2014 — In Review

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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).

Life Events

My nephew Bowen, the cutest kid in New Mexico.

My nephew Bowen, the cutest kid in New Mexico.

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!

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

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.

On the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara.

On the Canadian side of the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara.

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.

The 2014 International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.

The 2014 International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque.

Back in New Mexico

Golden Hour in New Mexico

Golden Hour 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.

One of the many sunsets I've been privileged to see since I moved back in October.

One of the many sunsets I’ve been privileged to see since I moved back in October.

Fun Photography

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

The Diamond

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.

Flight of the Snow Geese.

Flight of the Snow Geese.

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.

 Looking ahead

The Road Ahead.

The Road Ahead.

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.

Friday Flickr Foto Dump: Air Show Edition

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Four Fighters
I attended the Joint Service Open House at Andrews Air Force Base this past weekend, my first show in at least a decade and possibly 15 years. My family used to love air shows: my mom would take us to the Amigo Air Show in El Paso pretty often, while my pops would take us to the open house at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo.

Angelic I’ve long been a fan of airplanes in general, and those early air shows fostered a keen respect for military aircraft as well. A friend and I would pour over volumes of Jane’s Alll the World’s Aircraft checking out the latest Russian, European and American fighters. We’d play flight sims on our old 386 – crudely rendered, but immensely fun for us.

It was in that spirit that I attended the JSOH this past Saturday, especially because of the promised fair: a B-2 flyby, the Blue Angels team, and an F-22 demonstration. I was stoked.

The Navy, Air Force and civilian pilots did not disappoint. I watched World War II fighters employ impeccable precision, and stunt pilots complete unbelievable maneuvers. The Blue Angels were amazing, and though I’ve seen the Thunderbirds perform several times the control exhibited by the Navy fliers was unmatched.
The highlight of the day, however, was the fighter performance. Beginning with an F-15, a remarkable jet that long held the position of World’s Best Fighter, the crowds were treated to a stunning display of power and flight. It continued with the F-22 Raptor, America’s latest entry into the air-superiority game. Though I decry the tremendously over-priced program and question the need for so many of the jets, they sure can fly. I watched the pilot hold his position in vertical and horizontal space, turn on less than a dime, and basically perform acrobatic maneuvers with the grace of an Olympian.
Angels Four Fighters II Fat Albert

Break! Two Up/ Two Down

F-35 Lightning II