Sunday, January 5, 2014


Apparently some of the most stressful life events include changing jobs, planning a wedding, and moving. Well 2013 was a fairly busy year for me since I did all three of those things. But I wouldn't change a second of it, since it was probably the best year of my life. I even found some time to get the camera out and take a few pictures. So here is a quick look back at last year, and some of my favorite pictures taken on trips in Arkansas and a few other states...

Capitol One
January 29: Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Old State House is one of the oldest buildings in Little Rock, and it is surrounded by tall oak trees. Taking this picture reminded me of the time my family headed down to the Old State House in 1992 to watch Bill Clinton's election night victory party. But then I had the sudden realization that this happened 20 years ago, which made me feel old.

Cedar Creek
February 23: Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas.
The trail to Cedar Falls is one of the prettiest, and popular, hikes in the state. This was taken on a cold winter afternoon, as the setting sun cast a golden glow above the creek.

Shadows And Tall Trees
April 7: North Little Rock, Arkansas.
It's amazing that the tall trees in Riverfront Park in North Little Rock are there, that they managed to survive for decades without being torn down and replaced with buildings or parking lots. I liked this angle, where the tree seemed to tower over the city across the river.

November 21: Little Rock, Arkansas.
One time this year I rushed to drive out to the state capitol, hoping to get a few pictures of it with some interesting clouds in the background. I parked and got the camera out, only to discover that I managed to forget all of the memory cards in the camera bag. Luckily that didn't happen on this trip, when the capitol was shrouded in a thick fog.

November 3: San Francisco, California.
So in 2013, my beautiful wife and I decided to get married. And so we did, at the end of October. We went to California for the honeymoon (so be ready for several more pictures from the trip below). This is Fort Point, an old Civil War fort that was built to protect the San Francisco Bay area. It's an interesting place, since you don't see too many Civil War forts with the Golden Gate Bridge towering above them.

September 1: Hagarville, Arkansas.
A summer thunderstorm was dropping some menacingly large bolts of lightning when I stopped to take this picture in the metropolis of Hagarville (population 129). In the center of town sits an old store and duplex, long abandoned and fading away.

July 21: Near Roland, Arkansas.
This field of sunflowers is close to Little Rock, only about ten miles from Pinnacle Mountain. I drove out there after work one day, and tried to take some pictures while not getting stung by any bees (there were a lot of bees out there).

Remember The Alamo Square
October 29: San Francisco, California.
After some initial problems with United Airlines, we finally arrived in San Francisco to start the honeymoon. One of the places we visited was Alamo Square, which has one of the most famous views of the city. It's also famous because this is the view shown in "Full House," so there were several people there singing the shows theme song and/or getting it confused with "Step By Step." It's a popular place, and I had to wait awhile to get a view without any people laying in the grass.

Alley Spring
October 5: Alley Spring, Missouri.
About 81 million gallons of water gush out of the spring every day, making it the 8th largest spring in the Ozarks. The water from the spring has a really deep blue color, thanks to suspended particles of limestone and dolomite. The spring is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways, and I was afraid we wouldn't be able to see it during this trip. This was taken during the federal government shutdown, and all of the campgrounds and access points nearby were closed. But luckily Alley Mill and Spring were open, which are worth the long drive up into Missouri to see them.

Buffalo River
July 27: Buffalo National River, Arkansas.
This was taken at the foot of Roark Bluff, along the Buffalo River. This is one of my favorite places to take pictures. This is also just a few feet away from the spot where I proposed to my girlfriend. Luckily, she said yes and I didn't drop the ring in the river.

Golden Gate Bridge
October 30: San Francisco, California.
San Francisco is an amazingly beautiful city, and seeing this view was one of the highlights of the trip. To get here we got to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. And after the sun set, we drove back into the city and had some of the best pizza I've ever eaten (Tonys Pizza Napoletana, near Telegraph Hill).

Boxley Valley
July 27: Buffalo National River, Arkansas.
The Boxley Baptist Church was built in 1899, and is probably one of the most photographed buildings in the Ozarks. It's a neat old building in a great setting, so I didn't hesitate in taking a few more pictures of it when I had the chance.

November 2: Yosemite National Park, California.
This is the view of Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point. Along the way there, I thought it would be a neat idea to hike the short mile-long trail to Taft Point. What I failed to take into consideration was the altitude there, which is only about 7,000 feet higher than what I'm used to. After getting back to the car, I was thrilled that you can pretty much just drive right up to the overlook at Glacier Point.

Sam's Throne
July 26: Sam's Throne, Ozark National Forest, Arkansas.
It was a strange summer here, being a bit cooler than normal (with only a handful of days over 100). I drove up to Sam's Throne one night after work to camp. It had rained earlier that day, and there was fog drifting through the valley below like a snake in water. At dusk the fog rose up, and then turned pink and purple as the sun set.

Apple Lake
November 10: Dagmar Wildlife Management Area, Arkansas.
This is another one of my favorite places to take pictures. It's a neat area with swamps and lakes that are filled with cypress and tupelo trees. And all of it is just a relatively short drive from Little Rock. It was a good time of year to visit Dagmar, since it was cold enough to get rid of all the snakes.

December 22: Pam's Grotto, Ozark National Forest, Arkansas.
I headed up to the Ozarks to take some waterfall pictures after we got about four inches of rain in the span of a few days. It's a neat waterfall, but the trail is steep in parts. And if your hike is anything like the hike I did that day, it would be wise to watch your step along the trail...

Twin Peaks
October 29: San Francisco, California.
At the end of our first day in San Francisco, we went to an overlook that sits atop one of the tallest hills in the city. The view was amazing, with the entire city and Bay spreading out below like a blanket. It was a beautiful view, worth standing in the cold wind to take a few pictures of.

August 20: Pinnacle Mountain State Park, Arkansas.
It had been a few years since I made the climb to the top of Pinnacle Mountain, so for some reason I decided that a day in August would be the perfect one to make the hike. As I sat on top of Pinnacle waiting for the sunset, the rest of the park was closed while the state police were conducting a manhunt. Someone had shot at a park ranger, so the park was partially shut down while the police searched. But It was quiet and calm at the top of the mountain.

Merced River
November 1: Yosemite National Park, California.
Yosemite definitely lives up to its reputation. It's incredibly scenic, I wanted to stop the car every five minutes to take pictures. This was the view from a bridge over the Merced River, as late afternoon light streamed through the valley.

April 15: Flatside Pinancle, Flatside Wilderness, Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas.
One evening in the Spring we drove up to Flatside, which is an amazing overlook that is only about an hour from Little Rock. The views of the wilderness and the rolling Ouachita mountains is one of the best in the state. We were lucky to have a pretty good sunset too.

Bang Pop
July 4: Little Rock, Arkansas.
After being sent to Dallas for work (which wasn't good timing, there weren't any soccer games that week) I made it back in time for Independence Day in Little Rock. We headed down to Riverfront Park in North Little Rock for the fireworks show, on a night that was surprisingly cool outside.

Sentinel Beach
November 1: Yosemite National Park, California.
We were driving through Yosemite Valley when we decided to stop for lunch. The first picnic area we saw was at Sentinel Beach, and after eating we walked down to the river and found this amazing view. If we weren't hungry, we would have driven right past this scene.

Hodgson Mill
October 5: Hodgson Mill, Missouri.
This is said to be one of the most photographed buildings in Missouri, and I'm definitely going to be making a few more trips up to this amazing spot. The mill was built in 1897, and sits above a spring where 23 million gallons of water flow out every day.

November 3: San Francisco, California.
I took over 3,000 pictures during the trip to California, and probably half of those were of the Golden Gate Bridge. This was taken near Fort Point (from #21 above), as dusk settled in over the city. We weren't the only people out there, about a dozen people were out trying to surf in the water just beyond these rocks.

November 2: Yosemite National Park, California.
This is a view of Half Dome, from Glacier Point. The overlook sits at 7,214 feet and provides an outstanding view of Yosemite Valley. It's a popular spot for photographers. When the sun began to set, there were probably about a hundred other photographers there. I counted at least three photography classes being taught as people clambered to get a picture of the mountains. But I was grateful that I was able to be there, with a working camera and a charged battery. That I was so lucky to be there on a honeymoon, just days after celebrating a marriage to a truly wonderful and awesome person. 2013 may have been a bit hectic at times, but it was a great year. Now I can't wait to see what 2014 brings about...

No comments: