Doug Beezley Photography

2011 Favorites

2011 Favorites

Trips to Colorado, Utah, Arizona, the Oregon coast and the Smokies highlighted the year. And, as you can tell by my inability to select a "Top Ten" or some manageable number, I have a lot of favorites. I hesitate to label them "Best of ..." because they are not necessarily the best of anything. Rather, they are photographs (images for the high brows out there) that each evoke a special memory of time, of place, of circumstance. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy my photographic path through last year's memory lane.

You can click on each image to enlarge it so the detail I was hoping to capture is more apparent.

Colorado - Crested Butte & San Juan Basins - July 2010

Colorado - Crested Butte & San Juan Basins - July 2010

Along with a group of friends I spent not nearly enough time in several of the high mountain basins of the San Juan and Elk Mountain ranges of Colorado in July 2010. The trip was officially a tour with LightChase Photography but I managed to "weasel" a special role by acting as "location consultant" for the tour.

It was clearly a case of careful manipulation that,once again, proved that old age, experience, and guile will overcome youth and enthusiasm. Clearly, Mark Rasmussen (owner of LightChase Photography) was naive about dealing with seasoned veterans (another name for old guys) when he asked me to put together a tour that I would like friends to experience, photograph and enjoy. Let the fun begin!

What I put together included locations I have previously enjoyed (Paradise Basin, American Basin, Silver Basin, Yankee Boy Basin, "Secret" Basin, and Governor Basin) along with a location that I have long wanted to visit - Porphyry Basin and Bullion King Lake.

Our photo experience began in Crested Butte which is nestled between the Elk Mountains and the West Elk Mountains. Crested Butte enjoys the reputation of being "The Wildflower Capital of Colorado" and it continues to earn that reputation. After enjoying and photographing select locations in the Crested Butte area for a couple of days we journeyed over Ohio Pass, past "The Castles" and along the shores of Blue Mesa Lake until we ended up in the Cimarron River valley on our way to our eventual destination, Ouray.

Once in Ouray, our real adventure began. We left the driving to our destinations in the hands of the experts of San Juan Jeep Tours and one of their supremely skilled drivers, Brian Simpson. Brian not only handled the driving chores flawlessly but also added to our daily excursions with his thorough and interesting historical narrative about the San Juan region.

Our destinations included a sunrise trip to Molas Lake, a sunset shoot at Dallas Divide, a fantastic day at American Basin after passing over rugged Cinnamon Pass, a journey to Porphyry Basin and Bullion King Lake and all its waterfalls and little streams, "Secret" Basin where we experienced a lot of unexpected visitors, the seldom-visited Silver Basin which features two turquoise-colored lakes, a dramatic backwall and a living rock glacier, Governor Basin (where I "chickened out" in driving a rental SUV the previous year - excellent decision, by the way) which, to me seems as mysterious as Machu Picchu. Governor is, however, much higher by over 4,000 feet, than the mountain-top in Peru. Finally, our tour ended with a trip to the famous but overly popular Yankee Boy Basin where the crowds can be avoided by traveling to the upper reaches of the basin at the Blue Lakes trailhead. The pinnacle of our experience was a trip to the summit of Red Mountain #3 where we were literally "On Top of the World". I hope you enjoy our photographic journey.


Maine Lighthouses and Acadia National Park - August 2010

Maine Lighthouses and Acadia National Park - August 2010

Our trip to Maine turned into one about lighthouses and lobsters with a couple of unexpected (and, unwanted) adventures added.

First, a word about the lobsters - I managed to eat lobster for all but one meal of our ten day tour of the Maine coast and Acadia National Park. No excuses; it had to be done. There was steamed lobster, fried lobster, whole Maine lobster, lobster bisque, lazy man's lobster, lobster roll, lobster au gratin, lobster bake, lobster tail, stuffed lobster (sounds like me), and lobster scrambled eggs. This almost sounds like a knock off of Bubba in "Forrest Gump" and the shrimp scene (he listed 21 different preparations). Then, add seven days of New England clam chowder and fresh Maine blueberry pie every day and some sort of record has to have been established. I even tried the Maine Blueberry Ale - not even close to the Durango Blueberry Ale. They thought it was special to pour smashed blueberries in the beer - NOT!

Sunrises, sunsets, drenching (and nearly drowning) rogue waves, soaked clothes and camera gear, rock everywhere, a 4 am departure (and others) to photograph the first rays of sunlight to hit the US on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park and you have the perfect photo tour.

Highlights of the trip included being whacked by a couple of rogue waves estimated to be over 60 feet high at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse. I almost lost all my camera gear on that one and only a valiant and dangerous effort by our leader, Mark Rasmussen, prevented my entire camera backpack from resting forever in Davey Jones Locker. Instead, Davey Jones Locker ended up in my backpack and I didn't finish cleaning the salt water off and out of my equipment until 1:15 am!

Then, there was the ferry boat trip from New Harbor to Monhegan Island in a storm described as a "tropical depression". We were told the seas were "only about 6 feet". Halfway through the twelve mile trip, the swells were estimated at 12 - 13 feet by the first mate on the ferry. It was a constant battle with sea sickeness throughout the trip; unfortunately, the sea won. Without exaggeration, it was the scariest boat trip of my life. When I was able to remember, word for word, Gordon Lightfoot's, "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" ("Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours...") and all the dialogue in "The Perfect Storm" I realized that I am, forever, a mountain boy.

And, finally, the best part was doing all this with friends old and new. Our group came from Georgia, Illinois, Ohio and Missouri and we endured and thoroughly enjoyed the tour of Maine in good spirits and a common sense of adventure. I look forward to traveling with all of them on another photo adventure. Thanks Mark, Don ("The Weasel"), Jimmy, John, Carla, Marti ("Mrs. Cougar"), and Paul. You are all good sports, great photographers and fine friends.



Colorado Wildflowers - Summer 2009

Colorado Wildflowers - Summer 2009

Summer in the High Country - the basins, the ridges, the valleys, the tarns, the cirques, the meadows, the rivers and streams - is more than mountain-sides of flowers or a lot of pleasing photographs. It's really about the experience with everything else secondary. Summer in the Colorado Rockies is brisk mornings, warm afternoons and afternoon showers. It's hummingbirds doing battle over a Columbine. It's the smell of firs, pines, and spruce and the chalky-white of aspen trunks. It's about night skies that glow with the stars and the Milky Way and crisp, clear mornings.

The summer of 2009 was, literally, the summr of a generation as far as wildflowers go. It all started with one of the more prodigous snowfalls in years that left behind water content exceeding 125 percent of historic averages over most of the state and snow packs that exceeded 150% of average in the prime wildflower environments such as those in the Crested Butte area and the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado. And, after the snow stopped, it started raining - almost every day in May and June. The result - a wildflower bloom not seen in several decades.

Summer in the High Country is about a state of mind and a renewal of spirit and soul. It's about growing and learning. It's not about photographs - they're just the reminders and a way to share the experience with family and friends.

Colorado Fall 2009

Colorado Fall 2009

The Fall of 2009 held great promise for one of the best years of high country color in years, if not decades. The weather had cooperated all spring and summer bringing optimal amounts of moisture which should have produced golden mountain-sides throughout the state. Then, Mother Nature had her own ideas! First, there was "leaf mold" in the Aspen/Maroon Bells area where there was too much moisture late in the season. The leaves turned brown and dropped. However, the Crested Butte and San Juan areas still held high promise as late as September 30 with colors peaking everywhere. Unfortunately, on Thursday, October 1, a huge storm blew into southwestern Colorado with rain, hail, sleet, snow, freezing temperatures and winds up to 70 miles per hour. Overnight, most of the aspen leaves were on the forest floor and only the shadow of what would have been remained. Neverthess, the time spent hunting for remaining color was rewarding and fun. And, it was a challenge, as well, as the weather literally changed daily as you will see from the photos in this gallery. One day is was 65 with bluebird skies, the next the high was 24 with freezing rain and snow. The locations I scouted and shot in the Crested Butte area included the Kebler Pass Road, Ohio Pass, and Gothic Valley. After a couple of days in these locales, I traveled south and west to the Cimarron Valley and Cimarron Ridge areas of the Uncompahgre Wilderness. In the Ouray and Ridgway areas, I concentrated on Ouray County Roads 5, 7, and 9 as well as Last Dollar Road in Ouray and San Miguel Counties. I didn't get the images I had planned and hoped for but actually was able to do better on several images. I hope you agree. It really is all about the experience and not the photographs.

Colorado

Colorado

I was born, raised and educated in Colorado and it'll always be "home".

Colorado is a state of superlatives but none more so than the natural beauty found in all corners of the state - from the grass prairies and wheat fields on the high plains of eastern Colorado where I grew up, to the "fourteeners" of the mighty Rockies. Here are just some small glimpses for you to view and, hopefully, enjoy. The images in this album always help me "reconnect" with home.









Arizona

Arizona

Most people think first of the Grand Canyon when you say Arizona. Either that or the "dry" heat. But, my favorite part of the state isn't the Grand Canyon (as magnificient as it is) but the far north of Arizona including Vermillion Cliffs, Book Cliffs, Lee's Ferry, Marble Canyon, and Lake Powell. It's an area that offers dramatic landscapes, world-class trout fishing at Lee's Ferry, and re-introduced condors at Vermillion Cliffs. Arizona is an amazingly diverse state in terms of topography; most think only of the desert but the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world is resident in "The Grand Canyon State". And, I haven't even gotten to the starry, starry nights like no others, the slot canyons, and the rolling grassy hills in the southeast.

Nevertheless, there will be a few images from both the south and north rim of Grand Canyon. And, Grand it is.

California Central Coast

California Central Coast

The Central Coast of California generally extends from Monterey on the north to just south of Santa Barbara. The galleries inside include just the immediate area around Carmel with highlights on Carmel Mission and Point Lobos State Reserve.

The most pleasant surprise (photographically) was Carmel Mission. I'm not particularly "architecture" oriented when it comes to camera time. But, what I found and was able to photograph gave me a much greater sense of history and beauty than I would have imagined. The staff at Carmel Mission went out of their way to poiint out areas of interest and help me really understand the mission.

"Critters" -  ALBUM IN PROGRESS

"Critters" - ALBUM IN PROGRESS

"Critters" features images of the wildlife I've been fortunate enough to see and photograph in my photo travels. You'll see a few elk (I have over 1,000 elk images in my library), bison, pronghorn, black bears, grizzlies, wolves, coyotes, bighorn sheep and more. No, not all 1,000 elk shots are included - just a handful of memorable ones.






Favorites

Favorites

Everyone has favorites - favorite foods, favorite books, favorite teams...

Here are my favorite images - favorite not so much because they are artistic successes but because I simply like them. Some I like because the location is a personal favorite like Rocky Mountain National Park or Grand Teton NP. Others have become a "favorite" because they remind me of a special time with friends or family. Some are favorites because I had to work hard to get the shot and still others because the image turned out and I was just plain lucky. Others are a favorite because of the subject. I doubt anyone will be able to successfully analyze me by viewing and reviewing my favorites - they're random like most of us.

Fly Fishing

Fly Fishing

Permit the indulgence - the photos here certainly are not "studied images" but rather snapshots of my other favorite activity - fly-fishing. My fly-fishing trips take me to a world-class stream right here in North Georgia, the Soque River, and famous western streams like the Gunnison and the Snake. The favorite, however, is in Arizona - the Colorado River below Glen Canyon dam - 15 miles of one of the best tail-water rivers in the world.





Georgia

Georgia

Georgia, where I live, provides a wide variety of photo opportunities. There are no herds of bison, no 14,000 foot granite behemoths and no canyons as grand as those in Arizona. But, the Savannah area is rich in history and architecture, has sublime sunrises, the most beautiful cemetary in America and a magnificant lighthouse. The north Georgia mountains, while not as well known as their New England counterparts, does provide some great fall color and the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. And, Atlanta...the buildings, parks and botanical garden are all "target-rich".

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

"Grand" Teton is exactly the right description for this often-overlooked park. Spectacular in its own right, Grand Teton NP doesn't receive the attention it's adjacent and more famous neighbor, Yellowstone, does. The first time I fished the Snake River from a drift boat I didn't have much success. The lack of success wasn't because the fish weren't biting but because I was focusing all my attention on the mountain and not my fly - I just couldn't keep my eyes of the Tetons. And, Grand Teton has it all, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, lakes, rivers, and wildlife. And, my favorite town, Jackson, Wyoming.

Liberty Belle - WW II B-17

Liberty Belle - WW II B-17

In January 2007, the Liberty Foundation brought their aircraft, a restored WW II B-17, to Atlanta to kick off their tour year. While I had intended just to see and photograph the aircraft, my wife decided that our sons and I should take one of the flightseeing trips over Atlanta. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a flight on any airplane as much. The sound of the piston engines turning over, the smell of the oil burning, the run-up of each engine, and finally, the take-off were all exhilerating. I hope you enjoy the photos of our "bomb run" on downtown Atlanta.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just up the road a piece and is easily visited from our home in North Georgia. The park has a couple of unique distinctions: it is the most biologically diverse area in the world - more plant and animal species have been catalogued here than anywhere else and it is the most visited of our national parks. That is readily apparent throughout the fall foliage season where bumper to bumper traffic is common and hotel rooms are literally impossible to get without reservations having been made many months in advance.

The Smokies are a photographers paradise with spectacular sunrises and sunsets, wildflowers in the spring and autumn foliage displays to rival New England. Waterfalls and streams abound throughout the park and black bear are commonly seen. Pioneer cabins, cantilevered barns, grist mills and other structures have been restored and are of great interest.

Mt. Rainier National Park

Mt. Rainier National Park

There are fewer images here than I had hoped for. I had great expectations of wildflowers everywhere and dramatic views of Mt. Rainier. An unperfect photographers storm of unfavorable weather and very poor photographic execution on my part produced a yawning number of very mediocre images. Maybe I'll do better next time.



Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

There are not as many photos here as I had planned and hoped for. I had great expectations of brilliant sunrises and glorious sunsets on the beach. Alas, there was a convergence of unfavorable weather and very poor photographic execution on my part that yielded very few acceptable photos. The rain forest shots turned out to be as boring as a family vacation slideshow. Maybe next year.


Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast

Photographing on the Oregon coast was the most challenging I've yet experienced. The environment was completely new to me and beach photography is filled with equipment perils I hadn't imagined. I was not used to salt spray on my equipment or fine sand in the tripod legs, or dirt, grit, salt and sand in my ballhead. I didn't know about salt spray accumlating on the lens and filters. And, I didn't know about seven straight days of shooting every sunrise and sunset. Days usually began at 4 am and shooting sometimes didn't end until 10 pm - and, I have the pictures to prove it. Also, I didn't know about the different skills necessary to make those early mornings and late nights worth it. But, that's why I went there - to learn how to capture the light, to see patterns and formations, to meet new friends and re-connect with old ones. It was a grand experience and I plan to return - this is probably my favorite photo experience yet. And, there was more than just the beaches. Lighthouses drew us in, wild flowers abounded, forests towered and the best fresh sea food was there, too. Mark Rasmussen of LightChase Photography was masterful in teaching us about the light, filters and being the herder of a group of photo cats.

Pacific Northwest - Seattle and Victoria, BC

Pacific Northwest - Seattle and Victoria, BC

The images found here don't fit into my usual national parks type locations but there are some photos I hope you'll find of interest - maybe even in a whimsical way.

Both cities are beautiful gems and deserve a "chamber of commerce" treatment. They didn't get that here but only because I haven't had the opportunity to do so. I will in the future, though.

Panoramics

Panoramics

Panoramic photos are, to me, the real fun part of photography. A good "pano" combines creativity, solid composition, spot-on exposure, near perfect focus, patience, and the abiltiy to do all that very quickly. And, there's even the requirement to have some basic mechanical skills as well. Once you have all the desired exposures, you sit back and let the software automatically put it all together - most of the time. You'll find the photos in this collection scattered throughout other albums, as well.


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