CMS Photography: Favorite Photos From 2016 » You Can Sleep When You're Dead: Blog by Colleen Miniuk

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Jan 032017

I turn my TV on maybe three or four times a year (once at least, for the University of Michigan-Ohio State football game, Go Blue in 2017!). Last night, I just happened to flip to a channel playing one of my all-time favorite movies, Shawshank Redemption.

I don’t know about you, but towards the end of the movie, when Andy starts dreaming about Zihuatanejo with Red in the jail yard, I start bawling like I’m cutting a pile of onions. These two sentences suckerpunch me every time (even though I know the movie well enough to know what’s coming every time):

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”

As I emptied all three of the boxes of tissue I had in my house, and considering we’ve just turned the page on another year, I internalized this and how it applies to my life right now. (Over-analyzing is my superpower, what’s yours?).

Although I’ve been a faithful subscriber to the “You Can Sleep When You’re Dead” mantra in the past, the hardships and lessons from a challenging 2015 helped me consciously choose to “get busy living” more so than ever in 2016. From a 30,000 foot level, I learned to be nice to myself, enjoy the journey regardless of achievement, and celebrate the waves of “up’s” and “down’s”equally (all things I’ve been exploring and writing about in great detail in my book, Going With the Flow, about our Lake Powell paddle adventure, which now stands at over 65,000 words and merely three chapters of editing work shy of my first draft…I digress…).

And awesome things transpired through new adventures with dear and new friends, personal and professional growth, and dreaming up some grand ideas. So much so, that not only will I keep on keeping on, but also encourage everyone, if they aren’t already, to “get busy living” not just on the holidays, not just on New’s Years Day, but today, and every day. 

If you’re reading this, keep in mind, you woke up, you’re alive, you’re breathing. Some were not as fortunate…so on this day, today, and every day, with this gift of more time on this Earth, what will you celebrate today?

Today, I celebrate YOU for all you do to help support my photography, writing, and teaching.  Thank you for making 2016 an incredible year of friendship, laughs, and learning in photography. And I can’t wait to see what transpires in our creative journey in 2017 for all of us!

To celebrate making the most of life in 2016, here are 16 of my favorite photographs I created last year (in chronological order, prints available – click on photo to order):


Winter’s Hold on Jordan Pond:Winter's Hold on Jordan Pond


Face of the Sun:Face of the Sun


Antelope Canyon Memories:Antelope Canyon Memories


Canyon Dreams:Canyon Dreams


High Alpine Serenity:High Alpine Serendipity


The Pulse of Life: The Pulse of Life


An Afternoon Dream:An Afternoon Dream


Autumn Afternoon Delight:Autumn Afternoon Delight




Rock On!:Rock On!


Liquid Aurora:Liquid Aurora


Catch You When You Fall:Catch You When You Fall


Periwinkle Pearls:Periwinkle Pearls


Beauty Remains:Beauty Remains


Burning Desire:Burning Desire


 A Crack in Everything:A Crack in Everything

Thank you for reviewing my Favorite Photos from 2016! If you’d like to see my favorite photos from previous years, please visit:

All posts were a part of Jim Goldstein’s annual “Best Photos of the Year” blog project.  His 2016 collection–which I’d highly recommend browsing through to see some amazing photographic work–can be viewed at

May your 2017 be your best and brightest year yet!


  21 Responses to “CMS Photography: Favorite Photos From 2016”

  1. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and passion. A good year is on its way!

  2. Colleen
    Your selection of images is terrific. Very inspiring. I’m working on my own, mostly desert scenes from our winter home in Tucson. Looking forward to seeing you again in Moab.

  3. Fantastic set, Colleen. I like the many delicate detailed images. It appears you are more observant than most and have a great eye for color and unusual combinations and juxtapositions. My favorites are: Face of the Sun, Antelope Canyon (believe it or not–I almost never like images from there because they’re all much the same) and Liquid Aurora, which beats all to heck going to Alaska, in my opinion. Here’s wishing you another prolific, prosperous and rewarding year in 2017!

  4. […] Colleen Miniuk-Sperry – CMS Photography – Colleen Miniuk-Sperry Photography: Favorite Photos From 2016 […]

  5. Wonderful collection of photos Colleen! Always a pleasure to see your year end photos and really appreciate your participation in this years Best Photos of the Year blog project. I hope you have a great 2017 and look forward to seeing more of your work.

    • Thanks, Jim, not only for your comments, but also for pulling together the annual “Best Photos of the Year” blog project. Your efforts are greatly appreciated! Always fun to see what “everyone” has been up to in the past year. Happy 2017!

  6. Beautifully diverse collection, Colleen! My favorites are An Afternoon Dream for its delicate simplicity, Autumn Afternoon Delight for the beautifully layered colors and angles and that magical touch of fiery light, and Winter’s Hold on Jordan Pond for its expansive cold depths. When I visited Jordan Pond this year it was completely enveloped in a layer of fog such that there was no sight of the far shore or The Bubbles, but it was still beautiful. Love Shawshank Redemption! Have a great 2017!

    • Thanks much for your lovely comments, Todd. I’m glad you had the chance to see Jordan Pond (even if you couldn’t see much of it, haha) and Acadia this year! Here’s to many more exciting adventures for you in 2017. Cheers!

  7. Thanks so much for sharing your favorites from last year. I just ran across Jim Goldstein’s site yesterday and noticed a familiar name peeking out at me. My favorite – of your favorites – is “Rock On”, imagine that. Also “Liquid Aurora”, “An Afternoon Dream”, and “Bubblious”. In fact I loved them all, but particularly your landscapes with a small “l”, so it was interesting to hear that you kind of focused on the small stuff this year. Me too. Anyway, I look forward to seeing you in Moab, and a big thanks for writing the Acadia book. It proved indispensable during my visit there this fall to complete my “all 50 states” list, and to see the colors – wonderful.

    • Thanks for your comments and for stopping by the blog, Gregg! Glad you found Jim’s post, it’s a gem every year for sure. I would love to see your Acadia pics sometime! So glad you made it out there (but sorry our paths didn’t cross out there…I was out there for 3 weeks in October…). Can’t wait to see you in Moab where I hope we’ll catch up! Til then, keep shooting!

  8. Beautiful images, Colleen. I’m really taken in by many of your wonderful detail images; especially the day dreams, periwinkle, and crack in everything caught my eye, but all are very sweet images. Wishing you the very best for 2017.

  9. One of my favorite quotes as well!
    Just love each and every one of these photographs. Consider me as a new fan. 🙂


  11. IMpresive textures, I liked it very much

  12. […] 2016: […]

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