It is time again for all the "Best of 2014s", as we struggle to pick 10 or 20 or 100 of our best photographs of the year. This is a great tradition and an opportunity to see some wonderful images, but for me it is always agony to pick favorites among all my precious babies. Last year I finally realized that, for me, it was the experiences of the year and not the images that are worth celebrating. The images came as a bonus from the places, the people and the adventures I was privileged to experience exploring new aspects of photography. So again, I will list some of my favorite experiences that graced my photography over the last year.
Check out last year's
The "Best" of 2013
We started with a drive from Anchorage to Denali National Park and Preserve. We spent an 18 hour day on one of the buses which travel 90 miles on the single narrow dirt road into the center of the wilderness. We saw Caribou, Moose, Dahl Sheep and Grizzly Bears. It was awesome and so remarkable that we didn't think to be exhausted until after we got back to our cabin.
The remainder of the trip included a jet boat ride up the wild Susitna River, and a cruise around the dramatic Kenai Peninsula outside of Seward. The last week was spent on an amazing cruise among the islands, fjords and waterways of Alaska's Southeast tail on board the National Graphic Ship Sea Bird. There were close encounters with Sea Lions, Puffins, Sea Otters, and Grizzlies. Well also got up close to breaching and bubble netting Humpback Whales. I ended up with over 3000 pictures which are still far from being completely edited. I've published two blogs about the early parts of the trip, but there is a lot more to tell, and I am sure there will be at least two more articles to come.
|Fishing Grizzly, Pavlov Island, Alaska|
Alaska, Talkeetna and Devil's Gorge
I am also building an Alaska Image Gallery on my web site
I am often envious of my friends who live near the coast and can shoot the Milky Way across the open ocean, thus avoiding the intense light pollution with which we inland folks constantly struggle. While on the island I was blessed with one clear night to catch the unsullied sky and was rewarded with a few nice shots.
Photographing Martha's Vineyard's Five Lighthouses (Sort Of)
Martha's Vineyard Gallery
Exploring in My Backyard
After the expense of our Alaska trip, I found it prudent this year to limit the range of my other photographic expeditions. No problem. There is still so much wonderful stuff to explore in my own territory. This is New England for peat's sake
Vermont Country Store
It been a few years since I last visited the Vermont Country Store. It was great to return to a place that has all the charm of the traditional New England country store, but is actually a country store on steroids. My challenge was to try to capture the "landscape" of this endlessly fascinating place, while not forgetting the friendly people that make it all work. This was the perfect destination for a pre-Christmas outing.
The Vermont Country Store
The Vermont Country Store Gallery
As much as I would like to think that I know my home region, when I focus a blog article on a specific town, I am always surprised by how much more there is to discover. This was certainly true of my recently exploration of the historic community of Hancock, New Hampshire. On that occasion, I was writing two articles about Hancock, one for the New England Photography Guild and a complementary photo album on my own blog. Fortunately there was more than enough to talk about, and to photograph. The town center is
|Hancock's Eye on the Universe|
Hancock Photo Album
Hancock New Hampshire, A New England Time Machine
Hancock Image Gallery
Waterfalls of Cheshire County
Fay Falls and Ashuelot Gorge
Pulpit Falls, Finally
Noone Falls and My Sad Camera Bag
Gleason Falls and Fox Forest
Chesterfield Gorge Resurrected (NEPG Article)
Chesterfield Gorge Album
Bagging My Snowy
This was the year of the Snowy Owl eruption in New England. During the early winter, I first enjoyed, and then was a touch annoyed by the endless avalanche of Snowy pictures. Wonderful shots and none of them were mine! I finally knew that I could not let the season pass without bagging my Snowy. I contacted John Vos, a great bird photographer, and received advice about where to look. I headed for the coast and was luckier than I deserved. The Snowys were right were John had suggested. They are truly magnificent birds, and the trip gave me a chance to try out my new 2x Tele-Extender on my 400 mm lens. I'm still not a birder at heart, but I hope to see them again this winter.
The Magic of the Snowy Owl
Madame Sherri's Photo Album
|Stairway to Nowhere|
|Restoring the Fantasy, The Madame Could Rock a Hat|
The Mystery of Madame Sherri's Castle (NEPG Article)
Madame Sherri's Album
Antique Photo Restoration
2015 was notable for several landmark events which are worth mentioning
Somehow I have managed to keep to a schedule of weekly blogs about photography and more specifically photography in New England. It it is a mystery to me how I have been able to come up with things to write about every week. I'm just not that chatty in real life. I fully expect that some Sunday my blog will read simply:
"I got nothing."
But on the occasion of my 200th blog I was able to reflect a bit on the process and why I keep going. First it is because there does seem to be a few people out there who appear to be interested or at least entertained by what I have to say. But the truth is that I do it mostly for myself. The process of blogging has forced me to explore new directions in my photography. It has made me more rigorous in my approach to the craft and has taught me much more about photography, especially in the digital world, than I have been able to teach in my weekly ramblings.
200 Bogs and Counting
Basics of Digital Photography One thing that I have learned from blogging and from lecturing is that I enjoy sharing my understanding of photography with others. A future goal is to start doing more formal teaching to hopefully include classes and workshops. The problem is were to start. I have received lots of requests to do courses on topics such as basic photography, composition or Photoshop, but I need to get some of that stuff "in the can", ready for presentation. I realize that my blog could be a ready source of material, but, with that in mind, I decided to start supplementing my often overly technical and obscure discussions with a series of more basic articles for beginners in digital photography. This year I started with articles about selecting a camera and then added a two part discussion on exposure. Again, I apologize for my thoroughly unnecessary discussion of the origin of f/stop numbers. Just recently I wadded awkwardly into white balance. I plan to do more basic articles in the coming year, but I have discovered that "simple" topics are often the most difficult to present. It is a challenge to formally describe how to do things that I have done largely without thinking for years, but, here too, the process always seems to force me to perfect my approach to my own photography.
|Check That Histogram|
Digital Photography Basics
I expected that when I retired from 35 years of medical practice about 6 month ago, that I would have a nearly infinite amount of time to devote to my love of photography and the resulting business. I should have known better. My patients have always told me, "Since I've retired I have no time what-so-ever", and they were right. I will not go into the details, but I must say that it is amazing how even the simplest tasks seem to expand to fill the time available. Upon my retirement, I discussed my goals and resolutions and I can only say that those goals and resolutions remain pristinely intact. I vow to do better in 2015.
I will add one additional goal to my list. I swear not to drone on for so long in my blogs. Yah, like that's going to happen. Now, on to 2015!
Done! Retirement and Discipline