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:       
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.
Beautiful light on The Needles in Canyonlands National Park from one of my new favorite campsites in the park.
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:
All your photos are stunning! Absolutely beautiful!! So glad you share with us. Your adventures are inspiring my hubby and me to try some new adventures out there with the help of your website links, info, tips, etc. We live in Glade Park…so it will be nice to see these sites that are fairly close. Thanks for all you do on this website!!
Thank you Nancy!
Your pictures are really awesome. I don’t think I could chose a single favorite. We live in GJ and have been to many of the areas you have visited over the years. Your a much better photographer than I am, by far. One of the things I really like about your posts is your accuracy. Your honest about the heat and bugs that we have in our beautiful back yard.
I have missed your posts this year and I’m very pleased to have seen this years collection. They’re all great I couldn’t have chosen best ten. Though I like the Needles. I’ve visited Utah three times from Western Australia but won’t be back though I love it there. Like you I have added a compact to my kit a Panasonic TZ 60 because I find the GPS feature helpful. I am now playing around with a Mavic drone which would be great in those National Parks. Though I understand it’s illegal to use them in parks…
Awesome scenes, Randy. Looks like you had a great year.
Thank you Richard! It was an awesome year!
My favorite areas to visit and photograph. I love “Small Peak” and the warm light on it. A beautiful collection and I hope you have equal success in ’19.
Thank you Joseph
Very nice selection Randy? My favorites are Labyrinth and Small Peak, simple graphic elements, love it. Best Wishes in 2019.
Should’ve been an exclamation instead of question mark.
Awesome images! Happy New Year!
Thank you Patricia!
This is a great collection for the year, Randy. Inspiration is one of those things that seems to come and go, at least for some of us. I’ve been struggling with it, myself, lately. But I firmly believe if you just keep at it it eventually returns (that’s what I keep telling myself, anyway). Stormy Canyonlands Sunrise is just stunning, with beautiful and dramatic light. Storms can help set the scene for amazing photography. I also love the layers in Chimney Canyon Sunset. I wish you all the best in 2019 and hope you begin to rekindle the inspiration.
Excellent work. I’m glad to have discovered your photography through this blog. Cheers