Favorite moments of 2015. Tried to process all new images but i guess i failed terribly. Did what I could, sorry it will take a while to load, best viewed on iPhone. :) Hope you enjoy. Happy Holidays and of course Happy 2016! :)
January - Abraham Lake in Canadian Rockies known for its ice bubbles due to the lake freezing and methane gas release from the lake bed. At -39 (doesn't really matter if it's Fahrenheit or Celsius anymore) with wind chill one morning, it's one of the coldest place I have ever been to. While we were on the lake near The Belly, we were standing on ice maybe 10 inch thick (?) but we couldn't see the bottom of the lake. We could still see the water flowing below, snow storming hard as usual and we walked on snow covered ice. After a while we heard some ice cracking in a distance, packed our stuff and left the ice right away. After we left, I googled and apparently it's normal to hear cracking sound of ice during changing conditions. Still kind of creepy. :P
January - Woke up at 3.45am 2 days in a row to head over to Trillium Lake for a sunrise shot. Day 1, fogged in. and I remember Rami and Lance and I decided to not do the hike. Day 2, extremely clear. The forecast on both days were partially cloudy. Great! Haha so heres a shot of Trillium Lake with some reflections.
January - Headed to Lost Lake with Tula Top and Justin Poe. Also met Ben Coffman and Chip MacAlpine shooting stars and milkyway while we were there. The skies were totally clear this morning and as luck has it.. 30 mins before sunrise, fog started rolling in and covered the mountain and we never saw the mountain again. Alas. As usual, Master Justin Poe got the shot of the day with mountain reflections and all the goodies. I tried doing some telephoto stuff as the fog was rolling in and got this pic of this little cabin that I thought was kinda cool before it was engulfed by fog. :)
February - Milky Way without the Calories. From Mount St Helens where I got a speeding ticket for driving 7mph faster than the 25mph road limit. Hmmm Seriously? I guess. :(
February - Karl the Fog PDX Edition. If you are not familiar with that term, every year there's a period of time due to some atmospheric phenomena, there's a higher chance to spot fog over Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco and photographers will flock there when there's fog/visibility warning and somehow/someone named it, Karl. He even has his own Instagram account @karlthefog. But anyway this is probably my personal favorite pic of Portland with a similar concept, been chasing for these conditions for a long long time. Happened to get lucky finally. Naming it Ter the fog, Instagram account in the making @terthefog :D
February - After my (n+1)th time to this extremely famous viewpoint in Portland.. This is probably the only time when all the conditions came together in a single exposure. Fog + city lights + Mount Hood + awesome sky. Checked.
February - Was here again with Justin Poe couple weeks later and the iPhone version of this shot was 1 of the 4 that made it on Apple billboards as part of the shot on iPhone6 campaign.
March - Iceland probably deserve an entire separate entry on its own. Ran into the biggest snowstorm they had in a while right when I landed (how lucky as always), spend probably 2 nights sleeping in the parking lot of Hallgrímskirkja before I started going anywhere. *Nervous laugh* Met a group of Thais that drove over to Kirkjufell before the snowstorm started, they got stuck at Kirkjufell for the next 2 days too. Not sure if it's better to be stuck at Kirkjufell or Reykjavík, but I totally fell in love with the noodle station haha, warm bowl of Thai beef noodle soup in the snowstorm = comfort food. Had that for 3 meals in 2 days lol, it was that good. :D Though the weather is generally never very good over there, it's the nicest country I ever visited. I will be back. I will. Side tracked too much but I wanted a photo of rainbows with the falls, went back over and over and just didn't fall though, so I will live with this reflection pic for now while Ron Coscorrosa continues to troll and terrorize me with his massive NAS drive collection of rainbows from Skógafoss.
March - One of my most memorable night in Iceland when aurora was KP9. We were out in one of the ice caves in Vatnajökull that morning when I checked out the weather forecast. There was a predicted KP9 solar storm that evening and Kirkjufell was supposed to be totally clear all night! I think u could already guess what we did. We got into the car and drove 6 hours to cloudless Kirkjufell. We had initially planned to get there at about sunset, so that I can still scout around for a couple of good spots for the aurora.. But as luck would have it, we ran into a flat tire along the way about 20 mins away from Reykjavík. Spent the next hour or so calling the camper van company to get help in locating the tools, and trying to figure how to remove the spare tire from under the van. Of course, we missed sunset with all that time wasted. As we drove and it got darker, the sky lit up with faint hues of green and when we got to Kirkjufell, it was already totally dark. Called Piriya Wongkongkathep (yes, I do know how to spell his name off the cuff) for help as we groped around trying to find the waterfalls there. To my horror there were already 9571 people there, all in the frame. :P Set up my camera and sat around for the rest of the night, watching the spectacular KP9 show that waxed and waned, and feeling thankful we made it there safely. :)
March - Spend almost 2 weeks in Iceland, not even enough. :) Definitely my favorite waterfalls in Iceland. The blue glacier water is real pretty.
March - The waves in Iceland are pretty scary. One of these waves crashed and almost took me out into the ocean with all my gear... Glad nothing serious happened.
April - Camera buttons had some issues for a while now.. Was deciding between sending it for repair and hoping that it would arrive before the Iceland trip or pray that the camera will not fail in Iceland. Went with the latter and was glad it survived Iceland. Here's one of those times I shot with my old d700 this year. Liked it quite abit and went back multiple times after I got my d800 back from Nikon but the pear blossoms were past peak. Postcard shots of Hood River, Oregon.
April - I spent countless mornings at Rowena Crest this year with Rami Jabaji and Lance Rudge and was lucky to get away without any nasty tick encounters. As pretty as these wild flowers are, I'd be ticked off if I had any bites from those buggers. :D
April - A morning hike to this mist machine with Lance Rudge. Butt slide most the way down the side of this sketchy hill all the way to the bottom. The poison oak on the side of "the trail" always make me paranoid I will land face down on them. :X
May - Rolling Hills of Palouse. Ran into Chip Phillips here running a workshop that morning. As usual, this is one of those places that's not close to anywhere on the map, probably made famous by Chip Phillips sets of ridiculous good images from here. Google it, you will be wowed. It's not on the way to anywhere but if you do go though, stop by Palouse Falls, it's great. By the way, I don't mean stop by, I probably meant take a 1 or 2 hours detour from the state park. :p
May - This juggernaut falls has so much spray coming off from the 207 ft waterfall its impossible to keep the lens dry.. I came back later in December too scroll below :D
May - Camera was in the shop again. Another d700 in action attempt at fairy falls.
June - This was one of the highlights from my short roadtrip to California with Rami. For several reasons, I have always skipped this waterfall; it's out of the way, requires walking on some train tracks, involves parking issues and the list of excuses goes on. Anyway, after skipping this numerous times, Rami decided to pull a last minute road trip and I just hopped on the bus. As usual, it's not the easiest place to access, but the place felt like the California Zoo by the time we left. Definitely drop by if you are ever in the area. It's worth it.
June - Another one of those nice lakes in Oregon that Jan Boitz pointed out to me at the top of South Sister. Back then I been there a couple times but every time its so foggy/overcast that I never saw anything from there. So sometime late last summer, I was actually up top that mountain in the distance on the left. Good times. :)
June - Thought it looked like a dinosaur foot and since I am watching Jurassic World back then I thought it was appropriate. I almost got a rainbow here ALMOST but yup it didn't fall through, spend the next 10 mins @#$%& and I left this place totally drenched and soaked. Usual :D
June - Here's my personal favorite waterfalls in Oregon that we visited due to bad weather along the Oregon coast over the weekend and made some changes in our plan. Still remember my first time here when I left with quite a bit of damage. Slipped, fell, damaged gear, drowned a remote, ripped pants and a couple deep cuts. A year or so later, I have probably been back 3 or 4 times now and the falls has definitely changed alot probably due to higher water flows at some point. I always wanted to show the sense of scale for this giant mist machine. Hope I was successful in conveying that here. This pic also won the water category this year of Oregon Wild Outdoor photo contest. Credit goes to Rami who helped me wipe my lens and triggered.
June - Was in Redwood National Park one morning shooting this lone rhododendron and a giant truck pulled over and 2 photographers got out, Sarah Marino and Ron. Pretty awesome morning chat, didn't walk away with any light beams but here's a foggy picture from those GIANT trees.
June - Ancient tree at Crater Lake. If you look hard enough, you can probably see wizard island in the distance. Walked to this tree and saw 2 other photographers, happened to be Brian Adelberg (days before his baby was due!) and Brian Kibbons.
July - Another road trip to Rainier cos Sarah decided to buy a last minute ticket up here for the weekend. Called up Rami for a last minute trip out and somehow things all worked out. Clear skies through the trip but wildflowers were looking awesome and at peak. Here's one from sunset.
July - Two of my favorites things, red and lone tree. What not to like about it Haha.
August - Went back to Banff again in the summer! Moraine Lake still had me in awe, nonetheless; imagine 10 giant peaks towering over an emerald lake, with layers of pine trees skirting the lake, alpenglow, reflections and all the good stuff. I could probably just sit around the lake and do nothing but admire it all day, but we had to check out Lake Louise and had to move on.
August - Peyto Lake is yet another postcard-perfect place and the lake’s captivating turquoise color (screams Jasmine Loke) can be attributed to the sediments of the melting glacier. The lake’s milky-blue color varies, depending on season and time of day. The intense color of the lake is incredibly charming, and I reckon I should have taken a telephoto abstract shot of a small part of the lake. Ah well, next time maybe. :)
August - Located in some remote canyon. At some time in the day, the arch glows from the reflected sun light off the canyon wall behind. I always classify pictures into 2 categories; looks good in photos and looks good in person. The 1st category basically just means it involves some form of photography technique; isolation of subject, reflection by going really low, perspective, telephoto or something along those lines. The 2nd category needs no further elaboration, basically looks good when you are seeing it. This place belongs to the latter, the glow is UNREAL.
August - On the verge of a 3000 feet drop above Colorado River. Yeap, that's me looking for cell signal.
September - Got a bunch of ridiculous sunset in Portland during the month of September. Was late for a really great one and missed a bunch. Looking through those from that week and I liked this one the most. With Rami and Justin again. Justin used to hate cityscape, probably still do but I made him starts shooting Dudu and I am proud of it. 10 stops 5 mins exposure. Single shot. :)
October - So Portland Japanese Garden was closed this year, had to find an alternative. :)
October - Was here for another rainbow attempt again. Saw this strip of sunlight that was illuminating downtown Portland.
November - My favorite series of iPhone pictures, all from the Subway hike in Zion National Park, Utah. I could hardly convince people that its all shot on iPhone.. but the next 3 images are all #ShotOniPhone6.
This happened the night when we saw this weird UFO cloud in the sky, greenish/purplish probably due to light pollution. Later got tweeted and hashtagged all over the place. Apparently, was Navy Trident II (D5) missile test flight off the coast of Southern California. Here's a selfie from that night.
November - one of the coolest hike I have ever done and had wanted to do for a long time. Spot the hikers all along the trail to the top! :D the guy with the blue bag is Pete Pattano.
November - Wanted to do this for a while now but conditions never quite worked out. Costed me an umbrella but I guess it was kinda worth it. :P Rainy morning with Lance and Rami and met Adrain Klein at the falls.
December - Headed out to FCF with Lance and Rami, half hoping the gate will not be closed. Alas didnt get too lucky there. That gate added 4 unncessary miles to the hike in the not so awesome ice and slush. The consistent rain didnt help the situation at all. We were about 4 day late from prime, may look pretty and all but I got 3 word; cold, wet and miserable. Haha. Got to 2 miles before the trailhead, seeing the icy scene and i realized i had forgotten my spikes.. Opps. Stole one side of Rami's spike during the hike and when I got here, precariously slide around those slick ice to get to the edge for the selfie. :) Cold, wet and miserable but I guess it was still a pretty scene!
December - Opted for 3 extra hours of sleep and skipped TDH Mountain (Tom Dick and Harry Mountain) this morning met up with Justin and Rami and got here with 3 addition hours of sleep. Pretty awesome until.. I fell in the water. lol also my current wallpaper :D
December - Seen a bunch of pics and travel blogs of Christ the Redeemer but I never thought I will see it in person. Foggy rainy but definitely very cool. I guess we managed to skip the crowd, when I tried to purchase the tickets at the counter in Copacabana (the world famous 4km balneario beach), the lady at the counter warned us "0 visibility" and after buying the ticket, she placed a big fat stamp in red on the tickets that reads "ZERO visibility" that was kinda funny. I guess I managed to skip the crowd, saw a bunch of Taiwanese up there as I was leaving, definitely didn't see much Asians the entire trip. Pretty rare IMO for a popular tourist spot.
December - Iguazu Falls, 2nd largest waterfall in the world, definitely made Niagara Falls look tiny. Was in the middle of some rainstorm during the time we were there, hence the large amount of tea flowing through the Iguazu river (i meant muddy water). There's a boardwalk that brings you to Devil's Throat on the bottom right of the picture. Comes with a free muddy water shower. haha took a walk on the boardwalk, other than being completely soaked, we could barely see anything :D
December - Since Iguazu river runs between Brazil and Argentina, going over to Argentina sounded like a good idea :P
December - Glimpse of Heaven. :D also one of my favorite pics from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I really like how the clouds formed a ring around Corcovado Mountain (It means hunchback and apparent when you see the mountain from Vista Chinesa which I didn't end up seeing anything due to the fog) with Christ the Redeemer at the top. Might also be one of my personal favorites from 2015 and hence kept it for the last.