Top 30 Images of 2017

I dove deep into landscape photography in 2017, ending the year with almost 20,000 images. Narrowing it down is always difficult, but here are my favorite 30 from the year. Of course there are more on Instagram (@brianwlackey) too if you're interested and lots more coming in 2018. 

Quick iPhone shot from Breckenridge early in the year. Nice of these random guys to wear yellow for my image.

Sam and I drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park over the 4th of July weekend to try some Milky Way astrophotography. The moon was low on the horizon to my right, illuminating me and the rocks I would stand on. I composed the image and set a 10 second timer to run into position. Then I just had to stand really, really still for about 30 seconds while the camera took in as much light from the stars as it could. By having such a long exposure, the camera is able to see more of the night sky than we can with our naked eye.

Sam and I drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park over the 4th of July weekend to try some Milky Way astrophotography. The moon was low on the horizon to my right, illuminating me and the rocks I would stand on. I composed the image and set a 10 second timer to run into position. Then I just had to stand really, really still for about 30 seconds while the camera took in as much light from the stars as it could. By having such a long exposure, the camera is able to see more of the night sky than we can with our naked eye.

The perfect summer swimming hole. This waterfall (Slap Virje) is a short drive from the town of Bovec in Slovenia's Soča River Valley.

The perfect summer swimming hole. This waterfall (Slap Virje) is a short drive from the town of Bovec in Slovenia's Soča River Valley.

Slovenia's Soča River is actually made of gatorade

Slovenia's Soča River is actually made of gatorade

We didn't think there would be much of a sunset since it had been overcast all afternoon and were back at our campsite building a fire and starting on dinner. A touch of pink through the trees was enough to get us to walk out to this clearing where we saw an amazing pink and purple light display spanning the entire sky. I rushed to find a composition and ended up really happy with this and how the curving trail leads the viewer's eye right to the mountains and the sky.

We didn't think there would be much of a sunset since it had been overcast all afternoon and were back at our campsite building a fire and starting on dinner. A touch of pink through the trees was enough to get us to walk out to this clearing where we saw an amazing pink and purple light display spanning the entire sky. I rushed to find a composition and ended up really happy with this and how the curving trail leads the viewer's eye right to the mountains and the sky.

Last light from Managart Pass in Slovenia's Julian Alps

Last light from Managart Pass in Slovenia's Julian Alps

As the fog surrounded the hilltop, the floodlight illuminating the church steeple lit up the whole scene with this eery pink and orange glow. It had rained earlier that day and I composed this image with the church reflecting in a small mud puddle in the dirt road.

As the fog surrounded the hilltop, the floodlight illuminating the church steeple lit up the whole scene with this eery pink and orange glow. It had rained earlier that day and I composed this image with the church reflecting in a small mud puddle in the dirt road.

Less than 2 hours after landing in Ljubljana, I arrived at this hilltop church. Sunset had already come and gone, but I often like shooting at the blue hour anyway, and the fog really added to the mood.

Less than 2 hours after landing in Ljubljana, I arrived at this hilltop church. Sunset had already come and gone, but I often like shooting at the blue hour anyway, and the fog really added to the mood.

When I made the last minute decision to make the drive down to Great Sand Dunes National Park, I didn't expect to see scenes like this.

When I made the last minute decision to make the drive down to Great Sand Dunes National Park, I didn't expect to see scenes like this.

One of the top 5 sunsets of my life. The cold was draining my camera batteries and I had to run back to the car to grab a spare. Rocky Mountain National Park is great all year, but the off season is probably my favorite time to explore this gem.

One of the top 5 sunsets of my life. The cold was draining my camera batteries and I had to run back to the car to grab a spare. Rocky Mountain National Park is great all year, but the off season is probably my favorite time to explore this gem.

The first fox I'd seen in the wild. I spend a spring evening exploring the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park and saw more wildlife than humans. This guy, plus another fox, and six moose.

The first fox I'd seen in the wild. I spend a spring evening exploring the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park and saw more wildlife than humans. This guy, plus another fox, and six moose.

Sunrise didn't really happen, but I love this image with the two small people in the distance showing just how big this peak is in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Sunrise didn't really happen, but I love this image with the two small people in the distance showing just how big this peak is in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Sunrise at Lake Bled, Slovenia. I fell in love with Slovenia in this spot in January of 2012 and have been back twice since then. I don't think this trip was the last time I'll visit either.

Sunrise at Lake Bled, Slovenia. I fell in love with Slovenia in this spot in January of 2012 and have been back twice since then. I don't think this trip was the last time I'll visit either.

My new favorite waterfall in Colorado. On my map, it's just listed as "Waterfall", but I've heard some other people call it Mystic Falls. I went twice this summer and we had the place to ourselves both times.

My new favorite waterfall in Colorado. On my map, it's just listed as "Waterfall", but I've heard some other people call it Mystic Falls. I went twice this summer and we had the place to ourselves both times.

Campsite views near Telluride, Colorado

Campsite views near Telluride, Colorado

First snow over Telluride, Colorado

First snow over Telluride, Colorado

I somehow convinced my friends Jeremy and Michelle to come with me to see sunrise at Loveland Pass before skiing. Sunrise is always a good idea.

I somehow convinced my friends Jeremy and Michelle to come with me to see sunrise at Loveland Pass before skiing. Sunrise is always a good idea.

My friend Jeremy and I were camping near Crested Butte and decided to explore along a creek behind our campsite. We ended up stumbling upon several stunning waterfalls and decided that this spot was too perfect to not set up a hammock for a bit.

My friend Jeremy and I were camping near Crested Butte and decided to explore along a creek behind our campsite. We ended up stumbling upon several stunning waterfalls and decided that this spot was too perfect to not set up a hammock for a bit.

First light on the mountains over Colorado's Lake Dillon

First light on the mountains over Colorado's Lake Dillon

My car's thermometer read 2°F and there was a thick layer of hoarfrost covering the entire forest

My car's thermometer read 2°F and there was a thick layer of hoarfrost covering the entire forest

One of the last camping trips of the year. Telluride and the San Juan Mountains quickly jumped to one of my favorite parts of Colorado this year.

One of the last camping trips of the year. Telluride and the San Juan Mountains quickly jumped to one of my favorite parts of Colorado this year.

A foggy evening in Most na Soči. I'd left my camera in the hotel room and was walking to dinner when I saw the fog start to roll in over the Alps. Dinner didn't end up happening until well after dark.

A foggy evening in Most na Soči. I'd left my camera in the hotel room and was walking to dinner when I saw the fog start to roll in over the Alps. Dinner didn't end up happening until well after dark.

Under the bridge in Most na Soči, Slovenia. I hadn't intended to spend any time in this town, but as soon as I saw it from the road, I started looking for a hotel. The emerald Soča River is dammed up here, leading to some cool reflection opportunities when the weather is calm. This image ended up winning a photo contest on YouTube as well (from Brendan van Son's channel).

Under the bridge in Most na Soči, Slovenia. I hadn't intended to spend any time in this town, but as soon as I saw it from the road, I started looking for a hotel. The emerald Soča River is dammed up here, leading to some cool reflection opportunities when the weather is calm. This image ended up winning a photo contest on YouTube as well (from Brendan van Son's channel).

Lake Dillon after skiing. There was a light layer of swirling mist on the glass-smooth lake and a long exposure (on a tripod) smoothed it out into this ethereal reflection.

Lake Dillon after skiing. There was a light layer of swirling mist on the glass-smooth lake and a long exposure (on a tripod) smoothed it out into this ethereal reflection.

The water in Slovenia is often similar in color to the lakes in the Canadian Rockies. Here, however, the color comes from dissolved limestone, not glacial sediment.

The water in Slovenia is often similar in color to the lakes in the Canadian Rockies. Here, however, the color comes from dissolved limestone, not glacial sediment.

On my way home from a few early season ski runs, I pulled out the camera at Loveland Pass and was drawn to this patch of golden light spilling through the clouds onto the mountains. Something about this image really connects with me and it's probably my overall favorite from 2017.

On my way home from a few early season ski runs, I pulled out the camera at Loveland Pass and was drawn to this patch of golden light spilling through the clouds onto the mountains. Something about this image really connects with me and it's probably my overall favorite from 2017.

Slovenia's Soča River Valley is home to dozens and dozens of waterfalls, but I think this one (Slap Kozjak) was probably my favorite.

Slovenia's Soča River Valley is home to dozens and dozens of waterfalls, but I think this one (Slap Kozjak) was probably my favorite.

Longs Peak and countless stars reflecting in Rocky Mountain National Park's Bear Lake.

Longs Peak and countless stars reflecting in Rocky Mountain National Park's Bear Lake.

I bought a drone (DJI Mavic Pro) in early 2017 and took it with me to Slovenia. This shot is of the historic old town of Piran, across the Adriatic from Venice.

I bought a drone (DJI Mavic Pro) in early 2017 and took it with me to Slovenia. This shot is of the historic old town of Piran, across the Adriatic from Venice.

It's a pretty dry part of the state, but I went to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park twice this year and it absolutely poured both times. This image was from a trip with my parents in September. They were waiting for me back in the car when this thunderstorm rolled up the canyon. I took this image and then was quickly chased back to the car by several big lightning strikes.

It's a pretty dry part of the state, but I went to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park twice this year and it absolutely poured both times. This image was from a trip with my parents in September. They were waiting for me back in the car when this thunderstorm rolled up the canyon. I took this image and then was quickly chased back to the car by several big lightning strikes.