Top Ten (favourite) Images of 2019

This will be the fifth consecutive year that I have compiled a list of the top ten favourite of my images from the past year. Every year I create this list, in part, to participate in Jim Goldstein’s blog project on his JGM Galleries site, where he encourages photographers to participate by linking a post with their top photos of the year. It is also a great way for me to see what progress I have made over the year and to have something to look back on to see the changes in my photography over the years.

Without further ado, here are my personal top ten images, in no particular order.

Lions Gate Bridge with Downtown Vancouver

I have been wanting to do more night photography for some time, so I was very happy to get out to West Vancouver and look back at Vancouver for this night image. The lights of downtown are nicely set between the bridge and Stanley Park, and if you look closely, you will see a bird standing still in the water, just to the right of the near point of land.

Falls Through the Trees

I found it tough to winnow the list down to just ten, so I had to make some tough choices. There are a lot of great areas for photography within a couple hours drive that I get out to often, but I thought I’d try exploring some of the lesser known areas that are even closer to me this year. I discovered this little gem on one of those hikes. This image narrowly edged out another hidden waterfall I stumbled upon which was featured in my most recent prior blog post.

High Speed Seaweed

Another thing I’ve found myself doing more of in 2019, is making minimalist images. Often I find compositions I like on the beaches and this little bundle of seaweed, with the sand pattern created by waters retreating back to the ocean, reminded me of a comet streaking through the heavens above.

Fast Moving Fog

In the matter of a few minutes, fog rolled off unseen fields, just to the left of the area viewed in this image. This beach is at the very northern end of Vancouver Island and I had gone on a several day hiking & camping trip to get there, as well as other places in the park.

Flames of Sand

This is another image that started out as quite minimalist, but I decided to get more creative with it. I have a version with natural colouring and that closely lost out to this one for my top ten list. When I saw these patterns in the sand I immediately thought they reminded me of flames that would be painted on the hood or sides of a muscle car, so when I was processing the image, I used a red & yellow split tone effect to achieve what I saw in my mind’s eye. I have since made a large metal print of this and it is on display at the BC Ministry of Health building in Victoria for the month of December.

Milky Way over the Sooke Bridge

I have several Milky Way images from this year, some of which show it much more clearly and fully than this one; however, I chose this for this year’s top ten list because I like that it features the bridge into Sooke, BC. I have only recently been experimenting with astrophotography and low level lighting and can see myself doing a lot more of this in the future.

Mirrored Globe

This reflective ball sits perched upon a pedestal at The Buchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. I found the scene reflected to be fascinating but had to act quickly as there were quite a few people milling about and the reflection covered a very wide angle. A little patience paid off and I managed to get this image, with a starburst from the sun and no people in it, while I hid myself behind one of the reflected bushes at the centre of the image. There were a few little bits of me that were visible that I used Photoshop to make disappear.

Centre of Attraction

Even though I’ve already included one image from The Buchart Gardens, I had to add this one from the Japanese gardens there, as well.I loved the way the sun highlighted the tree and how the branches sprawling throughout it.

Seaweed and Shadows

Looking down on this floating bull kelp, I found the contrast between the lighter sandy bottom and the darker area where the pier cast a shadow on the ocean floor interesting.

On Final Approach

The gardens and castle at Hatley Park are another favourite location of mine to go for photography. There were lots of bees in this particular area of the gardens and so I was getting some shallow depth of field shots of them on these thistles, when I saw one approaching a thistle-head that another bee was crawling on. I was able to adjust my position and capture this image that really makes me happy every time I look back at it.

So that’s it. My Top Ten (favourite) Images for 2019. Now it’s just about time to start working on building up my 2020 portfolio and creating a large digital stack of images that I’ll be sorting through for next year’s list. Before I go, I am leaving one last “bonus” image, that was something of an experiment. I created it early in the year and then left it. I came back to it a couple times and decided to print it out. I framed it in a wide black frame, with a white matt that had a black inner edge, and just love it. While it didn’t officially make the cut for my top ten, here it is (I’ve given it a black outline just for display here)…

Please let me know what you think about the images on my list and make sure to check out some of the other images by some fantastic photographers at JGM Galleries.

The Vegas Photography Adventure

At the end of March, I travelled to Las Vegas for the Create Photography Retreat, where there were three days packed full of photography lectures, interactive classes and practicing practical skills. I thought I’d share a brief review of my adventure here!

roman statue in the desert in Nevada
Caesar’s Palace Centurion Visits Red Rock Canyon (Composite)

Top Ten (favourite) Images of 2018

This will be the fourth consecutive year I have compiled a list of the top ten favourite images of the past year. I was first inspired to do so after seeing Jim Goldstein’s blog project on his JGM Galleries site, where he encourages photographers to participate by linking a post with their top photos of the year. There are always a lot of great images there and I’d encourage everyone to go check them out.

This year I could have picked more than ten images, but I was able to narrow it down. I list them as my “favourite” images rather than “best”, because while they may not be technically perfect, each one is special to me, in some way.

waves crash on the beach then return to the ocean past a small islet
As quick as it came in, the water recedes

The first image is from Botany Bay, in Port Renfrew. This is a fascinating area, as the adjoining Botanical Beach features some amazing tide pools and geological features. I liked the effect from the receding water taken with a longer shutter speed here which produced interesting patterns. I have only recently started trying to sell/market my images, and this was the first large print that I sold.

a surfer rides the waves
Catching a wave

For this image, I was sitting on a small island (at least it is at high tide) in Cox Bay, Tofino, BC, watching surfers in the distance. It took a fair bit of patience to get this image, where the wave was large enough that it provided a nice curl behind, and looming over the surfer, but eventually I got what I was hoping for and was able to retreat to the beach before the rising tide was able to trap me on the little rocky island.

as the forest reflects on the wet sand, a rainbow arches overhead
Rainbow over the beach resorts

The day after I captured the image of the surfer at Cox Bay, I was out on the beach with the intent of getting some sunset images. There was a light rain falling and when I turned back towards the resorts, there was a beautiful double rainbow above them. While the second rainbow was not as bright, it was also above the brighter one and I couldn’t easily fit it in the image. While the sunset images were okay, they were not nearly as special as this lovely rainbow scene was/is to me.

several sea sacks appear to rise out of the misty sea in a pastel sunset
Sea Stacks Rising

The west coast of the Olympic Peninsula, in Washington state, is only a short trip south from Vancouver Island, but this year was the first time I made the trip “down south” to visit it, and I’m glad I did! what a beautiful place. It was a foggy/misty day and these sea stacks in the distance almost seemed to be floating in the pastel shades of sunset.

Sea Stack Sunset at Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach, on the Olympic Peninsula, is a popular location for photographers, as I found out, but it is still easy to get some interesting images without other people in them. Photographing in a location like this left me wanting to search out more sea stacks!

sea stacks erupt from the sand
San Josef Bay sea stacks on a cloudy day

My quest for sea stacks to photograph led me to the farthest northern tip of Vancouver Island. While it was a long drive, including some brutal gravel roads at the end, it was well worth it. The hike in to San Josef Bay was pretty easy, but the rainstorm that started just after we arrived on the beach was brutal and kept us in the tent most of the time until the next day. In the morning, the tide was out and the sea stacks looked magnificent, with interesting patterns in the sand around them.

fog enshrouds a pier and rocks
Simple lines of a pier reflecting in calm water

At various times throughout the year we can get a lot of fog around the water. While this limits some types of photography, it opens up others to explore. I like the simplicity and symmetry of this image.

I have not done a lot of astrophotography, primarily because I keep finding excuses not to, even though I enjoy it. I wish I had a wider & faster lens, or that there was more interesting scenes in the foreground, or that it wasn’t so cold, or cloudy (okay, that last one might be a little more legitimate)… One of the few times I did get out this year was during a meteor shower and once again, I was glad I went out. After no success capturing much in the way of meteors, I thought I’d try getting a couple images of a portion of the Milky Way over some of the trees that were getting a bit of light from the partial moon (I don’t remember the phase, but know it was not a full moon). As luck would have it, not only did I get the shot I wanted, it included two meteors streaking side by side, just over the trees.

Historic Aircraft Flypast of BC Legislature

After a quarter century, last year was the first year I wasn’t in the military during Remembrance Day (Veteran’s Day in the US), however, I wasn’t able to attend a ceremony. This year I had the opportunity to attend the ceremony at the BC Legislature grounds, where there were huge crowds and it was hard to be in a good position to capture interesting photographs. When I saw the historic aircraft were doing a flypast of the Provincial Legislature building I quickly adjusted my position so that I would be able to capture this image of a plane on either side of the dome, with Captain Vancouver (the gold statue) standing above & between them.

Standing On Guard

This WW I soldier, stands on guard above the memorial with memorial plaques tributing the fallen Canadians of past conflicts. The Canadian flag above flaps rapidly in the wind and is well lit on a dark night. Beyond any artistic merit there may be in this image, it means more to me than all the rest.

I hope you enjoyed this years top ten and that you go to check out the other photographers lists on the JGM Galleries Blog when they are posted in January, 2019. Hope to see you all back here next year!

Night Photography in Sooke

Night Photography in Sooke

I have done very little night time photography, but hope to do more in the future.  It will be fun to explore astrophotography and light painting and then post about it here for you to enjoy.  

starlight illuminates the Sooke boardwalk
Night at the Sooke Marine Boardwalk

The Sooke Marine Boardwalk is a great place for a walk at any time.  It stretches between the Rotary Pier, near the bottom of a long staircase from the south end of Murray Road, to the long winding pathway & up to Ed Macgreggor Park.  During the day there are lots of people wandering about it and you’ll often see people crab fishing off the pier and boardwalk.  

blurred people walk along the Sooke waterfront at night
Ghostly Walkers on the Marine Boardwalk

There are always a few boats anchored in the harbour.  Some of them seem to remain in place almost all the time, while others come and go.

a meteorite can be seen streaking above a sailboat in the Sooke harbour
A Sailboat in the Sooke Harbour

A clear night at this time of year made for almost ideal conditions to watch the sky for meteors and other celestial events.

twin meteorites streak across the Milky Way
Stars and Forest

The year has been going by quickly and soon it will be time to reflect upon the past and look toward the future.  With that in mind, it won’t be long before I start work on my top ten image list of 2018 (which, as usual, will be published in January) as well as and exciting new project I will announce before the end of December.