LM3 by T.M. Schultze

My Favorite Photographs of 2018 (12 Images)

Creating my post for my favorite images of the year is one of the best ways I get to write at the end of the year.  Taking a tour through my Lightroom catalog and sorting by year, label, and rating, I selected the photographs that meant the most to me in 2018. These are my favorite photographs of 2018. Here are some of the images I have selected in the past:

2015 Favorites | 2016 Favorites | 2017 Favorites

Thank you once again to Jim Goldstein, who founded and organizes this project each year for over 150 photographers.  Not only is it a great community project, but I get more traffic to my website through it than any amount of social media aggregating that I can do. I also want to thank my friends that I shot with this year, like Lee, Alex, Tom, Jeremy, and Shawn.  Here’s to more shooting and exploring together in the future. Keep in mind, these are my favorites.  They are not yours, and may not be to your taste.  These may not all be my best photographs of 2018 either.  These images are, however, the ones that I have felt the most profound personal connection to.  I curate this list with that in mind.

Naming Conventions

2018 was the year that I decided to stop trying to come up with inspirational names for my photographs.  At some point, titles like “Inspirational Hill” start to sound tired and overdone.  So for the majority of my exports, I simply used an initial for the location and the order of my export.  I suspect I will retroactively do that with some of my older images too, as some are a little cringeworthy to me.

My Favorite Photographs of 2018

Presented to you in chronological order, you can click on any image to see the full attachment page for each photograph.

Bridge At Dawn

Bridge at Dawn by T.M. Schultze - a favorite photograph of 2018

Bridge at Dawn by T.M. Schultze

This sunrise was photographed at Coronado’s Tidelands Park, a popular morning destination for photographers. It really lit up this morning, and I included the crescent moon in the composition. Of course, this being the modern world of photography, I had to watch in disbelief as about 8 photographers broke the law and went over the fence under the bridge to “get a unique shot.” Next time, bring a ladder and don’t break the law, guys. Before you know it, we’ll lose these places to photograph with this behavior.

Lunar Eclipse Over Santee 2

Lunar Eclipse Over Santee 2 by T.M. Schultze

Lunar Eclipse Over Santee 2 by T.M. Schultze

I have seen and photographed plenty of lunar eclipses before. So many people simply zoom in on the moon in shadow. It looks great, and after your second experience, it gets a little old. I decided to try something different here, and make it part of a larger cityscape. I captured the interchange of the 67 and 52 freeways, as well as the larger Santee cityscape. The result was great, and as soon as I clicked this frame, I had to immediately go to work. Sleep came eventually.

Cloud’s Edge

Cloud's Edge by T.M. Schultze - a favorite photograph of 2018

Cloud’s Edge by T.M. Schultze

There are two overlooks on Sunrise Highway with fantastic views of Granite Mountain to the North.  Because Granite Mountain is positioned well and gets lots of side-light, it’s often a great subject. In this case, a storm was blowing over the Laguna Mountains.  I shot a long exposure, with some frustration that the clouds were evaporating.  But I also found something truly sublime in showing the rain shadow in action.  It’s always great to “previsualize” an image, but it’s equally important to keep thinking when you are in the field and adapt.  This is one of the moment I am proud of.

Buckhorn Beyond

Buckhorn Beyond by T.M. Schultze

Buckhorn Beyond by T.M. Schultze

Over Memorial Day Weekend, I drove all the way to Central Utah for the 10th anniversary of the ArrowCorps5 Manti-La Sal service project I worked on in 2008. While I spent much of the weekend doing field survey work seeing how the tamarisk abatement has lasted over 10 years, I also got some time in for some landscape photographs. This image is taken from the top of Cedar Mountain, above and adjacent to the Buckhorn Canyon area that we cleared of tamarisk.  This canyon empties into the San Rafael River of the larger San Rafael Swell canyon system. With monsoonal moisture in the area and an incredible view, this photograph was the perfect scene for an ultra-wide composition.

Quiet Lake

Quiet Lake by T.M. Schultze - a favorite photograph of 2018

Quiet Lake by T.M. Schultze

This spot over the San Diego River was a great find.  As much as I have walked the River trail through Santee, somehow it wasn’t until early this year that I looked right and said, Hmmmm…that’s a bridge over the river. The other side leads into a Walmart.  Sometimes you never know where you will find your next great photo location. I have enjoyed this spot because there are so few good overlooks in the County of the San Diego River.  I don’t know when the bridge was installed, but I am glad they did it.


WND1 by T.M. Schultze

WND1 by T.M. Schultze

One of the best San Diego photo locations is Windansea Beach, South of La Jolla.  It’s always crowded, but you can always find good spots to compose a shot.  I believe I shot this one with my friend Lee Sie. Using my neutral density filter, I built a long exposure in heavy surf.  I only got 2 exposures, because before I knew it, the surf was running over the rock I was standing on.  I had to move out quickly.


LM3 by T.M. Schultze - a favorite photograph of 2018

LM3 by T.M. Schultze

This was taken during another storm at Foster Point off the Pacific Crest Trail.  I think Garnet Peak is the most picturesque peak in San Diego County.  Foster Point sits at a perfect angle south of that peak. In 2019, I want to try a similar photo from nearby Hayes Peak, just off the same PCT.


PVB2 by T.M. Schultze

PVB2 by T.M. Schultze

I love bridges and the Pine Valley Creek Interstate 8 bridge was on my list.  Hiking on the old road from the Picnic area, I have been here so many times with clear skies. I finally got a storm coming in and timed it right.  For those who overlook this bridge, it is the 2nd highest in California and 11th highest in the United States.  It is worth visiting.


YB2 by T.M. Schultze

This was an unexpected find.  I was actually shooting the Yuma Bridge To Nowhere, but the light was just okay.  However, Arizona was still recovering from the rain from Hurricane Rosa and the Gila River actually had a running stream. With some good light and a river that is almost never wet, this was a great moment to spend a few quiet moments.


LM4 by T.M. Schultze - a favorite photograph of 2018

LM4 by T.M. Schultze

This is another image of Granite Mountain.  What can I say, I love this overlook.  I rarely drive Sunrise Highway and feel that I am wasting my time. Another storm was blowing over the Laguna Mountains, and just look at those shadows and sunset light. I have made far too many images from this overlook, but anytime I need some inspiration, peace, and quiet, this spot always does the trick.  Always a beautiful view.


MC1 by T.M. Schultze

Getting lucky in the field is also important. I lost the opportunity to visit the North Rim when snow on the highway made me turn around. The gate was then closed for the season. Coming back off the mountain, I stopped at the historic Navajo Bridge for what was an astounding view. Marble Canyon, as it’s called, is the lesser-known canyon sitting between Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon. The sheer vertical cliffs were beautiful, and I definitely didn’t mind the weather coming in for this composition. Even though I don’t think I am afraid of heights, I definitely held on to my camera for dear life on the edge of the bridge.


MNP1 by T.M. Schultze - a favorite photograph of 2018

MNP1 by T.M. Schultze

After a number of years, I made it back to Mojave National Preserve with my friend Jeremy. One of the items on our list was the excellent lava tube. We weren’t expecting to have any light shafts because it was 1 day from the Winter solstice and the sun was very low in the sky. We were definitely surprised.  The lava tube also had it’s own weather system.  There was enough sand/dirt in the air that the shaft lit up on it’s own.  We didn’t have to throw any dirt in the air like Antelope Canyon. People tend to exclusively focus on the shafts, but I wanted to build more negative space and get a sense of the lava tube in the photograph.  I am happy with how this came out.  It is incredible to consider modern digital cameras and how they can handle a scene like this.  I was able to shoot with plenty of detail in the shadows while also not completely blowing out the light shaft.  Thank you Nikon.

Favorite Photographs of 2018 Gallery


35 thoughts on “My Favorite Photographs of 2018 (12 Images)

  1. Jeremy Long

    These are some great images!! They really inspire me to want to get out and do some exploring myself. I especially like the first one of the bridge at sunrise, but the moon over Santee is a close second. Great job, Tracy!! You have inspired me to do this myself next year. Happy shooting and I look forward to getting out there with you more this year.

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  3. Lee

    Great selection of favorites! I love the variety of locations you have chosen. My favorite is Quiet Lake. It’s nice to discover something nearby that looks like it’s from a far away place.

  4. Alexander S. Kunz

    A solid selection, Tracy. Very representative of your travels, your favorite subjects, and most of all, your photographic style. If I’d have to pick a favorite, it would probably be “LM3”: the clouds and the light on the land work together so well, and you knew it had to be a black & white. “Quiet Lake” is a close second. I love these unexpected local finds. Happy New Year to you, pal.

    1. T.M. Schultze Post author

      Thanks man. LM3 was definitely one of those I couldn’t wait to get home to process. Quiet Lake was fun too – I just wished I had spotted the bridge a long time go. Happy 2019.

      1. Samuel Giacalone

        These are some great shots! Hope you get the chance to come to Alaska and capture some of the natural beauty that can be enhanced by your work!

  5. Jeff Hubbard

    Excellent as always, Tracy. I am particularly drawn to the photo from Navajo Bridge. You got some true American Southwest there! Just beautiful. Hope 2019 is terrific for you.

  6. Chuck

    All of them are wonderful. I especially like LM4. I love the shadows with the sun illuminating the mountain in the distance. I can feel the space in all of them. Good job.

  7. Scott McGee

    Great photos Tracy! I’m seeing a lot of great local spots that I’ve been missing! Garnet Peak (LM3) is my favorite of the bunch – I love the contrast between the flat surfaces of the clouds and the different elevations on the ground. I also love the lava tube shot.

  8. Gary Crabbe

    Very nice work, Tracy. I really like the sunrise bridge, Foster Peak, and MC1.

    FWIW, I Don’t think that you need to have inspirational titles. However, I can’t say that your new naming convention is winning any points with me from a viewer/user standpoint.

    I think it would be better to maybe try what I do on my site which to simply use generic titles, e.g., like “Storm clouds over Garnet Mountain” or “Pine Valley Bridge” instead of your short code as a primary identifier. Instead, use that short code as an ID number below the image that clients can refer to when ordering.

    Cheers and have a great 2019. 🙂

    1. T.M. Schultze Post author

      Hi Gary,

      Thank you so much for the comment and looking at my images.

      You’re almost certainly right on the naming conventions. I gave some thought to the generic titles you mentioned, but I guess I’m stubborn. Who knows, I might change my mind in a year and you can say I told you so. 🙂

      Hope you and your family have a great 2019 and take some more nice photographs!

      – TM

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