Well, 2013 is now over, and we’re sure everyone is charging headlong into 2014, but it’s always good to pause for a moment and take a look back.
2013 was an exciting year for the Dreamscapes team, with team members traveling all over the world looking for magical moments and places to capture. The team made images in the United States, Canada, Iceland, Argentina, Norway, Chile, Namibia, Sweden, Costa Rica, and Denmark—and maybe a few other places, but who’s keeping track? While they’ve made many great images (some of which have already been shared here on the blog), we decided to ask each team member to submit only their three very best photos from 2013. Some hard choices had to be made, and many wonderful images didn’t make the final cut, but I think you’ll agree that those that did make the cut are inspiring. Hopefully these will get your creative juices flowing for 2014! So, without further ado, here are our favorites from 2013.
Happy New Year!
“Eternal Mirror” by Ian Plant
Ian traveled to the famous Patagonia region of Chile to make this stunning sunrise photo in Torres del Paine National Park. He was fortunate enough to get perfect conditions: epic color at first light, dead calm for the reflection, and a view of the peaks unobstructed by clouds. If only all sunrises could be this good! Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD lens, polarizer filter, 3-stop neutral density filter, ISO 100, f/11, 30 seconds. P.S. You can see more of Ian’s favorites from 2013 on the Outdoor Photographer blog, and can view more of his work (and pick up a free picture book) at the Collection.
“Swiftcurrent Sunrise” by Joseph Rossbach
Joe made this eye-popper while visiting Glacier National Park in the United States. This shot has it all: a swift-flowing stream leading the eye to a gorgeous, multicolored sunrise. Joe used a graduated neutral density filter to balance the exposure of the sky and the landscape below. Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera, 14-24mm, Fotodiox 3 Stop ND Grad (soft).
“Beach Fang” by Kurt Budliger
After a couple of socked-in days, epic light finally graced the famed beach at Jökulsárlón, Iceland. After scrambling around looking for the right combination of beach ice, Kurt patiently waited and timed many incoming and outgoing wave combinations before finally getting the foreground pattern he was after. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, EF 16-35mm f/2.8 II USM, Singh Ray Polarizer & 3 stop grad ND, ISO 150, f/16, 1 second.
“The Angel Oak” by Richard Bernabe
Ask Richard why he likes this photograph, and he will tell you that it’s because the image is not pretty or beautiful— but the stuff of nightmares. And that’s what turns him on about this scene, which he stumbled across on Johns Island, in South Carolina—it makes you feel something, even if that something is creepy. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, Canon 24-105 f/4, ISO 320, f/20, 1/15 second.
“Elemental” by Alex Mody
Alex couldn’t help but notice that a vast majority of his favorites from last year were captured with a wide-angle lens, a remarkable departure from his early days as a telephoto wildlife shooter. He needed to step back wide with a 14mm lens to take in this expansive scene of Ruby Beach on Washington State’s famed Olympic coast. Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera, 14-24mm lens, ISO 200, @ f/18, 1/3 and 1 sec hand-blended exposures.
“Rock Pool” by Patrik Larsson
We’ve always admired Patrik’s eye for sophisticated simplicity. This intimate image from Ramsvikslandet in Bohuslän, Sweden, is a perfect example. Here, the elements have smoothed and rounded the rocks just so. Nikon D800E Digital SLR Camera, 14-24mm, ISO 100, f11, 15 seconds.
“Ruxpin’s Coronation” by George Stocking
A photo that tells a story is the pinnacle of the art form. George always has interesting stories to tell, and his photos are no different. In this evocative piece from the Kofa Mountains of Arizona, it looks like a wispy ocotillo is reaching forth to crown the king of the teddy bear cholla (named “Ruxpin” in honor of the popular talking teddy bear toy). Canon 5DII, 70-200mm, ISO 100, f/32, 1/15 second.
“Time Stands Still” by Ian Plant
During the summer, twilight in Iceland seems to last forever. It was at least an hour after sunset when Ian decided the sky finally looked good enough to shoot. After exploring this glacier-filled lagoon at Jökulsárlón, he found a perfect composition. Luckily the drifting bergs didn’t move much during the long exposure! Ian choose to go for a high-key look to capture the ethereal gloom of twilight. Canon 5DIII, Canon 16-35mm lens, polarizer filter, 1-stop graduated neutral density filter, ISO 400, f/8, 82 seconds.
“Convergence” by Alex Mody
This image was made at the end of a loooong and drizzly day of trudging through ridiculously thick Pacific rain forest in Olympic National Park. We love the way the tree seems to reach out to embrace the viewer. Nothing beats a tree hug. Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera, 14-24mm lens, ISO 200, @ f/18, 1/3 and 1 sec hand-blended exposures.
“Super Nova” by Joseph Rossbach
Sometimes it really helps to look up at the right time! Joe visited Antelope Canyon last spring while leading tours on the Colorado Plateau, and wanted to capture a unique image of this iconic location. He waited in the canyon until the sun came breaking through the small crack in the earth and then tripped the shutter. We really like how the water streaks on the wall seem to emanate from the sun. Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera, 14-24mm.
“Fallen” by Kurt Budliger
Kurt made many dramatic images of sunrises and sunsets in amazing places this year (there’s one above!)—but this intimate moment along a wooded path in Acadia National Park is his true favorite. Only after having passed this scene several times over the course of a couple of days, was he finally able to stop and make this photograph. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, EF 24-70mm f/2.8 II USM, ISO 200, f/16, 0.4 second.
“Silent Thunder” by Richard Bernabe
Richard thinks that the best thing about this photograph from Namibia’s Etosha National Park was the look of pure disgust Ian gave when he saw the image on the camera’s LCD. Richard claims that Ian exclaimed, “I was kicking your a#% on this trip up until now…..” and that his voiced trailed off as he sulked away into the night. Choose for yourself which vision you prefer: Ian’s The Spirit of Africa or the stunner below. BTW, “Silent Thunder” is also one of Richard’s many nicknames. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, Canon 100-400mm, ISO 2500, f/5.6, 1/50 second.
“Dancing Tree” by Patrik Larsson
Trees are one of Patrik’s recurring favorite subjects. This one is roadside in Rondane National Park in Norway, one of the most spectacular landscapes he has ever visited. The twisted patterns and lovely yellows all come together to form a perfect intimate view. Nikon D800E Digital SLR Camera, 24-70mm, ISO 400, f13, 1/13 second.
“The Lost Cities of Gold” by George Stocking
We can’t tear our eyes away from this delicious slice of eye candy taken by George in Grand Canyon National Park. This is rain falling over the canyon, lit by the light of the setting sun. “Wow” pretty much sums it up. Canon 5D II; 70-200 F4 L, ISO 100, f11, 1/125 second.
“Dance of the Dead” by Ian Plant
Ian was looking for a dynamic take on this famous scene of dead trees surrounded by giant red sand dunes from the Dead Vlei in Namibia’s Namib-Naukluft National Park. He zoomed in tight for this quirky arrangement of trees, which seemed to him to be engaging in a slow, timeless dance. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD, ISO 100, f/18, 0.5 seconds.
“Before the Storm” by Alex Mody
On a hot summer morning, dark storm clouds broke on the eastern horizon, painting gorgeous, low-angle light on some of the most interesting sandstone formations you will ever see (the famous White Pocket area of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona). Alex says that he ran around like a chicken with its head cut off for ten minutes, but it paid off—as he came away with this! Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera, 14-24mm lens, ISO 100, f/22, 1/5 second.
“Waves” by Patrik Larsson
The low light of a winter sun at midday taken in the last days of the year in Brantevik, Sweden gives this image it’s subtle power. We LOVE the dynamic pattern formed by the waves. Nikon D800E Digital SLR Camera, 14-24mm, 3 stop ND filter, ISO 100, f16, 1/4 second.
“Wild at Heart” by George Stocking
Another classic desert shot from George! He made this image atop the Tonto National Forest in the hills of Central Arizona. The half-circle of cholla in the foreground makes you feel like you are there enjoying the light yourself. Canon 5D II, 17-40L, ISO 100, f16, 1/50 second.
“Desert Oasis” by Joseph Rossbach
Deep in Kanarra Creek Canyon in southern Utah is a series of amazing waterfalls that runs through a little slot canyon just outside of Zion National Park. Joe hiked the canyon in mid-November on a frigid day, slogging through pools of cold water to capture this perfect image of flowing water and glowing canyon walls. He froze so we didn’t have to, and we’re all glad he did! Nikon D800E Digital SLR Camera, 14-24mm, Fotodiox polarizer filter.
“Tree of Light” by Kurt Budliger
Sometimes, you don’t have to travel far from home to make amazing images in stunning light. This glowing apple tree in full spring bloom electrified by low angle backlight from the afternoon sun is on the Vermont back roads in Stowe, close to where Kurt hangs his shingle. Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, EF 10-400mm f/24.5-5.6L IS USM, ISO 100, f 11, 1/15 second.
“Gasadalur” by Richard Bernabe
Last but not least is this stunner from Richard from his trip to the Faroe Islands. After suffering through one of the longest stretches of rotten weather he’s ever endured while traveling (there’ll be more this year, we predict), Richard says that it was just nice to be able to breathe again. But for us—this one takes our breath away! Canon EOS 5D Mark III Digital Camera, Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, ISO 100, f/16, 1 second.
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