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

13 Images From 2013!

Posted on January 8, 2014 by Mickey

2013 was an interesting year for my photography and contrasted greatly with 2012. In 2012, I traveled more than I have ever traveled in a single year. Two massive road trips that covered a majority of the entire US and Canada west coast combined for 7,000 plus miles of stunning scenery dominated my portfolio in 2012.. For 2013, outside of a short trip to Colorado for fall colors, my entire year is made up with local Kansas shots. In one year, I went from single to married, and it was absolutely a great year! However, just because my life changed dramatically, I don’t feel as though my photography suffered. It just took a different and unique direction. I focused more on the local scene, spending a lot of time at the Keeper of the Plains and out on the open skies of the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas! Below is a collection of 13 of my best images from 2013!


Star Trails Over Teter Rock

13. Star Trails Over Teter Rock

Teter Rock, Kansas, USA – February

This image stands out to me mostly because I tried something a little different with my star trails. When I shot the star trails in this image, I took 30 second exposures for 30 minutes to an hour. Usually when I use this technique, I stack them into one image to create this effect. The other method is to just shoot a long bulb shot for 30 minutes or more. In this particular image I used the stacking method. However, I tried something new by increasing the exposure on the last shot. It created a sort of brighter “tail” to each star trail. I’ll be using this technique and more to try to make my night shots stand out as more unique in the coming year.


Geary State Fishing Lake Waterfall

12. Geary State Fishing Lake Waterfall

Geary State Fishing Lake, Kansas – June

This was shot during a short trip into the Flint Hills for my now-wife’s birthday. We wanted to find this waterfall as I had heard it was one of the largest in Kansas. It was before the flooding later in the summer, but still had some good spring melt runoff going on. It stands out to me as the first Kansas waterfall in an adventure I’ve started to undertake to find them all!


Kansas Gold

11. Kansas Gold

Wichita, Kansas – June

I shot this shortly before harvest near Wichita. The wheat fields swaying in the wind looked like swirls of gold against a beautiful Kansas sky. Hence the title Kansas Gold.


A Hint of Autumn

10. A Hint of Autumn

Maroon Bells, Colorado – September

This one is a little different for me. I usually get drawn in by grand landscape scenes, but lately I’ve been trying my hand at more intimate scenes like the one here. This was one of my favorites from the September fall colors trip out to Colorado. I was really happy with the contrast between the snow covered pine’s and the few stands of aspens spread out to give it a splash of warm color.


Chisholm Creek Fall Colors

9. Chisolm Creek Fall Colors

Wichita, Kansas, USA – October

This autumn there was a good 2-3 day period of lots of rain. I had moved to a new place on the northeast side of Wichita, and decided to check out the Chisholm Creek Park trail system to find a few good locations to shoot. I managed to find this little waterfall (shortly after dropping my lens cap in the same creek and slipping camera first into the mud). With the water pouring heavily over the falls, I shot what I feel is one of the best autumn shots I’ve managed in Kansas.


Summer Sunset at the Keeper of the Plains

8. Summer Sunset at the Keeper of the Plains

Wichita, Kansas – July

After years of drought an a nearly empty Arkansas River in downtown Wichita, the area was graced by lots of flooding, causing the River to swell to heights not seen for a few years. It made for some more interesting shots than a foreground of grass where there should be water. I shot this when the river was at about it’s normal height, with the fire pits going and a beautiful sunset in the background.


Keeper of the Plains Lightning

7. Keeper of the Plains Lightning

Wichita, Kansas, USA – July

Every year, I manage to get at least one crazy lightning shot down at the Keeper of the Plains. This year was no exception, and produced the shot above. Usually the place clears out when the storms get closer, but there was a surprisingly large amount of people enjoying the light show with us. The end result is what you see above.


Lower Chase Lake Falls

6. Lower Chase Lake Falls

Chase State Fishing Lake, Kansas – June

I took this shot back in June on a birthday day trip with my now wife. This was the best shot from that particular trip. While the waterfall wasn’t flowing heavily, it still made for a beautiful scene. It’s still probably my favorite waterfall to shoot in the state, because I always seem to get a good shot there. I’m sure I’ll be back in the spring this year, or even in the winter if a good rainstorm hits.


The Heartland of America

5. The Heartland of America

Wichita, Kansas, USA – June

One complaint I’ve had for years about my Kansas galleries is the lack of wheat and sunflower fields. While I’ve yet to get a few sunflower field shots, I did manage to capture a few good shots of the beautiful wheat fields that Kansas farms are known for! The sky was brilliant the night I shot this, with beautiful cloud formations to work with and the wind rustling the amber waves of grain gave some of the images from that day a swirl of gold for the foreground.


Silent Night Over East Beckwith Mountain

4. Silent Night Over East Beckwith Mountain

Lost Lake Slough, Kebler Pass Area, Colorado, USA – September

This one took a lot of time to get right. Every time I go to Colorado, I plan to take a few night shots. Whether it’s because of time constraints, weather or some other reason, I never seem to get one. This time I was bound and determined to shoot a good Milky Way shot. This particular one was fun, as it was a new place. I had heard that the Kebler Pass area west of Crested Butte was beautiful in the autumn, but didn’t realize how beautiful! Camped at Lost Lake Slough, the area is definitely one of the more remote campgrounds in the state. Beautiful aspen colors, tons of hiking trails and gorgeous scenery dominate the area. A few hours after I shot this, clouds rolled in and we woke up to a snow covered tent the next morning. But what a beautiful night of stars it was!


Autumn at Chase Lake Falls

3. Autumn at Chase Lake Falls

Chase State Fishing Lake, Chase County, Kansas, USA

This image was shot by complete accident. I had been trying to find time to shoot a good autumn scene at one of the many waterfalls I had found over the summer. I missed shooting with the leaves still up in the trees, but made it over to the falls at Chase State Fishing Lake as the leaves scattered the ground and pool of water below the lower waterfall. The early morning sun kept peeking out from the clouds just enough to give some interesting side light to the scene. To say I had planned this shot would be a lie, as this is one of those photos that I love but was taken by sheer luck!

Sunset at Moraine Lake

2. Autumn and Winter Collide at the Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells, Aspen, Colorado – September

This photo moved up the ranks of my top photos pretty quick. The day I spent traveling around the mountains near Aspen during a brief collision of autumn and winter was pretty spectacular! Beautiful autumn colors mixed with wintery scenes to create the scene above. One of the nice things about shooting on the night this was taken was the complete lack of photographers. I’ve been there on cool autumn mornings with 200 other photographers lining the lake trying to capture the same sunrise image of the Bells. I usually become disappointed in knowing I’m getting the same shot as everyone, and walk around the lake to the creek beyond. On this evening, however, there were only two of us braving the cold for a good shot of the Bells as they would appear, disappear and reappear every few minutes from the clouds that were, at times, dropping good amounts of snow on the already beautiful scene. Shortly before I shot this scene, a moose wandered out of the woods to the north of the lake, followed by 4-5 photographers all trying to get a good shot of him. Even more comical, after I finished shooting this scene, the moose wandered back out of the trees on the other side of the lake stalking those same photographers who had gotten way too close.


Delano District Sunset

1. Delano District Sunset

Wichita, Kansas – January

There is no way that this image wasn’t going to make first place! I could have traveled as much as I did in 2012 and probably not found a sunset as stunning as this one was back in January. This was shot on a chilly Friday evening in January only one year ago at the Delano clocktower. Besides the beauty of the sunrise, there are two things that I remember standing out to this photograph. First, the image was used as the cover of the 2013 Delano Visitors Guide, available at businesses throughout the Delano area of Wichita. Second, I remember my now-wife going nuts for this photo when I first posted it. (we had traded Facebook comments about both the sunrise and sunset that day. It was only a few shorts weeks later that I took her to a local lake to teach her star trails. This photo will always be special to me for that reason!

I also want to share one photo that I don’t have for sale, but would for sure be on this list if it was in my portfolio. Back in late July, I proposed to my then girlfriend and now wife (married for all of 12 days now!). Being a landscape photographer, I had to get the ultimate picture of my proposal. I had it all ready to go. Teter Rock was a special place for us, as we hung out for one of the first times out there on the prairie. I had taken a few night shots out there before, and knew exactly what I wanted for my proposal. A picture of the proposal with all the beautiful stars in the background. Full the full story of the proposal, just click the picture. You can read all about how I used a remote to capture the scene below.

Flint Hills Proposal


As you can see, this was a pretty active year of local photography. 2014 is already shaping up to be a great year as well! I’ve already made it to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado to start the year off with some winter fun! For all who have asked me for years to add some tropical ocean shots to my portfolio, it looks like this will be the year to do it! I will also have a major art show this summer at a good location here in Wichita that I will announce at some point soon! Not to mention, plans for a complete revamp of my website and blog! So keep checking back in 2014 to see what kind of amazing stuff I have in store! And feel free to comment here and on Facebook to let me know what kinds of photography you’d like to see!

Here’s a few honorable mentions:
Lined up for the Show
Chase Lake Falls of Gold
Waterfalls of Cowley State Fishing Lake
Keeper of the Clouds
Lights of Delano District
Keeper of the Fog
Blizzard of Oz
Keeper of the Plains Winter Landscape
Star Trails Over Teter Rock

Posted under: News & Updates

12 Favorite Photos In 2012

Posted on January 15, 2013 by Mickey

2012 was an amazing year for me! I managed to travel the American (US and Canada) West extensively in a short period of time. Two major road trips spanning a total of over 7,000 miles in under 2 weeks weilded some great adventures and my best photography yet! From the majestic Canadian Rockies to the rugged Pacific coastline, the west is truley a place to explore! After the amazing year that 2012 was for traveling, I can only hope 2013 turns out even better! With that said, I present the images below as my 12 favorite photographs of the year 2012!

Spectrum of a Sunrise

1. Spectrum of a Sunrise

San Simeon, California – January

It’s interesting that my very first time visiting the Pacific Ocean should also end up being my best photograph of it. In late January, I took a crazy 3500 mile 5-day road trip from my home in Wichita, Kansas, passing through the Grand Canyon and Vegas on the way to the Pacific Ocean and eventually on up the coastline to San Francisco, the Redwoods and our final destination of Portland, Oregon. We hit the Pacific Ocean after dark at San Simeon on the south end of Big Sur. When I woke up the next morning, I was greeted to this magnificent sunrise! It was easily one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever witnessed and produced a number of fine images that morning. This image was the first I took, and turned out the best!


Sunset at Moraine Lake

2. Moraine Lake Sunset

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada – August

It’s rather hard to take a bad picture at a place like Moraine Lake. For years, I dreamed of traveling to this spot to photograph the lake. There’s a reason it’s so highly regarded as one of the best mountain lakes in the world! It’s just that beautiful and easily the most stunning alpine mountain lake I’ve ever seen! The funny thing is, during the 2 days I had to photograph in this area, I never really captured the image I want. The weather never cooperated to give me a stunning sunrise or sunset. The wind never truley died down to give me that crystal clear reflection I had hoped for. Yet, I still love this image in all it’s imperfection.


Legend of Multnomah Falls

3. Legend of Multnomah Falls

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon – August

When you visit Multnomah Falls in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge of Oregon, you get a sense of awe about them. Maybe it’s the local legends about how the falls were formed. Or maybe it’s just the fact that Multnomah Falls is the crown jewel of an area that’s highly regarded for it’s large concentration of waterfalls. Everywhere you turn in this area, there’s a beautiful waterfall pouring through the lush green rainforest. While spring is typically the time to go, as the waterfalls are rushing with snow melt-off from the mountains above, I visited in late January, shortly after a massive winter storm pounded the area. The wind was whipping around enough to give much of the trees and plants a nice green blur to them and the water was flowing as if spring time was in full effect making for the scene you see above.


Old Mill Gardens

4. Old Mill Gardens

Little Rock, Arkansas – April

I had a last minute chance to visit Little Rock, Arkansas back in April to play in a soccer tournament. Knowing I would be a new place, I looked up a few interesting places to visit in hopes of maybe getting a good image or two while down there. At the top of most lists was the Old Mill in North Little Rock, which was famous for being in the opening scenes of the classic Gone With The Wind. It just so happened that I visited when the flowers were in full spring bloom giving the place a very colorful look to it!


This Is Kansas

5. This Is Kansas

Teter Rock, Kansas – July

On my first visit to Teter Rock last July a massive thunderstorm rolled through the plains. There is nothing more awe-inspiring than standing at the top of a hill out on the prairie with the echoes of thunder and flashes of lightning off in the distant. Teter Rock itself was interesting enough, but throw in the crazy lightening storm that developed and it made for classic, iconic Kansas scenery. The image above is the best of the shots from that night and this location has become my favorite place to shoot out on the Kansas prairie.


Emerald Lake Calm

6. Emerald Lake Calm

Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada – August

Across the border from Canada’s famous Banff National Park lies Yoho National Park. Another of the Canadian Rockies beautiful national parks. One of it’s best locations is Emerald Lake. The wind cooperated nicely on this morning, leaving the lake in perfect reflective stillness. Not many tourists were out that morning either, and the lake had a calm and tranquil feeling to it.


Mount Rainier Wildflowers

7. Mount Rainier Wildflowers

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington – September

I could not have planned my day-trip visit to the Paradise region of Mount Rainier any better! Typically wildflower season is much earlier in the summer, with many of the flowers peaking in August. This year, everything was late, and seemed to be peaking on Memorial Day weekend in early September. This was perfect for me, as I visited the Saturday before Memorial Day and was floored by how stunning the wildflowers were. While I had to share the area with more tourists than I have ever seen in my hiking days, I also got to share the trail with a very large black bear. Something I never expected to see, considering just how many people were out on the trails that weekend. This image is probably the best from that day, with some of the most vivid color, contrasted by the glaciers and clouds in the background on Rainier’s slopes.


The Ancient Forest

8. The Ancient Forest

Redwood National Park, California – January

On my massive January road-trip, there were so many places I was excited to visit. While I was interested in visiting the Redwoods, in my mind, I was most interested in the Grand Canyon, Big Sur and the Oregon coastline. As it turned out though, the Redwoods were likely my favorite part of this 3500+ mile trip. Words can’t describe the feeling of hiking silently among ancient giants shrouded in mist and fog. My only regret was that I only got to pass through the area for an hour or two before heading on into Oregon. I would have spent days exploring the region if I would have had the time.


The Lights of Lombard Street

9. The Lights of Lombard Street

San Francisco, California – January

While traveling up the California coastline towards Oregon, I spent a night in San Francisco, seeing a few of the major sights. One of the more interesting places I visited was Lombard Street. Lombard Street is regarded as the most crooked street in the world, and I already had in mind to do a night shot with car lights streaking down it’s curvy streets. What I didn’t expect was the 20+ other photographers there taking the same shot as me. But I still like the shot, even if it wasn’t an original idea!


Sol Duc Falls

10. Sol Duc Falls

Olympic National Park, Washington – August

My time in Olympic National Park was a little bittersweet. Olympic was one of those places I had always wanted to visit. I had always pictured foggy rainforests with constant drizzle and rain. My hope was to capture some of that in photographs. Surprisingly though, it didn’t rain a drop the entire time I was at Olympic and the sun was out the majority of the 2 days I spent traveling the park. However, I still got a few good shots of the coastline and waterfalls, this being my favorite. This waterfall is called Sol Duc Falls, with two rocks that sort of seperate the waterfall into three falls. I thought the view of the bridge from behind the falls was the best of the shots. It’s also the best of the shots I got in Olympic National Park.


Explosive Sunrise

11. Explosive Sunrise

San Simeon, California – August

This was shot just minutes after the other San Simeon sunrise, which was my favorite shot of the year. This one is unique from that one not just in color, but that I captured a wave crashing into a rock 20 feet or so out in the ocean. Beacause of the winter storm that had just passed through much of the west coast, the ocean was rough and violent, creating scenes like this from southern California north to Washington.


Peyto Lake in the Fog Panorama

12. Peyto Lake in the Fog Panorama

Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada – August

This was one of the first shots of possibly my greatest traveling day ever. I had slept in my rental SUV at the very top of the Icefields Parkway up in Jasper National Park to get up early in the morning and shoot some night scenes of the stars above the Athabasca Glacier. The weather had other plans. What had been forecast as a clear and warm (well, relatively speaking for being high in the Canadian Rockies) night turned to a foggy and drizzly night with snow about a thousand feet higher in elevation from where I had camped out. So I traveled south down the Icefields Parkway early in the morning, eventually making my way all the way across British Columbia to the coast and Vancouver late that night. One of my first stops was to get a shot of Peyto Lake in the fog as seen above. The day before the entire area was crawling with tour buses and hundreds of tourists. Because of the overcast and fog, on this morning, I was the only car in the parking lot and had the entire area to myself. And it was such a beautiful place to spend some time admiring one of Canada’s most iconic scenes.

Posted under: News & Updates