Mary’s Favorite Photos from 2021

Sigh, here we go another year, another tortuous exercise in trying to pick my favorite images. It never gets easier. What surprised me this year, was that many of my images were monochromatic and quite a few had live subjects. I typically go for abstracts, and things that stay stationary so I can really work the angles. Perhaps all the struggle from the last couple of years, means I’m in a phase of creative expansion. At least that is the positive spin I am putting on things as I start 2022 with a large dose of hope and optimism. Here are my top 15 image in no particular order.
The Manta Ray at Bisti Wilderness in New Mexico. It was like walking on another planet, especially with the wind howling and the tops of some of these formations teetering and almost ready to fall. Peter’s blog, Off the Beaten Path: Photographing the Bisti Badlands in New Mexico provides more details about the area.
Image of hat and window at the Castle Dome Mine in KOFA, Arizona. I like thinking about the people and the activities associated with vintage items. Who wore this hat? Why did he leave it at this place so long ago? Peter’s blog provides more information and images: Off the Beaten Path: Photographing the Castle Dome Mine in Quartzsite, AZ.
Strength and Beauty: Desert Series. I’ve been working on a series which questions our biases of what is strong and what is beautiful. Often harsh landscapes are not seen as beautiful, and feminine forms are seen as fragile. This doesn’t have to be the default, there is beauty everywhere, and even things that are perceived as fragile have unexpected strength. This image was taken at the Spiral Labyrinth In KOFA Wildlife Refuge in Quartzsite, AZ.
Sardine Cans at the Gold King Mine in Jerome Arizona. The geometry of simple sardine cans nailed to the exterior wall of a barn. Someone arranged them this way exhibiting the need to express their creativity (or was bored and found something simple to do with an unexpected collection of empty cans).
Old wheel and structure at the Independence Gold Mine in Palmer Alaska. Ghost towns run by the state parks are one of my favorite places to explore. Structures and items are frozen in a state of arrested decay (or creatively “placed” by the park service). This was our second visit to the mine, we planned to stay an hour because of other commitments. We looked up 2 1/2 hours later and realized we were going to be late.
First year grizzly bear cub playing with stump. This photo struck me as nature’s version of a JC Penney portrait studio. I must have made over 30 images of this cub playing with the debris around him. Kodiak Island, Alaska.
Ariel abstract taken from plane en route to Frazer Lake on Kodiak Island Alaska. If I didn’t find flying in small planes so nerve wracking, I might enjoy more opportunities to photograph the land from the sky.
Alaskan sunset taken from plane. Kodiak Island, Alaska.
Abstract made in boat harbor on Kodiak Island, Alaska. I could have easily gone back there each day of our trip to capture the changing colors moving in the water.
Rusted chain made on Homer Spit, in Homer Alaska. There was a pile of large chains taller than me sitting on the side of the road. The challenge was to find some sort of recognizable pattern in the shapes of the links.
Beached canoes at Two Medicine Lake Boat Launch in East Glacier Montana. I kept coming back to this spot over the 3 days we stayed nearby. I loved this subject, the boats, the water, the mountains, the small dock. Its interesting the things that can capture your imagination and hold on to it tight. I asked this guy’s girlfriend if she would stand at the end of the dock for me, she told me her boyfriend was better at modeling and told him to get out there. The whole exchange made me smile.
Beached canoes at Two Medicine Lake Boat Launch in East Glacier Montana.
Image made at the Johnson Covered Bridge in Lancaster Ohio. I’ve been working on a new concept called Spirits. When I see old or abandoned structures, I often wonder about who was there and how they moved through the space. I always imagine that covered bridges have many interesting stories to share if only the old wood could talk.
Quintessential fall in America. Image made at the Hale Farm in Cuyahoga National Park, Ohio.
Strength and Beauty: Desert Series. This is another image in the series mentioned above, although this time I had the fortunate opportunity to have a friend model for me.

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