Now that 2012 is underway, it’s time to take a look back at a few favorite photos from 2011. The highlights of my year included two trips with my husband, one to the Southwestern US and one to Puerto Rico. Both were new experiences for us, and both left us wanting more. My favorite photos from the Southwest are by far those from Antelope Canyon. While not the most serene to actually visit thanks to the many tourists and photographers, the photos from that visit amaze me every time I look at them. The expanse of the Grand Canyon was breathtaking, and I was really surprised by all of the trees and the surrounding forest. I’d always imagined the surrounding area to be desolate.
While the Grand Canyon was on my bucket list, I must say that I fell in love with Bryce Canyon. The intense colors of the hoodoos against the blue sky was simply beautiful, but the most memorable was the quiet serenity of our day there. We’ll be back for sure with much more time to explore. On a completely different note, Puerto Rico was a fantastic getaway, and surprisingly easy to get to. The ability to be in 2500 feet of crystal clear water in only a 20-minute boat ride was amazing! My favorite spots were the rain forest at El Yunque and streets of Old San Juan with the beautiful architecture and brilliant colors.
As usual, it was hard to narrow my favorite photos down to only ten this year. There isn’t really any rhyme or reason for why these photos are my favorites, but there is something about each one that I love. Enjoy the photos and have a wonderful 2012!
The Genesee River flows through Letchworth State Park located about 35 miles southwest of Rochester, NY. Carving a gorge through the park, the rock walls climb up to 550 feet in some locations, hence the nickname the “Grand Canyon of the East”. There are three large waterfalls in the park, named only for their locations: Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. All o f the falls are located in the southern section of the park, known as Portage Canyon. This photo is of the Middle Falls, located in the most narrow section of the gorge where only 400 feet separates the two rock walls.
When fall arrives on the gulf coast of Florida, the humidity subsides leaving clear blue skies and comfortable temperatures for the first time in months. Rainy season is over and the two driest months of the year, October and November, offer perfect beach weather. One of the highlights of photographing the beach during the fall are the beautiful golden-brown sea oats. Synonymous with the beach, sea oats are found along most beaches in Florida. Their long roots that help hold loose sand in place to preserve dunes and prevent erosion. In fact, sea oats are so essential in protecting the sandy beaches of Florida that the grasses are actually protected by the state.
About 35 miles southwest of Rochester, NY you’ll find Letchworth State Park. Billed as the “Grand Canyon of the East” the Genesee River travels through the gorge over three large waterfalls offering spectacular views. The rock walls are as high as 550 feet in some areas with a width of only 400 feet near the middle falls, thus earning the name the “Grand Canyon of the East.” The park is named after William Pryor Letchworth who gave a 1000 acre estate to the state of New York in 1906 that now comprises the heart of the park .The park now covers over 14,000 acres offering views like this on the 66 miles of hiking trails.
These majestic Coastal Redwoods were photographed in the in the Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, California. Just north of San Francisco in Mill Valley, Muir Woods celebrated 100 years as a national monument in 2008. As the only old-growth redwood forest in the San Francisco Bay area, Muir Woods is actually one of few left on the planet. Once found throughout the northern hemisphere, Coastal Redwoods are now only only found in a narrow 500 mile coastal strip from southern Oregon to northern California. Coastal Redwoods are the tallest of all living things on earth with the tallest tree at Muir Woods measured at 258 feet tall. The average age of the Coastal Redwoods at Muir Woods is between 600 and 800 years old, and the oldest is estimated at 1200 years old. As old as this sounds, these incredible tress can live up to 2200 years old.