It was a slow year thanks to another pandemic year. I have spent much of it indoors, not getting out as much as any of us liike. There were some surprising images in this weird year.

My absolute favorite of the year is Freedom’s Fire, an image that came about because of arriving in Brooklyn and seeing the smoke filled view from our ninth floor condo looking to the Statue of Liberty and New Jersey in the west. I knew that the smoke from western forest fires had reached our coast and the possibility of intense sunsets was great. This was one of the best sunsets I have ever photographed, watching the sun drop perfectly behind Liberty and her torch from my living room window. I still have goosebumps from watching this spectacular moment.

Smokey sunset on July 22, 2021, in Gowanus, Brooklyn, silhouettes the Statue of Liberty. ©Mark D Phillips
Smokey sunset on July 22, 2021, in Gowanus, Brooklyn, silhouettes the Statue of Liberty. ©Mark D Phillips

The gallery of images takes you around New England for USSA Masters Ski Racing and back to Brooklyn as we continue documenting the clean up of the Gowanus Canal, one of America’s dirtiest waterways. As a personal project, I documented my daughter’s final collegiate Field Hockey season at Nichols College in Massachusetts.

There was a partial Lunar Eclipse and there was a spectacular gathering of the planets in our solar system that allowed us to see Jupiter, Saturn and Venus in a diagonal across the night sky.

The Curecanti Needle on Morrow Point Reservoir in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River in Colorado is a location that still feels removed from humanity, a feeling also felt at a rest area on Interstate 95 that should have been mobbed with people, but felt like the apocalypse thanks to the pandemic.

The lack of western water is evident in the empty basin of Blue Mesa Reservoir in Gunnison, CO, a testament to the lack of snowfall in 2021. The Supermax prison in Colorado houses most of America’s worst serial killers and terrorists, shot from the side of a dirt road.

The Hartford Roses play rugby and cut no corners. And finally, my friend Frank Manzi released his new album at Thanksgiving, “Whispers of Grace,” with a release party that was a highlight of 2021.

We will all hope for a more active 2022.