With this article I want to present to you my annual selection of the twelve personal favorite landscape photos from the year 2016. You can read on and scroll down or feel free to directly check out the gallery or sitback, relax and enjoy the slideshow!
2016 was a absolutely great year! We directly kicked off on the first of January with an awesome moody evening at the Baltic Sea where I created Ocean Serenity and Windswept. In the first month of the year we also started planning our upcoming longer trips in the summer time which was quite some work with all the flights, rental cars and accomondations and the photography location planning and so on. I was also fortunate to create some new work for my Urban Architecture and Cityscapes gallery like the image City Lights and Bayrischer Bahnhof.
In Feburary I worked on a new project which I am thinking about for years now. Check out the new gallery called Artifacts of Soviet Occupation here. During spring I explored the forests and parks in and around Leipzig and created some images like Fairytale Forest and Spring Forest with wild garlic and a leading river featured by the setting golden sun in the forest. Images which I have also previsualized in my head for years now, this year all the components and elements needed came together.
When summer finally arrived and everything was in full bloom I started my mountain bivaouc trip to Saxon Switzerland. Then, in July, the first longer trips followed where we again visited and enjoyed the wild beaches at the Baltic Sea where images like Solitude Beach were created. This tour was directly followed by an awesome trip to the Dolomites in the Italian Alps. In contrast to our last years visit this year we were pretty lucky with the weather and I was able to create a lot of the images I previsualized during our last visit and the planning of this trip. We also took our time and just relaxed and enjoyed the breath-taking mountain scenery there. Back home I started post-processing the images of those two trips which produced lots of new photos and also started the very detailed planning of our long anticipated Iceland roadtrip.
In late August we finally started. I was so worried about the weather and other circumstances which I can't control that I could barely sleep the night before the departure. But, to my surprise we were so incredibly lucky with literally everything - the flights, our rental 4x4 Jeep, the conditions on the wild highland roads and river crossings, wind speeds, temperatures, the weather in general, sunsets, puffins, humpack whales and we even were lucky enough to see northern lights on several cloudless nights at different locations in September. Everything I hoped for we did actually see and we had so many new and really eye-opening, sometimes very humbling or even frightening experiences on this roadtrip. During those weeks of traveling, exploring new locations and hunting the light which are filled with so many new experiences I really feel alive and I am happy, even if it is pretty exhausting at times. I admit, I do also like to be back home after some time of traveling and just enjoy some time selecting and post-processing all the new images with a hot and tasty coffee and some good music.
However, in October I started another four daytrips to the Harz region and Saxon / Bohemian Switzerland to photograph and enjoy the autumn foliage in the National Parks there. I visited my beloved Ilsetal in the central german highlands where I finally created Spirit Garden which I also had in my mind for years now and I also hiked to quite a few locations in the Saxon / Bohemian Switzerland like Khaa- and Kamenice valley, Teichstein and Heringstein. On some of those tours I was lucky with the weather (see links above) on others I just enjoyed the views after hiking and being outdoors undisturbed by ever beeping devices and apps and whatnot. Beside landscape and architecture photography I also started a new photo project - Virtual Adventures with three new galleries. After spending countless hours in virtual worlds I thought why not combining the two interests photography and digital adventures and do In-Game-Photography.
Looking back I am really happy with the trips, new experiences and their photographic outcome. I noticed that this year I was more motivated with landscape photography in general than in the previous year. Maybe I needed a little break after almost ten years or something. What may have also affected my motivation is the very positive feedback I've received in 2016 with lots of very kind comments, features on various sites, some awards and not to forget new publisher and reseller contracts with a lot of new licenses and print sales. And of course also things like my feature on deviantArt.com with an article about my artistic progression after ten years and another Daily Deviation for Carolafelsen Sunset. I am also proud to be featured with three of my Iceland photos on EarthShots.org as photo of the day on their site (Seljalandfoss, Fjallsarlon, Homeland). And last but not least one of my forest images was choosen to be the title page of a large calender for 2017.
This year it somehow finally feels like all the hard work with planning and executing of those countless light hunting trips is slowly paying of. Of course sometimes the new experiences are reward enough but when you spent so many hours planning and quite some money on those trips it is definetly more satisfying to return home with some decent new images! I think this year I was so productive like never before and I am glad that I could create a lot of images and realized ideas which I had in my mind for so long. It may now be a bit surprising but one goal for me next year is that I'll try to relax more and be even more experience oriented and not that much goal oriented with my photography. Trying more new things (like in the beginning when I started with creating images) and simply to more enjoy the ride and the whole process of creating photographs including some strenuous hiking and scouting and intense exploring of new locations (without a specific previsualized photo in my head - and being disappointed when it does not materialise), trying new post-processing techniques and just enjoy the time spent outdoors in nature with an overall feeling that I can create new images, if I want to, but I don't have to - just let the experience be reward enough without any expectations. So, I am looking forward to 2017 with hopefully a lot of new experiences, challenges and trips to come.
Below you see my twelve personal favorite landscape images of 2016 (out of about ~15.000 images I captured). You can also click here to view more of the latest photos or the following link to see all images of 2016, or Artifacts of Soviet Union or Virtual Adventures.
Gallery of my twelve personal favorite landscape photos of 2016
Feel free to add any comments or questions below.