Whilst I spent the majority of the year locally in the Ballarat district, I also managed a second trip down to Flinders Island early in the year, and a visit to the Grampians that gave me some great opportunities in such a short time. And of course the major trip this year over to Hawaii, and then on to the USA west coast - I could have easily put together a best 13 from just that trip!
Make sure you click on these for a larger look, its well worth it!
1. Purple Paradise
I made many, many trips out to Lake Burrumbeet, and nothing was more colourful than this sunset from the north east corner. Lake Burrumbeet always gives me something special, even in the most drab conditions, and being only 20 minutes from home its my go-to location when I'm a bit unsure of my plans.
2. Mt Warrenheip Wonder
On February 14 this year, there was a big fire at one of my favourite locations - Mt Warrenheip. I was down in Melbourne that day giving a presentation at the Rosanna Camera Club, and was a bit disappointed to miss out on all the action. In fact, I even scouted the location on the way home around midnight, but most of the access roads had barriers across them. The next day the fire continued to smoulder so I thought I'd venture out, and it wasn't till I drove around to the east side of the mount that I was presented with this magnificent view. And I'm happy to report the re-growth since has been exceptional, and I know of at least one koala that was looking fit and healthy when I found him a few months later.
3. Gong Gong Reservoir
The plans on this visit out to the Gong Gong Reservoir in April were centred around the rising full moon and the autumn colours - though I wasn't complaining when this magnificent rainbow appeared!
4. Flinders Island Icon
Castle Rock on Flinders Island is one of the most iconic images from an amazing location in Bass Stait, and I was thrilled when my friend Charlie got me here just as the light was reaching its peak late one afternoon in January.
5. Grampians Glory
I hadn't been to the Grampians National Park in a very long time, certainly well before I was into photography (I do remember running the Halls Gap Marathon many years ago!). And its less than 2 hours from Ballarat. First stop on the first evening was MacKenzie Falls and this image of the rock face was something a little bit different from the usual view you see of this iconic location.
In late February Debbie I headed off to Hawaii, and probably the biggest item on my list was too see some flowing lava! We went a bit over budget on our last morning on the Big Island, and did the lava boat tour, and it was worth every cent. I can't recommend this trip highly enough, and the resulting images were something completely new for me.
7. Another World
Another great location we visited in Maui, Hawaii, was Haleakala National Park. A hike down the Sliding Sands trail was a highlight in this other-worldy spot.
8. Let It Snow - Bryce Canyon
After 9 days in Hawaii, we headed over to the west coast of the USA to spend another 2 weeks touring around some areas we had visited in the past. Still as awesome as ever, we were extremely fortunate to find Bryce Canyon in Utah capped with a new fall of pristine snow, and the late evening light really lit up those hoodoos! I gotta say it was pretty cold, especially for sunrise the next morning!!
9. Zion National Park
The view of the Watchman off the bridge at Zion is one of the busiest viewpoints in all of the 59 USA National Parks and I was determined to find something a bit different. So I worked my way along the Virgin River till I found this viewpoint from down at water level, and was very happy with the final result.
10. The Waterfall Way
Granite Falls - Not many people realise the abundance of great photographic opportunities in the Ballarat district, and of course my favourite location is centred around the waterfalls we have here. I like to call this 3km section the Waterfall Way, and it wasn't till I made my first visit here for the year in about July that I was pleasantly surprised to see just how well the three falls were flowing. I made a number of visits through the year, and these are my favourites.
Granite Falls - the least well known and certainly the hardest to find, and probably my favourite as it is quite different from the other 2.
11. Lal Lal Falls.
A big effort was required to get this image and I was thrilled with the final result. I've had a similar image in my portfolio for a couple of years, but felt this one came together really well, and was well worth the effort in getting right down to the water level of these 110 feet falls.
12. Moorabool Falls Magic
My favourite image of the year! This was on one of those days when you head off in drab, dreary conditions and you are rewarded with something very special. I was finished for the day, and was headed back to the car when I sensed a lightening on the horizon, and the annoying rain that had plagued me this afternoon came int to play to reward me with this magnificent sight.
13. There were many other contenders for this list but I felt this magnificent rainbow above the canola fields north of Ballarat, in October, was a worthy addition. I had some great rainbows this year and this wins that category!