Before the year ends, I want to give props to all the people who I collaborated with this year. Here's a quick highlight, one image per month for the last 12 months. If you want to read more, as always, feel free to backtrack through the links to various months of the year.
My buddy Colin Crilley practicing direct aiding in the jungle, Costa Rica, January 2013
January was dedicated to organizing, directing and instructing a tree climbing course for Cornell students in Costa Rica. I visited many familiar places with familiar faces. One character in particular, is a familiar face but in a not-so-familar place. This image is of my buddy Colin practicing direct-aiding the tree trunk, a miserable but necessary technique in tropical tree climbing. Although I've worked with Colin on and off for years, this was his first trip to the Tropics. Colin has been a big part of my development as a photographer and he basically taught me everything I know about graphic design, web-coding, and video editing. In addition to helping deliver an awesome course for the students, Colin and I worked over-time to cut a sweet highlight reel of our expedition and made best-of collection of photos to share with folks. To top it off, our last week together in the Rio Guabo Valley we went on a epic river-hiking adventure from high in the jungles to the ocean all in a day. Props to you Colin for loving to learn and fully keeping it real. You da' man! P.S. Peep Colin's brand new website here: http://www.ccrilley.com
Snorkeling in the clear waters
February I spent travelling, visiting, and exploring on the big island in the Caribbean with my Dad. I took the opportunity to practice new photography techniques: High-Dynamic Range, Long Exposures and Underwater Photography. In addition to photography we spent a big chunk of our time talking with the locals and thus learning about the life on the island. Our time in the ocean was a highlight: my dad really enjoyed his time in the clear water chasing the colorful fish. His enthusiasm for exploring the underwater world was contagious and at the end of our trip, I had shot a thousand images from the under water world. Afterwards I edited the collection into a gallery on the TIP. This one's for you Pa! Thanks for a great adventure.
Looking down on the Chocolate Hills from near Carmen, Bohol, Philippines, March 2013
In March I headed back across the Pacific to Asia with the goal of exploring the central part of the Philippine Archipelago looking for unique photography opportunities. One place in particular that's been on my list for a while was the Chocolate Hills. When I got to Bohol I hired a motorbike and explored the island, and got my first taste of what falling off a motorbike feels like. Luckily no one was injured in the process. Here's to adventure!
Sunset on Sambawan Islands from Maripipi Island, Biliran Province, Philippines, April 2013
In April I continued my explorations by island-hopping around Visayas. Part of the adventure was experiencing a wide range of water-crafts ranging in size from a small canoe with an outboard motor to a wifi-equiped speed ferry catamaran. I discovered small islands offer great opportunities to see sunsets and sunrises, as you can choose your coastline easily. The small boat in the image here was the one that carried myself and a few other (wet) passengers from the islands on the horizon. I wasn't sure we were going to complete the crossing in the daylight, and when we got to shore, I was stoked to be able to photograph the sunset, which developed into a magical about this moment in time. Again here's to adventure!
Lotus Lantern Festival, Seoul, South Korea, May 2013
When I arrived in Korea, I got a chance to meet up with a teacher named Tim. On my days off from work, Tim basically adopted me and took me to various cool places. We went rock climbing one day on Muido Island, which was a very cool experience. One of the best events we witnessed together was the Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul. Amazing lanterns in a big parade with a super-modern city scape in the background. This event was one of my highlight of May in Korea. Thanks for taking me here Tim!
Sunset on the water, Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada, California, June 2013
In June I went to visit my buddy Stu in Lake Tahoe. I had never visited Tahoe, and Stu had some time off from work. After spending most of the day working on logistics for our up-coming Grand Canyon Rafting Expedition, we launched a few kayaks on the lake caught this amazing sunset while paddling out on the waters of Lake Tahoe. Props to you Stu for continuing 5 more months of organizing the hell out of our logistics and for running a safe trip down the Canyon. You da man Stu!
I first met Keith in the year 2004 when Mark Holton and I decided we wanted to start a Tree Climbing program at Cornell. Through the first few years of the program, Keith and I spent a lot of time up in the trees of New York and Costa Rica. When we expanded our program to include the Giant Sequoia, Keith was unavailable for the first few expeditions due to other work commitments. The first time I got to the top of a big Sequoia with Mark, we wished Keith had been with us, so we recorded a short video of a few of us eating Tic-Tacs (Keith's go-to sugary snack) and sent him the video. Since then I have spent a few spring seasons high in these trees. This summer Keith took time off work, drove out to California from Utah and volunteered his time to help the seed project. It was awesome to finally share the time with my friend and long-time climbing partner. Keith never stops to impress me as a strong, talented and incredibly smart fellow. Props to you Keith!
Jon Byers, on the summit of Dogtooth Peak, Sierra Nevada, August 2013
This is my buddy and collaborator Jon Byers on the summit of Dogtooth Peak. The day prior Jon had worked the entire day for Yosemite NPS, driven 4 hours from Yosemite to the High Sierra and slept on the ground in a gravel parking lot. After five hours of sleep, Jon ran the six or so miles from the trail head to meet an Outward Bound group on the summit and film them climbing. Jon's tireless energy and creative ideas were a huge asset during all phases of the production. Jon is a strong, talented, and fast moving climber and photographer. I could have not done what we did with you Jon! Props to you man :)
My hiking partners in the Last Frontier, Hunter Pass, South Fork of the Eagle River, Alaska, September 2013
Spent most of September in Alaska with my brother and Alanna. Our goal was to explore around the Chugach and enjoy the Alaskan wilds on the cheap. We hiked during the day and lived out of a rental sedan and public campgrounds during the evenings. Mostly in the rain. Through all of the wet and cold we were able to keep each other positive, and we enjoyed our time up there in the far north. The last day before they flew out, we did a morning hike to Hunter Pass and the sun came out. We enjoyed a sick view of the Chugach, a few self(group)portraits. A very sweet moment to end the time together. Thanks Joe, Alanna for an awesome adventure!
Climbing with my buddy Josh on Cannon Cliff, New Hampshire, October 2013
Most of my month of October I spent working with my dad on some home repair projects, sorting footage and images in my archive and swim training for the upcoming Grand Canyon Expedition. In a quick weekend escape of Tompkins County, my buddy Josh and I squeezed a nearly-epic adventure out of a small time window. We started out late in the day, but managed to move quickly up the Whitney-Gillman Ridge on Cannon Cliff, this is a picture of us on the top of the route, about to descend the trail in the dark. In the near decade I've know Josh, we have had some great times together. Here's to Carpe Diem! You the man Josh, always a good time!
Boats at the Havasu/Colorado confluence, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, November 2013
Looking back on November, I'm grateful for all of the folks that helped make this expedition possible. It is hard to choose an image from 4,000 to represent an entire month of full adventure on the Colorado River. I chose this one to show the beautiful water of Havasu Canyon, some of our crew, the boats, and the big walls of the canyon. Props to everyone who contributed to our expedition. November was one of the more memorable months of my life. #CompletelyStoked!!
My mom walking in White Sands National Park, New Mexico, December 2013
My mom has been talking about New Mexico since she visited over a decade ago. Since I was already in the Southwest after the river trip, I met up with my folks and we explored around some of the odd-looking landscapes of New Mexico. My mom took us to a few places she that had impressed her, and I shared a few places with her that she hadn't visited. My dad was pretty stoked, as it was all new to him, and we visited many places that were new all three of us. This image does some good justice of showing some of the amazing landscapes we saw. White Sands, blue skies, dark shadows, full sun. Props to my mom for still enjoying exploring new places! Even if it involves red-eyes, long drives, and the occasional night in less-than-optimal lodging. Props to you Ma for Keepin' it real!
With any luck, 2014 will be filled with new learnings, new locations, new friends and lots of good work. Adventure, Exploration, Learning, Collaboration, that's what I'm here for. Happy new year to all!