2014 - What Makes a Great Outdoor Photography Year?

2014 is history. It's been a great outdoor photography year - I'm blessed. What makes a great outdoor photography year? To start, both myself and my family all are happy and healthy. Beyond that, the rest was about the experience of the adventure and living life to it's fullest. In brief, here are a few exerts from the past year's adventures, followed by a few photographs and at the end of the blog, a list of 10 things I learned this year.

200,000 individual moments of time were turned into digital data from adventures across the globe; I witnessed extraordinary wildlife action in extraordinary places.

Wore out a couple of Nikon cameras; broke more than $5000 worth of gear - some completely and beyond repair;

I used the third string lens to complete a commercial shoot; trashed a half dozen pair of pants and blew the crotch completely out of one;

left some of my own clothes with people on other continents who would appreciate them more than I would;

sent a 50 inch canvas print of a man and his wife to him weeks after she suddenly passed away - I'm grateful I was there to capture the moments before her passing;

I tossed in the trash three pairs of boots because they were done being useful; logged more than 50,000 air miles and I have no idea how many on my pickup;

pulled thorns out of my legs and ass on two continents;

swam naked across an Alaskan glacial river in the dark with just a headlamp while the gear and guns were left behind;

slept overnight, outside, in a wet down sleeping bag - twice; stood in front of a young man holding an AR-15 . . . for 20 minutes - we did not speak the same language - that was interesting;

I get to live in a place where for at least half the year I can keep ice-cream outside without it melting;  watched our kids play violin, and sing during and after school programs; shoveled snow; stacked fire wood;

witnessed the sun come up more than 250 times;  and, I'm busy, I can't remember a moment when I did not have something enjoyable and fun to do.

I love my life! Here are more outdoor photographs from 2014:

Sunrise in Sonora Mexico

Sunrise in Sonora Mexico

Hunters on a cliff warming by a fire while looking for game overlooking a large open mountain valley in the Rocky Mountains, United States.

Hunters on a cliff warming by a fire while looking for game overlooking a large open mountain valley in the Rocky Mountains, United States.

Young Bushmen boys walking in warm light, Namibia, Africa

Young Bushmen boys walking in warm light, Namibia, Africa

A young cowboy ropes his first calf in Montana

A young cowboy ropes his first calf in Montana

Cowboys wrestling a large white calf on the ground in Montana

Cowboys wrestling a large white calf on the ground in Montana

Hunting guide in Alaska, USA

Hunting guide in Alaska, USA

Beaver airplane lands on a beach in remote Alaska, USA

Beaver airplane lands on a beach in remote Alaska, USA

Hunting in Alaska, looking out into the open wilderness

Hunting in Alaska, looking out into the open wilderness

Truck crossing the Namib Desert, Namibia, Africa

Truck crossing the Namib Desert, Namibia, Africa

Hunters in Sonora Mexico, walking across an aroyo, near the Sea of Cortez.

Hunters in Sonora Mexico, walking across an aroyo, near the Sea of Cortez.

Cowboy on horse back, roping a running calf on the grasslands of Montana, USA

Cowboy on horse back, roping a running calf on the grasslands of Montana, USA

Hunter in Africa, with guides watching though binoculars

Hunter in Africa, with guides watching though binoculars

Hunting desert sheep in Sonora Mexico

Hunting desert sheep in Sonora Mexico

Hunters on a ridge backlit by sun, backpacks hiking

Hunters on a ridge backlit by sun, backpacks hiking

Hunter and PH stalking game in Africa
Hunter and PH stalking game in Africa
Safari vehicle winching up rock face in Africa

Safari vehicle winching up rock face in Africa

Hunting lodge, Sonora, Mexico

Hunting lodge, Sonora, Mexico

Snow blowing along Highway 2, Blackfeet Indian Reservation

Snow blowing along Highway 2, Blackfeet Indian Reservation

Hunters looking for animals - Sonora Mexico

Hunters looking for animals - Sonora Mexico

Woman shooting rifle on shooting sticks

Woman shooting rifle on shooting sticks

Moose in pond, side lit by sun
Moose in pond, side lit by sun
Bull elk back lit, steam bugling

Bull elk back lit, steam bugling

Bull moose feeding on willow trees

Bull moose feeding on willow trees

Moose cow and bull near mountains

Moose cow and bull near mountains

Herd of elk grazing in a meadow mountain background with rainbow

Herd of elk grazing in a meadow mountain background with rainbow

Bull moose in lake

Bull moose in lake

Large bull elk chasing cow elk during the rut

Large bull elk chasing cow elk during the rut

Bighorn ram in meadow with mountain backdrop

Bighorn ram in meadow with mountain backdrop

Bull elk drinking from river
Bull elk drinking from river
Bull elk with huge rack, antlers in grass meadow with fir forest background

Bull elk with huge rack, antlers in grass meadow with fir forest background

Bull elk in aspen trees bugling

Bull elk in aspen trees bugling

Herd of elk with bull near river

Herd of elk with bull near river

Bull bison in meadow against a mountain background

Bull bison in meadow against a mountain background

Bull buffalo
Bull buffalo
Mature whitetail buck in forest
Mature whitetail buck in forest
Black bear sow and cub in fall grass and trees

Black bear sow and cub in fall grass and trees

Giraffe walking in front of the rising sun, namibia, africa
Giraffe walking in front of the rising sun, namibia, africa

After all of that, I'd like to share a few things I learned -

1. Stay focused on the goals.

2. Pay attention to details - every singe one!

3. Clean your sensor - often!

4. Have two but preferably three back up plans.

5. Things will go wrong - again.

6. There's time for work, and there's time for play - don't confuse them and don't get too distracted by either one.

8. Most of all, it's a lot better to be happy than it is to be right . . .

9. Success is a team effort, you can't make it alone. . .

10. If you're not making mistakes, you're doing something else very wrong!

If you've gotten this far, thank you. What photographs or adventures do you remember from 2014 and do you have any advise of your own for 2015?

Here's to a happy new year 2015!

Tony Bynum