2016 Year In Review Part 2

Posted on January 3, 2017 by Mickey

Part 2 of my 2016 Year in Review takes us from July through the end of the year. Feel free to read part 1 if you’ve haven’t yet!

Colorado and a Kansas gem

In July I took a fairly impromptu trip out to shoot wildflowers in Colorado. In the past 5 years, my Colorado trips have mainly focused on autumn colors, but I remembered how beauitul this shot of Blue Lakes up in the Sneffels range was in 2011 and thought it would be fun to try some new locations for wildflowers. We started out in the San Juans, exploring the Ice lakes Basin and the waterfall at South Fork Mineral Creek campground. The waterfalls there remind me more of the glacial-colored water of the Canadian Rockies than anything in Colorado. I would still love to go back and explore the entire length of them in the next couple of years.

Lower Ice Lakes Basin Falls
Lower Ice Lakes Basin FallsPrints AvailableWaterfalls at Lower Ice Lakes Basin
South Fork Mineral Creek Falls
South Fork Mineral Creek FallsPrints Available
Admiring South Fork Mineral Creek Falls
Exploring South Mineral Creek Falls
Exploring South Mineral Creek FallsPrints AvailableAdmiring South Fork Mineral Creek Falls

After exploring that area, we went north and stayed a night at my favorite campground at the base of Mount Sneffels. The next morning, we went on an adventure, trying to find a waterfall near Telluride called Mystic Falls. We forked left when we should have gone right and ended up at a much lesser known waterfall that I believe is called Upper Mystic Falls. Hikes like this are what adventures are made of, and everyone that was along loved it! I’m sure I’ll go back to find Mystic Falls itself sometime soon.

Unnamed Falls
Unnamed FallsPrints AvailableA little known set of waterfalls near Telluride

We moved up to the Crested Butte area, hoping to photograph the wildflowers there, but couldn’t find a campground. So we drove the 3 hours up to the Maroon Bells in hopes to getting there before the moon rose to capture the Milky Way above Maroon Lake. Unfortunately the moon rose shortly before we arrived and the scene wasn’t what I had hoped. I did come back in the autumn (more on that in part 2) to capture it, but we spent the night in the car, as it was already midnight. Afterwards, we found a campground up at Shrine Pass, near Vail Pass. I had never visited Shrine Pass but heard good things about the wildflower shows there. It did not disappoint! Here was one of my favorites:

Shrine Pass Wildflowers Star Trails
Shrine Pass Wildflowers Star TrailsPrints AvailableStar trails near Shrine Pass, Colorado

As we left Colorado, we drove a different route home so that we could swing through the Arikaree Breaks. We followed a rainbow, which turned into a double rainbow, for almost 2 hours until we reached Kansas and managed this shot near the Arikaree Breaks! This was one of the better shots that night.

Rainbow over Northwest Kansas
Rainbow over Northwest KansasPrints AvailableA double rainbow shows up near the Arikaree Breaks

Sunflowers and another Colorado trip

At the beginning of August, I took a quick drive up to the Manhattan area to photograph any leftover wildflowers. While I didn’t find a good patch of wildflowers to work with, I did find the Flint Hills on the east side of Tuttle Creek Lake to be extremely green for so late in the summer!

Pottawatomie Sunset
Pottawatomie SunsetPrints AvailableA sunset in the Flint Hills of Pottawatomie County

As late August approached, sunflower season began! I had missed out in 2015, due to extra hours at work keeping me from photographing as much as I would have liked, but I made up for it in 2016! I managed to visit 5-6 sunflower fields, included the famous Grinter Farms near Lawrence.

Sunburst Sunflowers
Sunburst SunflowersPrints AvailableSunset at a sunflower field south of Wichita
Pastel Sunflower Sunset
Pastel Sunflower SunsetPrints AvailableA beautiful sunset over a sunflower field near Pilsen
Flight of the Monarch Butterfly
Flight of the Monarch ButterflyPrints Available
Composite of a monarch butterfly as it made it’s way from flower to flower at Grinter Farms.
Grinter Farms Sunflowers
Grinter Farms SunflowersPrints AvailableSunflower fields at Grinter Farms

As late September approached, I decided to take a quick trip to Colorado. It turned out to be a little TOO quick, as the entire time just felt rushed. However, it did allow us to camp at Lake Scott State Park on the way out to Colorado, which gave me some great shots of Battle Canyon!

Battle Canyon Monument Milky Way
Battle Canyon Monument Milky WayPrints Available
The Milky Way over Battle Canyon
Battle Canyon Sunrise
Battle Canyon SunrisePrints AvailableSunrise over Battle Canyon

In Colorado, one shot stood out well above any other! I may have gone to Colorado for fall colors, but ended up with a great Milky Way shot over the Bells. Initialally I was worried about shooting this shot. There is a lot of moose (and even bear) activity around Maroon Lake, and walking through pitch black darkness from the parking lot to the lake wasn’t ideal. Even though it’s only 100 yards or so, it’s difficult to see in the dark like that. However, I didn’t need to worry. There were a dozen or so photographers with the same idea as me. So I set up shop and photographed for as long as I could withstand the cold to get both a Milky Way and star trail shot above the Maroon Bells. The wind picked up at one point towards the end, so I decided to call time. This was the final shot worth keeping:

Maroon Bells Milky Way
Maroon Bells Milky WayPrints AvailableThe Milky Way rises over the Maroon Bells

A circular trip around Lake Erie

In October my wife had a wedding booked in Ohio. So naturally, we turned it into a weeklong trip! Starting in New York, we drove up through the south of Toronto, where Hamilton’s famous waterfalls are located. We only had time to stop at a few before sunset that night, but the one that stood out was Tew Falls, which was gorgeous in the fall!

Tew Falls
Tew FallsPrints AvailableAutumn at Tew Falls

After visited Tew Falls, we drove the rest of the way up the Bruce Penninsula. At one point, I had to hit the brakes to keep from hitting what was either a very large coyote or a wolf. Eventually, we arrived at Tobermory, which is wedged between Lake Huron proper and Georgian Bay. This allowed us to explore the beautiful Bruce Penninsula National Park, along with seeing the Northern Lights. Unfortunately the photos didn’t turn out good at all, as the aurora had mostly died off before I could get my camera to a place worth getting a shot. But that area of Canada is downright beautiful! Not to mention, having some awesome fish and chips!

Tobermory Lighthouse Sunrise
Tobermory Lighthouse SunrisePrints Available
Sunrise at the lighthouse at Tobermory

After leaving the Bruce Penninsula, we traveled down along Lake Huron, through Michigan to Ohio, where I second shot for my wife at the wedding she had booked. After the 10 hour wedding (killer!), we drove two hours to stay near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park area, south of Cleveland. This area is stunning in the fall! I fell in love with the small waterfalls below Brandywine Falls. Below is one of my favorites from that morning.

Cuyahoga Valley Autumn
Cuyahoga Valley AutumnPrints AvailableFall leaves dot the landscape at the waterfalls below Brandywine Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Next, we drove northeast, back to Niagara Falls. Yes, Niagara Falls is a tourist trap. But it was worth seeing! We were exhausted the first night there, but the firework display was only available that night, so we walked down along the river to witness this scene:

Niagara Falls Fireworks
Niagara Falls FireworksPrints AvailableFireworks over Niagara Falls

The colors along the Niagara Parkway were insane!

Niagara Colors
Niagara ColorsPrints AvailableAutumn colors along the Niagara River
Niagara Whirlpool Sunset
Niagara Whirlpool SunsetPrints AvailableSunset over the Niagara Whirlpool

The final morning at Niagara Falls gave us a beautiful sunrise over Horseshoe Falls!

Sunrise Plunge
Sunrise PlungePrints AvailableA beautiful sunrise over Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls
Horseshoe Falls Sunrise at Niagara Falls
Horseshoe Falls Sunrise at Niagara FallsPrints Available>A beautiful sunrise over Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls

Our final stop in our trip was to Watkin’s Glen, in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I had seen photos of Watkin’s Glen for years and always wanted to visit in the fall. Severe drought limited the water flow, but it was still insanely gorgeous! The most famous scene in Watkins Glen is at Rainbow Falls, just under a mile up the gorge. Here are both vertical and horizontal versions of this gorgeous part of Watkin’s Glen.

Rainbow Falls of Watkins Glen
Rainbow Falls of Watkins GlenPrints AvailableRainbow Falls is stunning in the autumn
Fall at Watkins Glen
Fall at Watkins GlenPrints AvailableAutumn colors dominate the landscape at Watkins Glen

To bring an end to 2016, I did go out and shoot a final Milky Way scene that I had been planning for a while. I’ve always wanted to get a shot of the Milky Way over the the Kansas Turnpike. So I went out one early evening in November to get this shot:

Kansas Turnpike Milky Way
Kansas Turnpike Milky WayPrints AvailableThe Milky Way rises above the Kansas Turnpike

As you can see, 2016 was a wonderful year! Looking forward to 2017, I already have two trips planned. In April, my wife and I will travel to Virginia for a few days. She will be going to a photo workshop, while I hope to get out to the Shenandoah Valley National Park for a couple of sunrises or sunsets. And in August and September, we will take a 15 day trip to Turin, Italy, where we will explore Switzerland, northern Italy and perhaps Austria, western France or southern Germany as well! Who knows what else will be planned as the year gets going! Not to mention all of the Kansas road trips I’m sure I will do! So keep checking back for new work and blog posts. I’ll do my best to update often!

Posted under: Canada, Colorado, Kansas, New York, News & Updates, Ohio

Holiday Sale and the 12 Days of Christmas!

Posted on December 1, 2016 by Mickey

I’m excited to bring to you a new sale I’m running from now until December 13, 2016! Currently, all prints in my photography galleries are 15% off for my annual Holiday Sale! However, I’ve decided to do something special for a few of my new and best-selling images. The following 12 photos for the 12 days of Christmas are going to be on sale for 20% off! Each day, I will post one to social media, starting December 2nd and running through December 13th. Take a look below and click an image to go to a page where you can purchase prints of any of these images! If you don’t see the one you want, just remember that all other photos are on sale at 15% off! You can view more in the photo galleries.

Pottawatomie Sunset

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a Pottawatomie Sunset for you and me!

Pottawatomie Sunset
Pottawatomie SunsetPrints Available
Sunset over Pottawatomie County, Kansas

Niagara Colors

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, beautiful autumn colors along the Niagara River!

Niagara Colors
Niagara ColorsPrints Available
Niagara Colors

Geese at the Keeper of the Plains

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a beautiful sunset over the geese at the Keeper of the Plains!

Geese at the Keeper of the Plains
Geese at the Keeper of the PlainsPrints Available
Geese at the Keeper of the Plains

Monument Rocks Milky Way

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a sky filled with stars above Monument Rocks!

Monument Rocks Milky Way
Monument Rocks Milky WayPrints Available
Monument Rocks Milky Way

Maroon Bells Milky Way

On the five day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, another star-filled sky, but at the Maroon Bells this time!

Maroon Bells Milky Way
Maroon Bells Milky WayPrints Available
The Milky Way over the Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells Milky Way

On the six day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, one of the best sunsets of the year in the Flint Hills at Texaco Hill!

Texaco Hill Sunset
Texaco Hill SunsetPrints Available
Texaco Hill Sunset

Texaco Hill Sunset

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a gorgeous sunrise at one of the most rugged places Kansas has to offer!

Big Basin Sunrise
Big Basin SunrisePrints Available
Big Basin Sunrise

Grinter Farms Sunflowers

On the eight day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a field full of sunflowers at Grinter Farms in Lawrence, Kansas!

Grinter Farms Sunflowers
Grinter Farms SunflowersPrints Available
Sunflowers at Grinter Farms

Sunrise Fog at the Keeper of the Plains

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a flower bush and a foggy sunrise at the Keeper of the Plains!

Sunrise Fog at the Keeper of the Plains
Sunrise Fog at the Keeper of the PlainsPrints Available
Fog during spring blooms at the Keeper of the Plains

Fall at Watkins Glen

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a two mile hike up an autumn-drenched Watkins Glen!

Fall at Watkins GlenPrints Available
Fall at Watkins Glen

The Sunrise Before Harvest

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a fiery sunrise above Kansas wheat field ready to harvest!

The Sunrise Before Harvest
The Sunrise Before HarvestPrints Available
A beautiful sunrise during wheat harvest

The Sunrise Before Harvest

On the twelth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, one of Kansas’ best waterfalls in full flow!

Prather Creek Falls
Prather Creek FallsPrints Available
Spring waters flowing at Prather Creek Falls near Cottonwood Falls, Kansas
Posted under: Colorado, Kansas, News & Updates

2015 Year in Review: Keeper of the Plains, Big Sur and more!

Posted on December 30, 2015 by Mickey

2015 was a great year for photography! I managed to take three major trips this year! In March and April, my wife and I visited Seattle, Vancouver, Vancouver Island and the southern coastal mountains of British Columbia near Whistler. We stayed in Ucluelet, British Columbia to tour western Vancouver Island’s enchanting Pacific Rim National Park, where the Pacific Ocean crashes into the raw coastline of this enchanting and rugged national park. We drove up the Sea to Sky highway and viewed a number of waterfalls, along with spending a day or two checking out Vancouver and the surrounding areas.

In July, we took a roadtrip from Wichita to Phoenix. We didn’t just drive down the interstate though. We traveled through southern Colorado, crossing the mountain ranges of the Sangre de Cristos and the San Juans. We visited the iconic Monument Valley and Grand Canyon National Park amidst some unseasonably chilly weather in the desert.

And in September, I took my annual autumn colors trip out to Colorado before boarding a plane in Denver with my wife, sister-in-law and friend to California. While in California, we drove the length of Lake Tahoe and celebrated a wonderful wedding in the mountains north of Lake Tahoe. We also explored San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, along with the communities in the mountainous and foggy regions to the north of the Golden Gate Bridge including the John Muir National Monument where the towering and mysterious redwoods still live. My wife topped it off with a couple of days down in Monterey and Big Sur, where every sunrise and sunset seemed to light up the sky in beautiful and vivid colors every morning and night!

I also spent more time exploring the eastern half of Kansas than I’ve ever explored before. I made it a personal goal to try to find as many of the many Kansas waterfalls I hadn’t seen yet this year. As we had a number of good rainfalls, I’ve expanded my list of waterfalls to 80+ and counting in the state of Kansas. I’ve also traveled many of the scenic byways of Kansas in recent months including the Glacial Hills and Frontier Military Scenic Byways. 2015 was a year of exploration close to home to visit many of the beautiful hidden gems here in Kansas.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that 2015 wasn’t just a great year for me personally as a photography, but also my wife, who started a business as a wedding and lifestyle photographer! Check her out at ValerieShannonPhotography.com!

I also wanted to mention that all the top 15 images of 2015 are currently on sale until January 15th, 2016 at 10% off!

With that said, here’s my top 15 photos from 2015 Year In Review:

15. Moody Trout Lake

Moody Trout Lake
Moody Trout LakePrints Available
Moody clouds drift through the mountains above Trout Lake

I had hoped to get a beautiful sunset on the night I shot this. Unfortunately the clouds never lifted, but the scenery was still beautiful! Wildflowers dotted the hillside on the west of Trout Lake, giving a great foreground to the moody background above Trout Lake in the San Juans of Colorado.

14. Pacific Rim Coastline

Pacific Rim Coastline
Pacific Rim CoastlinePrints Available
The Pacific Ocean crashes into the coastline of Pacific Rim National Park

This shot just screams Pacific Rim to me. Both rain and sun seem to show their heads every half hour as storms come in from the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Vancouver Island. This was shot just to the south of the lighthouse in Ucluelet, British Columbia. With the rocks being battered by raging waves and the rain coming inland once again, this photo sums up my experiences on the west coast of Vancouver Island and Pacific Rim National Park.

13. Stormy Kansas Sunset Panorama

Stormy Kansas Sunset Panorama
Stormy Kansas Sunset PanoramaPrints Available
Panorama of storm clouds at sunset near Minneapolis, Kansas

This is just one of many great shots I actually got on the night I shot this. My wife and I were visiting her grandparents in Minneapolis, Kansas over Memorial Day weekend when a thunderstorm rolled through the area. This was the first shot I took, stitching together multiple images to create a panorama of the large storm cloud spread out on the horizon. As sunset was just beginning, the colors in the clouds added to the beauty of the storms.

12. Atkinson Lighthouse

Atkinson Lighthouse
Atkinson LighthousePrints Available
A kayak is left on the rocks below Atkinson Lighthouse

One of my favorite shots from my trip up to Vancouver and Vancouver Island back in April, this shot was about half an hour before sunset. A few other groups of people were enjoying the views as well. Atkinson Lighthouse is situated in West Vancouver and overlooks the Howe Sound. On a clear day, you can see down towards Vancouver Island.

11. Friends University Winter

Friends University Winter
Friends University WinterPrints Available
A winter storm brings heavy snow to Friends University

A sunset was attempting to shine through at the beginning of a snowstorm on the campus of Friends University. I chose this scene out of four shots I took down there as it had a sort of Thomas Kincaid feel to me, due to the slightly purple sunset hues and the lampposts and lights on the campus.

10. Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park

Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park
Little Qualicum Falls Provincial ParkPrints Available
Beautiful Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park

One of my favorite stops on Vancouver Island was the beautiful Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. Surrounded by ancient forest, the river that ran through this park that created multiple beautiful falls was so vividly aqua-blue and green. Vancouver Island in general was such a mysterious and enchanting place, and Little Qualicum Falls only added to that feeling!

9. Keeper of the Plains Fiery Sunset

Keeper of the Plains Fiery Sunset
Keeper of the Plains Fiery SunsetPrints Available
A beautiful and fiery sunset at the Keeper of the Plains

The second of two amazing Keeper of the Plains sunsets I managed to shoot in one night. The sunset first started off extremely yellow and orange, then turned to bright red before showing off a multitude of colors in this scene!

8. Sunflower Sunset

Sunflower Sunset
Sunflower SunsetPrints Available
A beautiful sunset gives a great backdrop to the classic Kansas sunflower scene!

I spent quite a bit of time trying to find a sunflower field near Wichita that was at peak. I managed to find one just a few days past peak up near Lindsborg and captured this sunset over the field of yellow sunflowers!

7. Swissvale Falls

Swissvale Falls
Swissvale FallsPrints Available
One of the many beautiful waterfalls I’ve found in Kansas this year

I went on a number of Kansas waterfall runs this year, in an effort to map out all of the 80+ waterfalls I’ve found in Kansas so far. One of my favorites is this little known waterfall southeast of Topeka called Swissvale Falls. It lies on a rails-to-trails hike called the Landon Nature Trail. This photo is one of my favorite because of the lush green scenery that complimented Swissvale Falls perfectly!

6. Keeper of the Plains Winter Illumination

Keeper of the Plains Winter Illumination
Keeper of the Plains Winter IlluminationPrints Available
Snow falls while illuminating the Keeper of the Plains

I loved the way the snow became almost texturized in this shot at the Keeper of the Plains. The shutter speed was set in a way that captured the wavy motion of how the snow was falling.

5. Sangre de Cristos Double Rainbow

Sangre de Cristos Double Rainbow
Sangre de Cristos Double RainbowPrints Available
An intense double rainbow stands high about Blanca Peak in the Sangre de Cristos mountains

As I traveled with my wife from Wichita, Kansas to Phoenix, Arizona back in July, we drove down a scenic route that took us to the Great Sand Dunes National Park for sunset. Shortly before a vivid sunset, this beautiful double rainbow popped up over Blanca Peak and the Sangre de Cristos mountains!

4. Kansas Sunset Thunderstorm

Kansas Sunset Thunderstorm
Kansas Sunset ThunderstormPrints Available
A beautiful sunset illuminates ominous looking thunderstorm clouds

This insane thunderstorm rolled through the Minneapolis, Kansas area in late May. My wife and I grabbed the camera and tripod and tried to follow ahead of the storm. The clouds were rolling through right at sunset as well, so they lit up very spectacularly!

3. Vivid Keeper of the Plains Sunset

Vivid Keeper of the Plains Sunset
Vivid Keeper of the Plains SunsetPrints Available
An extremely vivid orange sunset lights the clouds behind the Keeper of the Plains

I shot this image back in May during one of the most insane sunsets I’ve ever seen! In fact, there are two Keeper of the Plains sunsets on this top 15 in 2015 list from that very night. It was just that good. This was the first of the two, and had me running back and forth from various spots around the Keeper of the Plains for different vantage points. There was even a rainbow behind me when shooting this. You know it’s a beautiful sunset when the sunset itself takes precedence over a rainbow! The sunset really felt like fire was rising out of the sky behind the statue.

2. Teter Rock Winter Milky Way

Teter Rock Winter Milky Way
Teter Rock Milky WayPrints Available
The Milky Way sets in the western skies above Teter Rock

This shot was taken in November as the Milky Way was setting in the western sky. Teter Rock is my go-to spot. Especially for night scenes, as the Milky Way usually shines bright in the sky over it.

1. Big Sur Sunset

Big Sur Sunset
Big Sur SunsetPrints Available
A fiery and colorful sunset lights up the spectacular Big Sur coastline of California

This photo easily topped my list this year! I’ve been two Big Sur twice now. The first time I witnessed an insanely beautiful sunrise back in January of 2012. I had the pleasure of visiting it with my wife back in September, and was treated to two spectacular sunsets and an amazing sunrise! This was shot on the second sunset of our Big Sur adventures. We had driven the length of Big Sur and were driving back. I really wanted to get a sunset picture at McWay Falls, so we stopped and admired the view of the falls to the south. However, to the north and out over the ocean, this magnificent sunset was unfolding. I turned my camera in that direction and shot the scene that’s before you.

Looking ahead to 2016

As I look forward to 2016, I don’t have any planned major trips out of the state of Kansas. However, most of my trips this year were planned mere months in advance at best, so I would imagine my camera will lead me somewhere!

However, I do plan to travel the state of Kansas really extensively with planned trips out to western Kansas to finally visit places like Monument Rocks, Castle Rock, Wilson Lake, Scott City State Park and the Cimarron National Grasslands. I also hope to finish visiting the rest of my waterfall list if we’re blessed with enough rain in 2016. My hope is to publish a book about the beauty of Kansas in late 2016 or early 2017 showcasing all the awesome places I’ve visited in the past six years!

Thanks for a great 2015 and here’s to an even better 2016!

Posted under: California, Canada, Colorado, Kansas, News & Updates

Moraine Lake to Waimea Canyon: My Top 10 Photo Spots

Posted on December 9, 2015 by Mickey

Everyone has those favorite places they love to visit. Whether it’s hiking in Switzerland, walking in the sand at the Pacific Ocean as waves roll in on a wild beach, or watching buffalo roam the tallgrass prairie in the Flint Hills, we all have our special places! My favorite places to photograph have evolved dramatically over the past 6-7 years as I’ve picked up a camera and photographed the places I travel to. I wanted to share some of these favorite places to photograph with you. This list only consists of places I’ve been too. If I had been hiking in at Torres del Paine in Chile, traveling the countryside of New Zealand or photographing under the stars at Monument Rocks in western Kansas, I would imagine this list would be even harder. But I’m only going off of places I’ve been to over and over again! I really struggled to decide this list. The top three in particular kept changing places as I was writing this. If you were to ask me to name my favorite spot to photograph in any given week, it would probably change weekly.

Also keep in mind that this list is based of my favorite places to photograph, not visit. There are undoubtedly a few spots I would have much higher on this list (Chamonix-Mont Blanc in France, Vancouver Island, the Chateau de Chillon in Switzerland) had my photography plans in those places worked out better. Poor lighting, lack of time and more kept these places off this list. These are simply the top 10 places I’ve had the pleasure of photographing.

1. Moraine Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada

Moraine Lake Sunset
Moraine Lake SunsetPrints Available
A beautiful Moraine Lake sunset

When I visited the Canadian Rockies back in 2012, the place I tended to always gravitate back to was Moraine Lake. While driving up and down the beautiful Icefields Parkway, I probably visited Moraine Lake 5 times in 3 days. It’s a special place, and easily the most beautiful alpine lake I’ve ever seen.

2. Keeper of the Plains, Wichita, Kansas

Keeper of the Plains Lightning Bolt
Keeper of the Plains Lightning BoltPrints Available
A lightning bolt frames the Keeper of the Plains

This is my go-to spot for photography. It’s treated me well. A lot of my best images are from this Wichita icon, and while the mountains are always my favorite terrain, the Keeper of the Plains has become a constant subject in my work that no other place has filled. I’ve shot more images at the Keeper of the Plains than any other place in the world, and I keep going back for more and more!

3. Wengen, Berner Oberland, Wengen, Switzerland

Dusk In Wengen
Dusk In WengenPrints Available
Twilight settles at dusk in Wengen, Switzerland

Much like Moraine Lake, the view from the bench at the church in Wengen, Switzerland was a spot I continued to return to on my trip through the Alps for photography. It’s also the spot I long to go back to most in Europe someday.

4. Dallas Divide/Sneffels Wilderness, Ridgway, Colorado

Colorado Wildflowers
Colorado WildflowersPrints Available
A field of wildflowers on the slopes of Mount Sneffels

The Dallas Divide on the north side of the San Juans in the Colorado Rockies have become my favorite place in all of Colorado to visit. There’s a two-fold reason. My hike in 2011 to Blue Lakes in the Sneffels Wilderness produced some of the most beautiful wildflower displays I have ever seen! Second, Dallas Divide is easily my favorite spot to return to for autumn colors, as the vistas along it’s many backroads are unforgettable!

5. Big Sur, California

Big Sur Sunset
Big Sur SunsetPrints Available
A beautiful Big Sur sunset

I’ve now visited Big Sur twice. Once was for a brief morning in early 2012 that produced a spectacular sunrise. The second was in autumn of 2015, which also produced some of the best sunrises and sunsets of the entire year for me. One particular sunset was one of the best I’ve ever photographed! My favorite spot along Big Sur: McWay Falls. Not only does it have a beautiful tidefall waterfall that drops directly into the ocean at a gorgeous beach, but the view back towards the north is also spectacular!

6. Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado

Maroon Creek
Maroon CreekPrints Available
The Maroon Bells tower above a wildflower lined Maroon Creek

I’m not sure why it took me so long to visit the Maroon Bells in my years of visited Colorado, but I’ve been back almost every year since! Once for wildflowers, but mostly for the beautiful fall colors. Pro-tip: Droves of people will line the northwest shore of Maroon Lake to get the classic reflective Maroon Bells shot, but I find walking to the far side of the lake and photographing the various angles there far more rewarding. I don’t know how many times I’ve shown up for a sunrise with 200 other people fighting for rock or something in their foreground at the edge of the lake, only to find views along Maroon Creek completely deserted.

7. Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Mystical Dream Lake
Mystical Dream LakePrints Available
A foggy Memorial Day morning at Dream Lake

If you had asked me in the years prior to taking my photography as seriously as I do now, Rocky Mountain National Park would be #1 without a shadow of a doubt. I’ve since visited some amazing places in the world, but I’ll always hold a soft spot for Dream Lake in Colorado.

8. Waimea Canyon, Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii

Waimea Canyon Rainbow
Waimea Canyon RainbowPrints Available
Waimea Canyon is graced by a vivid rainbow near Waipoo Falls

There were a few places on Kauai that I kept returning to in the week I spent on the island. The one that produced the best images was the Waimea Canyon. I continued to drive up that road to the canyon and into Kokee State Park beyond. Other spots on Kauai that almost made this list include the Kilauea Lighthouse, Hanalei Bay and the Napali Coast.

9. Teter Rock, near Cassoday, Kansas

Teter Rock Winter Milky Way
Teter Rock Winter Milky WayPrints Available
The Milky Way shines bright above Teter Rock

Teter Rock has become my go-to spot for shooting Milky Way and star scenes in recent years. Far enough away from city lights, but within an hour and a half drive from Wichita, it makes for an easy getaway to get out under the stars. It’s also a great place to photograph a good Kansas thunderstorm as it rolls across the prairie.

10. The Old Mill, Little Rock Arkansas

Old Mill Gardens
Old Mill GardensPrints Available
Spring blooms at the Old Mill

I’ve only visited the Old Mill once, but the shots I got for the little time I spent there rank up there as some of my favorites. The one pictured here was a particular favorite. While most of Arkansas is probably inundated with images from the Old Mill (it’s a Little Rock icon), for a tourist looking for a great place to photograph, it was the perfect spot!

Other spots I loved photographing at:
Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, Canada
Kilauea Lighthouse, Kauai
Lauterbrunnen Valley Floor, Switzerland
Hanging Lake, Colorado
Peyto Lake, Banff National Park, Canada
Murren, Switzerland
Spiez, Switzerland
Mer de Glace, France
Cowley Falls, Kansas
Moraine Park, Colorado
Bear Lake, Colorado
Geary Lake Falls, Kansas
Kalalau Overlook, Kauai
Napali Coast, Kauai
Hanalei Valley, Kauai
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Boulder Brook, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Posted under: Canada, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, News & Updates, Switzerland

Top 14 Photos of 2014

Posted on January 12, 2015 by Mickey

It has been a great year for Mickey Shannon Photography, with opportunities to shoot in a multitude of locations from my home in Kansas, to the Garden Island of Kauai, Hawaii! This collection comes from images I have posted on here on my website, along with my Facebook, Instragram and other social media pages. Thanks for taking the time to view and read, and I appreciate all your support over the past year!

Kilauea Lighthouse Sunset

1. Kilauea Lighthouse Sunset

My absolute #1 best photo in 2014, like many of the other photos from this top 14 in 2014 feature comes from the Garden Island of Kauai! I shot this at the overlook of Kilauea Lighthouse on the north side of Kauai, and captured one of the best sunsets of the trip! The sky lit up in amazing shades of purple, blue and red. The turbulent Pacific Ocean was a deep shade of blue, and they don’t call Kauai the Garden Island for nothing, as the plants in the area were a deep shade of green. There may not have been a rainbow in this photo, but almost all the vivid colors of a rainbow were presented in this amazing sunset overlooking the most famous lighthouse on Kauai!

Waimea Canyon Rainbow

2. Waimea Canyon Rainbow

#2 in my top 14 photos of 2014 is one of the best shots I’ve ever captured! This was completely by chance too. A rainstorm (which is quite typical on Kauai) rolled through the beautiful Waimea Canyon on the afternoon I shot this. We were driving by one of the small pulloffs on the road up to Kokee State Park and this vivid rainbow was in full view near Waipoo Falls. So I composed the shot with both the falls and the rainbow and came away with this shot!

Colorful Hanging Lake

3. Colorful Hanging Lake

Coming at #3 in my top 14 photos of 2014 is my favorite shot of Hanging Lake in Visit Glenwood Springs Colorado! I shot this back in October and it’s definitely one of my favorite shots of the year! The color of that lake is absolutely stunning and a must-do hike to see it for anyone traveling in the state of Colorado!

Winter Twilight in Rocky Mountain National Park

4. Winter Twilight in Rocky Mountain National Park

Coming at #4 in my top 14 photos of 2014 is a unique winter shot of Rocky Mountain National Park from early January! The atmosphere in this shot is what makes it special to me. I normally don’t shoot as many winter scenes as summer or autumn, but I feel this one is one of my better ones!

Magical Hanalei Valley

5. Magical Hanalei Valley

Coming in at #5 is another shot from the beautiful Hanalei Valley. This was shot in the afternoon at the tail end of an amazing rainbow that faded away fast as this shot was being taken. You can see it off in the left of the photo.

Early Morning at the Hanalei Bay Pier

6. Early Morning at the Hanalei Bay Pier

#6 in the list top 14 in 2014 feature also comes from the Hanalei area. This is the Hanalei Bay Pier, which was built in the late 1800s and remodeled on a few occasions over the years. The area is popular with local surfers as I was shooting this sunrise with at least a dozen local surfers getting ready to head into what I thought were some pretty rough waves out there. Hanalei Bay is also a popular boating and fishing area, as you can see many sailboats out there in the waters.

Purple Hanalei Bay

7. Purple Hanalei Bay

#7 on the list of top 14 photos from 2014 is called “Purple Hanalei”. I shot this at the overlook of Hanalei Bay as sunset was beginning to light up the entire scene with a vivid purple hue.

Stormy Coronado Heights Panorama

8. Stormy Coronado Heights Panorama

#8 in my top 14 photos of 2014 brings another Kansas shot. This one was a hair-raiser. We were traveling south from Minneapolis, Kansas, and had visited Rock City. Some late season storms (it was the day before Labor Day) were forming and looking pretty ominous!

As we got to Coronado Heights, I started setting up my camera and realized these storms were moving in fast! I started shooting this image, and within 30 seconds, a wall of wind slammed the area. Considering tornadoes were accompanying some of these storms, we high-tailed it out of there after finishing this image. But it was one of those raw awe-inspiring moments for the quick time I was watching this storm close down on the the hill that houses Coronado Heights!

Hanalei Valley Sunrise

9. Hanalei Valley Sunrise

Coming in at #9 in my top 14 photos of 2014 is Hanalei Valley Sunrise. This valley is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to in my life! The tropical mountains and taro fields mix with warm light coming in from the sunrise to the left to create a beautiful scene below! The amount of deep green in the photo is indicative to Kauai’s title of the Garden Island of Hawaii. There’s color everywhere. And everywhere you turn is a waterfall or tropical plant.

Ke'e Beach Sunset

10. Ke’e Beach Sunset

This sunset was one of the best we had in our time in Hawaii! It clocks in at #10 for the top 14 photos in 2014 feature! Ke’e Beach, where this was taken, is the starting point for the famous Kalalau Trail. You can see the rugged mountains jutting out of the ocean in the left of the picture. The Kalalau Trail follows those mountains around the northwest side of Kauai before landing in the beautiful Kalalau valley!

The Colors of Natural Falls

11. The Colors of Natural Falls

Coming in at #11 of the “Top 14 in 2014” feature is from a waterfall in eastern Oklahoma on the edge of the Ozarks. While on a trip to Tulsa, OK for a soccer tournament, the wife and I took a side adventure to a place called Natural Falls State Park, which features this dual waterfall. The tallest of the falls tops out at 77 feet!

One interesting note about this photo: About a month ago, Alaska Airlines used it to promote their new Oklahoma City runs! You can view that on the Alaska Airlines Instagram Account Page for this photo.

Fiery Sunrise at the Maroon Bells

12. Fiery Sunrise at the Maroon Bells

#12 of my top 14 photos in 2014 brings the autumn colors of the Maroon Bells to life! I shot this from the edge of Maroon Creek, which empties into the famous Maroon Lake where hundreds of photographers will line the edge waiting for sunrise in autumn over the Maroon Bells! I’ve been on multiple occasions, and almost always try to find a different angle of the autumn color-coated Bells. This was 2014’s result!

Stormy Sunset at the Keeper of the Plains

13. Stormy Sunset at the Keeper of the Plains

Coming in at #13 in the top 14 photos of 2014 feature is the only shot I actually put in my portfolio from the Keeper of the Plains this year. Usually I have a slew of Keeper shots each year, but I took a bit of a break to shoot other things. This year, I will be attempting to shoot at least one shot of the Keeper every week of the year (excluding when I’m out of town).

This particular shot was taken as clouds were rolling by. The upper clouds in the distance had intense orange and red in them, while the lower darker clouds were never hit by the sun. The contrast was really interesting and made for a unique shot.

This photo was featured in a 27 Things People From Wichita Have To Explain To Out-Of-Towners. I featured at #4!

Blue Hour at Waimea Bay Pier

14. Blue Hour at Waimea Bay Pier

Coming in at #14 is a shot I took on my very first morning in Kauai! It was a beautiful morning. While the sunrise never really took on a lot of color, the sky was still beautiful and it was amazing just listening to the crashing waves at the pier in Waimea. I was almost completely alone on this gorgeous beach with only a lone Hawaiian fishermen sharing the beach with me that morning.

Posted under: Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, News & Updates

New Colorado Photos!

Posted on August 11, 2011 by Mickey

I’ve added 16 new images from my recent trip to Colorado. This trip spanned Rocky Mountain National Park, the Maroon Bells, Hanging Lake and the Mount Sneffels region of the San Juans near Ridgway. The biggest challenge of these photos is that I shot the first two days in JPEG before realizing I wasn’t shooting in RAW. Most of the better images were salvaged (I’m particularly happy with a few of the Maroon Bells shots) but won’t be printable at my normal large sizes.

Thankfully I realized my error by the time we reached the San Juans, allowing me to shoot the Blue Lake region in RAW. This area was absolutely stunning. The lower Blue Lake reminds me of the color of Moraine Lake in Banff National Park up in the Canadian Rockies. In addition, we hit the area when wildflower season was at it’s peak, so stalks of all sorts of flowers surrounding the lake and meadows nearby. These were certainly the best images from the trip. I’ve set up a newest additions gallery to show all the newest photos from this trip (along with a more recent shot from Wichita, KS). You can view them in the Newest Additions photo gallery.

I’m still not sure where my next photo trip will be, but I’ll be trying to shoot a few new Kansas shots over the coming month or two. If anyone has any suggestions on where I should go shoot next, feel free to drop me a line! I’m always open to suggestions if I can manage it!

Posted under: Colorado, News & Updates