This week the topic for the Lens-Artist Photo Challenge is “Favorite Photos of 2021.” Though they won’t win any awards, these photos are some of my favorites from travels in the past year.

A trip in May to Alaska provided many unique and stunning photo opportunities. Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska is the northernmost settlement in the United States. It sits on the Arctic Ocean 330 miles above the Arctic Circle. Scroll over or click images for captions.

Several hundred miles south, Talkeetna, AK serves as the gateway to Denali and the Alaska Range. We took sightseeing flights to Denali and landed on a glacier. On the way to the mountains, I glanced down and saw the shadow of the plane encircled by round rainbows. It is very rare to see a complete round rainbow. Atmospheric conditions have to be just right for it to happen, and when they do it is even rarer to see an image inside. The phenomenon of a round rainbow is called a “glory.”

The shadow of our sightseeing plane surrounded by the glory of multiple round rainbows.

Other favorites from the sightseeing flights:

These are some of my favorites from 2021. See P.A. Moed’s post to see photos others have submitted or to join the challenge.

Although the new year is getting off on the wrong foot, let’s hope that 2022 brings everyone much needed relief from this pandemic.