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My Ten Favorite Photos of 2018

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!

If you are interested in checking out my favorite photos from previous years, you can follow these links to see them:  [2017]  [2016]  [2015]  [2014]  [2013]  [2012]  [2011]


Pastel Swirls

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!


High Uintas Wilderness Sunset

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.


Sunset of Smoke

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!


Stormy Canyonlands Sunrise

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!


Sy Butte

While driving to Hidden Splendor in the San Rafael Swell I had to pull over to photograph this amazing sunset near Sy Butte.


Chimney Canyon Sunset

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.


Autumn In the Raggeds Wilderness

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.


New Mexico Monsoon

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.


Waking Up In The Clouds

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.


Black Canyon Rainbow

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.


Skyway Point 2018

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.


Magic Light

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.


Small Peak

I loved the light on this small peak in the badlands of Utah just before sunset.


Garfield Peak Ridge

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.


Light On Stone

Beautiful light on The Needles in Canyonlands National Park from one of my new favorite campsites in the park.


Leaving Leprechaun

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:



Bag Night Challenge 2018

Camp In The Clouds

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

You can also check out my previous years here:  [2017]  [2016]  [2015]  [2014]  [2013]  [2012]


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
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Campsites of 2018

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

EC3 Campsite


CP1 Campsite


Ekker Camp


Doll House Camp 1


Grand Gulch Camp


Cedar Point Campsite


North Rim Campsite


Echo Park Campsite


Verde Lake Camp


Cold Springs Campsite


Nice Camp


Oh-Be-Joyful Camp Sunrise


Camp In The Clouds


Willow Park Camp


Evening At Camp


Henrys Fork Camp


Labyrinth Camp 1


Slaughter Bottom Camp


Horsehoof Campsite


Grabens Camp


Kanab Plateau Camp


Esplanade Camp at Dusk


Squaw Flat Campground Sunrise


Squaw Flat Snow

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