Best Photographs of 2017

January 4th, 2018 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

David Leland Hyde’s Own Favorite Photographs of the Year

The end of 2017 blasted right by and I almost missed the 11th Annual Blog Project: Your Best Photographs of the Year hosted by Jim Goldstein at JMG Galleries Blog. However, having participated every year since 2010, I refuse to quit now. At least this year most of my best images are lined up in select folders, making them easier to gather. Soon Jim will be making his follow-up blog post with the list of all of the “best of the year” blog posts from all of the participating photoblogs. I believe one year there were over 300 blogs participating.

My photographs below are all single-exposure, no bracketing, no HDR, no blends. I am not against these processes per se, but I find I do my strongest, simplest work without them. Particularly when photographing people, in the field I work intuitively, often slowly, but with faster lurches when necessary. My nature images come from a deeper, tranquil place, though I am developing a rougher and quicker approach to post-processing and in time plan to present work with more grain and noise, especially in street, industrial and some abstract scenes.

I develop my work in the digital darkroom much the way traditional film photographers like my father, conservation photography pioneer Philip Hyde, did in the wet darkroom. I alter most images little, doing the usual dodging and burning, or lightening and darkening, plus controlling contrast, shadow, highlight intensity, vibrance and saturation as mildly and tastefully as possible with similar aesthetics to traditional darkroom methods. However, I generally have much more control over all areas of the image and the resulting archival color or black and white prints.

Grizzly Peak From Near Nelson Street Bridge, Northern Sierra, California.  I have been photographing this view for many years. With a digital camera in this spot it is a bit challenging to get both the whole field and mountain sharp. Though still not completely perfect, this is one of the more pleasing and most appealing in print form of the photographs I have made here. The black and white prints also look good.

Indian Head Across Indian Valley, Northern Sierra, California. In early April, we had a beautiful snowfall of about 8-10 inches combined with spectacular clearing storm clouds. I spent most of the day photographing around Indian Valley, but this photograph near the end of the day when most of the clouds were gone I liked best.

Sunset, Ridge Lakes, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Cascade Range, California. After checking out the annual summer art show at the Visitor’s Center, I took this short, steep hike to catch Ridge Lakes after they had calmed for the evening, but lingered a bit too long and had to finish the end of my hike back to the Sulphur Works in the dark.

Eclipse Day Sundown and Catamarans on the Shore of Bucks Lake, Bucks Lake Wilderness, Northern Sierra, California. I have intended to photograph Bucks Lake for some time. The day of the eclipse, not long after the Minerva Fire, the light was unusual. I explored a number of areas around Quincy including downtown, Spanish Creek, Greenhorn Creek and finally up through Meadow Valley to the Bucks Lake Wilderness.

Aspens in Breeze, Thompson Lake, Bucks Lake Wilderness, Northern Sierra, California. Later in the evening on Eclipse Day, I stopped at Thompson Lake and made a few images before sunset and then stopped again later after sunset for this photograph and a few others in twilight.

Ranch on North Side of Sierra Valley, Northern Sierra, California. This photograph was another from a full day of great clouds from a clearing storm in Sierra Valley. I photographed a number of the ranches, found some unusual perspectives of the valley and wound up at sunset at the Beckwourth Barn complex.

Kettle Rock, Hosselkus Creek, Genesee Valley, Spring, Northern Sierra, California. Late in 2016, the Palmaz Family, new owners of the Genesee Valley Ranch, gave me an assignment to photograph the Genesee Store ‘Before’ and ‘After’ historical renovation. While working on this assignment and having the family acquire other images as prints, I began making many more images of Genesee Valley from angles and locations I had not yet tried. Fortunately, between these photographs and the many I have made going back to 2009, I was ready when the Palmaz Family began asking me for images to use in promoting the renovated Genesee Store, Genesee Valley Ranch, Brasas Beef Club and Genesee Valley in the Palmaz Vineyard in Napa, California. This is just one of many of my photographs the various Palmaz brands will use online, in social media, print advertising and for other promotional uses.

Fall, Indian Rhubarb in Spanish Creek, Northern Sierra, California. Finally this year I made quite a few Indian Rhubarb images worth keeping.

Evening Sun, Grizzly Ridge Across Genesee Valley, Northern Sierra, California. This was one of the photographs that the Palmaz Family liked both as an archival fine art digital print they hung in the winery and to license for use in promoting Palmaz brands.

Creamery, Tall Grass, Genesee Valley, Spring, Northern Sierra, California. One lazy summer day while wandering around in the pasture photographing cows with the mountains as backdrop, I discovered this view of the Creamery between the apple trees in late afternoon light. It will add a bit of a historic feel to my California Barns Portfolio.

Genesee Store, Front Entrance, Winter, Genesee, California. I processed this image into a number of versions that each make it look old in a different way. The designers made the new Genesee Store logo from this photograph.

‘Skute or Die’ Boxcar, Sky and Sage, Sierra Valley, Northern Sierra, California. On the same special clearing storm day in Sierra Valley, I found a string of old boxcars newly “painted” by graffiti artists.

Lady Looking and Boy With Camera, Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California. After spending the night in San Francisco’s Marina District nextdoor, I arrived at the Palace of Fine Arts just after sunrise. An advertising film crew already set up in the middle of the main arch were chewing up pixels of two models together: an early 30s lady and a boy around eight years old. The director kept telling the boy to point and make photographs, or for the lady to point and the boy to make photographs, but the poses they made naturally were much better than “the look” the director was going for, whatever that was.

Jeep and View From Kettle Rock, Northern Sierra, California. My lifetime friend and next door neighbor took two of his sons and a few of their friends and me in his jeep up to the lookout on Kettle Rock. When we left the Jeep to hike the last several hundred feet, the Jeep with mountains all around it, looked like the ideal Jeep advertisement.

Steer Riding, Taylorsville Junior Rodeo, Taylorsville, California. Having grown up around the Taylorsville Silver Buckle Rodeo, for years I have wanted to try photographing the rodeo. My chance came when I heard the Junior Rodeo was on at a time I could get away. I made a lot of photographs of the people around the rodeo, but getting good action photos proved more challenging. This is one that came out fairly well, though I wish I had been more in front of the steer. Notice the only thing not in motion in the whole frame is the rider’s boot. There will be other rodeos other years for practice.

Two Bareback Riders, Indian Creek, Taylorsville Junior Rodeo, Taylorsville, California. During the Taylorsville Junior Rodeo the smoke from nearby forest fires was thick, which made the light good for photographing the young people riding bareback in the river.

Cowboy Leading Horses, Indian Creek, Taylorsville Junior Rodeo, Taylorsville, California. The July forest fire light helped make this photograph and others as an assortment of rodeo participants and observers paraded in and out of the water to cool off their animals.







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  1. No words, other than perfect shooting, so surreal!

  2. Thank you, Beverly. I appreciate your comment.

  3. Mark says:

    With most of your picks from Northern CA this year, you provide a beautiful glimpse at what the landscape,life and exploration has to offer this year David. My best wishes to you for 2018 and continued adventures my friend.

  4. Always appreciate your observations, Mark. I don’t have as much opportunity to capture as much as I would like, but these represent some of the times I did look through a camera at the world. Hope you have a fulfilling 2018 as well. One of these years would love to have you come visit and see this area for yourself… 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing David ! Loved the collection. My favorite is Grizzly peak shot. I need to explore this part of California more 🙂
    A very Happy New Year to you!

  6. Hi Shikha, welcome to Landscape Photography Blogger. I am grateful for your visit to my blog and my yearly favorites post. Hope you have a new year filled with great photography opportunities. I see on your website homepage you have photographed Burney Falls and Mt. Shasta, so you have been in my general region, not too far from my home. You are welcome to visit. I could give you a tour. I also would like to come visit India… 🙂

  7. Hugh Sakols says:

    My favorites this year include the Box Car and Indian Rhubarb. The Eclipse Day photos are mysterious yet colorful. Have a healthy and productive new year.

  8. Hi Hugh, Great to see you check out my “best of” post again this year. I appreciate you reading my blog. Hope you have a worthwhile new year in the outdoors as good as any of your past adventurous years… 🙂

  9. Gary Crabbe says:

    Some really wonderful images, David. I especially love the evening light, the creamery, and the view over the Northern Sierra from Kettle Rock, the Grizzly Peak and Sierra Valley shots. Here’s wishing you a fantastic 2018, my friend.

  10. Many thanks, Gary. To have someone with the trained eye you have compliment my images feels good. Glad to have your input. Hope your 2018 is a banner year… 🙂

  11. Linda westwood says:

    We are surrounded in beauty in Plumas County, but your area especially encompassing beautiful mountains and lakes, streams and fields, gives you an endless supply of beauty and nature to capture. You do it well. Love your photos!

  12. Hi Linda, welcome to Landscape Photography Blogger. Thank you for your support here and on Facebook. Plumas County and my area of it in particular has been the perfect place to hone my craft and enjoy getting outdoors. Besides nature though, I enjoy street photography, people, industrial and abstract most of all, or anything that is hard to put in a category. Happy New Year!

  13. Rachel Cohen says:

    Really lovely images David! I especially love the mountainous landscapes! Have a wonderful new year! 🙂

  14. Appreciate you visiting and taking the time to comment, dear Twitter friend, Rachel. Hope you have a new year filled with more beautiful photography of your home state, Michigan, one of my favorites.

  15. Richard Wong says:

    I love seeing the photos of your local area, David. You live in a beautiful yet relatively unknown area of California.

  16. Thanks Richard, you are welcome to come visit and see it and photograph it for yourself, when you get an opportunity one of these days between being a new parent and everything else. Look forward to seeing more of your family photos in 2018.

  17. Russ Bishop says:

    You definitely took advantage of the local beauty in this varied collection, David. I’m glad to see you had another great year, and wishing you all the best in 2018!

  18. Hi Russ, Yes, and that’s just in the photograph of the pretty model in San Francisco… (rim shot) I don’t seem to get out as much or as far as you and many others do in general, but I do feel lucky to live in this amazing place and be surrounded by beauty all year long. All the best to you for another great new year as well… 🙂

  19. Capturing a culture in the at this very moment regularly implies shooting the convergence of the present with the past.

  20. One should utilize the camera just as tomorrow you’d be stricken visually impaired.

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