The Best 2016

Every Image has a Story


It’s that time of year where we post images which we think represent our body of work from the past year, the Best of the Best.  Usually limited to 12 images, one from each month, it’s really hard to decide which moments from our life to include, which images really speak to us.

Because I’ve been blessed to be able to travel extensively this year, I’ve chosen the images that tell a story.  If you’re on my Facebook page, you’ve read some of these stories, laughed at my silly videos, hopefully been inspired to get off the grid and into the world to live your life larger than you ever have, to find your True North, to become the person you’ve always dreamed of being.

I’ve traveled through eighteen states this year, from the foggy West Coast, through the hot dry desert, up into the Rocky Mountains, the Smoky, very smoky, mountains, finally ending up back home after ten years living in Reno just 25 miles from Lake Tahoe, in Sunny, hot, humid South Florida.  I thought I might stay in Florida, but the mountains are calling me, there’s more to see, more stories to tell, more beautifully brilliant light filled with vivid color to witness and share.

Post processing for the best image


Over the years, I’ve gone from shooting ten or so rolls of film on vacation, being careful not to waste space because processing 36 photos plus the cost of the film was $15, to 500 photos a day thanks to the digital age, where we shoot from every possible angle, at every reasonable setting, sometimes in threes for HDR, (how much storage do you have?), to a much more reasonable between 10 to 50 at sunset, if the light keeps changing, finding a few perspectives which use the color in the sky to the best advantage. What a relief for me and the storage drive on my computer, which after 3 years of collecting images, is really getting full.  Time to delete.  

Which takes more time than you think, because there’s a possibility that you missed something the first time around, or you’ve learned something new about how to edit.  So, you need to look at your files before you delete the 500 you took on the Lake in August of 2011, or the 800 you brought home from Italy.  Trust me, it’s very time consuming.  

But…imagine when you start bringing some of the images up in Raw, using new techniques, and create a much better image than your first version.  I started processing images in Jpeg in Photoshop 2.0 in 2006.  I switched to RAW files in 2012, and upgraded to Photoshop CC last December. I’ve read tutorials, played with settings, and finally gotten a good handle on how to get the most out of a photo.  Take for example the photos in this series.  The first one, above, is an image that has a beautifully balanced histogram. I darkened the highlights a bit, lightened the shadows, and voila’, a lovely sunset.


The next photo is a longer exposure which was done to soften the slight movement in the water, making the surface of the Lake looked dreamy.  But with a longer exposure, the highlights blow out a bit, and you lose the color around the area where the sun is setting.  So, to make myself happy, I took the sky from the first photo, and copy/pasted it over the sky on the longer exposure to create the image below.  I think.  It’s all subjective, isn’t it?  Now if I had taken one photo in RAW, I probably would have been happy with the image.  But when you’re shooting water, sometimes that dreamy look goes a long way.  What do you think?  


Endings and Beginnings

2013 was a year of turmoil for me on a personal level, but in the midst of gaining insight into life and love, I was blessed to be able to travel from Alaska to Hawaii, from Yellowstone to Florida.  It was windier than hell and I had the flu in Hawaii, my house in Florida had bees inside and out which pooped honey all over the plantation shutters just a few days before finally selling.  It rained almost everyday in Alaska, where my son and I extended our trip to celebrate his 25th birthday to fish for halibut, experiencing what seemed like 20 foot seas, catching one fish which equated to 6 pounds of dinner.  I made it into Yellowstone for three hours, then was barred from entering again with millions of other people by the government shutdown, and finally returned home to my native state to enjoy some sun and fun with my friends and family.  I’m truly glad that 2013 is over, but I have to admit, even with Murphy’s Law rearing it’s ugly head over and over again, it was an incredible adventure, and I’m ready to do it all over again.  Well, maybe not the part with the bees.

Here are my favorite photos from this year, a year of unexpected craziness.

Cherry Blossoms, Reno, Nevada
Cherry Blossoms, Reno, Nevada
Sunset on 62nd Lane, West Palm Beach, Florida
Sunset on 62nd Lane, West Palm Beach, Florida
Gradient Orange
Gradient Orange Sunset over Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Porcelain Geyser Basin sunset
Porcelain Geyser Basin, Yellowstone. The night before the government shutdown.
Silver Lining Sunset over Lake Tahoe, Nevada
On Golden Spooner 96dpi
On Golden Spooner, Spooner Lake, Nevada
Aspen Jack
Aspen Jack, Nevada
West Fork Carson River Autumn
West Fork of the Carson River Autumn Colors, Nevada
Rainbow Inflation Great Reno Balloon Race
Rainbow Inflation Great Reno Balloon Race
Ice Skating Rink Canadian Geese Washoe 0213©DottyMoltPhotography2013
Canadian Geese Ice Skating Rink Washoe Lake, Nevada