2015 Image of the Year Poll – Vote Now!

Images and article by Greg W. Gilstrap.  With the New Year just around the corner, it’s once again time for our (fifth) annual Photoremedy Image of the Year contest. We call it an ‘image’ contest because each of the finalists are either 1) a photograph, or 2) a photography-based digital art image. The list if heavily influenced by a few of the areas where I’ve been fortunate enough to visit this year- Louisiana, Arizona’s Verde Valley, and the Seattle area.

2014 Image of the Year Finalists

2014 Image of the Year Finalists

As always, we are offering what we like to refer to–tongue in cheek–as a Chicago-style approach to voting.  This means you can vote early and often. If you love a finalist, follow the poll’s progress and don’t be afraid to share it with your friends. Better yet, don’t hesitate to come back to register extra votes for good measure. Because multiple votes are allowed by individuals, this is more of a passion poll than a scientific sample. Last year’s contest drew more than 3,000 votes – essentially tripling the previous record of around 1,000.

The 2016 poll is featured at the bottom of this post. Click on an individual image below to view images, captions, and locations in slide show mode.

As mentioned above, the 2015 images include traditional photographs and some that feature significant digital art enhancements. Like many, I enjoy both forms of artistic expression. All of these pieces were captured and developed while pursuing photoremedy–or photography-based healing art–as a means of coping with my ongoing chronic pain struggles and failed back issues. For more information about photoremedy, please click on the ‘Background and Initial Post’ tab (near the top of this page) for our working ‘photoremedy’ definition. Our poll follows – please select the image that you feel is worthy of being crowned Photoremedy Image of the Year. The contest closes at midnight MST, New Year’s Eve.

 

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Quail Ridge

The last RV park featured in our summer Verde Valley (area) series is, ironically, the first place Mary and I stayed with an RV. Quail Ridge–located near Dewey, AZ–promotes itself as ‘A beautiful, friendly and clean park – always 10-20 degrees cooler than Phoenix.’

It is good to note we concluded Quail Ridge believes in truth in marketing. Not only was it beautiful and clean, the park operators recognized we were ‘newbies’ and spent considerable time helping us to set everything up correctly. From Quail Ridge, we could visit all of the other destinations and attractions featured in this series. It is more closely located to Prescott than the others; we made a rainy day trip there to visit the highly regarded Thumb Butte Distillery.

Visiting area farms and farmers markets is another awesome Verde Valley day trip option for those staying at Quail Ridge and other nearby RV parks. Mary and I were particularly fond of the sweet corn.

Verde Valley, Arizona

Verde Valley, Arizona

One of our most pleasant surprises was Montezuma’s Well – featuring the well, historic ruins, springs, and beautiful walking trails. The well is often overshadowed by Montezuma’s Castle, but it is an equally breathtaking destination attraction.

We have lived in Arizona since 1993, yet we somehow managed to miss visiting many of the attractions and colorful locations featured in this series. I guess that proves there’s just as many reasons to going exploring (and pursuing photoremedy) near where you live as there are when on a vacation that takes you miles away from home.

 

Zane Grey RV Park

Our summer series featuring a few of the great RV parks and resorts in (or near) Arizona’s Verde Valley continues with a look at some of the photoremedy we enjoyed while staying an hour or so to the north of our Anthem, Arizona home. This post features one of the most lovingly maintained parks we’ve come across – Zane Grey, located to the southeast of Camp Verde.

While staying at Zane Grey, we explored Clear Creek, the historic Clear Creek Church, colorful Camp Verde, and the mountain top charm of the Pine and Strawberry areas.

Up next, we’ll conclude our series with a look at Quail Ridge RV Park, the hidden secrets of Montezuma’s Well, and photoremedy enjoyed while visiting Verde Valley farms.

National Park Service's Montezuma Well

National Park Service’s Montezuma Well

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Great Tavern Food

Last June, we featured the rapidly growing, cool-country vacation and retirement centers of Pine and Strawberry in north-central Arizona. Mary and I enjoyed the heat-beating benefits of the historic region so much that we’ve already found our way back there this year for a little more photoremedy and food.

Pine, Arizona

Pine, Arizona

Our recent visit provided us with the added benefit of allowing us to catch up with our old friend, Maher Hazine.

Maher Hazine

Maher Hazine

We’ve known Maher, and his wife Kim, since we all began attending the same Anthem-area church many years ago. Both Maher and Kim were tireless volunteers, with Maher frequently seen flipping burgers or dogs at many church festivals and feasts. At the time, we did not know just how much he loved feeding people good food in a friendly environment. Today, the Hazines are the proprietors of Sidewinders Tavern and Grill in Pine.

Sidewinders - Pine, Arizona

Sidewinders – Pine, Arizona

It’s an awesome fit. Great food and friends is just another reason for us to keep returning to Pine, Arizona.

Sidewinders - Pine, Arizona

Sidewinders – Pine, Arizona

Sidewinders - Pine, Arizona

Sidewinders – Pine, Arizona

Splashing Into Heaven

Children Quote Card

A Memorial Day Weekend trip to Anthem Community Park’s splash pad with our grand kids brought the familiar Bible passage (above) to mind. And, the more I look at the images produced by this short photoremedy journey, the more I find myself thinking, “Once again (as always), Jesus has it right.”

Isabella Splash 5b (1 of 1)

Emmett Splash 8 (1 of 1) - Copy

If heaven is full of souls with child-like glee, enthusiasm, and explorations, I want in. It’s gotta be a blast!