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!

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Top Ten (favourite) Images of 2016

This is the second annual list of my favourite images from the past year.  I started last year after seeing the great images of many other photographers featured on the great blog site of JMG Galleries. While I was not able to make as many images as I had hoped in 2016, I did manage to have some interesting and new experiences. Here they are, in no particular order:

bw fog trees
It’s all about the light

Living on the west coast of Vancouver Island offers so many opportunities to make captivating images of nature. It’s easy to wander along a beach or into the woods and see something different every time. In the photo above, the fog was slowly lifting and the sun lit up the scene in a way I just had to capture. Converting the image to monochrome evoked just the feel I was looking for.

man taking pictures on a beach during sunset
Everyone loves a sunset

Sometimes you travel a little bit farther for something special, like the above image of a man taking a cellphone photo at sunset, on a beach in Tofino, BC (one of my favourite places to get away from it all).

bubbles in the ice on a lake
Frozen Bubbles

Just around the corner from me is tiny little Poirier Lake, which has trails around it and a little dock.  I was lucky enough to visit it on one of those rare days when it had a little ice on it.  Just next to the dock there were little groups of bubbles that had formed and I thought in this particular group of bubbles was particularly intriguing.  It seemed to hint at the shape of an animal paw/foot, and the fine powder on the bubble just left of centre had interesting patterns on it.  It’s one of those things that if I hadn’t stopped to take a close look, I wouldn’t have seen and I doubt anyone else would, either, as the weather warmed up and the lake was ice free before sundown.

pinwheel looking lights of a ferris wheel at night
At the Fair

Some of the images here made the list in part because I was trying out different techniques than I normally use, or just plain trying to be more creative.  One of these is my image of the ferris wheel at the Luxton Fall Fair.  I had tried a variety of different techniques to capture the motion  of the rides and/or add some intentional camera motion and most of those images seemed pretty standard to me.  This one I combined a couple things and loved the final result.

ornate brass door hinge
Details Matter

Sometimes you just have to make images with the camera you have with you, such as the image above.  This is a detail shot of a brass door hinge (rotated 1/4 turn counter clockwise) on the Grand Mosque in Constanta, Romania.  In this case, I was on a work assignment in the area and did not have my DSLR or any of my film cameras with me, but I am very happy with the results I was able to get using my iPhone.

man standing with two hats
A Street Portrait

I am most comfortable making photographs of nature, landscapes, cityscapes, or even abstract subjects, so something like a street portrait was a bit of a stretch for me.  The gentleman here was kind enough to pose for a photo I made using a century old Ensign camera and black and white film.  Using the Ensign sparked the film bug in me and I have since blown the dust off my old Canon AE-1 and acquired a Hasselblad 500 EL/M.  I am by no means abandoning using digital cameras, but going back to film and even getting back into film development has really got me excited and feeling inspired.  I now have a dedicated film scanner and am looking at experimenting even more… keep watching this blog for more updates on these experiment.

young girl standing in the rain
Smiling in the Rain

Having a satisfying experience with street photography, I continued to expand my comfort zone and when the opportunity came to make some family portraits, I was up to the challenge.  The weather on the day did not cooperate, but adjustments were made and I really enjoyed the photo session.  In fact, the rain, lit by the fill flash, even added a distinct look to some of the images and gave them a more ‘authentic’ wet… I mean West Coast look.

a yellow boat floats in front of an apartment building
In the Bay

Every year, for the past several years, I have joined in the local area Kelby Photo Walk and always enjoy mingling with other photographers and strolling along for a few hours of photography fun.  This year the one I participated in was in Oak Bay and I found this cute little yellow boat, gently floating on the water, which had tiny ripples on it, while there was an imposing concrete apartment building and dark foreboding clouds in the background… I loved the contrast.Remembrance Day CanadaRemembrance Day has a very special meaning to me and I wanted to make an image that would be simple & respectful.  I chose use the poppy we wear in Canada for Remembrance Day, against a dark background and tried to light it in a way to make it stand out.  I almost never use text on any of my images; however, this was different and I chose a very special poem.  Written by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae while serving in the military as a doctor in Europe during WW I, In Flanders Fields has become synonymous with Remembrance Day ceremonies, and always makes me pause and reflect.

christmas tree shaped light display
The Sooke Traffic Circle Light Tree

The year ended with my creative take on the “Lights of the Season“, which was the winning entry in a contest run by Oopoomoo (one of my favourite photography blog sites).  I had fun putting this list together, but had a hard time getting down to the last ten, but that’s a good problem to have.  I know this year the images covered a wide variety of photography genres and I am sure I will eventually have a more consistent type of image; however, it likely won’t be 2017, as I plan of doing a lot more experimenting and expanding my repertoire.