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Favorite Photos | 2021 Edition

In what is becoming a tradition, I've combed through my photos from 2021 to find my favorites. In doing so, I realized that some are photos that I think are really good compositions, some are ones that have - to me - interesting coloring, and some are photos that recall a special - again, to me - memory or accomplishment.

Trips: 20 | Tent nights: 87 | Total photos: 4361

I hope everyone enjoys them, and please - feel free to share your favorite below, or if you think I've overlooked one of my photos - of which I know there are a lot - that should be a favorite!

Some of these also appear in the 2022 AdventureTaco Calendar, which you're welcome to pick up. Every calendar ordered contributes a single gallon of gas to my tank. The rest goes to the calendar people.

Order this time, is chronological. I think it gives a neat view of the weather and light as experienced through the course of the year.


Here, I like the colors and background compression. The Sierras, from Owens Valley, always seem so striking to me.
(Trip: Tragedy in the Tablelands; Post: same)

My first time to Alabama Hills, the Mobius Arch - with the Sierras visible in the distance - was one of the first things I photographed with my new setup.
(Trip: Right Back to the Owens Valley; Post: It's True What They Say About Alabama Hills)

Perhaps getting a bit old, but I loved the shape of Sharks Fin rising up in front of the Sierras.
(Trip: Right Back to the Owens Valley; Post: It's True What They Say About Alabama Hills)

Driving into the mountains. A surreal experience.
(Trip: Right Back to the Owens Valley; Post: Plunging into Darkness)

The Wave. I first saw this formation when Eric @ETAV8R posted a photo of it, and it is what got me to think of Owens Valley as a destination. He'll never really know how grateful I am.
(Trip: Right Back to the Owens Valley; Post: So We Meet Again, Tablelands)

I just really like colors and composition of this photo. A winter wonderland.
(Trip: Right Back to the Owens Valley; Post: Winter is Coming)


Was this etched this way, or did the rock crumble around it? One of nature's mysteries.
(Trip: Mid-Winter Mojave; Post: It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Pahranagat Man)

Pictographs are a rare find, the pigments more susceptible to time than the etchings of petroglyphs. To find one with so many colors was a highlight of the year!
(Trip: Mid-Winter Mojave; Post:Multi-Colored Pictographs and a Bowl of Fire)

@mrs.turbodb sitting high up in the crevices of a slot canyon.
(Trip: Mid-Winter Mojave; Post:Multi-Colored Pictographs and a Bowl of Fire)

Little Finland sunstar.
(Trip: Mid-Winter Mojave; Post: Camping on a Cliff)

A sense of scale. I always like photos that show how small we really are in the grandeur of nature.
(Trip: Mid-Winter Mojave; Post: Camping on a Cliff)

Composure. This is a favorite of mine simply because... it's so predictable.
(Trip: An Island in the Sky at the Top of the World; Post: To the Top)

When I saw this - just as the sun was rising, I realized why they call it White Rim.
(Trip: An Island in the Sky at the Top of the World; Post: Winding Our Way Around)

Just imagine the possibilities.
(Trip: An Island in the Sky at the Top of the World; Post: Winding Our Way Around)

Chocolate shavings? No, slot canyon mud. Whenever I see undisturbed mud, I smile. No one else has been this way in a while.
(Trip: An Island in the Sky at the Top of the World; Post: Winding Our Way Around)

Layers of awesome.
(Trip: An Island in the Sky at the Top of the World; Post: Artifacts to Arches)


How often do you catch sunset on a three-fingered volcano?
(Trip: Owyhee Outback; Post: Mud and Solitude)


A big drop. So rarely do photos capture the height/incline of some of the roads. In this case, there's no question.
(Trip: Utah, Re-Ruined; Post: Stymied Again by Lewis Lodge)

I felt like a king standing in Cathedral Arch, looking out over the land.
(Trip: Utah, Re-Ruined; Post: All Alone in Arch Canyon)

Ever since this trip to Comb Ridge - the first where I really noticed it - I have this feeling in my gut like it's the backbone of the earth, and I think that's pretty cool.
(Trip: Utah, Re-Ruined; Post: Following CombRidge to Moonhouse)

This is just amazing. Each gooseneck is called a meander, and I love them!
(Trip: Utah, Re-Ruined; Post: Repeat Failure, and Finally Redemption)

Rolling up on this excavator blocking the road, we had no idea that it would load itself onto a rail car. Mad skillz!
(Trip: Scouting Black Rock Desert; Post: Burning Man Center Camp)

It's amazing where you find art, and I was a huge fan of this work. I was later told it was part of Burning Man.
(Trip: Scouting Black Rock Desert; Post: Our First Day Scouting)

The glow in the sky as the sun sets across a playa is always one of my favorites. The halo/silhouette it created in this case was magical.
(Trip: Scouting Black Rock Desert; Post: Burning Man Center Camp)

Just a few minutes after the halo/silhouette, the sun was entirely off the Black Rock Desert, and I was reminded - again - how small we are in this world. I love it.
(Trip: Scouting Black Rock Desert; Post: Burning Man Center Camp)

This is a great shot of the Milky Way, made even more special to me because it is my first shot of the Milky Way.
(Trip: Scouting Black Rock Desert; Post: Milky Way, Murder, and High Rock Canyon)

The proudest lizard in the world? I also really liked the pronounced blue on his neck, in addition to the belly.
(Trip: Scouting Black Rock Desert; Post: Milky Way, Murder, and High Rock Canyon)


(Trip: Owyhee West; Post: Wandering into the Unknown)

The fanciest lizard in the world?
(Trip: Forty-One Miles of Mesa; Post: Would You Like Another?)

The joy of nature. It was like the clouds were highlighting this mesa - emanating as rays from its glory.
(Trip: Forty-One Miles of Mesa; Post: Make it a Loop)

A new perspective. This was me playing around with angles, and I really liked how it came out.
(Trip: Forty-One Miles of Mesa; Post: Epilogue)

Looking back in time.
(Trip: Forty-One Miles of Mesa; Post: Epilogue)


Reflection. Deep in an underground cavern, this formation reflected from a pool.
(Trip: NMBDR; Post: Headed South, We Dive Deep into the Past)

I sense a lizard theme this year. I give you, the grumpiest lizard in the world.
(Trip: NMBDR; Post: Out of Fuel)

Beautiful bones.
(Trip: NMBDR; Post: Out of Fuel)

The drama of a stormy afternoon, with the green grass of spring and orange highlights of Corkscrew Gulch. Colorful Colorado at its best.
(Trip: Wet and Bumpy through the Alpine Loop; Post: same)


I don't get many shots of myself, but I really like this one with the local mountain.
(Trip: One Night at Mt. Rainier; Post: same)


Smoke from wildfires all over the west made for a soft, yet colorful, morning at Lavina Lookout.
(Trip: Rady Can’t Wait; Post: Into Canada and Up to Lavina Lookout)

I always like overlooks, and this one is one of my favorites of the year.
(Trip: Rady Can’t Wait; Post: Lunch with a View)

This view was one of the most spectacular I found at Rady Creek. The fact that the trail is scheduled for closure as soon as the snow melts makes it all the more special.
(Trip: Rady Can’t Wait; Post: This Trail May Be Closed Forever)

The colors, as I crested Pettipiece Pass were some of the most vivid I'd seen all year.
(Trip: Rady Can’t Wait; Post: Poor Planning Over Pettipiece Pass)

After two years of devastating wildfires in California, I had a chance to return to a favorite location. Smoke was still thick, but not everything was lost.
(Trip: Aftermath; Post: Up the Mountain)

The flag flying behind a 1st gen Tacoma destroyed in the Dixie Fire. Resilience.
(Trip: Aftermath; Post: Through Land Ravaged by Dixie)


Nothing special about this location, I just liked the composition with the unique camp shades.
(Trip: Last Minute Rush; Post: In Search of Warm Water)

The light, bright colors in this photo make me smile. It's light an airy, in a way that I usually don't associate with fall.
(Trip: Last Minute Rush; Post: Into the Mountains)

I've come to enjoy the first few moments that sun hits the mountains almost as much as the colorful skies.
(Trip: Last Minute Rush; Post: Unexpected Success)

I had no idea what to expect as I visited the ghost town of Bodie, and I certainly didn't expect what I found. The light on the Standard Mill - still standing so proud - was perfect.
(Trip: Last Minute Rush; Post: The Town of Bodie)


I'm not usually a fan of weird edits, but these burros feel like they jump out of the photo to me. It's so surreal, that it became a favorite.
(Trip: Into the Owlsheads; Post: Wandering Rocks and Lost Lake)

There's nothing all that special about this Milky Way shot except that it looks cool and I haven't taken many - I think this is my third attempt - so I'm still intrigued by them.
(Trip: Into the Owlsheads; Post: Lowest Peak in the Park)


At Death Valley's Racetrack Playa, Mike took a different approach - walking around The Grandstand - than everyone, who seem to be drawn to climbing on the rock island.
(Trip: Back for More; Post: Buzzed by a C-17 Transport)


Thanks for reading, and I hope you've enjoyed. Onward to - hopefully - another fun year!


Not enough for you? Check out #favphotos from other years


  1. Kenny Millhouse
    Kenny Millhouse December 30, 2021

    Wow, just WOW, each photo is postcard quality, I am impressed. The 3 fingers rock is one that I have never seen and I have many photos of the rock. Great work Dan!

    Keep on posting we all enjoy the trips and photos immensely.

    • turbodb
      turbodb December 30, 2021

      Thanks Kenny, I was *hoping* you'd recognize and like a few of those photos! I was very lucky to get that view of Three Finger - timing was just right as I searched for camp on a very muddy evening! The other that you might recognize is the one with the lightning. That was an amazing site down by the Owyhee River, a little south of Birch Creek Ranch.

      Best wishes and safe travels for the new year!

      • Kenny Millhouse
        Kenny Millhouse December 30, 2021

        I thought the lightning shot looked familiar, you obviously have an eye for composing the shot. I have a Nikon D7100 and love the capabilities of the camera. I use to do a lot of light painting shots, my next try will be time-lapse photos.

        Yesterday and today we are getting hammered with snow, I ran the snowblower this morning and it is already covered again, this afternoon I will run it again and do a few neighbors that can't do it for themselves. By the time I get done I can hardly walk with the pain in my back, big deal I just work through the pain. I have a monster snowblower on tracks with power steering, heated grips, headlight and 5 different settings for height. I bought it in 2017 during snowmageddon and only used it once. I love it, wet snow is not an issue as it is a three-stage blower.

  2. Brian Diehl
    Brian Diehl December 30, 2021

    Fabulous! This is a great composition of the excellent photos you've shared this past year. Keep it up!

    • turbodb
      turbodb December 30, 2021

      Glad you're enjoying the posts Brian! It's always nice to give back a little for all that I feel the community has contributed to me as far as ideas, motivation, etc. On to 2022!

  3. Paul
    Paul December 30, 2021

    Mind-blowing Dan! Great job...! Living vicariously through your trips. HNY...!


  4. Lapsley Hope
    Lapsley Hope December 30, 2021

    Truly impressive and inspiring photography in content, composition and emotion. Thanks for sharing these and looking forward to your adventures and images in 2022.

  5. Tony Baca
    Tony Baca December 31, 2021

    Love all the photos. My personal favorite would be Corkscrew Gulch. as The San Juan's are a favorite place to wheel for me. The colors are outstanding. Really enjoy reading about your adventures. You have been to some amazing places.

  6. Mark Tullis
    Mark Tullis December 31, 2021

    Your photos and adventures are inspiring me to set a New Years resolution to get out more, see more places, take more photos and sleep in a tent more often. Someone told me once: every night you sleep in a tent adds an extra day to your life. I'm definitely dropping the ball compared to you.

    Looking forward to your 2022 adventures. Keep it up!

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