Debated doing this, but then I looked back at the year and it was a very good Photographic Year for me. So what the heck. Most do a 12 best. I did 24 cuz it’s way easier and you probably won’t mind an extra dozen. I did the pick on raw instinct. Just, which one hit me right away without thinking as I went through the 906 5 Star images I have from this year. I’ll include a little blurb with them to tell you a bit about the shot, well at least where it is. But maybe what I was thinking at the time and for those photographers out there (that this is aimed at ) the Exif so you can see camera settings (not that they matter)

All  or most of these are available as Fine art prints. So head over to my prints page and you can search for them there. Or write if you don’t find the one you are looking for and I’ll make it happen

OK?

Here we go, Best 24 of 2016 ( in no particular order)

This image is the side opposite the Children’s Pool (where the seals sleep) in La Jolla. Wipeout Beach (good body surfing)
I don’t do a lot of Long Exposures but this was shot very late when it was actually quite dark and I just like the stairs leading into the mist
13 Seconds f/22 ISO 50

Stairs lead down to the incoming tide in La Jolla California

A beautiful night spent in the Queens Valley area of Joshua Tree. I wanted this location because of the flatness of the plain so I could isolate a Joshua Tree as the foreground subject and see to the horizon behind it
10 Image Vertical Pano shot at 17mm 30 Seconds, f/4 ISO 3200 each

The full Milky way arc over a Joshua Tree in Joshua Tree National Park

This night I had intended to shoot out at the Salton Sea. But every area I wanted to go to in the State Recreation area was closed. I did find one spot, but I was creeped the heck out at the thought of sitting there alone in the middle of the night and the 10 Million Flies didn’t help either. So I headed back into Anza-Borrego Desert State park which, for some reason, doesn’t scare me to sit alone in the dark. I had noticed this tree earlier in  the evening before dark and was super hard to find in the dark, but it worked out well. The image is called “The Archer” cuz it looks like an archer pulling back his Bow to shoot an arrow into the Milky Way. What’s cool is at the moment of the shot a car came up the trail and illuminated the side of the tree. I thought the shot was ruined but it actually helped the image a bunch
30 Seconds f/4 ISO 3200

The Milky Way Galaxy shines over a dead tree stump that resembles an Archer pulling back his Bow

Wow, I picked a lot of Milky way shots…Hmmm…. Anyway, On my way back to the Motel outside Yosemite National Park, when I saw this sight and thought it would make an excellent image if I could pull it off because of the brightness of the Tunnel Lights vs The Milky Way. So it required two shots. One for the Tunnel light, one for the Milky Way (one shot would have totally blown out the tunnel lights in the 30 second exposure). This was a SUPER hard shot to get because of the traffic leaving the park at 9:20PM!! Try getting a long exposure when you have cars passing every minute or so! But it was the exact 100th Anniversary of the National Park System so I was happy to be there. Traffic or not
15 Seconds f/4 ISO 3200 for the Milky Way

Don’t know, just like the Flow of this image and the just right exposure time. Converted well to Black & White. At Windansea Beach in La Jolla, California
1/4 sec f/11 ISO 320

I got up early on the 100 Anniversary of the National Park System because I knew I wanted an image of El Capitan at sunrise on the Merced. Thought I would have to fight the Tripod Crowd. but there wasn’t a sole around. Actually surprised to see very little photographers my whole trip there. Maybe it’s been over done. In this image I needed a wide angle lens than my 17mm to fit it in frame from the bridge over the Merced River. Unfortunately I broke my 14mm Roki. So instead I did a 4 Image horizontal pano at 17mm 2 X 2 Landscape. For a nice High Resolution shot and got it all in frame
1/250 f/16 ISO 100

Ter sun rises and shines on El Capitan as viewed from the Merced River

This was just a great night once again at Wipeout Beach in La Jolla California when the ehemmm…. clouds all aligned. They just swirled in a  “Vortex”. Which is the title of the shot. Once again this is a  2 x 2 Multi Image High resolution Image
1/15 f/16 ISO 100

The clouds swirl around a cener at sunset on Wipeout Beach in La Jolla California

This was just a spur of the moment shot as I was at Art Walk In Little Italy, San Diego, California. The clouds were just as they appear and not the result of a Long Exposure as most architectural images of the genre are. And it just converted and edited perfectly so I just like this shot

1/400 f/8 ISO 200 Handheld

I love love love Coin Op Binoculars. Maybe it’s just the vintage of them that takes me back to sightseeing in NYC or whatever. But they are one of my favorite subjects t shoot along with Fat Tire Bikes. This one on the Oceanside Pier, just lined up right with the long boardwalk pier and converted beautifully, especially on a night where the clouds were on vacation

1/80 f/16 ISO 400

I make a few annual visits to the Salton Sea to document it’s demise. I was really…well almost…surprised by how much the sea has retreated even more than the last time I was there a few months ago. A few years ago, I would have been up to my knees in water. The sunset looked like nothing here at Bombay Beach but suddenly at then last minuted exploded into amazing color which, the Salton Sea sunsets are noted for. Reinforcing my “Always Wait” attitude for shooting. I have other shots from the night I may actually like better but this was the most perfect sky
1/40 f/16 ISO 100

Pier Posts at Bombay Beach at the Salton Sea against a Dramatic sunset sky

I don’t know, I just love the feel of this shot. The feel of the West. Just an evening killing time in Coyote Canyon of the Anza-Borrego Desert. The light as they say…was “Yummy”
1/800 f/8 ISO 200

Just shot this on Christmas Day. Just another image that “Feels” for me. Snow in the mountains and that long dirt roading leading you there. Made a great conversion having the contrast and texture needed. I actually shot this out my truck window when I pulled over to the  side quickly at 87mm
1/80 f/8 ISO 100

Fun creepy trip alone hiking in a slot canyon in Arroyo Seco Del Diablo…a frightening enough name. And there were all these Cairns people had set up in the slot. Kinda made it all Lord of the Rings-ish. So I made the images look the part. Got scared when I heard a huge rumble and thought it was an Earthquake…. But just a low flying military helicopter. So no cave in in the canyon LOL
1/200 f/16 ISO 200

Couldn’t do a best of without the insanity of the Salton Sea. In this case, Slab City Dwellers and their beautiful vignette out in the middle of nowhere
1/200 f/11 ISO 100

Slab City – The Salton Sea

Back at the Oceanside Pier on a fantastic stormy day with very little people and a day the clouds showed up for sure. Just like this long look down the pier
1/25 f/16 ISO 200

This was a real surprise for me and my buddy Wayne, during his annual visit west and our trip to Death Valley NP. A lush waterfall in the middle of the driest place in America. Absolutely captivating and so glad we made the side trip to Darwin Falls
1 Second f/22 ISO 50

I call this one Ghost Tide. Loved the flow of the water between the rocks and the contrast of green rocks against the blue of the blue hour light
20 seconds f/16 ISO 400

The Tide Filters into the rocks with a long exposure that Ghosts the water at Windansea Beach, La Jolla, California

Charlie’s Truck. Honestly this place creeped me the fuck out. Yes this is THAT Charlie’s truck. Left behind in Ballarat Ghost Town just  on the edge of Death Valley NP. When I went back later in the year with Wayne, I heard someone run by me in the gravel behind me…and no one was there…
7 Image HDR f/16 ISO 100

The view of the Mojave Desert through the interior of an Old Rusty Truck

Wayne and I hit some nasty weather on his week out here in April but we never once go wet out on the trails but made for some really interesting shots like this one in Alabama Hills. Lone Pine California. Never did get to see the top of Mount Whitney in the cloud cover. But we sure had a most excellent day
1/400 f/16 ISO 100

Again same trip week. Big storm clouds, no rain, amazing light in Joshua Tree National Park. in an “Undisclosed Location” we just loved
1/50 f/16 ISO 100

Beautiful Light shines down on a Joshua Tree and outcropping in Joshua Tree National Park

Beautiful Sunrise morning on my birthday trip to Death Valley NP and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Yep it’s well overshot by photographers but I sure do like it there.
1/10th f/8 ISO 400

May not be really one of my best 24. But it was just the sight of the “Superbloom” out in Death Valley NP. Made a long – there and back – trip in one day to see it again as it was more “peak” then when I was there previously. Way down the end of Badwater Road. Amazing sight to see and be amongst
1/250 f/8 ISO 100 200mm lens

The Wildflower Superbloom in Death Valley 2016

This one is just about the Light… That  is it. Out across from the Skull Rock area of Joshua Tree NP. One of the best evenings of “light” I have even photographed
1/100 f/16 ISO 400


And this I am going to call my POTY – Photo of the Year. Since it is both a personal Favorite and it seems to be a fan favorite also. “Swirl” <to Purchase

Shot at my favorite place  Windansea Beach in La Jolla California. On one of those great cloud/sunset days. This was a day I was right down in it (the surf) getting my feet wet and no tripod so I could get more into the shots themselves. Went to vertical on this one to get as much of the sky in as I could. While I do some long exposures, I’m not always a fan because for me, the sound and the rush of the water is something I want to bring to the viewer who can’t be there. If I just flatten and soften everything with a 2 minute exposure, the viewer loses the motion/emotion and the feel of being there.  This was a rough surf day, I want the viewer to know and feel that down to picturing the sound and smell in their mind. I needed just enough exposure time to show some movement, but not too much to lose that. The clouds were perfect with the backlight of sun. The waves flowed around the rock. Everything came together so I will make the statement that this is my strongest image of 2016
1/60 f/8 ISO 400 Handheld

“Swirl”- Shapes form in the clouds over the swriling surf amougst the rocks at Windansea Beach, La Jolla, California

And that will do it. Thanks to everyone that follows me no matter the Social Media and all my great Photographer Friends and of course those of you who aren’t Photographers but just love me cuz I’m cute 🙂

Happy New Year!!

Peter