Best Photos of 2016

Posted by on February 8, 2017

Flickr "Most Interesting" Photos of 2016

We’re well into 2017 so I guess it’s about time I show off my most successful mountain bike, ski, travel and adventure photos from last year. I don’t know if these are actually my best photos of 2016. How do you determine “best,” anyway? To help me narrow my picks down, I started with my 2016 Flickr Most Interesting gallery (above) and my Instagram “Best Nine” gallery (below). Those are two good sources of popular photos I shared last year. However, those galleries don’t represent everything I photograph, so I included a few of my own personal favorites, as well. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see my final top 20 best photos of 2016.

2016 Instagram Best Nine Photos

There’s no way I can give in-depth descriptions for every photo in the gallery below. But I will give some more background on a few of my favorites as well as the images that weren’t in the Flickr and Instagram galleries.

Friends - Best Photos of 2016

Little London, sharing his 1st birthday cake with two best friends.

One of my very favorite photos of 2016, and one that wasn’t in the Best Nine or the Flickr “Most Interesting” galley, is this first birthday photo of my little neighbor London and his two doggy buddies (above). Portraits of children aren’t standard subject-matter for me, but when my neighbors asked if I could do it and said the dogs would be included, I jumped at the opportunity. And boy am I happy with the final product. I absolutely love this photo.

Utah Powder Skiing - Best Photos of 2016

A skier on a powder day at Utah’s Alta Ski Resort. There’s a reason they call it “The Greatest Snow on Earth.”

If you follow me on social media you know I’m pretty obsessed with powder photos. I do the Picture of the Day for Alta Ski Area on the weekends (see my Alta POD photo gallery), so I do a lot of ski photography. And it’s been a hell of a season, so far – I think I’ve done more storm skiing and powder day shooting than bluebird groomer skiing. This photo (above) was taken in December at one of my favorite spots on a super deep day. It’s such an iconic powder photo to me. I love the light on the snow and the way it’s blowing up around the skier. I never get tired of seeing what the snow does when you freeze it at 1/1600th of a second.

Moon Over Mount Superior - Best Photos of 2016

The moon setting behind Mount Superior in Utah’s Little Cottonwood Canyon on a bluebird winter morning.

There’s not a much to say about the photo above that it doesn’t say for itself. We’ve had a ton of snow in Utah this winter and the mountains are beautiful. I was at Alta Ski Resort one morning, preparing to get to work shooting skiers, when I noticed someone taking iPhone photos of Mt. Superior. When I turned around and saw the moon over the mountain, I ran to the office, grabbed my camera and started shooting. Sometimes just being ready, willing and able is all it takes to get a great photo.

Antelope Island Gold - Best Photos of 2016

Professional mountain biker Amanda Batty, riding into the sunset on Utah’s Antelope Island, in the Great Salt Lake.

In early November, my friend Amanda Batty and I went out to do some mountain bike photos on Antelope Island, in the Great Salt Lake. The trails on Antelope Island aren’t the most challenging but the surreal landscape more than makes up for the lack of exciting riding. Our goal was to get some photos of the Devinci Spartan enduro mountain bike in action for Park City Bike Demos. Unfortunately, we got a late start and didn’t get very far on our ride. But we did get this sunset mountain bike photo (above). It was a picture-perfect sunset in an amazing landscape and it’s no surprise this was one of my most popular photos of 2016 on social media.

Mountain Bikers on the Wasatch Crest Trail - Best Photos of 2016

A group of mountain bikers taking a break on Utah’s Wasatch Crest Trail.

Even though it’s not an action photo, I love this mountain bike group shot (above) from the Wasatch Crest, one of my all-time favorite trails. I was out covering a national sales meeting group ride for Reynolds Cycling and the guys were taking a break at this overlook, waiting for slower riders to catch up. A big reason people make the effort to get to places like this is for the landscape. This photo, of riders relaxing in an alpine meadow with storm clouds looming in the distance, is iconic for me. Sometimes taking a break and hanging out with the crew is one of the highlights of a good ride and I think this image represents that, perfectly.

New Year's Eve Fireworks at Alta Ski Resort - Best Photos of 2016

New Year’s Eve torchlight parade and fireworks celebration on December 31st, 2015, at Utah’s Alta Ski Resort.

This photo of Alta’s New Year’s Eve fireworks and torchlight parade was taken on December 31st, 2015 but I didn’t process and share it until February of 2016. I’m especially proud of this image because it took a little bit of extra planning and a lot of commitment. I shot it from outside the resort, scouting the backcountry location earlier in the day. When I returned in the evening to shoot, I wore two sets of long underwear, an extra down vest and a down jacket under my ski shell. I also had hand warmers in my pockets because gloves made it harder to shoot. I spent about an hour alone, sitting on my skis in the snow, taking pictures. After the fireworks ended I packed up my gear and I skied down in the by the light of a cheap headlamp. At one point I skied into and got snagged on a chest-high tree I didn’t see. When I got back to the car the temperature was 1 Fahrenheit – that’s cold. It was totally worth the effort and discomfort, though. This was, by far, my most popular photo, last year.

It’s impossible to actually make an accurate “best of” photo gallery. There are so many different ways to evaluate photos and I take tens of thousands of shots every year. So even if it’s impossible to say if these are actually my best photos of 2016, I love them all and think they’re a good representation of my work in 2016.

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