It’s that time of the year when I look back and review and evaluate that past twelve months of my photographic year. I do this by taking a look at all the pictures I have kept and picking those that are my favorites. I define ‘favorite’ by those images that I like the most and that were the most meaningful to me. This isn’t rocket science, this is just pure emotion- my emotion. These 12 images may not be my best shots of 2015 but they are the ones I like the most.
My most favorite image of 2015 is the foggy trees shot I took in June in Vermont. The elephant, the chimp and the three people shots from Africa are very close seconds. The feather and the sunset reflection are favs because I have always wanted those shots and they came out beautifully. The little wildflower, fall stream and the old-growth forest are emotional favs- I will always love photographing wildflowers, streams and forests. And I had to put in a harbor gear shot!
My 2015 included two trips to Africa, photo trips to Alaska, Maine, New Mexico and Colorado and many joyous days in my little piece of Vermont. Of the 12 favorites 6 are from Africa and 2 each from Vermont, Maine and Alaska. It doesn’t surprise me that half the images are from Africa. I spent a total of almost 5 weeks actively and seriously photographing there and it is, quite obviously, a magical place to photograph.
There are 4 landscapes, 2 wildlife, 3 details and 3 portraits. Portraits are an increasingly favorite kind of photography for me and I am still amazed and surprised when one comes out as I hope. I am surprised by the 2 wildlife shots since I don’t really think of myself as a wildlife photographer but when faced with a baby chimpanzee and a mighty elephant how can I not be?
Five of the shots were taken on a tripod, 7 were handheld. Six were taken with my trusty Nikon 24-120mm lens, 2 with my Nikon 16-35mm lens and 4 were taken with some form of Nikon telephoto. Eleven were taken with my Nikon D750 and one with a Nikon Coolpix 9900. There were a couple of shots I took with my iPhone that didn’t quite make the cut. If I had done a top 20, four iPhone shots would’ve been included.
There were some experiences I had that didn’t translate into a champion photograph but were very much champion experiences. There was a wonderful boat trip in Sitka Sound photographing fishing boats pulling in salmon and a river full of salmon that I never quite managed to fully capture in my pictures. I hardly photographed the dairy farm or around Danby despite seeing wonderful things almost daily. I think I am going to start slowing down and bringing my camera along with me when I’m in Vermont more next year. Perhaps a local portrait project?
And there were all kings of photos I didn’t get that my workshop participants got that are absolutely spectacular. It seems every workshop I teach there are half a dozen of more images that I see in critiques that I pine for and greatly admire at the same time. I suppose that is a good thing but I would sure love those images to be mine!
So what are your Top Photos of 2015? See any trends? Anything you missed? A new year is coming, start planning now for your favorites of 2016. A gallery of my 2015 favorites is below.