The Best of 2014: Original Photography & Photo Essays

These 50 stories demonstrate the best of GP’s original photography in 2014.


A lot happened in 2014, from the legalization of marijuana in Colorado to the beginning of normal diplomatic relations with Cuba. Of course, all of the really big happenings and news had absolutely nothing to do with us. But in our little nook of the universe, we did manage to have an awful lot of fun. We drove the McLaren 650S, grilled up a pin-bone sirloin and put on some fancy new cologne — and that was all in, like, one afternoon. (We also explored everywhere from Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail to the Highlands of Scotland.) So to remind ourselves of the year that was, and to share all that our crew has seen and learned, we’re doing a retrospective on the year’s best stories, from buying guides and product tests to photo essays and original videos. These 50 stories demonstrate the best of GP’s original photography in 2014.

Amazon by Riverboat


By Jonathan Gallegos: In much of the Amazon, traveling by riverboat is the best form of transportation. So we set off from Iquitos, Peru, fondly dubbed the Capital of the Peruvian Amazon, aboard the Aqua Aria, a luxurious river boat that would take us roughly 100 miles up and down the Amazon River.
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Photo Essay: Capturing Peak Six on Film


By Henry Phillips: More than 50 years in the making, the 540-acre Peak 6 opened on Christmas Day, 2013, bringing a fantastic mix of terrain that fills a surprising gap in Breckenridge’s arsenal. The new terrain offers some of the only above-treeline skiing for intermediates in the country and even more of Breck’s famous expert terrain. There was no doubt that we had to give it a test — strictly for investigative reasons, of course.
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Photo Essay: Slot Canyoneering in Zion


By Chris Burkard: My good friends Christian Adam and Eric Johnson and I packed up the car after work and drove through the night with a simple plan: head towards Zion. We ate crappy gas station food and took rotations driving to get there by morning; we had no permits or any idea of what we were going to do. This was a “microadventure” with no set plan except to have fun in some canyons.
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God Bless the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat


By Henry Phillips: 225 kilometers an hour? It’s 0.62, right? Why the hell can’t I figure it into miles? So 124 plus like 14 or 16 or — shit shit shit, time to brake. Turns out mental math is a lot more difficult when solved howling down the main straight at Summit Point Motorsports Park in the most powerful sedan ever made.
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Photo Essay: Governors Ball


By Henry Phillips: On June 6th, over 40,000 people descended on Randalls Island, NY for the first of three music-packed days at the Governors Ball Music Festival. On any other day of the year, Randalls Island’s 520 acres sit silent. But for three days straight, from 12:15 p.m. until 11 p.m., music performers from Vampire Weekend to Outkast to Skrillex to The Strokes take the stage under the hot summer sun and the starless night that hangs over Manhattan. GP was there, and this is what we saw.
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Photo Essay: The Grand Prix of the Americas


By Matt Neundorf: Each corner at the Circuit of the Americas is an homage to the most iconic turns from the world of Grand Prix. The track’s red, white and blue runoff areas make a declaration that’s even clearer when seen from above, perched atop the infield’s 250-foot observation tower: the international motorcycling scene has found a vibrant home in America.
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Postcard: Morning Rituals Aboard the No Worries

Jack Seemer

By Jack Seemer: 6:12 a.m. EDT | Rockland, Maine USA — I’m on a double dose of Dramamine doing my best to think of nothing at all, afraid that I might lose it. Sitting with me on the stern is Jay, one of the lobstermen I’m in Maine to cover. He’s nursing his third cup of coffee with a smoke hanging from his lip like a young Humphrey Bogart. I’ve lost track of the cigarettes.
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Heritage and Leather with Bell & Oak’s Clint Wilkinson

Bell&Oak Gear Patrol-001

By Jonathan Gallegos: Clint Wilkinson founded Bell & Oak’s line of leather goods by following in his grandfather’s footsteps, revitalizing his leatherwork business and capturing the spirit of Denton, Texas.
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Photo Essay: Diving and Decompressing in Belize


By Jason Heaton: Belize takes the protection of its offshore wilderness as seriously as it does its onshore one, and it shows. The reefs are healthy and swarm with rays, sharks and grouper along with the usual array of technicolor reef fish — wrasses, angels and parrotfish. The diving is easy here, and pretty much anywhere you backroll off a boat you’ll find a beautiful place to kick round for an hour. GP editor Jason Heaton dove here for three days well offshore.
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Eight Great Rugged Bluetooth Speakers


By Henry Phillips: All-weather Bluetooth speakers make sure that you have listening options in any climate, on the edge of any pool or in your pack on any adventure. No plug, no jacks, no need to check the weather report. Just durable music wherever you need it. These are the eight best.
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The C7 Corvette from Assembly Line to Redline


By Henry Phillips: It’s 9:30 in the morning and low clouds are hanging over southwestern Kentucky. It’s the kind of weather that makes you optimistic about the future — “they say it’s supposed to brighten up by 2” sort of stuff. You’d never know inside the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, though. The million-square-foot factory boasts little in the way of natural light, the handful of skylights the only hints of life outside the floor. Well, the skylights and WDNS 93 FM, which isn’t too informative but at least “Jessie’s Girl” strums through the door assembly area.
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Photo Essay: Cycling in Sonoma County, CA


By Matthew Ankeny: Whether you want to vineyard hop on a tandem or get on your Pinarello and crush 100 miles in a day, Sonoma County is a land flowing with milk and honey.
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Photo Essay: A Rare Look at an Even Rarer Ferrari Collection


By Bradley Hasemeyer: Ferrari enthusiast and luxury watch retailer David Lee is headed to this year’s The Quail at Pebble Beach. And more importantly, he’s bringing his collection of vintage Ferarri supercars with him. We got a sneak peak at some of his rare beauties.
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How To: Fillet a Trout Like a Pro

Jeff Masamori

By Jeff Masomori: Chef Timmy Malloy of Local’s Corner in San Francisco has filleted his fair share of fish. His shipments arrive fresh from the dock, four times a week. What better man to turn to for a quick how-to on the art of filleting a medium-sized fish? His favorite test subject: trout. We accompanied him for the surgical deconstructing (and the culinary spoils that came with it).
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Sweating it Out in Yosemite in the New Gore-Tex C-Knit


By Jason Heaton: Gore-Tex’s latest technology is their new “C-Knit” fabric, which will debut in Gore-Tex-equipped jackets in 2015. We were invited out to Yosemite National Park to get a first look at the new jackets and try them out.
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Photo Essay: Running the Grand Canyon


By Ben Clark: Going “rim to rim to rim” is a double-crossing of the Grand Canyon, covering 42.4 miles and 22,000 feet of vertical, and it’s a rite of passage for ultra runners. GP contributor Ben Clark reports on his epic there-and-back-again run.
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The Long Way in to Havasu Falls


By Will McGough: Adventure travelers have an advantage that others don’t: Anyone can get on a plane and land in a remote location, but no matter how much someone talks about that place deep in the wilderness, few have what it takes to make the journey.
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Photo Essay: Heli-Hiking British Columbia’s Tantalus Range

Heli Hiking Gear Patrol_001

By Jack Seemer: As far as recreation goes, heli-hiking is expensive. But it’s also a means for everyday folk to access remote, sometimes impossible-to-reach parts of the world, like the peaks of the Tantalus Range in British Columbia, in a four-minute helicopter ride, instead of a four-day slog. It’s only when you see the other side of the ridge that you realize you’d never tasted a wild berry or truly seen the color blue (reserved only for the types of lakes hidden in the mountains).
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Photo Essay: Hiking Guatemala’s Acatenango Volcano


By Jonathan Levinson: Acatenango is Guatemala’s third highest peak, towering 13,041 feet above the nearby Pacific Ocean and about 8,000 feet above the city of Antigua at the mountain’s base. Photographer and GP contributor Jonathan Levinson hiked to the top.
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Hiking the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado


By Will McGough: Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes in the San Luis Valley are the tallest dunes in America, reaching peaks of 750 feet. GP contributor Will McGough took off his shoes and played in the sand.
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Unrelenting Weather and Endless Beauty in Iceland




By Jason Heaton: Iceland exists as if out of the mind of a science fiction writer — not in the futuristic sense, but as some timeless place, where the elements that created the earth meet the people who harness its power. It is perhaps the most exotic place on Earth. And it’s only a five-hour flight from Manhattan.
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Photo Essay: Iditarod Trail Invitational



By Mike Curiak: The Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) is the world’s longest winter ultramarathon by mountain bike, foot and ski. It follows the historic Iditarod Trail from Knik, AK, over the Alaska Range to McGrath and on to Nome. If you like to run and ride in severe winter conditions and sleep outside in the frozen tundra, then this is the race for you.
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Photo Essay: The Controlled Chaos of Istanbul


By Isaac Zapata: Istanbul is a great place to visit: it’s located right smack on the dividing line between Europe and Asia, with a wealth of historical and religious sites, bazaars, a rich food culture and nearby islands that are just a ferry ride away. Photographer and GP contributor Isaac Zapata recently explored the city and experienced its “clash of beauty, history and a controlled sort of chaos.”
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Photo Essay: Patrouille des Glaciers


By Jason Heaton, Gishani: Every two years, in the beginning of May, the Swiss hold an historic ski mountaineering race: the Patrouille des Glaciers, “the Glacier Patrol”. The race, a national treasure of sorts, attracts close to 5,000 participants of all ages and ability levels and tens of thousands of rowdy Swiss spectators who line the course.
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Photo Essay: Ocean to Mountain in Kaua’i

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

By Eric Yang: Volcanic activity lifted Hawaii’s oldest island up from the ocean floor six million years ago, and millennia of rainfall — amounts on par with the highest on Earth — have carved out deep valleys, gorgeous waterfalls and ridges that rise thousands of feet into the air like razors set on edge. In this photo essay we explore both summit and sea.
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Postcard: Final Approach


By Eric Yang: 10:34 a.m. | 4 miles southeast of Cayman Brac — Air travel is boring. Buy a ticket, show up, listen to an attendant droll, order a Bloody Mary, land. Rinse and repeat. If you’re in a window seat, the world moves by at mach zero-dot-something; no one gets to sit shotgun. Board a puddle jumper, though, and the experience becomes altogether visceral. Small planes rule.
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Photo Essay: Classic Bikes and Tuscan Vistas at L’Eroica


By Jeremy Berger: The scenery is just one of the things that’s made L’Eroica one of the greatest organized rides in the world since Giancarlo Brocci founded it 30 years ago to help preserve the strada bianche, or white sand and gravel roads of Tuscany. Read More »

Postcard: Escape to the Highlands

Sung Han

By Sung Han: 2:10 p.m. GMT | Outside Glasgow, Scotland — The highway flowed away from the concrete and into the bucking green hills north of Glasgow. The sheep seemed to be posing; my forehead no longer throbbed.
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48 Hours of Sun and Swell in Montauk

Forest Woodward

By Forest Woodward: When we invited Forest Woodward, one of our favorite photographers, to Montauk for the weekend, we had no idea we’d be graced with the best waves we’ve seen in years.
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Postcard: Nantucket Reds


By Eric Yang: 8:15 a.m. ET | Centre St. Nantucket, MA — A getaway can mean several things. For me, it’s an escape from the crowds. Not just pure desolation (though that has its place); there’s something particularly nice about visiting a place before it gets mobbed. You know, the calm and eagerness before the surge. Vacationing in Nantucket ahead of the mid-June hullabaloo hits that sweet spot just about exactly.
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Photo Essay: Crushing Numbers at NHRA Winternationals


By Henry Phillips: Drag racing at its core isn’t a complicated sport. Two cars line up. Their drivers hit the pedal on the right. A thousand or so feet later someone wins. It stands to reason that there must be something more to this sport, something visceral that has kept people interested in pure, unadulterated speed for so long. With that in mind we headed to the first race of professional drag racing’s pro circuit, The NHRA Winternationals at the historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.
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An Achtung Baby: Quick Spin in the 2015 Porsche Macan


By Eric Yang: Aston Martin has been putting cars on the racetrack, in movies and on teenage boys’ walls for more than 100 years; no wonder even people who don’t care about cars can recognize them in an instant. The 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante was just another crown jewel begging to go for a drive. Read More »

Photo Essay: French Red


By Henry Phillips: The French have two Brits to thank for their beloved red playing surface, which today lives on in small training centers on the outskirts of Paris, tournaments for the rising stars of the sport and one of professional tennis’s oldest events. We were on hand during the week of the French Open to capture all the nuance of the storied surface.
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Postcard: Crabs on The Bay


By Henry Phillips: Kent Island, Maryland — I’m working through something like my fourth large blue crab. My hands covered in salty Old Bay seasoning and some ooze that probably served a vital function when the recently deceased was scuttling around the Bay. Things are good.
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Postcard: Paris in The Summer


By Henry Phillips: 7:05 a.m. CEST | Paris, France — This couldn’t possibly get more stereotypical. I’m standing on the Pont Du Carrousel an hour after sunrise pointing a medium format film camera downstream.
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Postcard: Quiet Hikes

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

By Eric Yang: 10:28 a.m. HST | Kauai, Hawaii — The two-mile hike up to Waipoo Falls in Kauai’s Waimea Canyon is by all measurement an easy one, but it underscores what’s best about a quiet hike.
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Photo Essay: Red Bull Crashed Ice


By Jason Heaton, Gishani: While all eyes were on Sochi as the Olympics wrapped up, another exciting winter sports event was happening this past weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota: the Red Bull Crashed Ice championships. Crashed Ice is Red Bull’s (generally apt) name for the up-and-coming sport of ice cross. And though it may be a made-up sport invented to sell energy drinks, it wouldn’t be terribly surprising to see it in the Olympics one day.
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Red Bull Global Rallycross: The Best Racing You’ve Never Seen


By Bradley Hasemeyer: Though you’ve probably never heard about it, Red Bull Global Rallycross is arguably motorsports’ best kept secret, and its most promising up-and-comer. With its short, simple races, colorful drivers, insanely powerful cars, and racetracks made of dirt, asphalt and even water, it’s easy to see why. Read More »

Surviving the Rolex Big Boat Series


By Jason Heaton: The Rolex Big Boat Series is known by participants as the “Break Boat Series” for the toll it takes on boats and crews over four days of racing. GP’s Jason Heaton braved San Francisco Bay’s gusty winds and waves for a firsthand account.
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Photo Essay: Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

Copyright 2014. All rights reserved.

By Ben Bowers: Witnessing a million wildebeest migrating from the southern Serengeti to Kenya’s Masa Mara reserve looks just as incredible in the flesh as it does in HD on Planet Earth. But to assume it’s the only real way to take in the circle of life on the great African continent is a rookie mistake — as four days spent on safari in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa made viciously clear.
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Time on Our Hands: Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver


By Jason Heaton, Gishani: ISO 6425 is an international standard that spells out in great and unambiguous detail the criteria for what can be called a “diver’s watch”. Aside from the obvious water resistance requirement (100 meters, by the way), there are rules for legibility, salt water resistance and more. But the fact of the matter is, not many watches are even subjected to the testing required to earn the ISO seal of approval. So when Cartier, best known for its classic Tank and elegant Ballon Bleu watches, introduced its Calibre de Cartier Diver ($8,200) this year with full compliance with ISO 6425, the watch world took notice.
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Kentucky Bourbon Trail Travelogue: Day Four


By J.Travis Smith: In Day Four of our Kentucky Bourbon Trail adventure, we visit Town Branch, learn from a true bourbon master, and Ben nerds out. (A lot.)
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A Walk Through the VitraHaus


By Eric Yang: Though opened nearly four years ago, the VitraHaus remains a pilgrimage-worthy menagerie of design. Located in the German town of Weil-am-Rhein and built by famed builders Herzog & de Meuron, the VitraHaus is a series of stacked longhouses filled with an assemblage of classic and contemporary design goods for the home. Visitors are encouraged to not just gaze in the standard museum sense, but to touch and interact with everything. A walk-through had us rethinking our own homes.
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Photo Essay: Wild Oregon


By Chris Burkard: Over the course of 2,500 miles of driving and exploration, photographer Chris Burkard encountered glacial peaks, wild rivers, rain forests, volcanic lakes, historic rock climbs and even the home of The Goonies. His stage: the great state of Oregon in the devastatingly grand Pacific Northwest.
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Photo Essay: New England’s Winter Surfers


By Jon Gaffney: The sky is a slate gray on the cruise up I-95 to Hampton Beach, NH. I left Boston to catch a glimpse of a handful of New England’s athletic contrarians, people who spend the summer dreaming of frigid waters, storms and angry seas. They’re winter surfers — and this is their season.
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The Perfect Bar Cart


By Jack Seemer, Eric Yang: Alcohol remains an enduring motif in the great American narrative. That’s probably because those that wrote it drank, and drank well — epitomized by the enduring symbol of the most sophisticated of drinking cultures: the bar cart. Read More »

Photo Essay: 2014 Monaco Grand Prix Historique


By Jeremy Berger: The Historic Grand Prix is one of the most important historic track events of the year, and it’s easy to see why: throughout the weekend, classic cars of all sorts drive the circuit in downtown Monaco, drivers mingle in their race suits, mechanics tinker, car nuts scoop their tongues off the ground and tall women glide by in cocktail dresses and heels.
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