My Favorite 10 Images of 2023

Every year, I compile my ten favorite images of the year. These aren’t necessarily my best images, but my favorite because of various reasons. It may be the quality, but more likely it is the memory of a fun trip or just an impressive location. I am really late getting to this list this year as I have been crazy busy with work and hadn’t finished my editing from last year.

My photography has seen a slow decline over the past few years, and this year I am finally ready to admit that photography has taken a back seat to travel for me. As my kids get older, travel has become much more about the adventure and experience and it also wipes me out so I am not as willing to get up early for sunrises or abandon the family for sunsets and astro. In fact, I didn’t take a single photography trip in all of 2023. Most of the chances I got to make images were during our two weeks in Ireland and they make up the bulk of this years’ images. The other two are from a camping trip in Utah. There were some finalists from an Oregon trip and the Columbia River Gorge and Mexico and a few other places, but I didn’t get lucky with good lighting. 2024 will be a rebound year I hope.

To see some of my past top 10 images of previous years, check out these links: 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012.

#10-Dunloe Gap

This first image was made at the Gap of Dunloe in Killarney, Ireland. This spot was not far from the first house we rented in Ireland. After a day in Cork, we had time to squeeze in a stop here for the sunset. While the sunset was a complete dud, the setting was completely beautiful and an enjoyable evening except for all the bugs. I had a number of shots I really liked from this night, but I couldn’t choose which one to include so Mallory made the choice for me.

#9-Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher were a bit of a let down from the top. We were there in terrible light and the view from the top doesn’t do the size justice. In the evening, though, we took a boat tour, which is where the the cliffs really became magical. We also saw a bunch of jellyfish and a couple puffins, which was an added bonus. This image was my favorite from the boat tour because of the contrast in light.

#8-Dunluce Castle

The ruins of this castle were some of my favorite in all of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The ruins are huge and spread along the cliffside featuring all kinds of photographic interest. Unfortunately, visiting hours didn’t correlate to good light so I did the best composition I could make and let the flat light be what it was.

#7-Kanab Sand Caves

My first non-Ireland/Northern Ireland image comes in at number 7. These awesome caves are located in southern Utah. I was able to stop by for a couple hours on a trip to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. The caves are pretty cool, but they were crowded with people. To make this image, I had to take a series of several images and blend them together to remove all the people continually walking through the scene. I also had to have a lot of patience waiting to avoid the largest groups.

#6-Ballintoy Harbour

We are back to Northern Ireland for this shot of Ballintoy Harbour. I spent quite a bit of time shooting down at the Harbour as there was beautiful coastline. Frankly, I am shocked this is the one that made the cut as the rock formations and tides made for some really cool images, but all had such boring skies with no clouds, I couldn’t love them. On this one, I liked the colors and the white cliffs.

#5-The Dark Hedges

Staying in Northern Ireland for this one too. We only spent a few days in Northern Ireland, but our rental property was in a great location and the family was pretty burned out so I forced myself to go out each night for a couple hours of shooting. This night, I must have been pretty tired too because I forgot my tripod and my extra battery so I only had about 15 minutes to shoot handheld at the famous Dark Hedges. Luckily, I came away with a few I liked. This one does not include the best section of trees, but I like the sun star in it.

#4-Ballintoy Church of Ireland

One last image from Northern Ireland before we head back down to Ireland. This church sits above the harbour and just down the hill from our rental house. Our first night in town, I drove down the street just at sunset and found a sheep with hills leading to the church.

#3-Doonagore Castle

This castle was just down the street from our rental house in Doolin. Although you can see it from most of the area, we first stumbled across it on accident while trying to find our way down to the coast. When I had some short time free before sunset, I made sure to head back. This was the only location during our time in Ireland where I was surrounded by other photographers. Pretty sure there was a workshop that joined me on the hill overlooking the castle for the sunset. I had others with better colors as the sun dropped lower, but once again, I am a sucker for a sun star.

#2-Milky Way at Piute State Park

This is the only other non-Ireland/Northern Ireland image to make my list this year. This is also the only milky way shot I took all year. We spent one night camping along the lake short at Piute State Park. We got lucky with good conditions to see lots of stars so as we were sitting around the fire and the stars came out, I had to find the milky way and make some images. This was my favorite of night.

#1-Torc Waterfall

The waterfalls in Ireland we saw weren’t nearly as impressive as the ones in the Columbia River Gorge I shot this year, but the setting and lighting were much better, which led to an image I liked much better. I am a sucker for a good waterfall so its no surprise to have one at the top of my very subjective list.

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