For many years I have found the process of reviewing photos taken in the past year enjoyable and in many ways enlightening. I used to flip through printed albums but in the days of digital photography, I scroll through all the files on my computer. I would guess most of us don’t spend enough time reliving the special moments of family and travels captured in those files so carefully put away on our disk drives or phones. May I suggest you take the time to review your 2019 images and pick your favorites or even print them. I am sure reflecting on why they are your favorites will bring a little insight on where you have been, the people you have met, and quite possibly what’s in store for you in the new year.
My 2019 was filled with new discoveries right here in my hometown, travels to new faraway places, and many new interesting people I met along the way. So once again in no particular order, here are my top ten favorite images of 2019 and the stories behind them.
Cocoa Beach is well known for its beaches and surfing lifestyle. Every year I attempt to capture this lifestyle in a unique way for a local “Capture Florida” photography event. Christa, a Cocoa Beach resident and one of my favorite models, loves to surf. In this photo she walks under the pier on the way back to her car after our photo shoot was over. The very last photo taken in the shoot turned out to be my favorite. . . capturing a view of the Cocoa Beach lifestyle in a frame of pier timbers and shadows. I often find memorable photos as well as meaningful life experiences are unplanned and unrehearsed.
Living on the Space Coast of Florida we get to see all the Cape Canaveral rocket launches up close and personal. Technology continues to rapidly change providing us many opportunities to capture the final flight of a spacecraft. This photo taken on Cocoa Beach captures the final flight of United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Rocket in the “Medium” configuration which refers to the payload this rocket design can carry. I love the unique clouds in the background, the vapor trail, and the crowd in the foreground viewing this historical flight. You don’t get a second chance to photograph a rocket launch. As in many things in life, being prepared is key to success.
One of nature’s mysteries is how female sea turtles know to return to the beach where they hatched to lay their eggs after they mature. We are fortunate to live near the Archie Carr Wildlife Refuge which is a significant area for Loggerhead and Green Sea Turtle nesting in North America. One of our favorite things to do in Summer is to walk the refuge just before sunrise looking for late-nesting Green Sea Turtles. On this June morning this turtle was really late. We waited just over an hour as she covered her nest. I captured her enthusiastically rising from her nesting site anxious to return to the cool Atlantic water in the early morning sun. For me, nature has this power to soothe my soul and calm my mind. I need to spend more time in nature in the new year.
One of my favorite things to do is photograph interesting people I meet. I always ask if I can take their photo and most everyone grants permission. Alex was a most capable and very friendly bartender we met in West Palm Beach, FL. Her smile and personality were contagious, and I had to capture the moment. As we go about our daily lives, I find there are people who leave you refreshed and happy. . . others not so much. I plan to spend more time in 2020 with those that make me happy. . . and make a bold attempt to be one who returns the favor.
This award-winning photo reminds me that when capturing a special scene to always look behind me. I first captured the row of colorful houses on Mariahilf Street along the Inn River in Innsbruck. I then looked behind me to see the same scene reflected in the windows along with people passing by on their way to work. I think it is a far more interesting photo. Keep looking ahead, but glance behind you often. You never know what rewards you may find.
A feeling of life rushing by came over me as I spotted a fellow passenger enjoying the outside observation platform aboard the Rocky Mountaineer train. A freight train rushed by blurring the background while the man looked on. He seemed to be looking back at his reflection to where he has been as life rushed by. It reminded me of how quickly life seems to pass us by. I need to spend more time enjoying the moment.
My wife and I made sure we hit the trail early one July morning in Banff National Park. We wanted to see the iconic Lake Louise without all the tourists who travel great distances to experience scenes like this one. The morning was beautiful with no wind to ripple the lake which provided a remarkable reflection of the surrounding mountains. We stood still and stared for several minutes. Truly this was a Heavenly Place and reminded us of the beautiful world God has made. We need to take better care of it.
When I saw this scene in Burano, Italy I thought of the book I read by the famous photographer Jay Maisel. He suggests remarkable photos must have Light, Gesture, and Color. This Burano house surely has all three. It’s funny how inanimate objects can seem so alive.
I often take photos for local charities. At this charity fund-raising event, the young bowler takes aim and with perfect form places the ball in a perfect line to achieve his goal. A strike! He may not succeed but he will try again. A good lesson for life don’t you think … if you don’t succeed, try, try again.
My last favorite photo of 2019 is just a snapshot of my wife and me. It reminds me of our sunrise beach walks we love to take many times throughout the year. I look forward to another year of exploring and discovering the world around us. Of all those special moments captured this past year, the ones we spent together were the best. I am a strong advocate for capturing family memories in photos. Make sure in the new year you step around in front of the camera and capture those special moments with your family. Of all your favorite photos, I am sure the images with your family will be the most favored for generations to come. You may never know the true family treasures you will someday leave behind.
May your 2020 be filled with joy and happiness. And as always, may the most remarkable photos always be yours in the new year.