Some Favorite Photos of 2021

For those who were hoping that yesterday’s post was the last one until next year, sorry to disappoint you. But I’m seeing a bunch of articles from people who are sharing their favorite movies, or TV shows, or books, or cocktails, or Pantone colors from 2021, and I don’t want to get left out. So, I’ve chosen thirteen photos — one per month, plus a bonus — that I took and which I really like. I hope you do, as well.

It wasn’t easy to narrow the selections to a baker’s dozen; I added more than 1,100 images to my Photos app in 2021. Many of these showed up on the Gazette earlier in the year, but others haven’t been viewed by anyone but me.
I hope each photo speaks for itself, but for the Historical Record, I’ve provided blurbs to identify the location and why I chose it.
2021 will be remembered (by me) as the year that my iPhone became my camera of choice. Fewer than twenty or so of the photos I added to the collection this year were taken with a dedicated camera, DSLR or point-and-shoot. I’ve said it [many times] before, but the best camera is the one you have with you, but it helps that the one you have with you is a really capable device like my iPhone 12 Pro. Now, if it only had a 20x optical zoom…and a dedicated macro lens…and a more powerful flash…and…

January

Photo - Gnarled tree growing out of a huge granite boulder
Where: Horseshoe Creek Trail, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: This ancient live oak forcing its way out of a split in a huge granite boulder is a model of perseverance. As Dr. Ian Malcolm so memorable put it in Jurassic Park, “life, uh, finds a way.”

February

Photo - Fiery sky at sunrise
Where: Pecan Creek, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: West Texans are justifiably proud of their dramatic sunsets. Because of where our house is situated, we rarely see such a sunset…but sometime our sunrises are more than adequate.

March

Photo - Cedar waxwing perched in my hand
Where: Our back yard, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: You might recall this photo from a post describing how I rescued this cedar waxwing from an attacking mockingbird. Sure, it was stunned and barely conscious here, but I’d like to think that it enjoyed my company.

April

Photo - My hand sporting two Texas A&M class rings, one from 1974 and another from 1949
Where: Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: Yeah, another one featuring my hand. I shared this image in a Gazette post which had a blurb about Aggie Muster 2021. We had earlier in the year found my dad’s Aggie ring (Texas A&M Class of ’49) and I wore it to Muster next to my own as a way of honoring his memory. It might be obvious that only death parted my dad from that ring.

May

Photo - An orb weaver and its web
Where: Our back yard, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: If the oak tree in the January photo was a picture of perseverance, this orb weaver’s web definitely described diligence, as it rebuilt it every morning. Nature’s got some great, non-bipedal architects.

June

Photo - A butterfly on a tree trunk
Where: Off the 11th Fairway, Ram Rock Golf Course, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: There’s a pretty wild strip of land behind our house, bisected by Pecan Creek. On one side is the golf course and on the other side is some green space belonging to our neighborhood. This relatively untouched section features snakes, deer, errant golf balls…and this butterfly. I like the composition of this photo, as well as the way the butterfly seems to be a part of the tree trunk.

July

Photo - A closeup of a black swallowtail caterpillar
Where: Our back yard, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: We spent a lot of time in July observing the black swallowtail caterpillars that devoured the parsley Debbie planted in a pot on the back porch. A couple of them even formed chrysalises, but, alas, we never saw butterflies emerge. 

August

Photo - A small herd of deer doing deer-like things in the vacant lot next door
Where: The vacant lot next to our house, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: No photographic survey of the Texas Hill Country is complete without deer. We have only one window facing west. It looks out over the vacant lot next door, and the golf course beyond it, and it provides an excellent spot for observing the whitetail deer that wandered, like clockwork, every afternoon in August to browse and recline. There are eight in this photo; can you spot all of them?

September

Photo - Paddleboarding on Lake LBJ
Where: Lake LBJ, close to Lighthouse Drive, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: Paddle boarding and kayaking on the lake is generally enjoyable for nine months out of the year (and, sometimes, even ten), but it really gets good in September when summer vacations end and the boats and jet skis are put away during the week. Debbie and I took advantage of the mirror-like water for this mid-morning outing to paddle our boards across the lake. You might be able to make out the high-rise condos near the Resort in the distance.

October

Photo - Young girl approaching an animatronic dinosaur at the San Antonio Zoo
Where: Zoo, Brackenridge Park, San Antonio, Texas
Why: We visited the zoo with our pals Sam and Trish during the weekend of Halloween. The zoo had a special dinosaur exhibit scattered around its grounds, complete with a few smaller animatronic specimens. I caught this young girl in her princess? mermaid? costume as she tentatively approached this somewhat threatening raptor.

November

Photo - Steam rising from the surface of Pecan Creek
Where: Pecan Creek, Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: I don’t believe I posted this exact photo this year, but I’ve shared a number of similar ones over the past few years. I love the view we have of the creek from our back yard, especially when the weather turns cold and crisp before the water has time to follow suit, and steam or mist rises from the surface. We’ve had only one morning of sub-freezing weather since last spring, so this hasn’t been a frequent sight.

December

Stylized photo - A young girl stares suspiciously at Santa while holding his hand
Where: Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: This is the only image in the collection that I didn’t create. Well, I didn’t take the photo; it was sent to me by this little girl’s grandmother…and that photo is achingly precious. The minute I saw it, my thought was this could be a Norman Rockwell painting. So, I endeavored to make it so via the magic of software. I can’t think of a thing I could do to make this a more memorable image.

Bonus

Photo - A young girl dressed as a superhero poses with three adults in similar costumes
Where: Horseshoe Bay, Texas
Why: And speaking of Christmas and young children…when your great-niece gets a set of superhero costumes as a gift, and she demands that her parents and great-aunt join her cosplay, cosplay will be achieved. Sophie was there to ensure that no one broke character.
OK, this really does wrap things up for 2021 here at the Gazette. I deeply appreciate each one of you who have dropped by during the year, and wish the very best for you and yours in 2022.  And you have my assurance that the quality of bloggage here will not change one whit next year.
Sorry about that.

2 comments

  1. I love your writing and humor. Really enjoyed your pics as well!! Happy and blessed Nee Year to you and Debbie 🥳💞

  2. Thanks, Martha! I really appreciate the nice feedback. And happy new year to you and your entire family as well!

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