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2023 Year In Review




I feel like the years are going by faster and faster as I get older. I think of images I've taken and in my mind it was only a year or so ago and then when I go into my files to look for them I find out it was several years ago. I enjoy looking back at old images and remembering the good times associated with those outings with friends. In this blog post we will take a look back at 2023 as I discuss images from each month. I like to do this for a number of reasons, the most important being that it keeps me out there shooting each month. I've also been blessed to surround myself with other amazing photographer friends who I find inspiration/support from. 2023 took me to many places and I look forward to sharing those with you in this blog. Enjoy.


January

The first month of the year generally isn't too exciting for extensive travel unless it's the end of a trip from December as I did this year. I spent most of my photography in and around Colorado. Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park were the 2 main locations. I shot car trails around Denver, old abandoned schools on the eastern plains and the red barn in Greenland that, shortly after, burned down. January's full moon over the Rocky Mountains in RMNP early in the morning was a great way to kick off the new year. I loved the fog and mood this scene allowed me to capture.


Morning Moon - Sony A7r4, Sigma 100-400mm at 277mm

Feb

After a cold January, my family and I decided to take a short trip to Texas and check out some areas around Amarillo and along Route 66 on our way back. The weather was much better for sure but I was still really drawn to the cold & snowy plains of Colorado. I did some local photography at Chatfield Lake and watched Venus and Jupiter set over the mountains from Kenosha Pass. My desire to photography the cold, wintery scenes just keep nagging at me. I drove to one of my "go to" places and found some amazing snow that beautifully matched the sky at sunset.


Lonely Winter Sunset - Sony A7r4, Sigma 14-24mm Art at 17mm

March

Dreaming of warmer weather I spent a week in Big Sur celebrating our anniversary, taking in the sights and enjoying the sunshine. During the month of March I also ventured back out to the Plains of Colorado to start shooting Milky Way season. I shot our local lake and did some work in Cripple Creek Colorado too. Being a coastal guy, those are the images I connect with the most and love to share with you. Even though I love all kinds of photography, coastal landscapes will always win me over. Shoreline Sunrise - Big Sur was an amazing morning with some low fog lingering in the the coves of the shoreline.


Shoreline Sunrise - Sony A7r4, Sony 24-105mm at 25mm

April

Traveling started in April and I spent a good amount of time in Oregon along the coast and several days in the Columbia River Gorge. I also thought I was going to become a wildlife photographer during this time. I spent quite a bit of time working on camera setting to really try and nail down my wildlife (birds) work. I had a great time doing this but quickly found myself frustrated that lenses at their longest focal lengths were rarely sharp to a level that was acceptable to me. I also learned that Colorado has some other unique challenges to shooting long distances in that the heat will bend light and ruin your chances of ever getting tack sharp images. Confirmed later in the year, I did more testing with multiple lenses and found the same results. I also found that one of the lenses would not properly auto focus at long distances at its longest focal length. Manual focus was ok but not with autofocus. Here are 2 of my fave images I had the pleasure of shooting this month. The 2 eagles were at Chatfield Lake near our home and The Pony's Breath was shot in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon.


Get Out of My Tree - Sony A74r, Sigma 100-400mm

The Pony's Breath - Sony A7r4, Sigma 14-24mm Art

May

As the weather gets warmer, trees start to leaf out and the lakes unfreeze, the photo opps were a plenty. During the month of May I shared my time with Kansas, Colorado and Nebraska. With our local lake flooded, partly on purpose and partly because of the rain, it was a prime spot to do some paddle boarding and capture images that simply were not possible the previous years. While I was in Kansas I was testing a lens for Sigma, the 14mm 1.4 Art lens. It is truly a fantastic lens and I was blown away at it's sharpness even at the corners when shooting wide open. You can read my blog post here - Sigma 14mm 1.4 Art Hands On Review

"Waterways" was captured one morning just after the sun came up as I was paddle boarding though a grove of trees with perfectly still water.


Waterways - Sony A7r4, Sigma 14-24mm Art

June

Most of June was spent along the Oregon Coast. The weather was great, and of course, the scenery was beautiful. I did do some hiking here in Colorado but even in June there are still places that are frozen/muddy at higher elevations. Spending so much time in Oregon allowed me to take more time and look around to find scenes that I may have otherwise passed up. I always try and be aware of my surroundings and look for things others may not see. When I saw this starfish on the side of the rock it wasn't too exciting. Then, as the tide got a bit higher, the water started to come over the rock and cascade down the other side. I spent probably an hour or so working/waiting to get the right shot with the right amount of water coming over the rock and not covering the starfish as well as getting enough water in the foreground.


Seastar Cascade - Sony A7r4, Sigma 100-400mm

July

Once again I was spending my summer days along the Oregon Coast, Eastern Colorado, Crested Butte and up in Rocky Mountain National Park. RMNP on a warm summer night is just the ticket for star gazing without freezing. I was in Oregon a lot and could probably post all my images from there but I have to be real and say that the views from 11k feet looking out over Trail Ridge Road and Longs Peak are pretty amazing. This image is a real scene that we saw while we were there. For optimum image quality it's a blend of several images. The foreground and car lights is one image shot about 45 min after sunset at ISO 400 for 50 seconds. The sky is 28 images stacked for noise reduction at ISO 8000, 10 seconds each. I used the same Nikon D850 and Sigma 28mm 1.4 Art lens to capture all the images. The capture and editing was just as much fun as being there and seeing this with my friend.


Galactic Ride - Nikon D850, Sigma 28mm 1.4 Art

August

Keeping those Hot summer nights alive and well, yes, once again my month was split between a couple weeks in Oregon and a couple weeks in Colorado. My friends and I finally got clear skies at Great Sand Dune National Park for some night sky photography. We arrived before sunset, hiked out to find some nice sandy areas and waited. We watched day turn to night and the sunset sky turn to billions of tiny stars... We enjoyed several hours of watching the stars dance across a pitch black sky. Our cameras were set up clicking away and we just enjoyed the warm summer evening without any blowing wind.

With the Milky Way to my back when I shot this image, I prefered the lines in the sand and the light coming from behind the mountain.


Andromeda Over The Dunes - Sony A7r4, Sigma 14-24mm Art

September

I did a 2 night workshop in Kansas that gave us beautiful clear skies and put smiles on everyone's faces. I was in Oregon the first part of Sept then came home to do the workshop in Kansas. After that I got out to RMNP for some clean mountain air. I went back to one of my favorite little places and photographed it again. It's interesting me to as someone who shoots places over and over again how even a year or 2 of vegetation growth can really change how you shoot a particular scene. This little waterfall is tucked away into a small canyon and since the last time I was there the trees had grown enough that I had to find a slightly different angle. This was a very peaceful moment for me. After being in Oregon with my dad while he had his heart worked on, this was a place where I could just relax and let the stress go.


Chasm Falls - Sony A7r4, Sony 24-105mm

October

Fall is always the busiest time of the year for me. Even if I'm not doing workshops (I did 2 back to back in Oregon this month) there is just so much to shoot. In Oct our local lake turns to gold and there's always a chance for snow. Anytime you can mix fall colors with a nice snow fall, the images can be amazing. That's what happened this year and it was spectacular. My Yachats workshop followed by my Bandon workshop was capped off by shooting the Annular Eclipse over the Bandon Lighthouse. It was a great way to end a fantastic trip to Oregon with some great people! For more info on my 2024 workshops you can visit - Oregon Coast 2024 Workshops

My wife and I even got in a nice hike to Royal Arch in the Flatirons near Boulder, CO.

October keeps me busy and it doesn't help that I live so close to Chatfield lake. I can look out my window at current conditions and decided if I want to go shoot or not. So for this month I'll share 2 images shot near our home in very different conditions.



Autumn Chaos - Sony A7r4, Sony 24-105mm - Chatfield Lake

Autumn's Morning Walk - Sony A7r4, Sony 24-105mm - Roxborough State Park

November

A calm month in terms of photography but not a loss by any means. I stayed here in Colorado and took advantage of some opportunities closer to home. On the first day of November we were treated to this gorgeous sunrise in Eldorado Canyon. It was a gorgeous morning that I couldn't have painted better in my mind.

I spent the rest of the month just poking around the lake and even took one trip out to Eastern Colorado to shoot some night skies.


Strawberry Cream Cascade - Sony A7r4, Sigma 14-24mm Art

December

The last month of the year and what a way to end it. Back in Sept/Oct I was toying with the idea of visiting New England over New Years so I could cross 5 more states off my list..Only a few left to go... I had friends give me their mixed opinions as to if it would be good or not, in spite of the weather. Being a photographer that prefers areas with less people and not so fair weather, I decided to book the trip. 10 days in New England over the New Year holiday gave me ample time to explore and photograph on my own accord. It was a heck of a trip to say the least. While the trip spanned 2023 into 2024 I'll only share one image from the trip I took before the new year. I do want to say, for the record, that Ben & Jerry's was very disappointing to me. I figured it would be a much bigger place. Having worked at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and knowing how they are set up for their ice cream scooping stations I figured B&J would have been much bigger. It's not, you don't even get to see the ice cream. You walk into a small room with a small window and tell the person what you want, they come back with it, you pay and that's it..it's over. No visual experience seeing the actual ice cream... Am I glad I went, sure. Would I go again, no. Nonetheless, this isn't about Ice cream, it's about photography. So the first half of Dec I spent in Arizona photographing the cactus. This was something that was totally new to me and I really enjoyed it, even if I did get stuck by Cholla a few times.. Live and learn right? The weather was perfect, I was hosted by a good friend of mine who lives just north of Phoenix. I can see why people like to live and visit AZ in the winter. Home for Christmas, my MIL passed away the day after Christmas and that was hard on all of us. My wife was kind enough to let me keep my trip and then off to New England I went... I've got several images from that trip I want to share but I'll save them for another blog post...


Vulture Mine Sunset - Nikon D850, Sigma 24-105mm Art


Castle Hill Clouds - Sony A7r4, Sigma 14-24mm Art

Thank you for taking the time to read and I hope you enjoyed the images. If you wish to see more of my images from the year (and there are a lot of them) you can find me here -


You can purchase canvas prints and/or sign up for workshops here on this site - https://www.letschaselight.com


Purchase prints - https://www.darrenwhitephotography.com discount code CPJASS for up to $50 off your purchase of any image.


You can also contact me directly if you have any questions or want to order any image.


Have a great day!

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