Once again, I’ll be following Jeff Harmon’s advice and posting my Top 10 photos for the year.
Going back and reviewing your photos for the year is a good idea. It gives you a chance to reflect on what you’v accomplished photographically during the year. Also, after you’ve done it for a few years, it gives you the ability to compare your Top 10 against previous Top 10s and see how you are growing (or possibly regressing) in your photography.
That being said, here are my Top 10, in chronological order:
1. Florida Sunrise
I was in Florida in March, visiting my father and stepmother. While I was there, I went to Lake Worth to capture some sunrise photos over the ocean. I took a number of exposures that day that I am quite proud of, but if I had to narrow it down to one, I’d say that this is it. I’m a color junkie (as you’ll see from the shots that follow) and this shot simply had both great color and the leading line of the pier leading the eye to the sunrise.
Canon 7D, 41mm, f/14, 1/13, ISO 100
2. Lake Mendota
In May, I had to travel to Madison, Wisconsin for business. While there, I brought my camera gear along, figuring that I could do some photography after the day’s work was done. One of the places I visited was Tenney Park. I went there, hoping to catch the sun setting over Lake Mendota, one of the two lakes bordering Madison. Alas, the sky did not agree with my plans, as cloud cover prevented me from getting that sunset shot. However, rather than give up, I decided to just work with what I had. I pulled out my wide angle lens, found some rocks that a tree that jutted out past the shoreline and snapped away. This shot is the result. No, it’s not the sunset I wanted, but it still worked quite well for me.
Canon 7D, 13mm, f/5, 1/80, ISO 100
I’m a photographer who loves to shoot nature and happens to live in New York City… one of the most unnatural places in the country. Fortunately, New York has a good number of parks where one can go to forget the hustle and bustle of the urban jungle for a time. The most famous of these places is Central Park. Located smack dab in the middle of the busiest island in the country, it’s an oasis of green in the midst of concrete, glass and steel.
I’ve taken quite a few shots in Central Park over the years, but this is my favorite from this year. I just love how the green explodes out of the image, surrounding the bridge and making you believe that this is located in some far away remote jungle, rather than in Manhattan.
Canon 7D, 70mm, f/4, 1/20, ISO 100
4. Schoodic Sunset
In August, Lisa and I took a trip up to Maine to visit Acadia National Park. If you’ve never been there before, I highly recommend that you go there. It is one of the most beautiful places on the East Coast.
There are two main parts to the park. Most of the Park is located on Mount Desert Island. There is another part of the park, about an hour away on the mainland. This is the Schoodic Peninsula portion of the park – and only about 10% of visitors to Acadia make it to Schoodic Peninsula. Lisa and I took a trip out there one day and waited by the southern end of the peninsula for sunset. We were not disappointed. When I saw it, I took out my new wide angle lens (Sigma Art 14-24mm) and began snapping away. This shot was the result. I personally like how the sunset is sandwiched between the rocks and cloud layer above.
Canon 6D Mark II, 18,mm, f/22 (I wanted those star burst rays), 1/20, ISO 100
5. Bass Harbor Sunset
On our last night in Maine, we visited the Bass Harbor Lighthouse in Southwest Harbor, Maine. Officially a part of Acadia National Park, it’s not connected to the rest of the park. We got there shortly before sunset and were treated to the most amazing colors as the sun went down for the night. This shot was taken just after sunset, while the colors were still in the sky. As I said above, I’m a color junkie, and this sky was just full of the entire range of colors.
Canon 6D Mark II, 38mm, f/8, 1/50, ISO 100
6. The Brook
In October, I went upstate to photograph Kaaterskill Falls, one of the larger falls in the Hudson Valley. Even though I went to shoot the falls, my favorite shot of the day turned out to be this one, a small brook near the falls. The autumn color just beginning to show up and I had to try to capture it.
Canon 6D Mark II, 24mm, f/5.6, 1/20, ISO 100
7. Dark Hallows Falls
The last four shots all come from my trip to Shenandoah National Park in October.
I love waterfalls and one of the hopes I had for my Shenandoah trip was to capture some of the waterfalls of the region. One of the hikes I took led me to Dark Hallows Falls, a 70 foot cascade I got there at mid-morning and when I saw the sun positioned over the falls, I knew I had to get that shot.
Canon 6D Mark II, 24mm, f/18 (again, I wanted that starburst), 1/2 second, ISO 100.
8. Tunnel Overlook
There is one major road that runs through Shenandoah National Park, and it runs north-south. There are many places along this road where you can pull over and be treated to a spectacular view. One of the most popular is the Tunnel Overlook, in the northern part of the park. I made sure to get to this east-facing overlook before sunrise. I was treated to a wonderfully colorful sunrise. It would have been nicer had there been some great clouds in the sky, but, as with the sunset by Lake Mendota above, you have to work with what you have. Even so, I just love how this shot came out.
Canon 6D Mark II, 15mm, f/11, 1/50, ISO 100
9. Point Overlook
One of the most popular sunset locations in Shenandoah National Park is Point Overlook. I spent quite a bit of time here, from about an hour before sunset to about thirty minutes afterwards. Of the shots I took at this location, this one is my favorite. I love how the distant mountains fade away in a line and how the sun gives the entire scene a magical glow.
Canon 6D Mark II, 70mm, f/5.6, 1/800, ISO 100
10. Great Falls
On my way back home from Shenandoah, I made a stop at Great Falls in McLean VA. I had never heard of it before I began planning the trip, but once I found out about it, I knew I had to visit. The place did not disappoint. The Potomac River rushing through the gorge makes for some wonderful waterfalls. After trying several compositions, including some close ups of some of the falls, I decided that my favorite was this shot, showing how the river tumbles through.
Canon 6D Mark II, 47mm, f/4.5, 1/2 second, ISO 100
And, that’s it. Those are my Top 10 for the year. However, I do have three more shots that I wanted to share — not because they were particularly great photographs, but because they have special meaning.
I took this shot of the Manhattan Bridge back in July. It’s not a perfect picture — the horizon is uneven for starters. But I really like this shot, as it was a moment of inspiration that caused me to take this shot. I’ve shot this bridge many times before, but for some reason, it never occurred to me to take it from this angle before.
As I mentioned above, I live in New York City, the most light-polluted place in the country. As a result, I don’t get to see too many star filled skies, and especially not the Milky Way. So when we took our trip out to Acadia (timed to coincide with the new moon), I made sure to bring my tripod and wide angle lens to shoot the Milky Way. This was my first attempt.
This picture is the result of sheer luck. Lisa and I went whale watching while we were in Maine and I just happened to catch a rainbow refracting through the water droplets snorted out by a whale on the trip. It’s not a great photo, but it’s a reminder to myself to just keep shooting no matter what — you never know what’s going to happen.
And so, that’s it. How do you think I did compared to last year’s Top 10. Please feel free to reach out and let me know.