I hope your 2017 was happy, healthy, and filled with remarkable photos.
Every new year I find selecting my favorite images from the past 12 months very enlightening. It is a great way to relive those special times and places you experienced, and the exercise helps me learn a few things about my work too. There are always a few photos to be proud of that were selected for ribbons or publication. But I find the process of selection helps me realize what I can do to improve my life, and my photography in the new year.
So, in no particular order, here are my favorite images of 2017 and the stories behind them.
I was shooting a Gran Fondo bike event in Melbourne, FL. I spent the greater part of the day searching for a way to convey the dedication of the riders in the event, and the “hills” they climb to prepare. As I followed the lead riders, a graphic in the road was certainly part of my story. Slowing my shutter speed to capture the motion and excitement of the event made this image even more special for me. I am reminded that we can convey our story without revealing the whole scene. Our viewers will complete the story for us. I need to do this more often in 2018.
Cocoa Beach is famous for its surfing lifestyle. An area that has produced some the best surfers in the world, including 11-time world champion, Kelly Slater. As I stood admiring the surfers and skim boarders, I couldn’t help but notice this young man trying to overcome his fears to venture into the water. Several times he approached the waves with his board, only to retreat back to the safe beach. How many times have I done the same thing figuratively speaking. I need to jump in the water more often in the new year.
My wife and I visited Cumberland Island , Georgia’s largest barrier island along the Atlantic Coast. Now a National Seashore protected by the National Park Service, it was once the winter home of Thomas Morrison Carnegie and his wife, Lucy Coleman Carnegie, where they established the family’s lavish winter homes and hunting lodges. Of all the images I captured of this remarkable historic island, Dr. Johnston’s Apothecary was my favorite. I stood where he must have stood at his work bench looking into the forest beyond the window. Somehow the image transported me back in time where life seemed simpler yet probably a lot more difficult. . . in the late 1800’s. We don’t fully appreciate our modern conveniences and opportunities.
My wife and I commonly walk our local beaches to watch the sunrise and enjoy the ocean breezes. . . especially in the Summer here in Florida. Many times, we travel a few miles up the coast to the historic Cocoa Beach Pier. As you already know, each sunrise is unique and different from the last. You never know. On this glorious morning, the rising sun lit up the sky while the shallow water of the low tide mirrored the divine art. Just goes to show you we need to keep trying at whatever we pursue. You never know when you show up and it turns out we get a spectacular sunrise.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed attending Greek Festivals, and 2017 was no exception. This photo of three young Greek girls in traditional dress is one my favorite portraits I have ever taken. The Greeks know how to party, but they also understand how important tradition really is. Tradition grounds us and gives us a foundation on which to stand in so many ways. Here’s to an exciting new year, filled with new opportunities. But let’s also remember the roots and principles from which we come from.
While visiting our local fair, I was struck by the joy and enthusiasm of this little girl. She could not wait to ride the Ferris Wheel. She could not stand still. She reminded me that I should enjoy those special moments. . . more like a child. Even at my age I need to be filled with joy and enjoy life to the fullest.
It is always a challenge for me to capture the essence of the local culture while traveling to a foreign land. This year we visited Copenhagen, Denmark. A remarkable city filled with life, history, and friendly people. The Danes love their bicycles. As I stood on the corner in historic Nyhavn district, the locals returning home from work rode by. I was especially fond of this young woman who seemed to really be enjoying her ride. A good lesson for all of us. No matter what our journey in the new year. . . enjoy the ride.
We had just finished a meal at a restaurant with friends. I made my way out of the place while friends were finishing up and paying their bills. I am not sure where I was going with my point and shoot camera in hand… just outside to wait. My boredom, or maybe just my intuition led me to walk down a side street. Just a few yards down the road under a street light was a 1950’s era Chevy Bel Air. I had an immediate flashback to riding alongside my grandfather in his Bel Air. One of the first experiences I remember riding in a car. I wondered how many grandsons and grandfathers had ridden in this one. As I walked around the car, the rear-view mirror caught my attention. If only I could replay all the scenes in that mirror. I wondered what it could tell me. I stared into the glass as if by some magic it would show me. I will not forget the memories and emotions this image evokes in my mind. It had been a very long time since I thought about those days riding in my grandfather’s car. In the new year, I need to make sure I capture and hold close those memories that are truly special.
If you have ever seen a water lily in low light, you know it seems to glow on its own. I am not sure how it reflects the available light. Surely it does not have a light source of its own. We could all learn a great deal from the water lily. What ever you do in 2018. . . shine your inner light.
The last of my favorite photos captures the joy and happiness my wife and I share every day. 2017 marks 40 years of a very happy marriage for us. Life has had its ups and downs, but sharing those times with the love of your life makes life so much more worthwhile and rewarding. It certainly goes by very fast so it is important to savor those special moments, and even capture them in a special photo. In the new year, make it a point to get in front of the camera more often while you enjoy your special times with your loved ones. Those are the images that will be most favored by your family for decades to come.
In 2018, may your journey be full of joy, and may the remarkable times and photos always be yours.