Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best Photos of the Year...A Duel To The Death

It has become tradition for nature photographers to post a compilation of their best photos of the year. This year I finally had my act together enough to contribute something to the web. There turned out to be a problem however....

I discovered my favorite images and my "best" images were not always the same. I was constantly drawn to the photos I had an emotional connection to: the ones that had a story, a funny circumstance, or a mishap associated with them. I've been around photography long enough to know how to turn of that emotion off when I'm editing but I wasn't sure I wanted to this time. After a long deliberation (of about 90 seconds), I decided the only fair way to pick the images was to assign them to different categories and let them compete against each the death, as it were. The winners would be immortalized for eternity in a blog post while the losers would be cast into the darkness of the hard drive. So without further adieu, here are the victors in each of the ten selected categories.

 Best image taken on Thanksgiving because my wife works and I'm looking for something to do with my son.
Keystone Spit, Whidbey Island, Washington

 Best image taken one-handed while fending off a young child pulling on my jacket.
Fort Casey, Whidbey Island, Washington

 Best image taken on a day when I really thought I would get absolutely nothing accomplished because of the weather.
Double Bluff Beach, Whidbey Island, Washington

 Best image taken while realizing that I am completely alone in a State Park on a warm Friday evening and starting to become paranoid that there is some deranged killer loose in the woods.
Camano Island State Park, Washington

Best image taken while losing a polarizing filter in the river.
Sauk River, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Park, Washington

 Best image taken while accepting a warm beverage from a passing waiter on the deck of a cruise ship.
Tracy Arm. Alaska

Best image taken while worrying that I had gotten the departure time wrong for my cruise ship.
Skagway, Alaska

Best image taken after arriving well after sunrise and assuming I'd screwed everything up.
Rainy Lake, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington

and last but not least...

Best image taken while saving a small child, cat, and puppy dog from the raging surf of the Puget Sound.......well maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but it is my favorite shot of the year.
Mukilteo, Washington

Thanks for looking and (hopefully) having a little chuckle. I promise to do more macro photography next year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shorter Days

Wow, the days seem shorter this year. Perhaps it's my busier schedule, maybe it's the heavier rains this fall, or, more likely, it's completely my imagination. At least I can fit a sunset shoot in and still have time to cook dinner for the family.

Picnic Point County Park, Snohomish County, Washington

Monday, December 17, 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Outside The Box

I was organizing my documents folder the other night when I ran across a file called "General Goals For 2012." It was a little late to do any planning based on the list but it might provide some amusement so I began to scan down the page...

1. Shoot more often......OK, that is pretty vague but CHECK.

2. Post 3 times a week to social media sites.....I did pretty good on that so CHECK.

3. Concentrate on creating images by using strong compositions rather than relying on amazing light....Feel very good about that one so CHECK.

4. Get out more in bad weather to create strong images....Very happy with that so CHECK.

4. Do not let photography interfere with family life and be the best father and supporting husband I can be.....Well it's probably a good thing I'm rating myself on that one so....CHECK

5. Shoot different subjects instead of landscape....I shot some skylines and stuff so CHECK.

6. Step outside the box and create interesting computed enhanced images.......oh.....well.....crap...

At least I knew what I was going to do that evening....

This photo file had been sitting on my hard drive since early spring. I always liked the composition but could never quite get the processing to look the way I wanted to. It always had a funny color cast in the shadows or the sky looked off...a perfect image to change into something else.

Since I didn't quite know where to get started, I used a preset in Adobe Lightroom call EFF Dragon 5 created by Sean McCormack. That got me into the ballpark, and a few more adjustments finished off the image. If you follow my photography, you know this is way outside the box for me. What do you think?

P.S. Yes it's only a single image but I'm putting a little tiny CHECK after number 6 now :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Last Summer on the Sauk River

Late afternoon along the Sauk River, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunset and Snowfall

I've been itching to get up to the mountains lately but my days have been consumed by holiday preparations, activities, and crafts...the life of a parent this time of year. At least I had a few minutes this evening to reprocess an image from a couple of years ago.

Sunset and snowfall along the banks of the North Fork Skykomish River in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington