Railroad Crossing Sign, Weatherford, Oklahoma

My Top 10 Photos of 2014: Places


In 2014, I had the great fortune to travel and photograph a wide variety of places on our great planet. I saw ancient sites like Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple that is over 1000 years old. I saw places like Glacier Bay that were buried under ice only 200 years ago. In between, I saw Indonesian beaches, Komodo dragons, autumn leaves in Vermont and frenetic cities like Hong Kong and Bangkok. It was a great year.

As a look back, I have compiled 10 of my best photos of places. Please vote for you favorite photo in the poll and I’d greatly appreciate it if you left a comment telling my why and how you voted.

Note: Stay tuned for my Top 10 Photos of People

My Top 10 Photos of Places in 2014

1. Broad Pass Sunset

Broad Pass Sunset, Alaska

Everything came together perfectly for this photo taken on Broad Pass near Denali National Park: the fall colors were at peak, the lakes were still as glass and sun rays lit up the clouds in an interesting pattern.

Note: This photo won an honorable mention for the Alaska Tour and Travel photo contest.

2. Northern Lights on the Parks Highway

Northern Lights, Denali Park, AK

On September 12, a coronal mass ejection, or a solar storm, created a stunning northern lights show. The solar storm was so powerful, it was visible in the lower 48! This photo was taken about 30 miles north of the Denali Park entrance in central Alaska.

Note: My northern lights photos were featured on NBCnews.com.

3. Mirror Meadow in Black and White

Lake in Black and White Denali Park

Some photos take skill, persistence, timing and patience. The above photo required none of that. After weeks of heavy rain, I was driving down the road and saw this scene. This spot, which is normally a flower-filled meadow, was full of water and transformed into a giant mirror. I simply snapped the photo and went on.

Note: My post, Snapshots of Alaska in Black and White, that was featured on Freshly Pressed.

4. Hong Kong Panorama

Hong Kong Panorama

I love panoramic views of cities. There is something peaceful and thought-provoking about getting above the fray and watching life go on below.

5. Fishing Boat and Rainbow at Otto Lake

Rainbow and Fishing Boat at Otto Lake

Due to long hours of low angle summer light and a propensity for rain, Alaska is a rainbow breeding ground. I saw this rainbow, drove 20 miles to my house to get my camera, drove back, and it was still there. It lasted for about two hours. Only in AK!

6. Labuan Bajo Sunset

Labuan Bajo Sunset

Labuan Bajo, on the western end of the island of Flores, is the gateway to Komodo National Park. It was one of my favorite places in Indonesia, in part because of the nightly technicolor sunsets.

7. Sunset at Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay Sunset

This was one of the most eerily beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen. Overhead, the clouds were portentous and black; an ominous, orange light flooded the air. Out on the horizon, it looked like a sunny, peaceful day.

8. Incoming Storm

Incoming Storm in Pantai Bira

An afternoon thunderstorm rolls into Pantai Bira in south Sulawesi. We were in Indonesia at the start of the rainy season and experienced some intense downpours.

9. Kowloon at Night 

Hong Kong Street Scene

After a month in rural Indonesia, Hong Kong was a shock to the senses. Neon lights, the overpowering smells of street food, hookers on every corner (we accidentally stayed in the red light district) and the frenetic buzz of the city jolted us into the modern world.

10. Railroad Crossing

Railroad Crossing Sign, Weatherford, Oklahoma

There is no substitute for great light. In September, while visiting family in my native Oklahoma, I happened upon this scene at sunset on the backroads west of Weatherford and took what turned out to be one of my best photos of the year. It proves that beauty is all around us if we look for it. We don’t have to go to Indonesia or Hong Kong or Alaska to make great photos, but I plan to continue doing so anyway.

Thank you for voting and for the feedback. Have a great 2015!

Posted by

Currently living in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. I travel, write, take photos, and stalk street cats. ~ planetbell1@gmail.com

36 thoughts on “My Top 10 Photos of 2014: Places”

  1. Jeff what an amazing year you have had! NBC and Freshly Pressed …well it doesn’t get better than that! Wishing you all the very best in 2015 and looking forward to much more from you!

  2. Ray Mulcahy says:

    I voted for Broad Pass. I think that area is one of the most scenic in all of Alaska. All your pfotos were great!

    • Thank you for voting and commenting. I was trying to get on that side of the lake to get the reflection and the boat was a surprise. I was lucky to find it there.

  3. This is a difficult poll, Jeff! I ended up voting for Mirror Meadow in black and white – there is just something timeless about it and I just love the reflections. The sunsets in Labuan Bajo were some of the most gorgeous I’d ever seen, and I’m so glad you and Kristi found those hidden lookouts on the Peak. I have lived in Hong Kong over 15 years but that view just never gets old.

    I also love your shot from Kowloon. It captures the spirit of that area by night and looks straight out of a video game! Sometimes I forget just how cinematic my hometown can be.

    • Thanks James,

      Kowloon is a really photogenic spot. I have lots of photos for future posts from there. I like the mirror meadow also. It was one of those unexpected things for me personally. I drive by that spot all the time but it was transformed on that day. Thanks for voting and commenting.

  4. Adventures in Kevin's World says:

    I’ll vote for the dark horse – the railroad crossing. Not as obviously pretty but a nicely done photo.

  5. Steve C says:

    Just recently spent a ton on a new camera and lens. I’m itching to get back on the road to capture similar shots (I hope). Your top 10 have given me new inspiration.

  6. This is an incredible collection of your photos from all your travels this year, Jeff. My favorite is that picture of the Northern Lights — there’s something magical and mysterious about the far north which captivates me. Seeing the Aurora, polar bears, massive glaciers, and even witnessing the midnight sun are things I’ve been dreaming of.

    • Living in the tropics, I can see why you would be interested in the far north. When I’m in the far north in the winter, I lust for the tropics. The Glaciers, the vast wilderness, the northern lights and mountains – yes, it is all spectacular.

      Thanks for commenting and voting!

  7. Oh your pics make me want to jump on a plane to Alaska. Ok, jump on a plane in 6 months. These are so good, captures the vibe of where you’re at so perfectly!!

  8. The reflective colours of the first photo won me over. I had this strange sense that I voted for a photo somewhat like this last year as well.

    You had a great photography year.

  9. Truly beautiful photography Jeff, as always. What a hard choice it was this year, but I finally went with the Railroad Crossing. Not only is it gorgeous, but it’s such a great slice of nostalgic Americana. Wishing you a fantastic 2015 filled with wonder and adventure! 🙂 ~Terri

  10. My faves are 3,5,9 and 10 – but I voted for #5. There is something about that boat that makes the picture.

    Not a bad year in photography, and you’re famous now too with NBC. So that’s cool.

  11. Pingback: My Top 10 Photos of 2014: People | Planet Bell

  12. Great idea, and great shots. You da man, man. I voted for #1, simply because it was more stunningly vibrant. But also liked Mirror Meadow and Fishing Boat.

    • Thanks for voting and for the comments. I appreciate it. That sunset on the top photo was ridiculous – I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time for that.

      • Right place, right time—a traveler’s dream. Once in Yosemite, I took a short hike and came upon a sunset, colored from horizon to horizon, that made me gasp, and I didn’t have my camera with me. I had to just sit there and stare at it. Something I have never forgotten. Nor since then do I go most places without my camera, even to buy groceries!

      • I can understand not taking your camera to the grocery store, but on a short hike in Yosemite?! Of course, that is one of the laws of photography – if you don’t have your camera the most amazing thing will happen.

      • Ha. You’ve got that right. And I have learned my lesson. Sometimes I’ll pick up my bag with camera in it, won’t want to lug the thing around town, and then think…I can’t not take it.

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