Best Photos of 2013 by Jim M. Goldstein

2013 was a busy year all around and as such I focused primarily on personal projects and family.  I took about half as many photos as last year, 36,000 photos to be specific ( 21,000 DLR and 15,000 iPhone). My timelapse projects carried over into 2013 from 2012 and again I selectively (more than normal) chose my DSLR photo subjects. If there is one nice thing about shooting timelapse it is that you quickly become a more accurate and less wasteful photographer. In a strange paradox by taking more photographs overall thanks to my time-lapse efforts, I take less yet more focused (fewer sister shots)/better still photos (non-timelapse). One other interesting observation relates to what lenses I used most frequently in my final best of selections for  2013. As it turns out nearly half  of the photos were taken with the  Zeiss 15mm f/2.8 (5 of 11) and Canon 50mm f/1.0 (5 of 11) . The remaining photo was taken with the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 Mark II.  As was the case in years past it is impossible to rank my best photos (best photos of 2012, best photos of 2011best photos of 2010best photos of 2009best photos of 2008 and best photos of 2007). So in no particular order here are my 10 favorite photos taken in 2013. Enjoy and feel free to let me know if you have a favorite!

Before I forget if you haven’t submitted your best photos of 2013 for my Blog Project: Your Best Photos From 2013 be sure to do so. The deadline is Saturday January 4th midnight PST.

Drab, gray, foggy and raining my day was on track to be a total bust the day I took this photo. Fortunately I knew better than to bail on my day of shooting and after a good nap I woke up to get in position for a sunset shoot. Still raining, a pipe of late sunset light helped create one of the most dramatic scenes I’ve ever witnessed in Yosemite National Park.

Transformation - Rainbow above Yosemite's iconic Half Dome

Transformation – Rainbow above Yosemite’s iconic Half Dome

Sky Rock and Milky Way III
Connecting Sky and Earth was a goal through out the year and this photo is one of many that fell into that body of work.

Sky Rock and Milky Way III

The Milky Way rises above ancient petroglyphs in the volcanic tablelands of the Owens Valley, California

Sunset Club – Haleakala Summit
One of the highlights of my year has been sharing the natural world with my 3 year old son, particularly the night sky. While my son was powering up with food for a late night of stargazing I took this quick shot of a growing crowd of people taking in sunset atop Haleakala.

Sunset Club - Haleakala Summit

A crowd gathers to watch the sunset atop the summit of Haleakala in Haleakala National Park – Maui, Hawaii


Sky Rock Under the Stars
This might be my favorite photo of the year. I really liked being able to see the entirety of the petroglyph panel in contrast to the entirety of the night sky above it. Check out my original post If you’re curious about technical photo details.

Sky Rock Under the Stars

Sky Rock Under the Stars 

Bar Legs I
I attended a good number of photo conferences this year providing me the opportunity to dabble in some experimental work on off hours. My photographer ways are nearly impossible to turn off even when lounging in a bar.

Bar Legs I

Bar Legs I 

All That Glitters – Milky Way Above Yosemite Forest
Photographing the stars has a tendency to be clinical with little variation. Amidst my running around in Yosemite I decided to stop in the middle of my drive back to camp, exhausted and cold, to experiment. This photo was my first foray into making my astrolandscapes a little more ethereal.

Bar Legs I

All That Glitters – Milky Way Above Yosemite Forest

Dogwoods, Yosemite National Park
“Macro”ish photography with a 50mm portrait lens? Indeed and I loved the outcome.

Dogwoods, Yosemite National Park

Dogwoods, Yosemite National Park

The Ancients
Believe it or not this was my throw away photo effort on my 3rd camera, while I operated 2 other cameras on a very adventurous night shoot. What is unique about this photos is that it’s a single uninterrupted exposure on a DSLR. Not the norm these days so be sure to check out my original post If you’re curious about technical photo details.

The Ancients

The Ancients – Bristlecone Pine National Forest

Stardust – Here & There
No technique was ignored in my year long effort to explore relationships between Sky and Earth.

Stardust - Here & There

Stardust – Here & There

Family Day at the Beach
Quite simply a fun family moment I could not let pass without capturing on camera. I really liked this photos sense of action, emotion and selective focus.

Family Day at the Beach

Family Day at the Beach

Honorable Mention: 1st Day of Preschool
Let’s not forget photography is great for documenting life’s milestones and this year my son started preschool. This was his first day and the excitement showed before he hopped in the car. Of all my “Dad” photos this was my favorite this year.

1st Day of Preschool

My son’s first day of preschool

Jim Goldstein is a professional photographer and author, based out of the San Francisco bay area in California, who specializes in outdoor and nature photography. Passionate about nature and the environment Jim infuses elements of the natural world into his commercial, editorial and fine art work. For more follow Jim on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Subscribe
  1. Robin Black

    A wonderful set of images, Jim! All three of the Sky Rock images are really outstanding (especially the full-sky, full-earth one), and I also love that dreamy sequoia night shot. Inspiring!

  2. Richard Wong

    Very impressive, Jim. You had a great year despite your limited time. 15k iPhone images is unbelievable! I think I only took 1,500 – 2,000 or so and thought that was a lot.

  3. Michael Toye

    What a great selection Jim; Sky & Earth – great theme.

  4. jimgoldstein

    Thanks Michael!

  5. jimgoldstein

    Richard welcome to the world of having a kid. 🙂 It takes a lot of self control to not flood the Internet with kid iPhone photos. I also treat my iPhone as a scratch pad for ideas. Some iPhone photo experiments make it as DSLR photos later.

  6. jimgoldstein

    Thanks @RBlackPhoto:disqus
    Normally I don’t like including so many photos in my year end post from one location, but it was impossible not to this year. I had a really productive night there. Glad you enjoyed the photos and thanks for commenting.

  7. rebeccajackrel

    Absolutely gorgous work this year Jim, no idea where you find the time.

  8. jimgoldstein

    Thanks @rebeccajackrel:disqus 🙂 Neither do I. Thanks for submitting your best of the year. I hope 2014 is a turn around year for you with much happier and healthy times.

  9. Alex Filatov

    An amazing collection Jim. Absolutely loving the nightscapes! Happy New Year!

  10. Mark

    Jim – the Earth-Sky series of shots are stunning. Well done, well done. I particularly favor the Milky Way ones vs. the time lapse. I also find it fascinating how the camera ends up capturing much of what we normally don’t see with our own eyes. It is akin to putting a polarizer on a lens revealing below the water surface, but here in the sky above. Great work and I wish you the best for 2014.

  11. Morkel Erasmus

    Great selections Jim! Love “All that Glitters” the most…
    All the best in 2014.

  12. Sandra Parlow

    a beautiful collection!!!

  13. jimgoldstein

    @FilatovPhoto:disqus thanks!

  14. jimgoldstein

    Thanks @grafphoto:disqus. Funny thing is that shooting night photography brings me back to my film days. While it doesn’t take as long to see the results there is still a delay. It’s not an instant process and the effort to capture something correctly is quite rewarding.

  15. jimgoldstein

    @morkelerasmus:disqus thanks! “All that Glitters” is proof that stopping in the middle of nowhere can be a good thing… even if you’re exhausted.

  16. jimgoldstein

    Thank you @sandraparlow:disqus

  17. Jimmy Denham

    Great set of images Jim! Good form!

  18. Robyn

    A fabulous collection of images Jim!

  19. jimgoldstein

    Thank you @jimmydenham:disqus

  20. jimgoldstein

    Thanks so much Robyn

  21. Pingback: Thoughts on Jim Goldstein’s ‘Best of 2013′ project

  22. Mike Matenkosky

    Nice to see some family images in there as well!

  23. Anita Mas

    I like the variety. Pictures of ancient things really make you think. Then the pictures of a family that make you smile.

    Anita Mas | http://kimcrenshawphotography.com/what-sets-us-apart-and-above/