The occasionally-updated blog of M. Scott Smith

Year in Review: Shots from 2010 🔗

As 2010 turns the page to 2011, it's time to reflect on the past 12 months. The past year has been a busy year for me. Most of my time was spent in the office, where I overcame a string of challenges to produce work that has had a significant impact. This has been rewarding, but exhausting; thankfully, I managed to sneak away on occasion, camera in hand, to travel across the country shooting photos. Photography is a lifetime sport and a lifetime education, and I experienced significant growth as a photographer during the past year.

In this post, I trace back through a year of photos, showing many photographs that I have not previously published.

2010 began with one of my favorite activities: skiing.

Early in the year, I was lucky enough to snag one of the first Nikon D3s cameras off the assembly line. The D3s represents an incredible advance in photographic technology; with low noise and unparalleled light sensitivity, it can practically see in the dark. Since unpacking the D3s, I have taken thousands of photos, and haven't used a flash in a single one.

In some winters, Maryland doesn't see any snow. That wasn't going to be a problem in early 2010. The snow began falling.

And kept falling.

And really didn't stop. I was snowbound for many days during the Snowpocalypse of 2010.

I braved the cold and chest-high snow to snap some photos.

Thankfully, many great photos came right to my house, allowing me to shoot from inside my warm kitchen.

Eventually the snow melted, and I had more serious things to photograph, such as a major pillow fight taking place in the shadow of the Washington Monument.

During the spring, I took a trip to Las Vegas with my family -- the first of three trips to the desert oasis I would make in 2010.

I also made a significant investment in LED lighting technology, replacing nearly all of the incandescent and flourescent lighting in my house with cool, energy-efficient LED lighting.

A year isn't complete without at least one visit to Shenandoah National Park, which included a night hike through a thunderstorm.

With summer in full swing, I once again found myself in Las Vegas. The 110+ degree temperatures didn't mix well with a bad summer cold, but it's really impossible not to have a good time in Las Vegas.

I'm fortunate enough to live next to the edge of woods and wetlands. A 2-minute hike out my house leads to blossoming day lilies in the late summer.

Towards the end of the summer, I visited our nation's great Capital and captured some late-day shots.

In mid-October, it was time for a character-building experience, courtesy of this man.

That's Jay Maisel, a living legend in photographic circles. Jay teaches a series of intensive week-long photography workshops in New York City. They are quite demanding, beginning each day well before sunrise and ending late at night. I was terrified of taking this workshop, and with good reason. Jay challenged me to go outside of my comfort zone and take photos of things that could look back -- i.e., people.

It was a week of baby steps for me. I approached street photography timidly, or perhaps, cowardly.

I camped out for over an hour on a street corner trying to get some double-take shots like this one.

A sunset on the last night of the workshop. I left the workshop with new friends and a renewed appreciation for great photography.

That's Sally, the Wonder Dog. Several trips to Pennsylvania to visit family throughout the year provided the chance to hang out with Sally.

Sally takes her job of protecting the house from squirrels very seriously.

On Veterans day, I hopped on a plane and headed west for a two-week trip throughout the southwest. My first stop was on top of the world: Pikes Peak, Colorado.

I made a new friend.

The next couple weeks consisted of a lot of winter driving, taking me through Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.

Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is a magical place. Climbing the dunes in the winter, as opposed to 100-degree temperatures, is a nice treat.

Lots of harrowing winter drives.

I was one of only a few people who braved a snowstorm one day to visit the high plateau of Mesa Verde National Park.

Petrified National Forest in Arizona preserves 300 million year-old trees. Mind boggling, really.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon. A couple days later, I would visit the North Rim of Grand Canyon on the last day it was open for the season.

There are lots of interesting ruins throughout the southwest.

I was the only person at Sunset Crater National Monument for most of a morning, until a bus suddenly pulled up. The door opened, and after a delay, a walker slowly appeared. A stream of over 50 senior citizens then filed out of the bus.

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It isn't easy to get to.

Hiking solo in desolate areas in the middle of winter isn't the smartest thing you can do, but a satellite transmitter allowed me to broadcast my location and status.

Rangers had controlled burns going at the North Rim to clear out some underbrush and reduce the possibility of future forest fires.

A highlight of my adventures was Zion National Park -- a truly magical place. In one day, I experienced nearly every type of weather from sunshine to pouring rain to blizzard. I enjoyed Zion so much I extended my time there by several days.

A once-peaceful Virgin River quickly became muddy and turbulent during heavy rain.

These mountain goats have no respect for the rules of the road.

More icy-road driving at Colorado National Monument, as I rushed back to Denver, mere hours ahead of a major blizzard.

In December, I once again found myself in Las Vegas, where temperatures were perfect.

In late December, I stayed up all night to take pictures of a lunar eclipse in the freezing cold. I'm not sure why. Thousands of people snapped exactly the same photo I snapped.

2010 ended the way it began: with some skiing.

The year closed out with friends and family. My niece shows off her new camera, a Christmas gift from her doting uncle (that would be me). Early evidence suggests that she is in now in the early stages of a lifelong passion for photography. I'm happy to take credit for that.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2011.

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