2022 in Review


This past year was a challenging one for me personally and professionally as health issues limited my time in the field. Fortunately, I am on the mend and am looking forward to being more photographically productive in 2023.

Notwithstanding health restrictions, I am finding that I am being more selective about where and what I photograph.  So while I took fewer photographs in 2022 compared to previous years, what imagery I did create is some of the best I have done in my career.

Following are some of my favorites from 2022. Let me know if you agree.

“Mount Iliamna Sunrise” – fireweed in Alaska in late summer is a reminder of the short season of warmth and the coming winter. I scouted this location the evening before in the hopes that sunrise skies would be good.
“Hoarfrost Stillness” – deep winter snow, fog and hoarfrost settle on birch and spruce trees in Alaska. Even in low snow years, hoarfrost creates a magical winter wonderland. 
“Autumn Impressions 2022” – intentional camera motion blur of aspen and birch trees gives an impressionistic, painterly feel to fall foliage in Eagle River, Alaska.  This is a fun technique because results are unique and can be unexpected.
“Surfbirds” – perched on a rock in Orca Inlet near Cordova in the Copper River Delta. The delta is an important resting/refueling stop for birds migrating along the Pacific flyway to their breeding grounds in the high arctic.
“Twilight Zone” – Aurora Borealis and moon over Eureka, Alaska. The road provides a leading line to the vanishing point of the horizon punctuated by the moon. A small aperture (f/11) was used to give the starburst effect to the moon’s light rays.
“Wildflowers of Alaska Collage” – this is an updated version of a customer favorite highlighting Alaska wildflowers. Besides a new layout, a few new photos expanded the collection to a total of thirty-five, ten more than the previous collage.
“Iceberg Alligator” – the reflection of these icebergs on Portage Lake created an interesting abstract. Originally shot in color, it was converted to black and white and darkened to bring out the ice detail. I see a prehistoric alligator about to consume another animal. What do you see?
Sunrise and hoarfrost covered trees along the Eklutna tailrace and the Knik River in early December. Since then we’ve gotten over four feet of snow from three snowstorms.
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska is the largest national park in the U.S. at 13.2 million acres. The Nabesna Road is only one of two roads into the park shown here along the Mentasta and Nutzotin Mountains in the north. This is rugged wilderness with no services at all.
“Round-leaved Sundew” – Alaska’s version of a Venus Flytrap, this insectivorous wildflower secretes a sticky, sweet liquid that attracts insects. The ensnared victim is dissolved by enzymes to provide nutrients to nourish the plant. Selected as one of Top 250 images in North American Nature Photography Association’s 2023 Showcase competition.
“River Pinks” – sunrise’s pink pastels add warmth to the cold winter landscape along the banks of the Knik River.
“Rainforest Primeval” – reflection of temperate rainforest on pond near Cordova, Alaska. I used the Orton Effect in post-processing to create a vibrant glow at the forest edges while darkening the interior to fade details and add a sense of mystery. Does this work?
“Wabi Sabi” – a Japanese aesthetic centered on the appreciation of the imperfect and transient aspects of nature. I was struck by how the standing trees seem to be mourning over the fallen large tree. Yet their fate has already been sealed by exposure to saltwater from the fierce storms that batter the coast on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. It’s one example of finding beauty in the passage of time.
“Rainbow Aurora” – before ponds and lakes freeze up they provide a nice reflective surface for auroras. A half moon provided enough lighting to reveal the landscape without washing out the northern lights which reveal a rainbow-like appearance.
“Fresh Powder” – as the poem goes, “over the river and through the woods…”, a cross-country ski trail on fresh snow leads skiers into a winter wonderland at Eagle River Nature Center near my home in Alaska.
“Terminal/Terminus Light” – last light on the Chugach Mountains and the terminus of the 27-mile long Matanuska Glacier.
“Mount Sanford Sunrise” – it’s taken me three trips to this part of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park to even see Mount Sanford due to inclement weather. On this morning it was 22 F so ground fog softened and muted the fall colors of the taiga. At 16,237 feet, Mount Sanford is the sixth tallest peak in North America. Glaciers and snow cover this dormant shield volcano year-round.
“Wabi-Sabi Tableau” – a tableau is a striking or artistic grouping (Merriam-Webster dictionary). I came across this natural arrangement of decaying leaves resting on top of this mushroom among low bush cranberry and moss. As random an event that precipitated this juxtaposition, the arrangement seemed perfectly placed by nature.
“Hoarfrost Morning” – Alaska’s subzero temperatures sting the face and numb the fingers and toes. Just when you think it’s time to retreat to a warm vehicle she woos you back with creamy soft pastels to warm the heart and soul. Reflections and hoarfrost covered trees add to the visual incentive.
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2 thoughts on “2022 in Review

  1. Joan Nunn

    Hi Ray,
    All your images are just gorgeous!! I’m especially drawn to the Round-leaf Sundew and the Wabi Sabi mushroom. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Sundew – I’ll have to look for one this next year.
    I saw your Night Workshop advertised at the Botanical Garden and would really really love to take it and would have signed up for it before now, but unfortunately I will be out of state during that time. I hope you do it again next year.
    Best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year!

    1. rbulson Post author

      Thanks, Joan! This is my second year teaching the night photography workshop at the garden so I hope to continue next year. It’s a fun evening for all. Happy New Year.

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