Saying 2016 was a horrible and forgettable year is a trendy thing to say and I won't follow suit. I will say this year has been bittersweet. Yes it was a painful and unsettling year but it was also a time of experiencing many wonderful and unforgettable things. As my wife Heidi's fight with stage IV breast cancer continued to progress we were able to make some great memories as a family, and go on some spectacular trips like our bucket-list trip to Alaska to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Another unforgettable aspect of this year was experiencing the amount of love and care that was showered on our family throughout the year. Be it meals, childcare or other practical needs met to just simply loving on our family in this tough time I am so grateful and humbled by it all.
With that said here are some my favorite photos from 2016 in no particular order. I hope you enjoy them.
And one more bonus image for sentimental reasons, mainly because I didn't think we would get to take this photo. Back in June Heidi's doctor gave her 90 days to live after they found the cancer had moved to her brain and spine. She well outlived that prognosis and all the ones they gave her afterwards. In October we were able to squeeze in one more trip to see the Sierra fall colors up by Mammoth and Bishop before Heidi got too weak to travel. On the last day heading home she was awake enough, and the girls cooperated enough to get the picture below. Photographically speaking it's not the greatest image but personally it meant so much to get this fleeting moment documented forever.
So here's to 2016 and the hope of better 2017 to come.
El Niño may not have hit Southern California like the experts thought it would this winter, but we still get our occasional storms. This picture captured a break in a winter storm near Malibu, California.
Reflecting on this year and its many highs and lows is a good reminder that life rarely goes the way you want it. Our trip to Yosemite in the Tuolumne Meadows region this past summer is a good example of having to readjust.
My wife, Heidi, and I planned our first backpack together in seven years for the Fourth of July weekend. It was to mark the new chapter in our lives, especially Heidi's for beating breast cancer the previous year. Our plans changed though as Heidi started experiencing significant back pain the months prior to our planned trip. She was no longer able to sleep on the ground or carry a backpack over miles of rugged terrain. So, our backpack turned into an exploration of the Tuolumne region and other points of interest in the Eastern Sierras. It was a great trip even though it didn't go as planned.
Little did we know at the time that this trip was just the beginning of our 'readjustments.' A month later we learned that the source of Heidi's back pain was the return of her cancer. It had metastasized and was now growing in her lower back. The months since have been challenging, dealing with the emotions of an illness of this magnitude and readjusting to life with cancer ... again. In the midst of it all we hold onto the hope that God is still in control of the whole situation. We have already been overwhelmed by an amazing amount of help and support from family, friends and even strangers that has been truly humbling.
Looking beyond the cancer challenge of 2015, here are my 10 best pictures from the year, in no particular order.
Bodie is a ghost town just off of highway 395 about 75 miles south of Lake Tahoe. Because of it's location in a dry cold high-altitude climate it's surprisingly well preserved. As a state park, and the Bodie foundation there is constant work to keep the structures as they were when they were abandoned.
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Looking back on our trip to Yosemite back in July it seems like a lifetime ago. We entered Yosemite from the East entrance through Tioga Pass to explore the Tuolume Meadows portion of the park. Little did we know we were going witness a very cold summer storm all weekend. Or first photo stop was at Olmstead Point where I was hoping to get a sunset shot of Half Dome. We found this fast moving storm filling the valley instead. Less than 30 minutes from when the image was shot we were completely enveloped in a cloud.
Here's another photo from our family trip to Colorado, specifically this one was taken in Steamboat Springs. While we were doing our family photoshoot with Heidi's cousin, Kel Elwood we had a pocket of sunlight break through the storm clouds that produced this moment.
Last month we had wonderful family trip driving through Colorado visiting family. We capped off the trip with a photo shoot with Heidi's cousin in Steamboat Springs on a stormy afternoon. I pulled out my camera while the girls were being photographed and caught this moment.
I can't believe it took me so long to photograph this fascinating lake. It seems like every California-based outdoor photographer has the obligatory Mono Lake images.
I have driven by it countless time on my many treks up and down highway 395, but the timing never worked out to spend any significant time there. After spending two days there and can see why it's such a popular place to photograph and explore. Definitely a must-visit if you are traveling through the Eastern Sierras.