A Year In Photos with Colby Brown – 2014

It is that time of year again when many of us not only look forward to new beginnings and making resolutions for the next 12 months, but also look back on the challenges and successes that the previous year brought with it. 2014 was certainly full of both.

Light at the End of the Rainbow - Lower Yosemite Falls
Light at the End of the Rainbow – Lower Yosemite Falls


Like most full time travel photographers, I spend a good portion of the year on the road, but this year was a bit different. While I was probably gone for the same amount of time as usual (4-5 months in total), I didn’t visit a ton of different locations. In fact, I went back to the same places alot. Why? Because projects, workshops and marketing campaigns kept me exploring and revisiting specific locations. How crazy was it? Ultimately I found myself in Iceland four times, the Canadian Rockies twice, The Big Island of Hawaii twice, Yosemite National Park for a few weeks and spent a month in Australia.

Reflection of the Ramparts in Jasper National Park
Exploring the Canadian Rockies

While I certainly have no room to complain as these locations are beyond gorgeous and I was able to get some of the best images of my career, the truth is that I missed the diversity in locations that I am generally used to, something I will certainly change for 2015. In addition, I normally make it a point to cross off a number of “bucket list” locations and experiences each year, even if that means pursuing personal projects over paid gigs. In 2014 I was able to visit Iceland in the Winter (knocking off both the Northern Lights and Ice caves from my list), capture the frozen methane bubbles in Abraham Lake (located in Alberta, Canada), document the incredible light show event of “Vivid Sydney” + explore Christmas Island (home to millions of red crabs), both in Australia and have my first adventure on The Big Island of Hawaii. Of course, even though I was able to cross off these six items from my “bucket list” this year, I also probably added another 50…which is evidence that while I might never complete my “bucket list”…I am certainly going to have fun trying 🙂

Braving the Elements
Braving the Elements

So how is 2015 shaping up so far? Pretty awesome so far with most of the year already booked out well in advance. Right now, it looks like I have return trips to: Iceland (2x), Abraham Lake in Winter,  Fiji, Colorado for Fall Colors and Myanmar with new trips and experiences in Japan, Norway, Ethiopia, Namibia and the PNW (Oregon & Washington) in the Spring time.

Marketing Campaigns

As many of you may know, a good portion of my income as a photographer is working closely with companies, brands and destinations to create digital marketing campaigns (both stills and video) with a focus on various social platforms (G+, FB, Instagram, Twitter). This year I had a lot of fun creating these campaigns and exploring a wide variety of locations in the process.

One of the first campaigns I ran in 2014 was with Visit California with a focus on Yosemite National Park. I spent two weeks in Yosemite in the Spring, bringing a film crew with me, to create content for their massive Dream Big campaign. The result, outside of a large collection of images, was this 2.5 minute film about Yosemite and my family’s history with this iconic park.

After Yosemite in the Spring, I found myself in Australia working on a number of projects for Tourism Australia as well the Christmas Island Tourism Board. The later you might recognize as it is the island that has million of red crabs migrate across it each year and it has been featured on National Geographic and Discovery Channel multiple times. It also happens to be home to some gigantic coconut crabs which are truly a sight to see in person!

Coconut Crab crawling on the beach on Christmas Island
Coconut Crab on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean

To wrap things up, I ran two separate campaigns with Travel Alberta in the Canadian Rockies, one in February in the heart of winter and the other in fall, both of which were amazing and offered unique experiences exploring one of my new favorite mountain regions in the world. While I completed an incredible 4 minute video piece on the Canadian Rockies through these projects, it hasn’t been released publicly, so I can’t share it with you just yet, but it is coming 🙂

Working in the Canadian Rockies on a film project for Travel Alberta
Working in the Canadian Rockies on a film project for Travel Alberta with Cameron Slyvester of Nomadic Motion

Camera Gear

This isn’t generally a topic of discussion for my year in review posts but it is certainly worth noting this year. While I continue to use a variety of different camera gear, this is the first year that I have mostly moved to a mirrorless camera system, namely Sony’s mirrorless options (a7r, a7s, a6000). While I have still found myself reaching for a DSLR for certain circumstances, such as wildlife and sports photography, moving to a mirrorless system has greatly helped my photography improve. Not only because I love the sensors that Sony is using these days, but because the gear itself is just so much lighter and more portable than anything I have used historically. This allows me to more easily carry my gear into locations that might of not been possible before, such as when working off the grid or on projects in difficult to reach/travel locations. As technology continues to increase, I have a feeling that more and more photographers will make the move to mirrorless, freeing up space in our camera packs and easing the tension we hold in our shoulders from lugging our gear from location to location.

Waiting out the rain at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park in Alberta
Waiting out the rain at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park in Alberta
Sony a7r in Jasper National Park during dawn
Sony a7r in Jasper National Park during dawn

My Favorite Images of 2014

Here is a collection of 14 of my favorite images from 2014. Ultimately these images might not be my “best” images of the year nor are they images that garnered the most social media love (in fact most haven’t ever been shared publicly), but they do represent the beauty and experiences I had as I explored various different countries and locations this past year. Be sure to click on each image to enlarge it. Enjoy!

Nature's Solar Storm
Northern Lights over Vik, Iceland (Canon 1Dx + Nikon 14-24 f/2.8)
The Begining of the Universe
Sydney Opera House durring the Vivid Sydney Event (Canon 1Dx + 70-200 f/2.8 IS II)
The World On My Back
Gold Dust Gecko on The Big Island of Hawaii (Sony a7r + 100mm f/2.8 Macro ZA)
Sunrise at Mono Lake
Mono Lake Sunrise (Sony a7r + 16-35 f/2.8 ZA)
Mt Assiniboine Sunrise Reflections
Mt. Assiniboine Sunrise Reflection in the Canadian Rockies (Sony a7r + 16-35 f/2.8 ZA)
Lava Hole Sunset
Lava Hole near Kona, The Big Island of Hawaii (Sony a7r + 16-35 f/4 fe)
Iceberg Reflections at Jokulasarlon Iceland
Iceberg Reflections at Jokulsarlon, Iceland (Sony a6000 + 16-70 f/4 e)
Storm Over Bridalveil Falls
Bridalveil Falls in Yosemite National Park (Sony a7r + Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS II)
Ice Bubble Sunrise
Frozen Bubbles over Abraham Lake (Sony a7r + 16-35 f/2.8 ZA)
Fall Colors Along the Icefields Parkway in Alberta
Fall Colors Along the Icefields Parkway in Alberta (Sony a7r + 16-35 f/2.8 ZA)
Frozen in Time
Crystal Ice Cave in south Iceland (Sony a7r + 16-35 f/2.8 ZA)
Fog Passing through Morain Lake in Banff National Park
Foggy Morning over Moraine Lake in Banff National Park (Sony a7r + 16-35 f/2.8 ZA)
Bruarfoss in Winter
Bruarfoss Waterfall in Iceland during Winter (Sony a7r + 16-35 f/2.8 ZA)
Glacial Reflections in south Iceland
Glacial Reflections in south Iceland (Sony a6000 + 16-70 f/4 e)

Share Your Favorite Images of 2014

If you have links to your favorite images from 2014, leave them in the comments below along with a little details about what you are sharing.

I wish you all happy shooting in 2015!

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