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Ok, I know I’ve been neglecting the posts on our amazing desert road trip, but I wanted one more reflective post before returning to our next leg – Moab.  Stay tuned!

I love stats (reporting them, not calculating them), so here they are:

  • Photos taken in 2015: 21668
  • Photos taken in 2016: 26014

Yep.  I took almost 4500 more photos last year than the year prior.. and I thought I was being careful to take fewer pictures!  To be fair, over 600 of those were of Landscape Arch, alone (that post is coming soon), and nearly half of those photos are from my work at anime conventions.. don’t judge me!

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
Kissing Camels, Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

At any rate, that’s still a lot to sift through and choose only 50 as my favorites from the year (and people wonder why it takes me so long to edit photos (not you, my fellow photographer – you understand my pain)).  How do?  In the end, it took a lot of help from Aaron to be brutal, and I came *this* close to simply settling for a top 55.  But I did it!  Seriously, guys.. this is the hardest part of photography!

We did so much last year.  We went to Vancouver for the first time.

No wonder the images that made the cut were all cityscapes.  You can read about our adventures with convincing the locals we were actually Canadian, the most unique restaurant experience I’ve ever had, and discovering Japan in Canada!

We also said yes to a spontaneous photo trip to Hawaii.  Why not, right?

We found pukas

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
Just south of Kona Airport

…we visited many tropical beaches

…we were wowed by magnificent trees…

…and we ventured above the clouds.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
Subaru Telescope atop Hawaii’s Mauna Kea

We found fields of lava and a restaurant in ruins.

And we of course fit in some snorkeling.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
Champagne Pond
© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
Two Step

I also snatched this street-photography-style shot of a man lounging on top of a dumpster… because he could.  I just loved the character of this picture.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
What an odd scene

We took a photo trip to Crater Lake (which I haven’t gotten the chance to write about yet), and my hunch really paid off on some morning mist.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
The Milky Way over Crater Lake
© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
Boats all lined up on Diamond Lake

We went camping in McKenzie Pass (I also didn’t write about this one).

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
Burning steel wool.. because that’s what you do in caves
© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
It was worth waiting up for the stars at the summit of McKenzie Pass

And we went on an epic road trip with my parents (those posts are still in progress!).

Read about our surprise moose discovery, our hike above timberline through the tundra, and my 3am defiance of bears to shoot stars.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
Stars and the first embers of sunrise over Columbine Lake

You can also read about the many ladders of Mesa Verde and our chasing after suns and moons.

Soon, you’ll also read about endless echoes in Canyonlands, the most amazing off-trail hiking in the Fiery Furnace, and the unfathomable awe that comes from standing on top of the world behind Landscape Arch.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
Itty bitty cairns.. see the arch?
© LotsaSmiles Photography 2016
This is Aaron’s favorite photo of the year.. not that I can really bring myself to disagree…

Back home, I shot for five conventions (Newcon happened twice this year!), and these account for almost half of my annual photos.

Troy Baker completely changed my outlook on life, I evaluated my transition from attendee to con photographer, and I made some major mistakes at Kumoricon (that I learned from and translated into the best Newcon ever!).

We celebrated the seasons in all their glory.

I also feel kind of bad that three photos of kitties made it into my top 50, but none are of our sweet Holee.. and two are of Mochi.  She’s just so darn photogenic with that face and those whiskers everywhere!  I have far too many pictures of her.

Which do you like best?  Be sure to check out my top picks from 2015 as well.  Do you have some favorite photos from 2016?  Please share links in the comments; I’d love to see your best!

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