Old Ft. Bayard, blanketed in fog. Not going to lie, I jumped quite a bit every time I heard some unusual sound. It was creepy out there.
In 2013, I reflected on the year by posting my favorite photos. This year, we’re going to mix it up a little bit by adding a few thoughts and links. I hope you’ll stick around for the whole thing — I promise it won’t take long (and there will still be lots of photos).
This year was a big one for your humble blogger. I became an uncle, was laid off, moved across the country and then got engaged!
I was sad to be among 40+ people laid off by the National Wildlife Federation this year, but I’m also excited to help lead the Silver City Daily Press as it enters its 80th year of serving Grant County.
Unfortunately, with that opportunity came the difficult decision to temporarily live apart from Meredith, who remains in Baltimore with Nutmeg and Squishy. But we’re close to settling on a fall 2015 date for our wedding, and I think I’ve convinced her to come visit in February before we come up with a more permanent plan next summer.
A Big Year
It was also a year of firsts. This summer, I opened my first solo photography exhibit at Paula Geisler’s Common Ground Gallery. I also traveled to Canada for the first time, visiting Niagara Falls. And I finally attended the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta.
Back in New Mexico
Of course, being home in the Land of Enchantment this autumn was amazing. For the first time in 20+ years I visited the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (three times), and was able to photograph the cranes, ducks, geese and other waterfowl there (see the photo at the top of this post). It was an amazing experience, and one I hope to replicate this winter.
I’ve also reconnected with friends and family, including some high-school buddies I hadn’t seen since the 1990s.
Finally, I’ve fallen in love all over again with the trails, parks and wilderness around Silver City.
It was a good year for my camera: we photographed a president, went to a few weddings, and saw America from the beach to the mountains, the desert to the city, and a lot in between. I also opened a print shop. But there were two events in particular that stood out.
The Star-Spangled Spectacular
Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore — which Francis Scott Key witnessed before penning his famous poem — the Spectacular featured naval vessels and tall ships from around the world, and some aerial performances by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.
I spent a few days in downtown Baltimore looking at the ships and awaiting the Angels’ performances, and on the final day of the Spectacular I boarded the Pride of Baltimore II, a replica clipper ship, for a cruise off of Fort McHenry. It was pretty awesome.
Waterfowl at the Bosque
I mentioned this earlier, but it deserves some additional attention — the spectacle was just too incredible. As much as I enjoyed the Blue Angels, they had nothing on the aerial display at the Bosque. I thought I knew what I was doing as I setup my camera one afternoon in early November, but when I saw a few thousand snow geese take flight I realized I was totally unprepared.
Of course, the real delight was the sandhill cranes, with their graceful silhouette and distinctive call. They’re quite a treasure for New Mexico, and something everyone here should see.
Some other favorites
Here are some other images that had some special meaning to me this year.
Of course, this isn’t just a time to reflect, but also to plan for the future. And knowing what I do, but realizing so much is up to fate, I think this photo might sum up my feelings on 2015: I can’t see what’s immediately around the bend in the road, but the horizon certainly looks promising.
Actually, they’re technically called a band, but I think that applies to larger groups maybe? Anyhoo, I saw two of these smaller (almost familial I believe) groups a couple of weeks ago, in Luna County east of U.S. Hwy 180. It was delightful.
Another wonderful sunset in New Mexico tonight. This was out behind Fort Bayard, following a hike to the Big Tree.
It doesn’t get any better than this.