2022 WRAP-UP

Summarizing a year of photography is a daunting task and choosing the best photos of the year seems impossible. If you do choose your favorites and decide to post them, then I wonder if it’s mainly an exercise in self-congratulation. Will the photographer benefit more from the process than the reader? Having said that, I’ll admit that I only wavered for a few minutes before deciding to take a stab at it. I hope you’ll enjoy looking.

So here are some favorites from 2022. Most appeared in the blog this year, some did not. I like posting series of images that tell a story and obviously, this series can’t do that. What I’ve done instead is order the photographs so there’s a flow from one to the next. Below the photographs, you’ll see a summary of the experiences that made this year especially memorable. A slideshow accompanies the story – look for the arrow on the right.

1. Dark-throated Shooting star (Primula pauciflora); Washington Park, Fidalgo Island, Washington.
2. Bull-whip kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana); Deception Pass State Park, Fidalgo Island.
3. Bull-whip kelp; Deception Pass State Park, Fidalgo Island.
4. Lace lichen (Ramalina menziesii) in Spring; Washington Park.
5. Giant white fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum) photographed with intentional camera movement; Washington Park.
6. The Deception Pass bridge in fog, from the Fidalgo Island side.
7. A lichen, probably Eyed Beard (Usnea quasirigida); Anacortes Community Forest Lands, Fidalgo Island.
8. Sunset; Deception Pass State Park.
9. Water vapor obscures walkers and a Canada goose family; Deception Pass State Park.
10. Looking down on a garden of Bull-whip kelp; Deception Pass State Park.
11. A forest path photographed with intentional camera movement; Ginnett Road, Fidalgo Island.
12. Grasses and wildflower seeds photographed with intentional camera movement; Deception Pass State Park, Whidbey Island side.
13. Fog at Mattole Beach; Ferndale, California.
14. A rock at Centerville Beach; Ferndale, CA.
15. Desert detritus; Old Irontown, Utah.
16. A roadside view; Torrey, UT.
17. A view from a trail at Snow Canyon State Park; St. George, UT.
18. Grass seedhead at Kukutali Preserve; Swinomish Indian Reservation, Fidalgo Island.
19. Sunset over the Olympic Mountain Range; Deception Pass State Park.

20. A barely visible bridge in heavy fog; Deception Pass State Park.
21. Wet feather on a rocky shoreline at Washington Park; Fidalgo Island.

*

Photographically, 2022 was a year of honing skills. I focused more on using wide-angle lenses for landscape views than I had in the past and continued experimenting with intentional camera movement. New Lightroom updates made it easy to select subjects, skies, and backgrounds or to lift the atmosphere of an image with colored highlights and shadows. I began using those edits regularly. I became more selective about what to keep and thought about how photography enables us to record scenes so easily that we often forget to consider the potential emotional impact of an image.

Trips always inspire me photographically and this year was no exception, with a memorable spring trip to the Southwest that included visits to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and best of all, Capitol Reef National Park. In October we returned to Humboldt County in northern California. It was good to see that the excellent Airbnb where we’ve stayed before, the local coffee shop, and the Mexican restaurant we like all weathered the pandemic. We explored Redwood forests, drove into the backcountry, and spent peaceful hours on spectacularly lonely beaches.

The biggest events of the year were not the trips though. They centered around the emergence of new life. At the tail end of January, a Northern elephant seal came ashore at my favorite beach and gave birth to her first pup. The area was closed off for months as Elsie Mae (born 4 years ago on a neighboring island) fed her pup, Emerson. In February I saw them and met the people who protect them, working as volunteers with the Central Puget Sound Marine Mammal Stranding Network. I decided to join the volunteers in protecting the seals and educating the public about the first-ever Northern elephant seal born on Fidalgo Island. It was intensely busy and very rewarding. In June, Elsie Mae returned to the area to molt, requiring more hours of volunteering. Then in October, she came ashore for a rest and we wondered if she was pregnant again. Only time will tell.

In April I had a surprise from my son and his girlfriend who announced they were pregnant – with twins! Late in August, two tiny boys came into this world: my first grandchildren. It’s hard to describe how having a grandchild transforms your relationship with your own child. It gives you a very different perspective on your life, their life, and life itself. Holding the babies brought all my parental instincts back in play. Words cannot do it justice!

Sandwiched between the birth of the elephant seal pup and the momentous arrival of my own grandsons, I had an unusual experience in the forest. I was searching for orchids at one of my favorite places here on Fidalgo Island. Alone in the quiet forest, I suddenly heard a loud hissing sound and saw something jump in front of me. Startled, I realized it was a medium-sized bird, wings fully outstretched, and she – it had to be a female – was furious! She was not going to let me go any farther in that direction. I stopped, looked around, and saw two balls of fluff in the moss on the ground! I could see they were Nighthawks but I hadn’t seen a Nighthawk in many years. It was deeply moving to go eye-to-eye with this wild creature in such an unexpected encounter in the heart of the forest. I apologized to her and quickly made several photos while carefully backing away. It was a privilege to see them – this species is declining here and is not normally seen on the island. And here was a healthy Nighthawk and two chicks!

As if to make sure I understood the theme of new life, one day a doe with twin fawns walked through our yard. Then I found something unexpected in a photograph I uploaded. It was August and I had been photographing Bull-whip kelp in the park. Almost hidden in the giant kelp strands was a small, pure white Harbor seal pup! Later I learned that some Harbor seal pups are born prematurely with their lanugo, a white coat they normally lose before birth. I hope the little pup survived! My own grandchildren were also born prematurely and I see their parents devoting themselves to their care. The babies, the elephant seal pup I watched over for months, the tiny Nighthawk chicks, the baby Harbor seal – it’s been a year to take heart in new life.

Slideshow: click the arrow on the right.

***


80 comments

  1. Another beautiful and meaningful post, Lynn. How wonderful that you were able to see new life as a theme for you this yearβ€”wonderful also that you could share that uplifting observation with us. I was happy to see that photographs of bull-whip kelp made the cut of favorites. They certainly are some of my favorite photos that you have taken. Of these, photo #3 is my favorite. I can almost see that long strand waving in the water. Referring to the fifth and sixth photos in the slideshow, I didn’t know that bull-whip kelp were that big! Now I think I like them even more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda! Happy New Year. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for your thoughts about the kelp photos. I have so many! One of these days I’ll do a post about the species. I like them more and more but I feel I hardly know them because I haven’t seen them from an underwater perspective, as a fish or a diver does. This morning I came across info about a woman who’s doing post-doc work at the Univ. of Washington’s Friday Harbor lab (a busy marine facility on a nearby island) on the microbial activity on the surface of the blades and on how ocean warming affects kelp forests. Kelp forests in the Seattle area have declined a lot, probably due to warmer ocean temps. And yes, they are very big algae! I’m glad the little Harbor seal pup showed you. πŸ™‚

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  2. Lynn

    You have captured the true beauty of our amazing environment with your photos and your writing!

    Thank you for sharing YOU with all of us out there somewhere who truly value your writing and photography skill and passion.

    A super Happy New York to you and Joe!

    Phil Sorensen

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • A serene reflection sounds nice, Dave, thank you. No, we should have stopped there but we didn’t! It wasn’t exactly ice cream weather – it snowed one day! – but pie would have been nice. It’s such an outstanding area, isn’t it? Thanks again for stopping by and commenting.

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  3. New life can bring joy – and that’s certainly something anyone can use more of these days, wherever we find it. You were fortunate enough to find many sources! πŸ™‚
    May your next year be filled with more unexpected discoveries.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Deception Pass bridge in fog, from the Fidalgo Island side.
    I think I know this image πŸ™‚

    9. Water vapor obscures walkers and a Canada goose family; Deception Pass State Park.
    I know such a scenery from Sylt, an island in the north of Germany.

    10. Looking down on a garden of Bull-whip kelp; Deception Pass State Park.
    In a way common.

    12. Grasses and wildflower seeds photographed with intentional camera movement; Deception Pass State Park, Whidbey Island side.
    Interesting idea, you once wrote about it

    16. A roadside view; Torrey, UT.
    A temple

    21. Wet feather on a rocky shoreline at Washington Park; Fidalgo Island.
    I think the feather is water-resistable (not water loving). Therefore many many drops.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a pleasure it is to read your thoughts about the photos, Gerhard. Yes, we say water “beads up” on surfaces like the feather that resist water. I was lucky to find that at just the right time, before a breeze or the next tide disturbed it. I like your idea that the roadside view of the rocks is a temple. I did post the photo of the bridge in the fog before so you probably remember it from then.
      Thanks for commenting and I hope 2023 is a creative, exciting year fro you.

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  5. Congratulations on your first grandchildren, Lynn.

    I can only imagine your excitement, in both human offspring as well as the feathered variety. You certainly do have a wealth of opportunity for nature photography on Fadalgo Island.

    Looking forward to a new year filled with many more avian image captures and landscape scenes to share for our enjoyment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Vicki. It’s not a large island but it’s very beautiful and the people who settled here have preserved so much of it. We feel lucky to have found an affordable place to live here so we try to make the best of it! I hope 2023 brings you more healing and more opportunities to get out, Vicki. But I know that whatever it brings, you’ll make the best of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. what a great post for the New Year Lynn, with so much novelty of life captured here. The only thing that remains the same is the supreme quality of your photos – (the wet feather captivated me!) Happy 2023 – and I look forward as ever to more from your blog

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very generous of you, Laura, thank you. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to photograph the feather before it was disturbed by a breeze or the tide. Just goes to show that the more we get out, the better! Thanks for being here!

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  7. Very glad you decided to share your favourites, Lynn. Beautiful. All of them. And a lovely tribute to new life, too. Wishing you and yours all the very best for 2023.

    Happy New Year!

    ✨🎢πŸ₯‚πŸŽ‰πŸŽΆβœ¨

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I hope the coming year will be as good to you as the old year, Miss Blue.
    Twin grandsons…nice, now Grandma and Grandpa won’t have to take turns holding the baby.
    Deception Park and the fog cries for you to revisit it for sure this coming year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I hadn’t thought of that, Don – yes, one for each of us. We just need to get over there and see them! I wish they were a little closer. There’s no question that I will see a lot more of Deception Pass – I was just there gain yesterday. πŸ™‚ I hope you have a very peaceful, happy New Year, Don!

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  9. I know what you mean in wondering whether these exercises are more for the benefit of the photographer than the viewer, but when the photos are as good, and as interesting photographically, as yours, the benefits to the viewer too are clear. I’m so glad you shared your year’s highlights. As always I’ve enjoyed picking favourites, even though it’s hard to do so, and have picked out 5, 13, 20 and 21. Congratulations on the arrival of the twins, and Happy New Year to you all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a nice comment, Sarah, it’s good to know you read the text and understood what I was saying. πŸ˜‰ One always wonders how much just whips past people. And of course, if you like to choose favorites, be my guest! You responded to the darker look, interesting. And the blurred fawn lily, also interesting. I look forward to seeing where your travels take you this year and I hope 2023 treats you and your family very well. πŸ™‚

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      • Yes, the darker ones appealed, being more atmospheric perhaps – although I almost included #18 too! Thank you for the new year wishes – we have travels planned, let’s hope our plans come off!

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  10. A very happy new year to you Lynn! I wish you more nice encounters, more happy moments in nature and with your family and grandchildren! This is a very fine selection you made. I love all of them. Interesting, all your motifs are from nature. And you had so many beautiful encounters with wildlife and pups. It was truly a year for the heart πŸ™‚ Thank you for your wonderful posts and photos, that brings so much joy to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • There could have been images that aren’t of nature but they might not fit well into the post and I wanted a selection that worked together. If I did it today it might already be different! When I saw the photos and thought about summing up the year photographically, I realized that the most important things this year weren’t there. So I wrote the second part. It was so interesting that I had these powerful encounters with newborn animals and birds at the same time my own grandchildren were “in the oven” and then came into the world. Thank you for your support all year…and for the joy you bring to your own blog, which brings joy to me. πŸ™‚ I wish you a creative 2023!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can imagine that the selection changes every time you think about it. Funny actually, that our brain is not fast enough for this task or that the memory comes up with new ideas every time.
        I think your encounters with the pups were no coincidence πŸ™‚ In the oven, haha, we would say something similar here.
        And I wish you a creative 2023 too and many wonderful moments with your grandchildren πŸ™‚

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  11. Isn’t birth and the hope that is always associated with the appearance of a new life the best way to welcome this new year?
    We all feel that 2023 was born wrapped in an evident fragility on several levels, so everything that is positive and can contribute to the feeling of the future is good.
    This is good for the soul and that was the feeling that this post left in me.
    Thank you for sharing this sensitive, emotional and very personal text. And for giving us such beautiful pictures of this mother-nature to which we all belong.
    I wish that 2023 will provide you with everything you want, whether on a personal, family or creative level.πŸ€πŸ₯‚πŸ€—

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a delight to read and view, Lynn. Preparing a year end review, I think, is an important self-reflection/critique vs self-congratulations (although feeling good about creative accomplishments isn’t a bad thing…) Your collection reflects your love of nature and the images often have a delicate, dreamy feel. And it’s clear where your favorite place for photographing is. Your ICM images work beautifully and your travel landscapes are stunning. I loved reading about your Nighthawk encounter and photos, and of course, the joy of welcoming twin boys into your family.πŸ’• Wishing you many more creatively fulfilling moments and fun adventures in the new year! πŸ€—

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, self-reflection is a valuable activity, as is pride in one’s accomplishments. I guess I was reacting to an excess of “selfiness” that one finds on social media. You said delicate & dreamy, someone else said ethereal so we have that straight! πŸ˜‰ I’m glad you enjoyed the text. As impossible as it is to convey the power of what one feels in situations where one meets nature intensely, it’s worth trying to write about it. I wish you plenty of fulfilling times in 2023, too, and I don’t doubt that you will find them! πŸ™‚

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  13. Happy new year Lynn !
    Your 2022 photo gallery capturing life and the natural world is wondrously stirring πŸ™‚
    Beautiful little twin grandsons ! Congratulations all round, their safe arrival must certainly have been the high spot of 2022 x
    I’ve enjoyed looking through your images from hunting the bridge in the fog … intricate lace lichen … that starry ICM pond lily and elli-mae looking so cute .
    I’m very glad you didn’t hesitate in putting your review together .
    Here’s to 2023 and even more power to your lens (es) πŸ“Έ β˜„πŸ’«

    Liked by 1 person

    • Poppy, I was just thinking about you yesterday and then here you are! It’s great to hear from you and thanks so much for your good wishes. It would be SO nice to see a few more posts from your side of the pond, you know? In any case, have a very, very good year!

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  14. A wonderful array of photos. I am particularly moved by #6! And even more importantly, congrats on becoming a grandparent. I can’t wait until my time comes, though I think it will be a while yet . Must be wonderful to hold those two grandkids!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Howard. I can see a certain affinity or resemblance between the foggy bridge photo and photos you’ve made on the OR coast so it makes sense that #6 would appeal to you. πŸ™‚ I thought becoming a grandparent would be a long time coming, too, and I was in no rush because I felt that a certain person needed to mature more. πŸ˜‰ But he really, really has matured and it was a wonderful surprise. It’s a profound experience. Hard to put into words. It’s not that you feel older so much as you get a clear sense of the march of generations, of genetic code passing down, of your child now being an adult. Very moving. πŸ™‚

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  15. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful photos. I guess that sounds a bit trite but it really is a great lift to see one of your posts pop up, like a surprise gift in the mail. Cheers and keep knocking them out of the ballpark.

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  16. As a reader, I look forward to seeing the “best of” photographers ~ especially when they hold a talent I do not have, as it becomes an educational/inspirational process for me. I love. However, the photographer may benefit even more by reviewing and selecting their favorite shots for similar reasons… to understand their style further and take it to an even higher level. As for my favorites, I would have to say Deception Pass has treated you, your camera, and us readers very well this past year πŸ™‚ I wish you the best in ’23!

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  17. This is a fine collection from a fine year of photography, Lynn. I don’t know what it is but I never think in terms of a collections for the year. I can’t say it’s because I don’t look back as I do occasionally share archival images but a year in review I’ve not considered.
    There are a few that I favor here and surprisingly or not they are in subdued lighting. The lichen in number 7 is especially intriguing and I very much like Desert Detritus. Of course the Shooting Star shines in any light. The roadside shot in Torrey with those fantastic wind carved sandstone cliffs is great.

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    • Hi Steve, Your blog is sitting in my email and I’ve put off visiting because I know I’m going to spend too much time there. πŸ™‚ But I’ll get there. Meanwhile, thank you for stopping by and perusing the choices, which would be different today. Do it sometime – I think you’ll decide it was worth it. And there’s no reason why it would have to be done at the turn of the year. The lichen is exceedingly dark but I like the atmosphere and I’m glad you did, too. It’s gratifying to see you mentioned Desert Detritus because that’s a favorite of mine that not many other people have responded to. I was less pleased with the roadside photo from Torry but the beauty of the site makes up a little for the shortcomings in photography. And Shooting stars – oh, it’s going to be nice when spring rolls around again, right? πŸ™‚ Thanks again!

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  18. Such a joyful post, sorry I missed it! Congratulations all over! beautiful images, I can feel the energy of travel and discovery right through them all. Lovely soft tones too. Happy new everything! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, thank you, Cath, that’s so nice to hear. Soft tones are the rule around here for most of the year and I’ve gotten so used to it that I don’t know what to do when the light gets harsh, in summer. πŸ˜‰ It was quite a year. The momma elephant seal did not return to give birth so we figure she has skipped a year, which her own mother is known to do. We expect to see her for her spring molt in May. As for the babies, they will be six months old in 10 days and their poor parents are totally wiped out. But they look healthy!!
      Happy Valentine’s Day!

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  19. I believe annual summaries tell their own kind of story. Like a diary of that year’s internal and external journey. Certainly your summary told several, and I love how you found a common theme. Congrats on your grandbabies! I have 2 step-grands, and I understand what you mean about how it changes one’s perspective.
    In the photo of the nighthawk hissing, it’s away from its nest, correct? The way its wings are splayed on the ground it appears to be feigning injury and acting vulnerable to lure you away from its young. Although it looks plenty fierce. What do you think it was doing? What an amazing experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You may be right about the Nighthawk feigning injury like Killdeers do but it also could have been an attempt to look bigger, more intimidating. No matter what, it absolutely drew my attention away from the nest, which was close by but you had to turn your head away from the female to see it. Of course, I figured out what was up so I quickly looked for them while backing away. I had no trouble finding them, huddled together on the ground. It was a very moving, powerful encounter, made all the more so because it was still and quiet up there – no other humans were around.
      Thanks for your thoughts, Sheri, it’s fun to revisit older posts and read your comments. πŸ™‚ We’re headed to Ancient Lakes – near Vantage – to hike with friends for a few days. If I had time I would try to stop and meet up with you but we’re supposed to meet the group early this afternoon. And the babies live in Issaquah, which we’ll also pass through – very frustrating that we don’t have time to see them!

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    • That’s one of the great things about living where you are. We can’t do that. We could at least go into the mountains but we seldom do. We had a good time but it was chilly and overcast. We saw some great wildflowers and scenery around Dusty Lake. Had very good Mexican food (of course!) one night and excellent burgers at a place called Idle Hour in Quincy the other night. But my favorite discovery was the coffee shop in the ski store in North Bend, which you must know! Really nice sandwich from there, too. πŸ™‚

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      • I just heard on Saturday that Pro Ski serves great sandwiches. I’ll have to check it out. Since I’m not a skiier or climber I don’t generally wander in there, so I hadn’t found out they had a cafe’.
        Glad you found some good places on your trip!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not either – I was searching for a place to stop for good espresso in the area and found it. At first, I thought it might not be much but the reviews made me think otherwise so I tried it. And there’s 30 – 40% off winter jackets now (but they started out very expensive…). πŸ™‚

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