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.

Looking to the Future and at the Past

Janus, the ancient Roman god of, among other things, beginnings, transitions, time and endings, is, according to Wikipedia, “usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past”. I look at this post as my 2018/2019 Janus edition, in that I will briefly review my past year’s goals and accomplishments, then look forward to plans for the coming year.

Small tree covered in snow

At the end of 2017, I wrote a post about what my hopes were for my photography in 2018. Some of these goals were met, while others were not. Here is a review of some of those goals:

My hopes to photograph significantly more wildlife didn’t happen and while it is not the top of my list of hopes for 2019, I’m still hopping to do better in this area.

I expected Nature photography to be the focus of my efforts, which it was, and it will continue to be. This is a broad area, so to narrow it down just a little, I expect to be doing a lot of seascape, landscape and woodland photography. I know, that doesn’t narrow it down too much!

Photographing in new locations was another priority for me in 2018 and I made progress in this area. I was able to travel to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state and had a great time exploring the sea stacks on the coast as well as the rainforest. I also made a trip to the northern end of Vancouver Island, where I visited more sea stacks in San Josef Bay, in Cape Scott Provincial Park. Since the southern end of Vancouver Island sees very little snow, I made a trip late in the year to Mount Washington in the central island area, so I could make some winter images. There will definitely be more varied trips around the island and the province, as well as at least one to another destination further south.

I had hoped to do more ongoing projects, but only recently have started one, which would fit in with another goal, video. Right at the end of the year I started a YouTube channel, producing a minute long trailer, and about a ten minute vlog.

Another area I wanted to become more involved with was teaching photography in some way. So far this hasn’t panned out, but it will remain a longer term goal. I did manage to lead a photowalk and regularly contribute advice at my local photo club, however, I would like to move to more structured teaching opportunities in the future.

I have been able to have photos in several public exhibitions this year, and have sold prints as a result, so I am very happy with this area and want to get into even more events in the coming year.

In addition to the goals I mentioned above there a few more things I’d like to do this year:

I did a little astrophotography in 2018 and have decided that I would like to do more in the coming year. Generally I don’t like to use gear as an excuse, because it really isn’t, but I’ll probably invest in a proper wide angle, reasonably fast lens, so that I can do more in this area.

I was also slowed up a little in the first half of 2018 by an old injury that chose to flair up and limited the difficulty & frequency of my hikes, but things have improved. I am planning on being a little more adventurous on my photo-hikes this year, including at least one multi-day hike which will take me a little beyond the furthest point I’ve travelled to on Vancouver Island.

One last thing I will be doing in 2019 (and beyond) is getting additional education and acquiring new skills. While I’ve done a lot of online learning related to photography, I have to go back several decades to the last time I did any in person training, when I took a B&W darkroom course! This time, in addition to online learning and informal opportunities, I will be attending a multi-day photography workshop, where I will get the opportunity to try new methods and genres that I haven’t had much exposure to.

I hope everyone enjoys following my blog in the new year as well as checks out my adventures on my YouTube channel. Happy 2019 to everyone!

Photography on Display

Photography on Display

Lately I have been more active in the local art & photography community. It’s something I enjoy and is definitely beneficial to my photography, as I feel encouraged to get out with my camera more often and enjoy the ability to show some of my work. One of the things I am involved in is as a member of the board of directors at the Sooke Arts Council. It is through SAC that I had the opportunity to hang six of my prints in the lobby of the Richard Blanshard Building, which houses BC Ministry of Health offices.

A trio of photos hanging on display

A group of three of my prints on display

Along with four other artists work (painters and photographers) my prints will be hanging there for December 2018 and likely January 2019 as well.

Waves crash on the rocks at Botanical Beach in Port Renfrew

Fresh off the press

I had a number of mid-size prints around that I used, as well as having the one, shown above, printed just days before the hanging. Normally, I have my images printed on some variety of fine art paper, then frame them, but for this image, I chose to have it printed on canvas by a new, local printer, VI Spectrum. I’m very pleased with the results. At 24″x36″ it’s also the largest print I have on display. Images smaller than 13″x19″ I generally print myself, as was the case with the two 8″x11″ prints I hung. A fantastic photographer I know (check out his wonderful images here) spoke highly of the Hahnemühle Matte Fine Art paper I used for these prints, and since trying it earlier this year it has become one of my favourite papers to print on.

B&W image of a rocky shoreline

One of the images I self printed

I encourage everyone local or who is visiting Victoria to stop by the lobby of the building, at 1515 Blanshard Street, to check out my work and that of others from December, 2018 through January 2019. Thanks for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed it!