Favorite Photos of 2020

December 29, 2020  |  Rocky Mountain National Park

2020 has been a year that none of us will probably ever forget. The pandemic lead to weeks where nearly all of us stayed at home, where we had to learn new and difficult ways of relating to one another, a stop to most of our travel and changes in nearly every aspect of life. These pandemic challenges were then accompanied by deep issues of racial inequality coming to the forefront, issues that we as a nation have ignored for too long. Along with this we saw deep politial divisions and tension arising almost everywhere. When life began to feel overwhelming huricanes battered our coasts while the western USA saw forest fires on a scale that has not been seen before. Here in Estes Park, CO from mid-August through October the air was filled with smoke and the two largest fires in Colorado history came within a couple of miles of our little town. They leveled vast areas of forest including large areas of Rocky Mountain National Park and many homes as well.

Needless to say, this wasn't an ideal year for photography. I found that I spent less time in the national park this year than almost any year since I moved here sixteen years ago. Despite the park closures and a very heavy work load this past year, I managed to squeeze in just over 650 miles of hiking/skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park as well as 26 new peaks. It was definitely a drop in mileage over normal years, but I'm so thankful for each opportunity I had to get out to enjoy this national treasure.

Despite the challenges I did capture a few photographs this year that I am happy with. The following photos are the ones that I think are my 10 favorite photos from Rocky this year. You might prefer other ones, but these are the ones that speak to me. Often times what makes a photo special to me is the experience that I had capturing the photo. That often colors my view and makes them especially meaningful to me. I'd love to know which ones you think are my best photos of 2020. You can find many of them on the Newest Images page of this website or on my Facebook Page.

Between the Poles

Between the Poles

On a beautiful October morning I wandered through an aspen grove. As I came upon this scene, I was instantly captivated by the lone ponderosa pine hiding behind this aspen stand. It was like it knew that it didn’t fit in, unaware that its differences were what made this scene so beautiful.

Crowning Glory

Crowning Glory

Rocky Mountain National Park is one of our nation's most well-known and loved national parks. At its heart is Longs Peak, an awe inspiring mountain which towers over the Park and over Colorado's Front Range. It is the crowning jewel of Rocky, attracting the attention of everyone who visits the area. With an elevation of 14,259' it is a serious piece of granite. Though it can be climbed, it is no simple walk in the park. Its huge drops, loose rock and unpredictable weather make it a serious undertaking. It is a mountain that deserves our respect just as much as it inspires us with its beauty. (You can see a video of the day I took this video and come along for the adventure: https://imagesofrmnp.com/gallery/dayinlife2020/)

This photo can be printed up to 130" x 48" with incredible detail. To fully appreciate all the detail, you really need to see it at 10 feet long. This photo is shown here in a 1x3 ratio but it is also available as 1x2 ratio or in its original format which is between 1x2 and 1x3. Call the Images of RMNP gallery to get the pricing for these other ratios: 970-586-4352.

The Warmth of Summer

The Warmth of Summer

On a summer morning in Rocky Mountain National Park, the warm light of the rising sun gently awakens the world as the rushing snow-melt coming from Chasm Lake dances over the rocks on its way to Columbine Falls. It is the start of another glorious day in one of our nation's most beautiful places.

Silent Sentinel

Silent Sentinel

On a snowy February afternoon I headed out into the woods on my skis to enjoy some time of beauty, silence and solitude. The forest was magical with all the fresh snow that drooped from the trees. It was still falling while I shot this photo, creating a misty and mysterious feel to this already delightful scene of Douglas fir growing in the middle of a lodgepole pine forest.

End of Time

End of Time

On a summer evening as a powerful thunderstorm finally breaks, the western sky appears as if it has caught on fire. This ever-changing scene looked like what one might expect to see at the end of the world. Yet the path seems to beckon us onward toward the drama, beauty and mystery playing out on the horizon.

Greet the Sun

Greet the Sun

All winter long the alpine sunflowers contentedly sleep in the frozen tundra, but in mid-summer if conditions are right, they appear almost overnight carpeting the now lush green tundra. For the next week they gaze eastward towards the rising sun, dressed themselves like the sun as if to give thanks on behalf of all of us for the warmth and life that it brings our world.

Unexpected Beauty

Unexpected Beauty

Nature rarely does what we think it will. It is so unpredictable and wild that it can catch you completely off guard. On this evening in the alpine tundra of Rocky Mountain National Park I was out with my son expecting a nearly clear evening when in a matter of minutes a storm rolled in out of nowhere. Dark clouds gathered over Longs Peak and a rainbow appeared as the setting sun lit the rocks beside me. I had only a minute or two to capture this gorgeous scene of sublime beauty before we were chased off the tundra by lightning.

The Sublime Alpine

The Sublime Alpine

Of all the beauty that is to be found on this earth, there is perhaps none more sublime than that found at a mountain lake on a summer's morning when there is barely a breath of wind and glacier daisies fill the meadow. Such scenes make my heart ache. I feel this deep inexplicable yearning to somehow take the beauty into myself and become part of it. It seems that all true beauty creates this longing for connection, for unity, and ultimately for oneness with something we can't quite put into words.


Textures of Yellow

Textures of Yellow

Each autumn I’m drawn to this same grove of aspen, marveling at how different it can be from year to year. This autumn the grove was filled with splashes of gold that were mimicked by the aspen just beginning to grow in the foreground. It felt like a painter had carefully created this scene to evoke a sense of delight and wonder in his audience.


An Expansive Silence

An Expansive Silence -v

All is calm, not even a breath of wind. The air is cool but not cold. It is almost completely silent, but not a small stuffy silence, instead a vast open silence. You can feel the space, the expanse of the wilderness and mountains all around you. You can almost feel that you are many miles away from the nearest road. Occasionally the silence is broken by the sound of a hawk circling high above or a small bird somewhere in the trees behind you. You can smell the damp earth with a hint of sweetness coming from nearby wildflowers. The whole world seems to be more real and more substantive than our normal experience. This is the world of the wilderness and was the way my morning began yesterday.

There are a lot of other photos I would have liked to include but this was my personal list of my top 10 for 2020.

Related Galleries

Ask Me Anything
July 3, 2020
A Day In The Life
June 22, 2020