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Like most people, I am still struggling to comprehend that it is 2015. Where did 2014 go? As I sit here on a plane bound for my second adventure of the year–my first being the last few days of an amazing two-week road trip around NZ’s South Island with my family–I know that travel is one of the things that has made time seem to fly so quickly.
Sure, in 2014 I didn’t quit my job and travel the world for 6 months as I did in 2013. (My brother did that instead, and now he’s at 7 months and counting.) That only meant that my adventures weren’t quite as far flung. And while I have a full-time day job, my employer was very generous and let me go well over my allocated leave time.
Along with travel, photography has had an ever-increasing place in my life over the last few years. After returning from my big trip in August 2013, I knew I couldn’t be as complacent about local photography as I’d been before because I was constantly anxious to get behind the lens again. Luckily, this coincided with meeting some local photographers (who became good friends) that were there to convince me that getting up at 3am for a sunrise would be a good idea!
As a result, I was no longer going months between photo shoots and my portfolio expanded rapidly. With all the photos I took (over 15,000), I know there is no way I could pick only 12 photos to summarise my year, or even “the best 14 of 2014.” Instead, I just picked my favourites, with the end result of 35 photos of the most memorable events I experienced, whether they were thousands of miles from home or just down the road.
The day my friend Michelle and I went to the Brisbane International was hot. 42ºC hot. On that day, Roger Federer single-handedly proved all the commentators that say he is so godlike that he doesn’t sweat very wrong.
When we left Brisbane at 3.30am on the first morning of February, the clouds were heavy and we were wondering if there was even any point. That question was answered with a resounding “YES” as we watched this sunrise unfold over the wreck of the SS Dicky. It is truly the most brilliant sunrise I have ever seen.
The Glass House Mountains are usually one of my favourite spots in south east Queensland. On this night, the view from Wild Horse Mountain was fantastic, but the fact that I came off the mountain with no less than 50 mosquito bites made it less than perfect.
Lamington National Park is such a dynamic place, and you’re treated to a full waterfall at almost every turn. It’s just a shame that most of those waterfalls come with the added bonus of leeches falling out of the trees as you’re taking photos. Luckily, we managed to avoid them at Box Logs Falls.
Natural Bridge in Springbrook National Park is a local photographers’ favourite, and it got even better when, at some point in late 2012, a giant log wedged itself in the middle of the falls. It’s mesmerising to stand in the dark of the cave and watch the sunlight bathe the water as it crashes into the cave and onto the log below.
Coachella was a crazy experience and one where, for once, I mostly ignored my camera. Luckily I snuck it in with me (since ‘professional cameras’ — aka cameras with interchangeable lenses — aren’t allowed) so I could capture this sight. It’s not every day you see a giant storm cloud over the desert!
This was the shot that I wanted on my California road trip. As you’ve seen before, we had plenty of other epic views along the Big Sur coastline, but McWay Falls lit by the setting sun was still my favourite. It was one of those times when a sight really did live up to the high expectations set by the amazing photos of the photographers that had been there before.
This was another shot on my “photography bucket list” that I was able to tick off. On a previous trip to San Francisco, I’d hoped to see the view of the bay from Hawk’s Hill but was foiled by Karl the Fog. This time, I was able to capture the last of the evening light over the city and have some quality father-daughter time at the same time, which is precious given how far from each other we live.
Every year, I go to the Body Art Carnivale at the Eumundi Markets. Every year, I am amazed by what the artists manage to produce in a span of hours. This was one of my favourites from this year from an artist that always produces stunning work — Kelli MacAlpine.
Clouds always add to night landscapes, especially if they are rushing towards you like they were on this night. It’s pretty crazy to think that this isn’t sunrise — it’s moonrise!
My last-minute decision to shoot the Color Run (with a very good protective case for my camera) was very worth it. I loved being able to stand on the stage and watch the sky erupt into colour during the regular ‘colour throws’ that happen after everyone has finished the race.
Sometimes ‘just going for a drive’ results in photos like this, taken at Camden Head on NSW’s mid-north coast. Australia’s pretty awesome for that.
I think my brother summed up everyone’s feelings when he stood on top of Mt Amos and god rays beamed down from the clouds. I know I was feeling pretty accomplished after making it up the steep granite rock faces.
Cradle Mountain does waterfalls pretty well. Knyvet Falls was my favourite. Props to James for finding this lookout too, since the view from the path was completely obstructed.
We’d desperately hoped for some snow when we visited Cradle Mountain in mid-winter. It arrived on the last evening we were there, and we woke up to this scene. What a spot.
It’s not often that you get sunsets over the water on Australia’s east coast. That’s one of the many reasons I love Straddie, which is just off the coast of Brisbane. Plus, I paid for my ferry ride after I won Trover’s “Trover Detour” contest with this photo!
Big skies and palm trees. Welcome to Hamilton Island. I loved that I was there with a group of photographers who were totally up for it when I suggested night sky shots instead of drinks on our balcony.
Our last-minute decision to get in a helicopter and fly over Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet was a good one. I finally got to see that epic view of Hill Inlet that seems to feature on TV ads all over the world.
The main reason I went to Snapper Rocks for sunrise was that it was a much shorter drive from my apartment in Surfers, where I was staying for the Problogger Event, than it is usually from home. I stuck around long after sunrise because the sun was in a perfect spot to shine straight through the waves.
Erebus by Glen Star was one of my favourite sculptures at the Currumbin Swell Sculpture Festival. I couldn’t have asked for better clouds either.
This year, I saw Riverfire from a different vantage point than usual. It was a much wider angle view than I’d ever seen of the fireworks before.
Being able to capture this sunrise on the rocks of Point Cartwright made up (a little) for missing nearly every other sunrise when I’ve gone up the Sunshine Coast for the last 9 years.
October 4 was a crazy day. My friend Ben and I went to four Instameets organised by Tourism Queensland, which were part of the larger ‘Queensland Instameet’ that broke a record for the most people gathering to take Instagram photos in one day. The top photo is from sunrise at Redcliffe jetty; by sunset we found ourselves at the lookout point on Mount Tamborine.
I had so much fun at the Brisbane Color Run that I went back for another one, this time on the Sunshine Coast. This photo is special to me because it’s of my brother, who was actually participating in the race. Since he usually lives in America, it was awesome to be at this event together.
Sometimes I can’t help but pull the car over…and this was one of those times. The crazy storm in the background and the possessed cows that were all staring at me made for a great ‘country Queensland’ shot.
The moon sets over Lake Wyaralong with the Milky Way above. Because the moon usually overpowers the stars in terms of light, it’s not often that you see both of them in the same frame. It didn’t here because, even though you can’t really see it in this photo, the moon was only the tiniest of slivers.
I needed to take at least one photo during the full moon photography shoot that I taught on Currumbin Rocks so I could tell people the exact settings that worked for me in those conditions. At least, that’s what I told myself.
We went to Redcliffe to do spinning steel wool shots. We came away with some awesome moonrise shots instead. The moon was nearly red from some nearby bushfires, which created an amazing golden glow in long exposure.
How adorable is this koala? It was awesome getting up close and personal with them in the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary during the Gold Coast Instameet.
I know it’s stereotypical, but Lake McKenzie is one of my favourite spots on Fraser Island. How could it get much more perfect than this? I spent more than an hour in the water before I convinced myself that I needed to get out and take photos.
I think these are my favourites from December, but because I took so many photos on my two-week roadtrip around NZ’s South Island and I haven’t had anywhere near enough time to process them, I reserve the right to change my mind!
I couldn’t wait to take photos of the lupins around Lake Tekapo. They didn’t disappoint, especially from the top of Mount John, where I captured this shot.
I hoped for a nice day to do the Hooker Valley Walk, a walk in the Mount Cook region that I’d wanted to do for a while. I couldn’t have asked for much better.
I also hoped that we’d get to see the aurora while in Tekapo…but I didn’t think we’d actually see it! Luckily it came out two nights in a row (although this night was the only one where we could just make it out with the naked eye, and we had to go out of town to even do that).
I love those photos you snap when you weren’t even looking to take photos at all. This is one of those — when I was walking back from a bar in Queenstown to get a jacket from my hotel, I couldn’t help but stop and gawk at the sunset filtering through the gorgeous trees that line Lake Wakatipu.
Of all the photos above, which one is your favourite? Did you have a favourite shot of mine from this year that you think I should have included instead?