Watercolor Sunset: The dichotomy between the monochrome of winter against the rich red reflection of the last light on El Capitan is presented on a canvas of rushing water. The rapid movement of the Merced River makes the foreground more dynamic and was only possible at this time of year because it was only two weeks after the river crested over its banks. —Yosemite Valley, California

The Goldfield Show: Carrizo Plain managed a superbloom in 2017 with vast areas absolutely covered in goldfields, fiddlenecks, phacelia, and tidy tips. The sea of yellow was broken up nicely with a patch of foxtail as the sun set on the Temblor Range. —Carrizo Plain National Monument, California

Springtime Wedding Bouquet: Manzanitas don’t typically grow in the valley, so a hike up the walls of the granite affords grand spring time views. Bridalveil Fall cascades off of lower Cathedral Rock and makes this image recognizably Yosemite. —Yosemite Valley, California

Summoning Pollinators to the Forest: The rhododendrons bloom in a counter intuitive fashion. The trees at higher elevations bloom before the lower elevation areas. This swath of rhododendrons in full bloom below the giants shrouded in fog show the redwood forest at its colorful best.–Del Norte Redwoods State Park, California

Marine Heart: The dolomite rocks and soil in the White Mountains of eastern California originated from the calcium deposits from ancient shelled marine organisms. This Bristlecone Pine’s roots moved around harder stones more than a thousand years ago. Since then erosion has uncovered the roots to expose the roots and stones. The twisted roots are reminiscent of sandstone slot canyons of the southwest. —Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, California

Layers of Different Ages: The white dolomite soil of the White Mountains lack nutrients, so the few trees that do manage to eke out a living in it are almost exclusively Bristlecone Pines. No other trees can compete in such poor growing conditions. Even with their extreme age, the mountains are hundreds of millions of years old, and the moon is billions of years old. However, the transient clouds lit up by the setting sun are mere hours old. —Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, California

All Paths Lead to Half Dome: Half Dome is one of the most photographed rocks in Yosemite and the world. While on a four day backpacking trip, I came across this granite outcropping that afforded a view that seemed to truly show the reason for its name. Conditions weren’t quite right on the backpacking trip, so I returned when the clouds seem to have something to say. —Yosemite National Park, California

Speaking to Moses: This lodgepole pine (subspecies Tamarack Pine) struggling in the small of soil it managed to find is a strong example of why this tree dominates the area around this dome. The vivid red light that hit it was courtesy of a thin layer of water vapor at the horizon, and the color made it difficult to think of the tree as ever being green. —Yosemite National Park, California

Smoke and Ice: The Detwiler Fire near Mariposa flooded the skies with smoke, and the particulate matter in the air was hit with the yellow glow of susnet. The final remains of ice floated near the shore mixing with Foxtail pollen and debris caught in the snow from the winter. This gave the lake a solid looking facade and the appearance of a salt flat. —Yosemite National Park, California

Vertical Brush Strokes: Looking for the smaller details can put a photographer into a different mode of seeing. The details of the granite were crisp, while the wind had enough strength to remove this detail into a watercolor style. However, the wind was not strong enough to eliminate the thread of vertical tree trunks that can be found real and reflected throughout.–Inyo National Forest, California

Accurate Calculation and Incomparable Beauty: A total eclipse is difficult to convey through a photograph (or so goes the refrain). Experiencing it first hand with your own eyes leaves an indelible mark. We had the good fortune to witness totality for the first time together and with Tim’s dad. The ability to predict the path of a solar eclipse and understand why it is able to happen only on our planet speaks to the power of accumulated understanding, but pales next to the awe of witnessing it. For those of you who have had the privilege of being in totality and seeing the unique blue light and floating ring of corona, we hope this can bring you back to the moment. For everyone else, 2024 is waiting. —Detroit Lake, Oregon

Offering: The high cliffs of granite in Yosemite provide a huge variety of interesting subjects as long as you are willing to look for them. A colorful sunset left a trace of alpenglow in the background of this water eroded cliff. The layers of rock appeared to be a pair of outstretched hands making an offering to the trees. —Yosemite National Park, California

Moonset over Sky Rock: The moon sets on one of the most impressive displays of petroglyphs with a fresh dusting of snow on the eastern escarpment of the Sierra. —California

Crescent-Lit Textures: The Mesquite Dunes are a popular location and are often covered in footprints. Fortunately, strong winds had just recently cleaned up the dunes to showcase all of the interesting textures that the wind can produce. This clay formation led naturally into the scene and up to the appearing stars as dusk fell to night. A low crescent moon provided the natural lighting to the ground and some wispy clouds streaked across the sky.–Death Valley National Park, California

Volcanic Basket of Holly: The Ubehebe Crater was formed less than a thousand years ago when some magma hit water below the surface of the earth and exploded. It showered the ground with volcanic rock more than a mile from its origin and exposed some beautiful geology. Holly and creosote survive in the arid rocky soil, but this holly plant seemed to be appropriate foreground on this cold Christmas morning.–Death Valley National Park, California

  • Favorites from 2017
  • Another year has passed and 2017 proved to be quite eventful for California.  Record precipitation was met with record fires. We explored new areas of the state and found new stories in our favorite haunts. Our first total solar eclipse was amazing to behold, and we are looking forward to the next American eclipse in 2024. Rather than blather for too long, we will just present our favorite photographs from 2017. Click on the photo below to see the slideshow in temporal order. From now until January 15th we will offer 20% off any prints from these favorites. If you saw them at a festival and were thinking about it, now is your best chance!

    ~Tim and Dori