Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 in photos, part 1

Each December I have a tradition of picking my 12 favorite photos of the year, one for each month, as a year-in-review exercise. This year was particularly difficult because 2010 has been such a dynamic year that simply picking pretty photos to summarize each month doesn't really achieve the reflection I'm looking for. So I'm doing a two-part series. Part one is simply my favorite photos of each month. This doesn't mean these photos are technically or aesthetically the best (as I begin to dabble with better equipment, I'm finally starting to understand just how limited my scratched-lens Olympus Stylus camera really was.) No, these photos are simply my favorite for various reasons. For part 2, I picked photos that I believe best represent the events of the month — the photos that capture my thoughts and impressions now that the year is done. Look for that post soon.

January, "Hell Storm:" A fierce winter gale whips a fury of snow near the wooden cross on Mount Roberts in Juneau. I like this photo because it reminds me of the incredible windstorms I often experienced during my mountain excursions in Southeast Alaska.

February, "Summer in February:" My friends mull whether to ascend West Peak again or drop over the cornice to the right while hiking on Juneau's Hawthorne Ridge during a warm 50-degree afternoon in late February. I like the snowshoe prints down the face of the peak, as well as the highlights on the snow that betray the balmy nature of the day despite the wintry landscape.

March, "My Back Yard:" My last residence in Juneau was perched near the shoreline of Fritz Cove, so this scene was literally the view from my back yard. I took this photo in the late morning just as the fog started to lift over Auke Bay, revealing this floating dock and the tip of an island ridge.

April, "Moving North:" While driving from Skagway to Anchorage, I made a spontaneous stop to hike Gunsight Mountain. I took this photo from a saddle below the peak, overlooking the Chugach Mountains and a frozen river to the south.

May, "Bold Ptarmigan:" My stay in Southcentral Alaska was brief but rich with experiences. By May I was already grappling with the prospect of moving away from Alaska and often went on long solo excursions to process my thoughts. I took this photo of a curious ptarmigan on Bold Ridge near Eklutna Lake during a long afternoon of mountain biking and ridge hiking.

June, "Cordova:" I took this photo of a stream near the Copper River during a solo bike trip to Cordova. I like the textures in this photo as well as the dramatic sky (in fact, most of these photos I picked for the skies.)

July, "St. Mary Fire Lookout:" Evening descends over St. Mary Peak during a quick after-work hike with Dave. This photo represents everything I loved about my early days in Montana: the truly big skies, dry trails, rich light and warm summer nights.

August, "TransRockies:" Keith rolls over the Continental Divide, crossing from British Columbia into Alberta during stage three of the 2010 TransRockies bicycle race. Again, fun mixture of shadows and light on the alpine tundra, in a truly incredible place to ride a bicycle.

September, "Glacier Traverse:" Danni is dwarfed by the Rocky Mountains in Glacier National Park during a huge 25-mile, 12,600-feet-of-climbing, cross-country traverse of a ridge in the southeastern corner of the park. This hike with my Kalispell friends (Danni, Dave and Brad) ranks as one of my top five favorite excursions of the year, with the 50 miles of the Bear 100, bike trip to Cordova, 140-mile Denali Highway Classic and White Mountains 100.

October, "The Last Day of Summer:" Beat descends Lolo Peak into a blaze of autumn-gold larch trees on an unseasonably warm day in early October.

November, "Golden Hour in Frog Hollow:" One of the best things about participating in a 25-hour race is that you get to see the dynamic ways light and shadows change the landscape over the course of a day. This is the sunset lap during the 25 Hours in Frog Hollow, near Hurricane, Utah.

December, "Dressed in White:" Beat hikes down the frost-coated University Mountain during an afternoon run. Missoula, like Alaska, doesn't see all that much sunlight in the winter, so any rare appearance of the sun has a tendency to bring on a blissful sort of outdoor mania.