2017 has blown past us and we’re already steamrolling deep into 2018. January 2018 was so busy for me I barely had a chance to reflect on the previous year as I like to do. So now that I have a bit more time I’m taking a look back at 2017 and some of the wonderful moments and experiences I had. Enjoy the reminiscing! This is Part 3 of this article, which looks at September through December.  Check out Part 1 for my travels in South America, and Part 2 for my summer travels in the US.


September is my birth month so it’s always a favorite time of year for me, but September 2017 also started off with a fun new project: full moon photography. I’d avoided the genre for years but after that photography seminar I taught with Rafa from PhotoPills my eyes were opened to the possibilities. So I got a nice long lens, figured out a plan of attack, and headed out to the Minarets on a beautiful morning to shoot the full as it set behind the mountains. If you want to learn more about how I created these photos, check out the article here on how to shoot the full moon.

After that I surprisingly took a week away from photography and headed down to San Francisco to spend the weekend with friends at the Brews on the Bay Festival. Much pleasant drinking and eating ensued.

Soon I was back in Mammoth and headed down the east side to the Alabama Hills, where I had 2 private clients for a night photography workshop. We ended up light-painting the beautiful Lady Boot Arch as the Milky Way traced out its path overhead.


October began with another enjoyable full moon shoot, this time with friends Brandon Russell, Greg Weaver, and Samantha Deleo. The shoot was a bit easier as the geometry worked out perfectly to shoot from the Minaret Vista parking lot. As a consequence we ran into legendary Sierra photographer Vern Clevenger who was leading a workshop. After the shoot, Brandon, Greg, Sam, and I rode our mountain bikes down the super fun Mountain View trail and nearly froze to death due to crisp, early winter temperatures. 🙂

That same day my friend Melissa and I loaded up my car and drove back to San Francisco for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Much pleasant drinking and eating ensued.

In the middle of the month my mom and I set out on my first-ever cross-country road trip. The purpose of the trip was to go visit family in Indiana, as well as pick up some furniture and drive it back to California. I know, exciting stuff. But the timing was right as I needed to be in New York at the end of the month, and we used the trip as an excuse to spend a bunch of time in Utah. Since it was my mom’s first visit to that amazing state we took our time and visited Zion, Bryce, Escalante, and Moab before hightailing it across the plains to Indiana.

Once in Indiana I immediately hopped on a flight for New York to attend PhotoPlus Expo, the largest photo trade show in the US. I was very fortunate to once again be presenting for Nikon. I spoke about my work for the fisheye lens launch, as well as unusual approaches to landscape photography. Of course, there was much socializing, eating, and drinking. From there I flew back to Indiana and my mom and I began a grueling 4-day trip back to California, with a trailer full of furniture in tow.


November was thankfully a quiet month; much needed after the manic intensity of October. There were, however, three things of note: one was Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays of the year. Not so much because of what it signifies but because I get to spend time with family, eating, drinking, and merrymaking. Two: I was fortunate to be featured on both Matt Payne’s and Nick Page’s photography podcasts. Great discussions on both about the state of photography, how to progress as a photographer and a human, some storytelling, and much more. Be sure to give those a listen.

And three: I went on a killer overnight backpack with my friends and photographers Elisabeth and Jude. Despite the fact that it was mid November they had a wild idea to backpack into Thousand Island Lake. Due to road closures that wasn’t feasible in their time frame, so I suggested we hit up the Sabrina Basin instead. The Sierra hadn’t received much snow yet, but we expected an overnight low of around 10°F. So we packed up LOTS of warm clothes. Thankfully it didn’t drop much below 20°, and so we enjoyed a relatively warm night, and insanely gorgeous conditions with the partially frozen lakes in the basin near Sailor Lake.


December started off with a bang: I met Jim Patterson in Death Valley for our annual photography workshop there. It’s always a treat to go back to the desert, especially when you have an amazingly fun group of photographers to teach. We were also treated to a full moon rise, and a mind-blowing banger of a sunset over Cottonball Basin.

The remainder of December was nice and mellow. I got an underwater housing and set out to experiment with that in the frigid waters of the Eastern Sierra’s lakes. Still working the kinks out of how to get a good photo but I’m enjoying the process so far.

I spent the end of month with family for Christmas. And I got myself a present: a new Nikon D850, which I put to the test during a colorful sunset overlooking the Eastern Sierra as I drove back home to Mammoth.

And that sums up the year! Looking back I can barely believe I had time to breathe, let alone go on all these trips and create all these memories. But if there’s one thing I can be grateful to photography for, it’s packing my life more full of experiences and beauty than I ever thought possible. Thanks for reading, for your support, and here’s wishing you a great 2018!

15 replies
  1. Tom Clemons
    Tom Clemons says:

    Glad you and your Mom had a good trip home and glad she got to see a bit of Utah. Great state! My son and I spent 16 days in September camping (tent) through all 5 NPs and 6 state parks with Antelope Canyon and north rim of Grand Canyon thrown. Driving cross country from VA to Yosemite in mid-June to meet up with son & grandson for a week.

  2. Carol
    Carol says:

    Wow! Josh, you have some very beautiful photos. Hope you can leave the fast lane for a slower pace in 2018. Love your articles, tips and instructions, keep them coming…

    Thanks for sharing your outstanding photographic accomplishments.

  3. Detlef
    Detlef says:

    I adore your “point of views”. And I envy you for all this locations. Great technical and artistic skills. Cannot wait for this years fotos. Keep it up and good luck.

    • Josh Cripps
      Josh Cripps says:

      Thanks a ton, Sarah! Yes, “whirlwind” is a good way to describe it. Trying to keep 2018 a little calmer but I’m not sure I’m going to be successful… oh well!

      Hope you have a wonderful 2018.

    • Josh Cripps
      Josh Cripps says:

      Thanks a ton, Alvin! I really appreciate that. Yeah, back in those art festival days I never could have predicted all the twists and turns my life would take since then.

      Take care and all the best,



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