For several years now, I have reviewed all my photos taken during the year and selected my favorite top ten images. I always enjoy reliving our family events, the places I have been, and the people I have met. This exercise also gives me some great ideas for photography goals in the new year. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys photography. Many of my top ten photos this year reflect travels to a couple of places that have been on my wife’s and my bucket list for a long time. We were excited to be able to travel more often in 2022. So here they are. . . my top ten favorite images of 2022 and the stories behind them.
ULA Atlas V 421 Launch – Cocoa Beach, FL – As we hiked to the beach along Minuteman Causeway in Cocoa Beach, I knew this was going to be one of those perfect days for a space launch. Early morning launches are especially scenic. The rising sun always lights up the vapor trail of the Atlas solid rocket engines. Living on the Space Coast we have many opportunities to experience space launches, and it never gets old. The challenge in capturing rocket launches is to include something in the foreground to help tell your story. For me, the couple leaning against the lifeguard stand set the scene and told the story of living on the Space Coast. At every launch, I am reminded of the advanced technology age in which we live. I imagine future generations will have the opportunity to experience space travel. For now, I will just dream and capture space exploration from the ground.
Tarr Inlet – Glacier Bay, Alaska – I could not believe the breathtaking view from the bridge of the National Geographic Venture as the captain eased the small ship into Tarr Inlet. This photo, taken with a fish-eye lens helped capture the feeling and beauty of the expansive wilderness. Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage should be on everyone’s bucket list. My wife and I were amazed at the wilderness diversity. We live on a big, beautiful planet. I was reminded all of us need to do our part to take care of it.
Bubble Netting Humpback Whale – Another nature moment captured in Alaska I will not soon forget. Who knew what the inside of a humpback whale’s mouth looks like? I certainly did not. While on our Alaska Inside Passage Cruise, I captured this bubble netting Humpback Whale. Look carefully and you will see the small anchovies leaping out of the way as the whale took her fair share of the school of fish. Humpbacks are known to “Bubble Net” their prey in groups or individually. This behavior is truly a wonder of nature. If you are not familiar with it, click on the link to be amazed as I was.
Niagara Falls – We had just completed a hike through the 2200-foot tunnel after descending 180 feet down by elevator. We were visiting a recently opened Niagara Falls Power Station Museum on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The museum provides visitors the history of power generation at Niagara Falls, and if you hike through the old power station’s water outlet tunnel, you are rewarded with a unique breathtaking view of the famous falls. This photo was taken with my iPhone in ‘long exposure’ mode to capture the dynamic motion of the falls.
Keeping it Clean – New York, NY – Photographers are always looking for images with a juxtaposition where elements of the frame create an eye-catching image. This photo taken in New York City was one of many seen that day. New York is rich in interesting photos, but this scene especially caught my eye. The window washer ignored me. . . going about his important work to make the smiley face shine.
Red All Over – Central Park, New York, NY – Still images that depict motion have always interested me. The dynamics of the capture always tell an interesting story. And this image is especially interesting to me. The bicyclist’s favorite color certainly must be red. The bike, the helmet, the shoes, the backpack, even the emergency flashlight mounted on the frame is red. I could not have asked for a better contrasting color against the green park foliage in the background as she sped by. Panning the camera set to a slow shutter speed captures the bicyclist in focus while rendering the background out of focus.
Lady Liberty – New York, NY – I felt the chill in the night air as our small ship came along side of the Statue of Liberty. We were heading to the Hudson River after just leaving the dock in Manhattan. I have seen this famous statue before but never at night, and never from this vantage point. Lady Liberty seemed to glow in the damp chilly night air. Certainly, the emotions one feels are different for different people when they see this famous statue. However, on this night I could not help but feel grateful and blessed to view her from such a unique vantage point, but also, I renewed my memory of what she represents. We should all be very thankful that we live in this free country. She inspires us all to keep in mind our shared values and principles in everything we do. Probably a very important thing to keep in mind in 2023.
Thomas Cole’s Window – Catskill, NY – Thomas Cole (1801-1848) was an American artist and early environmentalist. When I visit historic sites and walk into the same rooms of famous men and women, I often wonder if I am seeing the same things they saw as they were making history. On this October morning, I wondered if Thomas was inspired by the fall colors that I saw through his workshop window. Do you think his paintings reflected nature’s colors he saw through his own window? The old window glass seemed to paint the fall colors in my camera viewfinder as I captured the scene.
Hudson Athens Lighthouse (1874) – Hudson River – The fog lifted slowly as we approached this historical Hudson-Athens Lighthouse aboard the NG Sea Lion. It was truly a magical morning. As luck would have it the light in the house tower was still illuminated. I don’t know what it is about lighthouses that most people find joy in. Could it be the history? Or maybe it’s the hope and security they represent. May we all have a lighthouse to guide us through the new year.
Just the two of us – Melbourne, FL – I started out 2022 with a resolution to take more selfie photos of my wife Nancy and me. I think I achieved my goal. We’ve captured just the two of us on our adventures in Florida, New York, Alaska, and Canada this past year. Many memories of far-away travels but some of the most meaningful memories are right near home. . . doing the things you like doing. It is photos like this that will be the most meaningful for years to come, and the most important pictures most photographers will take. In the new year, may I suggest you capture the meaningful moments with your loved ones. Print the best ones. Include them in birthday cards and display them in your home. Guaranteed, they will be the ones you will cherish most.
I hope your 2023 is healthy and happy for you and your family. And as always, may only the most remarkable photos (and memories) be yours.