Adventure, Musings, photography

Photography Inspiration: Getting Outside in 2016

2016 photography inspiration

At the end of 2015, I posted about my aspirations to get more serious about photography, along with my very best photos of the year. Looking back on those photos has inspired me to keep trying — to learn new techniques, step outside my comfort zone, and most importantly, to keep practicing!

In 2016, I shot with three different cameras, a simple, older point and shoot – the Nikon P510, which was great for hiking, paddling, and other rugged adventures. A Canon Rebel T6i, which I borrowed for some landscape and macro work, was really fun to play around with. And finally, I tried out a Sony Alpha A600 because I’ve heard lots of talk about how awesome it is. I wanted to love it, but I just didn’t, so now I’m actually without a camera, and looking toward a new Nikon DSLR. Can’t wait! I also invested in Adobe Lightroom in 2016, and spent more hours than I want to think about learning how to do some photo editing. 

Luckily, 2016 also provided ample opportunity for getting outside with my camera, which is the best photography inspiration in the world (for me). My goals for 2016 weren’t too lofty — I wanted to work on birds in flight, night shots, and moving water. What did I learn? Birds move really fast and night photography is darn near impossible (if you’re me). I made some headway with the moving water, though, and I’m sticking with the same goals for 2017, just to keep things doable.

Here’s a little look at our year, with my favorite photographs from 2016:

Winter Photography Inspiration

Winter Photo Inspiration

Lake Shaftsbury State Park, Lake Shaftsbury, Vermont

After the craziness of the holidays, we usually spend the rest of the winter close to home. We did a lot of skiing and snowshoeing, escaping to either Woodford State Park or Lake Shaftsbury State Park at least once a week. We also said goodbye to Ogden, the German shepherd puppy we raised for Guiding Eyes for the Blind. It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye, but these puppies have bigger plans!

Winter Photo Inspiration

Guiding Eyes Ogden, Woodford State Park, Vermont

Winter Photo Inspiration

Frozen Lake Paran, North Bennington, Vermont

Winter Photo Inspiration

Witch hazel blossoms in our back yard

Spring Photography Inspiration

Spring Photo Inspiration

Maple trees all tapped and ready for the sap run – Whitingham, Vermont

March is the time when things start to wake up in Vermont. It’s maple sugaring season, which also coincides with mud season. In March, we were reunited with one of our guide dog pups, Nacho. Nacho’s partner, Kathy came to visit us in Vermont, and we loved every minute of their stay. Look at our handsome pup — all grown up!

Nacho and Kathy - Spring Photos

Guiding Eyes Nacho with partner Kathy Nimmer – Manchester, Vermont

We took our big trip for the year in April — Arizona! We explored the Grand Canyon, Lake Havasu City, a touristy ghost town, and Las Vegas. It was awesome escaping Vermont during the cold, wet spring, although Eric was still on crutches. We also escaped to a little cabin in northern Vermont, courtesy of Hipcamp.

Spring Photo Inspiration

Dawning of the day – Lake Havasu City, AZ

Spring Photo Inspiration

Getting my kicks on route 66, Oatman, AZ

Spring Photo Inspiration

Desert View, Grand Canyon

Spring Photo Inspiration

Our secret trail, Desert View Campground, Grand Canyon

Spring Photo Inspiration

Stony Pond Farm, Enosburg, Vermont

Summer Photography Inspiration

I spent the whole summer working with Vermont State Parks as a photographer and writer. I visited 22 parks and spent countless nights under the stars. The highlights — waterfalls, sunsets, a moose, and lots of hikes and paddles. Oh, and we also started raising another guide dog — Dolly. She’s a black lab, and the first female we’ve raised. We had her all through the summer and then sent her on to another raiser to finish up her training.

Summer Photo Inspiration

Bingham Falls, Stowe, Vermont

Summer Photo Inspiration

Guiding Eyes Dolly at three months

Summer Photo Inspiration

We saw a moose while paddling! Green River Reservoir State Park, Vermont

Summer Photo Inspiration

Sunset, Green River Reservoir

Autumn Photography Inspiration

I almost always stay close to home during fall foliage season, and I was up with the sun every single day, exploring the magical back roads of Vermont. October totally inspires me, and I wrote a little photography guide to southern Vermont  because, holy moly, if you haven’t visited Vermont in the fall, you really should! Another big event this fall? We brought home our 7th guide dog puppy, Ogden’s son, Flash. Flash will be with us for at least a year, and we’re totally smitten with him!

Autumn Photo Inspiration

Somerset Reservoir, Vermont

Autumn Photo Inspiration

Meet Guiding Eyes Flash at nine weeks

Fall Photo Inspiration

Grout Pond, Vermont

Fall Photo Inspiration

Kelly Stand Road, Arlington, Vermont

Now we’re back to winter, and I’m doing a little hibernating before a big trip out west in a few weeks. Looking back on the year, I can see that I have indeed grown a bit as a photographer. It’s been slow going, but I’m going to keep at it.

My biggest inspiration has really just been to get outside with my camera. No excuses. Another thing that has really helped me as been connecting with other bloggers  and creative people. In fact, I’m linking this post up with some blogging friends, who have also written posts about inspiration in the New Year. Please pop over for a visit!  Introducing:

Danielle of the Adventure Dog Blog: The Word is “Inspiration”

Sonja of Montecristo Travels: 5 Places to Look for Inspiration for Pet Travelers

Stacy of Tangled up in Food: Inspiration 2016

Happy New Year Everyone!

What inspires you to get out there and do what you love? For me it's as simple as getting outside. Here are my best photos from 2016.


  1. Mind blowing & eye – catching photography work. as a new photographer i got lot of information from your article. Your dedicated works always inspired me to give better something. Hope to see more post to enlighten us .

  2. I have a great interest in street photography, I just love to capture the ordinary moments appear in street. Its always cool to tell a story of a scene through street photography. Now getting some inspiration from your shots as well!

  3. What lovely photos! I’ve never visited Vermont, but you’ve inspired me to add it to my list! I especially love the shot of the moose, they’re such neat creatures. I grew up in a rural part of northern Minnesota, so occasionally I would see one wandering along the road.

  4. Oh wow! Your shots are really gorgeous! This has definitely inspired me to want to get out there more and take photos with my new camera. Unfortunately I have been a little unwell but hoping to get out more in the next few weeks.
    Chantell – Adoration 4 Adventure recently posted…Local guide: Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.My Profile

  5. I’m also looking into buying a new camera (it’d be my first DSLR!) this year, and this post is a good reminder I need to do some research. Your photos are beautiful, I hope to get to this level one day! Any particular camera you’d recommend to a DSLR newbie? 🙂

    • Anna – The two big names in DSLRs – Nikon and Canon both have pretty amazing entry level models for around $500, including a kit lens. It’s a good place to start. I’ve settled on the Nikon D5500, which is somewhere in the middle between entry-level and professional. Good luck!

  6. Love your photography skills. I can’t believe you are learning 🙂 The sunset photo is truly amazing. Which model of Nikon DSLR are you planning on getting?

    • Thank you, Nisha! I finally settled on the Nikon 5500. It was fairly affordable, but with all the settings I’m trying to figure out.

  7. Wow! I have a LOOOONNNNGGG way to go to take photos like that! Absolutely gorgeous! As an iPhone only user I doubt I will ever achieve this level. As “carry on only” travellers we just came to realize that we used the camera we had. And in time — we just never took our gear anymore. Too big, too heavy, too bulky…. how do you lug all that weight?

    • Thank you, Sonja! I travel with teenagers and lots of equipment – I just had to make peace with that. The only time I pack light is when I’m backpacking, but even then I have my camera with me.

  8. You have some awesome photography here and you are so right, the great outdoors provides so much inspiration. The witch hazel flower is stunning. You must have been sad to say goodbye to Ogden. What a handsome dog!

  9. That puppy is so sweet! I’ve just changed from a canon 6D to a olympus mirrorless camera and I’m loving it. Still getting to know it but I needed something that was smaller to fit into my backpack. I also need to get lightroom and teach myself to use it. Wish me luck!
    Claire Summers recently posted…2017 the year of solo travel – Inspiration from 17 travel bloggersMy Profile

    • Thanks you, Claire. I may invest in a mirrorless camera at some point – it just seemed like a huge change from a DSLR, one that I wasn’t quite ready for. I LOVE playing around in Lightroom. Good luck!

  10. I LOVE it! Your photography is so amazing. I’ll have to come back to this page again and again just to feel inspired. Really great shots this year Tara!

    • Thanks so much, Danielle! It’s been so fun to explore with my camera, especially when I have an outlet for those photos!

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