2019 Top Ten

Every year, I have put together a remembrance of my 10 favorite photos of the past year…

During the past year, I made more photographs than in any previous calendar year, which of course makes it harder to select the favorites.  But, here are the photos of 2019, mostly in chronological order, that mean something to me, mean more than good exposure or composition or content…  These are the photos that are most important to me personally, emotionally, or just for the joy of the moment.  I hope you enjoy them.  I did.

Foggy Morning Drive on US Highway 71

In April, I drove to Hot Springs, Arkansas to Garvan Woodland Gardens.  The morning fog was thick, and I saw several scenes that would have made good photographs.  Finally, I drove by this ranch, and knew I had to stop to make the photograph, even though the highway was busy with people hurrying on their way to work.  That afternoon, on the return drive, the fog was gone – and so was the photograph.  Moral:  When you see the photograph – make the photograph!

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“The time to make the photograph is Now.  There is no Later.”     ~David duChemin

Pre-dawn Dogwood in Devils Den State Park

Later in April, I visited Devils Den, arriving before sunrise, and started on the Devils Den Trail.  These dogwood blossoms were perfect, and even though I could hardly see them, the camera did.

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“Begin each day with a grateful heart. Start your day with gratitude and end it with gratitude.”     ~Kylie Riordan

A Moment’s Rest, Massard Prairie, Fort Smith

Massard Prairie is in the early stages of being reestablished, and exists only in pieces in the southern part of Fort Smith.  On an early July morning, this Crescent butterfly was on a stalk of blazing star, resting.

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“If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning…”     ~Lyndon B. Johnson

The Old Cedar Tree in Mount Magazine State Park

On a southern-facing bluff on Mt Magazine, stands an iconic old cedar tree.  Iconic because of its beautiful classic shape, and age, and location.  Iconic also because since the park has been there, the tree has been part of the park’s logo.  This photo was made in August, and not long after, the tree was struck by lightning, and the top of the tree was split from the trunk making this photo very poignant.    Surviving still, the tree remains beautiful, but in a different way.

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“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”    ~Friedrich Nietzsche

An October Sunrise at Natural Dam

Just after the sun rose on this October morning, it backlit the mist coming from the falling water at Natural Dam, and the morning seemed to become primitive and ancient, and like the dawn of time…

Natural Dam

“I used to envy the father of our race, dwelling as he did in contact with the new-made fields and plants of Eden; but I do so no more, because I have discovered that I also live in ‘creation’s dawn.’ The morning stars still sing together, and the world, not yet half made, becomes more beautiful every day.”     ~John Muir

The Big Boy; Union Pacific Steam Engine 4014

In November, Union Pacific Engine #4014 came through our area, and spent the night in my town of Van Buren.  The next morning, I was there when the engine was fired up and the train departed…  (By the way, there are at least 3 drones in the sky…)

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“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”    ~G.K. Chesterton

McWater Falls, Lake Alma Trail, Alma, Arkansas

About a half-mile hike takes you to this beautiful little waterfall, less than 10 miles from my home.  I made this photograph a few days before Thanksgiving.  The light, and the flowing water, and the autumn leaves, and the solitude, all filled me with thankfulness…

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“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”     ~Henry David Thoreau

The Spillway at Devils Den State Park

The small lake in the park is held in place by this dam, and spillway, originally built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930’s.  On this December day the water was flowing heavily, and all the rocks of the dam were covered by the water.

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”    ~Loren Eiseley 

Morning Light Moment

A few days later, I visited Petit Jean State Park.  On the drive there, I saw this morning light, and this field, and the red horse.  I drove on a little ways, then went back, parked on the shoulder of the highway, and made a few photographs before the light was gone…

“Don’t wait. Never wait. The light came a long way to paint that moment and it won’t last long.”     ~David DuChemin

Cedar Creek Cascade in Petit Jean State Park

In Petit Jean State Park, I took the Cedar Creek Trail, and found this cascade…

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing, I’ll interpret the rocks and learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.”     ~John Muir

“Are You DONE?”

The little grasshopper appears to be wondering when I will finish this post…  🙂 

“Patience, Grasshopper.”

“Patience is a form of wisdom.”    ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

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A bit of self-indulgence:  probably the most important photo of the year was made on January 1st, when my third great-grandchild, but first great-granddaughter, was born…

“I am a great admirer of mystery and magic. Look at this life – all mystery and magic.”     ~Harry Houdini

Just a walk down memory lane…   Thank you for joining me, and I hope your 2020 fills you with joy.  I believe mine will.

8 thoughts on “2019 Top Ten

  1. All so very beautiful, you are a master photographer but the emotion and wisdom you bring to your images always stand out.

    • Sherri, that is so very kind of you to say! Thank you. My goal for many years has been to share not only the scene, but the emotions I felt when pressing the shutter., so for you to say that means very much to me!

  2. Wow, Larry!! What a beautiful, peaceful, introspective year you have portrayed. Your work never ceases to amaze me and challenge me to raise my own photographic bar!! You continue to inspire me, my friend.

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