I just saw a challenge by JMG Galleries to create a blog post examining what I thought were the best photographs that I took during 2015. Given that my day job has me editing our clients blogs and web pages, day in and day out, I notice I have a hard time kicking my own story line down the road with any regularity.
To give you a point of reference, I have taken 32,998 images in 2015. Chances are very good I will crest over the 33k mark by the end of the year! There is a good reason for that level of prolificness though; I traveled to Cuba, New England and the UK in 2015. What’s more, I live in San Diego which could easily produce that many images alone. But, I’ve found that traveling for photography immerses oneself in the craft and art. The creativity seems to come easier when you have only one plan for the day! You know that saying, “even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.” It’s true! If you take over 30,000 photos there are bound to be a few good ones!
I’ve decided to choose just two images from each trip and two from my local outings for a total of 8 photographs. What makes this even more difficult for me is that in my “not-so-scientific” means of poling, aka Facebook, many times, what I like falls with a silent thud and photos I’m not sure about get wild acclaim. I have a very hard time being subjective with my work. I don’t know if this is a challenge everybody has. I guess I should ask!
I went to Cuba in April with a small group put together by Muench Workshops. Americans need to travel to Cuba in an organized “cultural exchange” and the Muench Program seemed the best way to accomplish that. The program knocked my socks off! We met with and shot a variety of Cubans just living their day to day lives. It was fascinating to me. I have never met such welcoming and friendly people anywhere I have ever been. Here are my personal two favorite photos from the visit:
This was nearly the first photo I took. Not really. But it seemed like the moment, on the 2nd day that I knew there was magic happening! I walked with two others through the back streets of this small town, Viñales, which is seeing a mini boom in tourism because it is close to the remarkable limestone cliff-lined valley of this name and is the hub of the tobacco farming enterprises. This scene was just going on at a front porch barber chair as we walked by and shyly, I only snapped this one photo. Very thankful that it came out!
Spending several days in Havana provided hours on end of just walking around and snapping moments like this. I love black and white photography and this shot just demanded the treatment. I had just crossed the street and walked past these two waiting for the bus. I turned around and was rewarded with this iconic view. Both of these photos were treasures very early on when I began to process the 9000 images I created in Cuba. They have stood the test and while i have dozens of others that I love, when pressed to choose two, these are them! You can go and see all of my Cuba Photos and decide for yourself.
In August, I got the opportunity to take a ride on the mega yacht, Arabella, for a tour of New England’s islands. I shot a lot of video as well as stills and hope to make a nice documentary out of it soon.
We anchored out at Nantucket because it was August and the place was chock-a-block. The light was beginning to glow and I made a beeline for the backstreets of town. It wasn’t long before I happened upon this scene. After waiting for a car to come down the lane, it was soon all mine!
In Edgartown at Marthas Vineyard, I got to see this incredible sight. The royalty of American sailing all rafted up together at the Edgartown Yacht Club. S.V. Weatherly, Intrepid and Columbia have been meticulously taken care of since so long ago when they each won their turn at keeping The America’s Cup on USA soil. The light was impossible for this shot but that made it all the more rewarding to capture! You can see all of my New England photos to take your own virtual sailing trip!
In October, I was able to go to the United Kingdom for a great photo adventure. I rode the train from London to Glasgow, stopping in York and Edinburgh. One day in each of those places was really just a tease and I hope to return to both in the future. I didn’t really get to investigate Glasgow at all either but the city looks intriguing. Instead, I joined another Muench Workshop group at the Glasgow airport and off we went to the Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands! It’s especially hard to choose two from this trip as I am only about half way through reviewing them!
I remember this moment very vividly at the Ruthven Barracks just outside Cairngorms National Park because I had to flat out run to capture it before the light failed. It was cold, grey, windy and the magic sunset hour looked to be a bust as the darkness fell on this medieval structure. A few cars whizzed by on the country lane and then i set the tripod out in the middle of it to capture this moody scene.
We were ambling along a country lane on the Isle of Skye from one planned location to the next when I spotted this low tide scene from the road and let out a little cry. Thankfully, I was heard and the others saw what I had seen. We pulled off the road and scrambled through the mud down to the tide line to capture this forlorn scene. After two weeks in Scotland you begin to understand why bagpipes are so popular here! I am still processing all of my UK photos but you can see all I have so far.
I have only lived in San Diego for a few years. So, much of what I go out and shoot I am nearly seeing from a tourist perspective still. I need to get out and shoot more often here as it is as lovely a place as there is with countless potential places to take photographs. With work and family obligations my photos tend to happen near the beach at sunset.
This moment was fraught with danger! The tide was higher than usual and the waves were twice as large as normal. I could make it down a small set of steps onto this rocky ledge to shoot but I had to be fast and lucky. I was using a filter to allow me to have a slow camera shutter which makes the water look like it does here. But this made me stay in the spot longer than just a snap. So, I would tote my tripod-ready camera to the spot, set it and shoot. Then, run back up the stairs before the next big wave hit. Finally my luck ran out and a big wave exploded over the steps getting me wet. But I had the shot I was looking for!
Yet again, I was down at Pacific Beach, shooting the Crystal Pier at Christmastime, practicing long exposures where I use a filter to keep the shutter open longer. I love the dreaminess and the color of the water I was able to coax out doing this! You can see how I am doing on creating a collection of San Diego photos.
So there you have it! My personal 8 favorites from thousands of images captured around the world! I am looking forward to continuing my travel and photography in 2016 and also want to get much more of San Diego too! I hope you enjoyed my little walk down memory lane of 2015. I have linked all of these photos to their respective originals in my gallery where you can view them and if you like, purchase them too!