When you approach the tail-end of the calendar year, retrospectives are never in short supply. You can indulge endlessly in the arbitrary year-end rankings of movies, music, and even memes. While time and distance usually renders most of these lists of popular art either inaccurate or irrelevant, evaluating your own efforts in the artistic realm can still be a useful exercise.
If you’re honest with yourself during the process, singling out your favorite work from a given time frame can reveal things. First it can highlight growth, or lack thereof, in your work. If you make a practice of reviewing your photos over time, you may be reminded of how far you’ve come and what you may want to tackle next in your photographic journey.
Secondly, it may reveal to you your true passions. If you’re sincere in your selection of photos you truly enjoy, (not what you think others might like best) you may find hints as to the type of photography you want to spend more time with in the coming year.
Lastly, it’s always a worthwhile exercise to edit your work and to be a little self-critical. Determining which of your images (flaws and all) are really your best, whittling them down to a set number and eliminating the rest, is good practice in separating the wheat from the chaff.
With those points in mind, I’ve compiled ten non-family photos I’ve taken in the past year below. I’ve probably captured more popular, technically sound, or compelling images in the past year, but for one reason or another these are my favorites. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
I’ve stated before that flowers can sometimes be the low hanging fruit of the photography world, but that doesn’t stop me from revisiting them time and again. The dark velvety reds and the hint of purple set against the inky background in this shot just draws me in.
There are probably three or four shots from my trip to the East Broad Top Railroad that made my short list for 2016, but this one with its mixture of shadows, textures, and subtle colors is the most compelling to me.
It’s hard to get unique shots from a location as oft-photographed as Ricketts Glen State Park, but by working in black and white I was able to bring some personal excitement back to well-trodden ground.
The lack of foreground interest non-withstanding, that windswept sky was something to behold on the bay side of our frequent vacation destination.
There are lots of interesting images waiting to be made at classic car shows. During the 2016 Lititz Car Cruise, the angles, color contrasts, and little details of this tailfin were like catnip to my camera.
I don’t use off-camera lighting often, but when I do, it’s nice to know that I’m still able to add the drama needed to make my subject (in this case, my nephew who is now a student athlete in college) pop.
While not taken at the time of night I would have preferred, to me this shot still represents the magic photography possesses to present something in its best light. While every city has its flaws, for one singular moment Pittsburgh looks magical and full of possibilities.
I love this photo for its simplicity and how it serves as a reminder to always go back and take a shot, any shot, when you see amazing light. This weekend afternoon there was a sliver of gorgeous light streaming into my garage so I quickly ventured into the house to retrieve my camera. I came back to find a worthy subject in this pile of yet to be organized wrenches from my Dad’s toolbox.
Another exercise in simplicity. The Jersey Shore can be a crowded and overwhelming place for me. I like being able to find pockets of tranquility, like this sandpiper in the surf, when I can.
Just a guy holding down his spot a full two hours before the movie starts in Lititz Springs Park. I admire his tenacity. I think that’s something we all could use a little more of in 2017.