly focused on exploring new places rather than trying to take great photos. I even bought a new compact camera (Canon G7 X mkII) so I wouldn’t have to carry my heavier DSLR around with me all the time. It was actually kind of nice, and one of the photos in my top ten was even taken with it. Can you guess which one?
As usual, I visited some awesome and beautiful places this year and came back with plenty of photos to choose from, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t feel like my photography was up to par this year. I just wasn’t very inspired to work hard at trying to make good images, so I didn’t. Maybe that will change next year? Maybe it won’t? I guess only time will tell. Enough about that, below are my ten favorite photos from 2018! Click on each title to see the full trip report and please feel free to leave a comment below to let me know what you think about my selections this year. Here’s to a great 2019!
I’ve visited Coyote Buttes North on the Paria Plateau numerous times over the years, but while most people mainly go here to visit The Wave and not much else, I prefer to explore and photograph the other amazing sandstone formations found in this area. I truly believe that some of the most colorful sandstone on the Colorado Plateau is found here!
After climbing Kings Peak, the highest mountain in Utah, we were treated to this beautiful sunset in the High Uintas Wilderness during our backpacking trip into Henrys Fork over the long Labor Day weekend.
Backpacking into the Weminuche Wilderness through thick smoke with ash raining down on us from the 416 Fire may not have been good for our lungs, but the amazing sunset we witnessed made the trip well worth it! Unfortunately, our backpacking tent would smell like smoke for the next few months, too…
I’ve wanted to photograph the Utah badlands near Factory Butte for a long time now, and this year I made it a point to finally spend a weekend there this spring. You just can’t beat the shapes and textures of this strange land during dawn and dusk!
I watched this amazing scene unfold in Canyonlands National Park as a storm quickly moved through the area during sunrise. Shortly after taking this photo the storm was right on top of me and I had to retreat back to my Jeep until it passed!
While driving to Hidden Splendor in the San Rafael Swell I had to pull over to photograph this amazing sunset near Sy Butte.
It was a very windy day all across the Colorado Plateau, which kicked up a lot of dust into the air to create this colorful sunset over Chimney Canyon in the San Rafael Swell.
I didn’t have much free time to photograph the fall colors in Colorado this year, but I am glad I was able to squeeze in a short weekend to the Raggeds Wilderness near Kebler Pass so I could photograph this scene before sunrise.
We spent a night in Aztec, New Mexico on our way to Albuquerque for a concert in July and watched a monsoonal lightning storm from the Angel Peak Scenic Area after sunset. It was a beautiful evening.
This photo of Diane outside our tent in the clouds near Gore Lake in the Eagles Nest Wilderness after a night full of rain and thunderstorms really sums up this backpacking trip from over the summer.
Below are seven more honorable mentions that didn’t quite make my top ten list for the year bringing the total to seventeen photos for 2018.
While photographing sunset at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, we were treated to a rainbow on the other side of the canyon.
I photograph the fall colors from this location on the Grand Mesa almost every year since it’s close to home, but this year I really liked the mix of colors when I was up there.
I revisited Coyote Buttes North in January and had a lot of fun photographing the ‘magic light’ that is found above The Wave and below Top Rock in the morning.
I loved the light on this small peak in the badlands of Utah just before sunset.
While climbing up to the summit of Garfield Peak in the Raggeds Wilderness near Crested Butte these small wildflowers along the final ridge to the summit caught my eye shortly before sunset.
I love the colors and tones of this image from our visit to Leprechaun Canyon late this spring.
Throughout the year I try and keep track of all my favorite photos by adding them to an album on Flickr so it’s easier for me to choose my very favorites at the end of the year. Follow this link to see all of the favorites that didn’t make the final list:
Since I am pretty sure that I am now done camping for the remainder of the year after spending this past weekend near Moab, I’ll go ahead and post up my total nights spent camping under the stars in 2018. I had originally set a goal for myself of trying to camp at least 60 nights this year, but I quickly saw that I was going to blow past that number, so I adjusted the goal to 75 nights mid-way through the year and was still able to surpass that objective. I’m very happy to report that I have spent 80 nights camping this year which is my all-time record! Up until this year my highest number was 50 nights, which I did back in 2014. I was also able to camp more than once during each and every month of the year, too. I’m not going to lie, I really have no interest in trying to beat this number next year, so I’m sure I won’t come close in 2019, but I can assure you that I will try to have another amazing year spent in the backcountry!
Photos from many of our campsites can be found here: Campsites of 2018
Total Bag Nights: 80
|January 5 – 6|||||Cottonwood Wash|||||1 Night|
|January 26 – 29|||||Jacobs Tanks & Stateline|||||3 Nights|
|February 9 – 11|||||Big Flat & Willow Springs|||||2 Nights|
|February 23 – 25|||||Squaw Flat|||||2 Nights|
|March 2 – 3|||||Angel Point|||||1 Night|
|March 9 – 12|||||The Needles|||||3 Nights|
|March 15 – 18|||||Ex-Bears Ears|||||3 Nights|
|March 23 – 25|||||San Rafael Swell|||||2 Nights|
|April 4 – 9|||||The Maze|||||5 Nights|
|April 13 – 15|||||Indian Creek|||||2 Nights|
|April 20 – 24|||||Grand Gulch|||||4 Nights|
|May 4 – 6|||||Glen Canyon NRA & Cedar Point|||||2 Nights|
|May 11 – 13|||||Hidden Splendor & Skyline Rim|||||2 Nights|
|May 19 – 20|||||North Rim of the Black Canyon|||||1 Night|
|May 24 – 28|||||Echo Park|||||4 Nights|
|June 9 – 10|||||Verde Lake|||||1 Night|
|June 15 – 16|||||Horse Ranch Park|||||1 Night|
|June 22 – 24|||||The Flat Tops|||||2 Nights|
|July 3 – 4|||||Geyser Pass|||||1 Night|
|July 6 – 7|||||North Halfmoon Creek|||||1 Night|
|July 14 – 15|||||Oh-Be-Joyful Creek|||||1 Night|
|August 3 – 5|||||Gore Creek & Gore Lake|||||2 Nights|
|August 5 – 6|||||Santa Fe Peak|||||1 Night|
|August 6 – 7|||||Clear Creek|||||1 Night|
|August 7 – 8|||||Evans Gulch|||||1 Night|
|August 8 – 9|||||Brittle Silver Basin|||||1 Night|
|August 9 – 10|||||Weldon Gulch|||||1 Night|
|August 18 – 19|||||Molas Park|||||1 Night|
|August 25 – 26|||||Willow Park|||||1 Night|
|August 30 – Sept 2|||||Henrys Fork|||||3 Nights|
|September 7 – 9|||||Animas Forks & US Basin|||||2 Nights|
|September 14 – 15|||||Imogene Basin|||||1 Night|
|September 20 – 24|||||Labyrinth Canyon|||||4 Nights|
|September 28 – 29|||||Ruby Anthracite Creek|||||1 Night|
|October 1 – 2|||||Mud Spring|||||1 Night|
|October 2 – 3|||||Lockhart Road|||||1 Night|
|October 3 – 5|||||Horsehoof Campsite|||||2 Nights|
|October 5 – 6|||||Twin Canyon|||||1 Night|
|October 13 – 14|||||Ten Mile Wash|||||1 Night|
|October 26 – 28|||||Bears Ears National Monument|||||2 Nights|
|November 8 – 11|||||Grand Canyon National Park|||||3 Nights|
|November 16 – 18|||||Peekaboo|||||2 Nights|
|November 30 – Dec 2|||||Squaw Flat|||||2 Nights|
|December 14 – 15|||||Willow Springs|||||1 Night|
2018 has been the greatest year for camping and getting outside in my entire life by a long shot! I spent 80 nights camping underneath the stars this year and also camped more than one night during each month. Here are a few photos of of our campsites from throughout the year. You can find a complete list of everywhere we camped at the following link: Bag Night Challenge 2018