Favorite Photos From 2019

2019 was a mixed bag of ups and downs in my photographic world. Ups include running two successful photo tours in Nepal in the Fall (more info here if you’re interested in your own custom tour), two trips to Alaska to teach photography and photograph cruise ships for UnCruise Adventures, and getting paid to shoot drone video for a couple of productions. Downs include losing my DJI Osmo Pocket at an airport, losing my DJI Mavic 2 Pro in Alaska due to stupid mistakes and….really, that’s about it. It sucks to lose valuable camera gear, but it’s all replaceable with effort.

My photography switched gears a little this year as I backed off weddings and portraits altogether. I’ve loved shooting weddings for close to 30 years but it’s time for a break. I was also quite busy with my daughter’s graduation from high school and subsequent start at college this Fall, just before heading off to Nepal for 6 weeks of tours and a little vacation. I shot less, but I loved what I was shooting just a little bit more.

I also got back into birding and was able to spot over 70 new-to-me species in Nepal. If you do the eBird thing, you can find me here.

Now then, my favorite photos from the past year:

Mugger crocodile along the banks of the Rapti River in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. These are the type of crocodile you need to be afraid of. Mean suckers!
Double-crested cormorant drying out its wings in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.
Greater One-horned Rhinoceros on the shore of the Rapti River, Chitwan National Park, Nepal.
Getting up close (as close as our guides felt safe) and personal with a greater one-horned rhino in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. Our photo group was small, just six guests, which makes it easier to maneuver and observe these wonderful beasts.
Boats on Fewa Lake, Pokhara, Nepal.
Machapuchare soars over Pokhara, Nepal. This peak, known locally as Fish Tail, is seen bathed in wonderful morning light during our first morning in Pokhara. It was early, but entirely worth it.
While the ‘free’ areas of Sarangkot, a high hill with expansive views over Pokhara, tend to be crowded as people try to ‘enjoy’ the sunrise, spending just a few rupees more for my guests gave us an enjoyable vantage point above the crowd. This was a truly unforgettable sunrise to experience.
Mount Everest, beautiful as ever.
It’s a wide panorama, but there’s no better way to take in the grandeur of Gokyo and the Machermo Range in Nepal. Altitude, 15,500′. Click on the photo to experience it for yourself.
Our group with perfect sunrise conditions at Gokyo, 15,500′ high in the Himalayas of Nepal.
Lifting fog reflected in Dudh Pokhari, alongside Gokyo, from about 16,500′ high on Gokyo Ri, Nepal. I loved watching the patterns change on the lake, a unique perspective I had not experienced before.
The sun’s golden rays catch spindrift flanking off of Lhotse, the third highest mountain in the world. Shot from the side of Gokyo Ri, Nepal.
A lone stupa emerges from the mist surrounding Phortse, Nepal. Located three days journey into Sagarmatha National Park, this little village offers expansive views to some of the tallest peaks in the world.
Hidden smoker, Bhaktapur, Nepal. One of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites we visit on tours to Nepal, Bhaktapur’s temples and markets harken to time ages old.
Spinning prayer wheels at Swayambhunath Stupa, Kathamndu, Nepal.
This is why Swayambhunath Stupa is also known as the Monkey Temple. They are everywhere!
Client work! I love shooting for Uncruise Adventures because their trips take you into the heart of wilderness areas very few other boats ever venture. Add to that the grandeur of Alaska and you come away with immense appreciation for all our natural world has to offer.
THIS CLOSE! A zoom lens helps, but a small UnCruise Adventures boat can bring you closer to the incredible humpback whales found in Alaska in the Summer.
Always get up early when on a photo tour. I know it’s not easy, especially when the sun peeks over the horizon at 4:30am in Alaska in the Summer, but it can bring about scenes like you have never experienced. This morning, the calm waters were rippled by the passage of a pair of humpback whales painted gold by the sun.
I love producing unique and captivating images for my clients. In this case, taking my drone up along a hillside to show the vastness of Alaska and the crystal clear and calm waters left me with goosebumps. The panorama was shot automatically by my now-lost DJI Mavic 2 Pro. It is a great platform for aerial photography.
In this shot, the UnCruise Adventures Wilderness Explorer sits in a calm bay before a day of exciting and adventurous bushwhacks, kayaking, shore excursions and paddleboarding begins.
Oh my! Was this ever the best wakeup call at 1am! While on assignment for UnCruise Adventures we were treated with a magical Northern Lights show right above the ship! Magical is the only word I can use to describe it. I spent two hours photographing and simply experiencing the lights’ quiet, serene dance.
So when they gave me this assignment, UnCruise’s marketing department told me they wanted shots of the five sense. Most seemed easy, until I got to taste.
Thankfully, Sarah, one of the marvelous UnCruise guides, was explaining to guests how a type of lichen has a sweet taste, much like honey. Couple that with the chance that she was facing into blue Alaskan skies and bingo!
Misty Fjords! This was a new stop in Alaska’s waters for me. And WOW!
There is so much more to explore but I was thankful every minute after the mists broke on the first morning of our UnCruise Adventures trip. Often the fjords can be clouded for days or weeks, but August seemed to be a lucky time to visit.
Steep, steep sheer cliffs that dive straight into the chilly water below. Simply captivating.
My first mountain love: Mount Rainier. For my birthday our family spent the night in the National Park and had the good fortune of warm weather and blue skies. It’s the second glaciated peak I have ever climbed and an endless subject of many, many, many photographs over the years.
Now THIS was a happy day! My daughter and I right after she graduated from high school.
UnCruise Adventures cruise #2! This time I was teaching photography onboard the SS Legacy and it was a blast. The guests are typically laidback and in it for the adventure and grand vistas of Alaska. In this case, I had guests train their cameras on the waters at sunset to capture a different view of the vibrant colors overhead.
The biggest advantage with UnCruise Adventures and their smaller ships (20-88 passengers) is the ability for captains and crew to choose little side trips as weather, tide and temperament allow.
In this case, we ducked into a what seemed like a small cove, with a 200′ wide entrance of basaltic columns, only to have the views pop wide open to what seemed like Yosemite Valley half submerged. How this area on Baranof Island is not already a National Park, I do not know.
Just another lovely sunset form the sterns of the UnCruise Adventures SS Legacy in Alaska.
For context, these peaks, most of them, ARE a National Park. They are the higher reaches of Glacier Bay National Park, which we visited the day before.
There was pure poppy pandemonium in Southern California back in the Spring. I was late to the scene but the mix of flowers in this is abundant poppy field caught my eye. Backlighting can be your friend when used correctly.
Want to see a National Park without the crowds? Get up early!
We hit Yosemite National Park for Spring Break, certainly a busy time and during the day that was usually the case. But at 7:30am (really not that early, all things considered) we hiked four miles before spotting two other visitors. It was outstanding.
Before my drone’s demise, we had a lot of fun together. These next shots are form earlier in the year when I’d take that little dynamo everywhere with me.
Imaged here is the view directly over a golf course green on Whidbey Island, Washington, with clouds reflected in the still waters of the hazard.
More fun with the drone. Overlooking a reservoir and Mt. St. Helens, Washington.
Aerial view of solar panels set in the California desert
While it might not seem that fantastic of a shot (although I really love the lighting), this image was taken while shooting footage for a TV production. They needed shots of Victorville, California so I spent four batteries wandering the town and capturing unique angles., one clip of which will eventually be used.
After driving by this bus barn dozens of times, I finally stopped one sunny day to capture the patterns.
The last (first) of the drone shots for the year. Drone cameras still have a ways to go to be comparable to current DSLR models, but I was happy with how this five shot HDR image came out over the San Fernando Valley in California.

That’s all for this year, folks!

If you loved those Nepal photos and have your own group of fiends who would love a customized trek or cultural tour (or both!), drop me a line and check out Far Horizon Photo Tours for more information. I’d love to show you around the country!



4 Comments Favorite Photos From 2019

  1. Paul Weimer December 20, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    It was a pleasure to go on the Nepal trek with you. I learned a lot!

  2. Stefan Baeurle December 20, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    Superb selection of photos! My two personal favorites are “Boats on Fewa Lake” and “Hidden smoker”.

  3. Shikha December 20, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    Outstanding work Peter ! Very diverse collections. Aerial Images are excellent. Sorry or hear the loss of drone.
    Congratulations to your daughter !

  4. Michael Russell December 28, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    I enjoyed this eclectic set of images Peter! I look forward to reading about your adventures in 2020. 🙂

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