The 12 Most Significant Images of 2019

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Twelve significant images in any one year is a good crop.  –Ansel Adams

I’ve done this entry several times over the past years where I have tried to pick out my favorite images.  It started as picking 10 of them which I found really hard to settle on, so I added two more.  I figured that 12 images, 12 months in the year….you get the picture.  Last year, I started the process well ahead of the end of the year so that I could adjust the photographs as I lived with them for a while.  That made a lot of sense and worked well.  I had full intentions of doing that this year, but with the ability to do more photography in the last quarter, my skills have evolved much quicker here at the end of the year and I I have no doubt that the photographs are improving at the same rate.  It became less a matter of living with the images for a while to determine the best, and more a matter of the more recent ones just being better.  The interesting thing that entered into my mind was how was I going to determine what image was better than the others?  Every time I look at my pictures, I see something different based on my mood and mindset.  Something that I love one day, is just another picture the next time I look at it.  How was I going to choose?  I could leave it up to social media and take the ones that got the top likes through the year and just go with that.  Nah, I didn’t like that choice at all.  I don’t like leaving things to social media because there are so many variables that have to be figured in, and so many of the images that I am really excited about fall on their face, while images that I just barely like enough to make keepers do exceedingly well.  Everyone is different, and everyone brings a different background to viewing my photographs.  So, what to do?

Well, a quote that has been on my mind for at least ten years now, and seems to be popping up quite a bit here recently is one from Ansel Adams who is still probably one of the most well known photographers of all times.  He said something to the effect of “Twelve significant images in any one year is a good crop.”  That resonates with me on several levels.  First, he is recognizing that so many of our images fail to rise to the level that we intend for them to, and we trash more than we keep.  I only keep about 10% of my images overall.  The percentage of those that are truly great is much smaller of course.  Second, he chose to use the word “significant” which has some interesting connotations to it.  He didn’t say good, or best, or even epic (although that probably wasn’t used the same way back then)…he just said…significant.  I love that because there is a difference in that statement when compared to saying “your best images.”  “Best” is very subjective to an audience and you will always find dissension with the choices.  For that reason, I have decided to change my favorites of the year over to the most significant images from the past year.  There are better images in my collection, but these resonate with me on a different level which makes them even better….personally speaking, of course.

So, without further ado, let’s get to that list and see what images I think are the most significant from 2019!

 

Number Twelve!

Cozy Autumn“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, 3 image HDR blend in Lightroom

I shot this image back in the Fall at Gooch Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I had actually framed this very composition several years ago so the layout of the image wasn’t anything special to me.  What really got my attention was the sky that was over this old structure.  It had this completely moody look and feel which gave the scene a chilling tone, but the warm tones from the newly changed leaves in the background balanced that so well.  To capture this image was going to take some doing on my part.  I went through my bag of tricks to determine what option would work the best.  I chose doing an HDR image to start with and then used a Grad filter on subsequent images.  The significance of this image for me was my ability to react very quickly to the changing conditions to get the shot.  This sky was already in motion when I was driving by.  That gave me precious little time to get parked, get into position, find the composition, set the exposure, and get the image.  I probably had this shot done within seven minutes of seeing it which is amazing to me.  It is also significant because I was more interested in the total picture than in just the sky.  The sky actually got better, but at the expense of the lighting on the actual subject.  It would have been really easy to shoot a typical sunset scene here, but it would have cost the detail in the scene which I wanted to keep.  There were a lot of choices here that had to be made quickly at the time, and then in post when I got it home.  So much thought went into this image that it truly became significant the very day that it was captured.

 

Number Eleven!

Woodland Stroll“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, No Filters

This image was another one that became a favorite the minute I looked at it on the computer after shooting it.  I had been at Hanging Rock that morning to get images from the summit.  I wasn’t expecting or planning for this image, but when I rounded the corner on the trail, I was met with this wonderful low cloud that was passing over the forest.  I had been doing a lot of research on woodland imagery at this point and I saw the opportunity developing.  I grabbed the camera and found the composition that used the trail to lead you into the frame.  There was a large tree that anchored the image while the repeating patterns of trees framed the one other prominent tree in the distance.  The composition was dead on with what I was after, but the truly significant part came later on in post.  I have managed to develop a pattern of using saturation in my images to produce that visual pop and I do love the vibrant colors.  However, this image was not about color, but it wasn’t black and white either.  It was a moody and somber piece that fell somewhere in the middle.  I was able to break from my normal workflow to create a visual story with this composition that reinforced the story and the feeling behind the capture.  The colors are very muted, and almost painterly in their similarity.  Greens and browns dominated the scene, and that just left the atmosphere to wash over the entire frame rather than the color.  This one was destined to become a favorite of mine from the beginning and I remember thinking to myself that this one was going to make the list.  Pretty big words considering that I shot this one in June with half the year still to go.

 

Number Ten!

Fluid DesignCanon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

This next image on the list is a bit of an oddity for me, and that is what makes it a significant image in several respects.  I have chosen it to represent an entire new direction that my photography took in 2019, doing cityscape images and focusing on the abstract designs of the buildings.  It also represents a broadening of my understanding of Lightroom and the way it interprets colors.  I had actually spotted this building while traveling through Virginia with Toni back in the early Summer in the middle of Roanoke.  I had made a mental note of it and started to research how I wanted to shoot it.  It was about a month later in July, that I returned to the Taubman Museum of Art to try out what I had been thinking about.  When I got there I was astounded by the scale of the building up close and the geometry that I had to work with.  I spent a couple of hours shooting this single building from many different angles.  This particular composition came from standing underneath a bridge shooting at nearly a 70 degree angle up.  The textures here were fascinating, and the fact that there was a sculpture of a man standing on the deck really worked well.  The points, the curves, the lines…it all just became a theme throughout the image that screamed art.

I was already excited about this image before getting it into Lightroom, but I was almost immediately let down by how it all came together in post.  The sky became very boring in the image and there was no unity to the colors.  I almost trashed this image because the colors didn’t work together.  Just for a learning experience, I decided to play around with the different color profiles that Lightroom has.  I had never really messed with any of the lower ones, but I was just horsing around and seeing what they did.  When I came upon this one color profile, I saw in the image what I had been missing.  The colors were reduced down to just a few shades which were very complimentary to each other.  As a side benefit to the color shift, the sky now transitioned from a very pale pink at the bottom to a deep blue at the top.  What I was looking at was the fine art representation of this building which I had been looking for.  I committed to this profile and worked it until I was extremely happy with it.  I loved the image weeks and months after I shot it, and started to think that it might be one of my best images.  It never did all that well on social media, but I think that is because the subject matter was so different from what my core audience was used to seeing from me.  I still say that this one is a very significant image for me, and that is why it has made it onto the list this year!

 

Number Nine!

Out in the Barn“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Converted to B&W in Lightroom

Number nine follows the trend of a surprise opportunity that presented itself and I was able to capitalize on it with the camera.  I shot this image back in May while I was driving aimlessly around trying to find something to capture after having a very small amount of success at my planned location.  My hope was to get some more long exposures with a lake, but when I passed by a property that I have seen many times before, the mood suddenly struck me to try some photography there.  One of the subjects that I started to work with was a Buick that was sitting in the barn.  For years it had been covered by a tarp which was now pulled to the side.  I hadn’t really done a shot like this in the past with a car inside of a barn.  The shadows were something that I was going to have to watch for, and the exposure as a whole was going to be difficult.  Add to that, there was a pickup parked right in front of the car to keep anyone from pulling the car out and stealing it.  It was close enough that I was going to have to get in very close to get the composition I wanted.  I was able to get the composition that I really liked.  I used the tarp as a cradle for the car, and then had the repeating patterns of the wood and tin of the barn as a background.

This image became significant  during the post production part of the process.  I learned a lot about just how far I could stretch the dynamic range of my aging 5D Mk3.  I was kind of doubtful that I would be able to pull usable detail out of the shadows like I did.  However, I didn’t even need all of the latitude that the camera offered for this one.  I toned some of the shadows back down as a matter of fact.  What I love about this image is that I really learned a lot about the conversion to black and white here and as with the previous image in this list, I did a lot of experimenting with this image using the different color profiles in the monochrome section.  The more I work with monochrome, the more I find out how dependent it is on the color information and how it is rendered.

When I was done with this image, I really loved it.  It was my favorite from the day as a matter of fact.  It never really had a strong showing on social media, but it was entered into the Dixie Classic Fair in October where it brought home a first place award in the Professional B&W Photo category.  The final print of this image has so much detail, and spreads the tones all across the range so I think that even Ansel Adams would approve of this one.

 

Number Eight!

Patched Together“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Galen Rowell 2-stop hard edge and 3-stop soft edge ND Grad

A picture of a barn under a dramatic sky.  What makes this one significant?  Well, I have been talking a lot about Lightroom in my list of images thus far and I don’t want anyone to get the impression that I am an image editor rather than a photographer.  I have always prided myself on capturing the image as close to perfect in the camera as possible.  That is why I work so closely with Singh-Ray and talk about their filters so much.  This image is significant for me because it was a very difficult exposure to make in the field, but I was able to nail it in a single image thanks to my knowledge of working with the filters.  I had actually seen this barn before but the conditions weren’t right for an image.  I came back on a day when there were going to be clouds overhead that I was thinking would be helpful for the composition.  The clouds were there alright, but they were really bright compared to the barn which was in the shadows.  I needed to balance the exposure and figured that I had a great opportunity do that with a blending of filters.  There were actually three filters used which all adjusted the exposure in their own ways.  By staggering the two ND Grads, I was able to get a nice gradual transition which wasn’t readily visible in the final image.  The sky became ominous above the barn which fit my vision for the image while the detail in the barn was well rendered.  The color tones were very complimentary between the warm orange and rusty red with the vast expanse of cool cloudy tones above.

I was so excited about this image when I was finished with the day’s work that it immediately became a favorite of mine.  It did well on social media, but not nearly as well as I was hoping it would.  Actually another image that I took from this same property did better which was surprising to me, but it didn’t sway my opinion of this piece one bit.  For me, this is one of the best barn pictures I have ever captured and that cements it in this list.

 

Number Seven!

Magic in the Air“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, No filters

Coming in at number seven is another image that is a little different from me.  I shot this on an August morning in Downtown Greensboro while I was working on a church composition.  I hadn’t intended on getting an image of this sculpture out front, but it did keep getting in my way of composing images of the church.  With every time it got in the way, I would consider it for the image, and then eventually considered creating an image around this piece.  I had started the series long before dawn, and it wasn’t until after the sun came up that I decided to photograph the sculpture.  So, why is this one significant for me?  I just really love how the composition works and how the colors balance themselves out.  There is a great use of light and dark with shadows and highlights. The orb is the star of the picture with the surrounding elements providing a frame within a frame while the sky is soft and gives some much needed textural contrast.  The biggest significance from this image though…the fact that, at least for me, I am not looking at a picture of a sculpture in Downtown Greensboro, I am looking at something that is magical and from a fictional place.  I am transported from wherever I am sitting when I am looking at this one to a place of adventure and wonderment.  Does it do the same for you?  I can only hope that it does.  I’m always looking for images that become more than just a photograph.  I think that this one fits that bill and secures it on this list!

 

Number Six!

The Mansion“, Canon 5D Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8L Mk2, No Filters, Converted to B&W in Lightroom

With this photograph, we are entering the top half of this list and what better way to do it than with this dramatic image.  It is one of my recent additions and I haven’t had that long to live with it since I just shot it in November.  However, it was one of those scenes that captured my attention straight away as I drove past it, and I had this great concept of what it could become almost immediately.  The day was drab and dreary so the sky wasn’t interesting, and the colors were nothing spectacular with the old home or tree.  However, there was a story here that I was desperate to capture.  That is what makes this image so significant for the year.  It is one of my better story tellers.  It has a universal element here that everyone can relate to…a home.  There are sections of walls that have fallen down which allows a view into the home which makes this a very intimate picture. While I could see the furniture inside of the gaping holes, I chose to keep that in the shadows for this image so that the viewer might put their own memories inside of the home.  The tree adds so much to the visual drama, but also gives a sense of time as the tree was probably planted by the family that built that house.  The tree is thriving, although bare from the season while the house is in a state of steady decay.

I visualized this image as a high contrast black and white before I even decided on the composition.  What I later decided to do was to be very careful with my midtones and put some more emphasis on the house while leaving much of the landscape in shadow.  The perspective that was introduced with the wide angle lens added another dimension to the image which sparks more visual interest that should invite the viewer further into the image.  There is a lot to see here, and thanks to the monochrome presentation, you are free to look all through the image without being swayed by the limited color that was present.  You just end up looking at the textures and their context within the scene.  This image also has the added benefit of including two of my favorite things to capture with a camera.  I get a tree with gobs of personality as well as a terrific example of rural decay all in one image where the two elements compliment each other so well.

 

Number Five!

Hitch a Ride“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Galen Rowell 2-stop hard edge ND Grad

Story telling and transporting the viewer to another place through my images is something that I am always striving for with my images.  That is the significance to this image I shot in October on a trip to Lawsonville, NC.  This old truck was actually yard art at a restoration shop.  It has been photographed countless times I’m sure, but on this particular day I spent some quality time with and created an image that transports you along the infamous Route 66.  There are no visual clues as to where this image actually existed, and because of the way that the colors all came together, it has a look that is a little unlike North Carolina.  The lack of a sign on the pole is another clue that is missing, and with no other structures around, it is very hard to determine what year this is which makes it very timeless.  The lack of clues forces you to focus on what is there, and then determine what details fill in the blanks on your own.  Each person will end up interpreting this image differently than the next which I love to embrace in my photography.  That is the significance of this image.  It will mean something completely different to each person, and most will not be focusing on the actual elements that are present in the image.  They will be focusing on the elements that they bring to the image and they will work on making them fit within the frame.  The significance is the power of engaging the audience with just a few well placed elements.  I truly love being a visual storyteller with my photographs, and I think that this one is a great example of how that works.

 

Number Four!

Elvis“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer, Converted to B&W in Lightroom

Telling stories with my photographs is a big part of what I do, but there are times when the story is just to give an inanimate object human qualities.  I have a thing with the classic headlights on the old cars that I photograph.  I’ve been capturing them for years and have started to be known for that approach to my automotive work.  That brings us to this significant image which was shot in November in Randleman, NC.  I had pulled over to shoot a Cadillac at an old gas station and had started to do isolations on it.  I really liked the headlights and the way that the whole structure jutted out from the rest of the car.  I shot both sides and went with a very simple straight on composition because that was my best bet for an intense look at the headlights.  I didn’t really like either of them when I got back home, but I liked the concept behind them.  I picked the strongest one and started in with some post processing work in Lightroom.  I played with the color profiles a bit until I found one that kind of sparked my creativity.  From there I started to work on the image as a monochrome presentation.

There are times that I let myself go crazy in post and just really start manhandling the images.  This turned into one of those times.  I always preach subtlety in my workshops when it comes to post processing, but subtle wasn’t yielding the image that I was beginning to see.  I let myself be cautiously heavy handed with the adjustments and I went in and did a lot of local adjustments to this image until I had a photograph in front of me that jumped off the screen and demanded to be enjoyed.  The directness of the composition was accentuated by the post processing of the image and they way that it all came together was so much more than the original capture.  There was no denying a face here with two bulging eyes, a little nose, and a flat grin.  The feel of the black and white set a rock and roll of the ’60’s kind of vibe.  It all just came together and this headlight image captured something so human that you could just hear the music and taste the diner food.  That is what makes this image so significant to me.

 

Number Three!

Linville’s Autumn“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

We are closing in on the top spot at this point and I know that this list wouldn’t be complete without including this photograph of Linville Falls which was taken in late October.  Yes, it is a picture of a waterfall which is one of my long term subjects.  I’ve even shot Linville Falls from this area many times over the years, so why in the world is this one significant?  Well, it is the first time I have gotten in this location when I really liked the composition.  There was enough water flowing over the secondary drop that it was interesting, but not so much as to prevent me from standing there.  I liked the vantage point so much that I shot a vertical and a horizontal composition from the same spot.  Ironically, I much preferred the horizontal shot for the first week that I lived with the images.  The timing was perfect with the colors of Fall still very much a part of the scene.  The light was perfect with the just after sunrise colors hitting the gorge to warm the shadows ever so slightly.  The elements all came together for this image, and yet I still wanted to take it up a notch in post.  I was starting with a wonderful image that had all of the bits and pieces in place to be on this list as it was.  However, I had fine tuned some new techniques that I had not yet used on a waterfall photograph and I wanted to put them to use with this one.

The significance of this image comes into play with how important capturing that nearly perfect image in camera is, even when you intend to post process the file.  I started with a stunning image and then I took it from an 8 to a 10 with about thirty minutes of work in Lightroom.  There was nothing major done, but there were a lot of little subtle enhancements made in the realm of dodging and burning to adjust the exposure throughout the image.  The end result is definitely one of my best images of the year, in addition to being one of the most significant images.  The visual flow here is just so pleasing to the eyes and there is so much to look at in the frame.  It is also the first waterfall picture that I have shot successfully where the main waterfall isn’t the primary point of interest in the frame.  It is just a supporting element that blends with the whole of the surroundings so well.

I mentioned that I liked the horizontal image better at first and that was because that was my previsualized composition that prompted me to drive out there that morning.  The vertical was just something that I tried while waiting for the light to do its thing.  That is another part of the significance of this image.  It is a reminder to me that my first thoughts are not always correct about images.  I need to live with them for a while to really get the feeling of them.  It also doesn’t hurt that when social media got a hold of this image it went viral in short order.  I couldn’t argue with the masses on this one, they were right on the money this time.  The photographer will always be emotionally vested in their images and only time will reduce that investment and yield a true understanding of the image that is in front of them.

 

Number Two!

The Mighty“, Canon 5D Mk3, 16-35mm f/2.8L Mk2, No Filters

In the number two spot for 2019, we have the second image from my late October trip to the mountains that also yielded the number three slot.  I really kind of hated to include two from the same day, but the day was just that kind of good.  Something that is so hard to render in landscape photographs is the sense of depth.  I think that every photographer struggles with that task from time to time.  That also means that when things all work out and the image has that depth, it becomes that much more impressive of an image.  I think that this is the first time that I have used so many compositional tricks in the same image and had them come together so well.  For basic composition, I used the rule of diagonals which I have found to be quite useful in my images from time to time.   I used repeating patterns with the trees, a leading line with the roadway, as well as a strong diagonal element there, a strong visual foreground with the giant tree, a very wide angle to exaggerate the perspective, fog to show depth in the scene, and light in the distance to show where the eyes should end up, which contrasts nicely with the shadows in the foreground.  I used a painterly affect with the colors having only a few hues present in the image with just enough cool tones to balance out the overly warm scene.  I pulled out every trick that I could think of for this image.

So how long did it take to put all of this together?  No time at all.  In fact, I spent all my time composing a vertical image that was destined to be a black and white image.  It is worth mentioning that I was reshooting the same tree that made my list last year in the number 4 spot.  I was having a hard time getting the composition to come together and since the fog was all in the distance, I flipped the camera horizontal for a few seconds to see if I liked the horizontal image better.  I didn’t, and went back to the vertical.  I found the composition that I was after vertically and pulled both the horizontal and the vertical into Lightroom when I got home.  I tried to do a conversion on the horizontal image first and didn’t like it so I tossed it in the discard stack in favor of the vertical one.  I later came back to the horizontal one and thought about trying it as a color image.  Once I started working with it, I started to see an amazing image develop.  I will admit that I had to do quite a bit of work here to get the photograph to come out like this since I had shot it as a black and white to begin with.  I wasn’t interested  in all the shadow detail that I needed in a color version at the time of capture, but fortunately I was able to pull just enough clean detail out to render this image.  The significance with this image you ask?  Always go through the collection of images from the day twice to make sure that you didn’t overlook a possibility while focused on your original vision.  Oh yeah, and all that compositional stuff that I said earlier is important too.

 

We are closing in on the top spot now.  In fact, it is next on the list.  Before I get to that one I have to apologize for it.  I swore to myself that I wanted to live with an image for a while before I made a decision on it for any sort of significance over the course of a whole year.  I didn’t do that with this next image.  It is a relatively new image in my collection.  I’m still working out my feelings on this image honestly, but I can say that it is a fair assessment that it is a significant image for me over the 2019 calendar year.  The themes that we have seen so far include things like story telling and transporting the viewer to another time and place.  We have seen my love for interesting skies, bare trees, and rustic scenes.  In fact, when compared to the list from last year I am shocked to see that the weight of the list has shifted.  Last year most of my images were of landscapes while they are in the minority in this year’s list.  I have been feeling a slight shift in my subject matter this year, and the list supports that feeling.  I have seen an increased level of attention to detail in my compositions across the board which includes knowing what to include in an image and what to exclude.  This past year has been a growing year for me in terms of my photography.  Personal growth as a photographer is always a great thing, but when you can see the results in your images it really affects how you view that growth.

The image that I have selected as my most significant of the year is kind of the culmination of an entire year’s worth of learning and stretching to see what is possible.  In the previous photographs in this list you will see that most of them have been from the second half of the year which I tried to avoid.  However, with taking a lot of time off from work in the first half, and then ultimately quitting my day job in September I have had a lot of time to really pour myself into learning my craft on a level that I had not done previously.  That is not to say that the images through the first half of the year weren’t good because they were.  All I am saying is with more time to spend with the camera, the more opportunities I have to learn and to try different ideas.  You have seen several examples in this list alone where I have expanded my abilities in post production which resulted in significant images.  I have had the time to pick the conditions in which I photograph subjects as opposed to having to go when I have time off from work.  It all plays into creating really good images, and the significant ones.  So, which image did I choose as the most significant one of 2019?  I know you probably scrolled ahead to see much earlier on, so this is probably very anticlimactic, but here it goes…..

 

Drum roll please……

Ahem…..ahem…..

I seem to be without any drums, so if you don’t mind use your hands on your desk or lap and give me a little thunder.

 

Thank you!

 

I present to you the Top Significant Image of 2019!!!!!!

Bevis General Store“, Canon 5D Mk3, 24-70mm f/2.8L Mk2, Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer

At the time that I am writing this entry, I had just shot this picture two days ago in Stokes County, and had only finished editing it yesterday morning before posting it online.  Admittedly, I haven’t had long to live with this image, but it does check off all the boxes as the most significant image of the year.  It is the one that was captured latest in the year so my knowledge base was the strongest that it has been.  It was not a surprise shot by any stretch.  In fact, I had already shot this general store before but completely messed the whole set of images up with a smudge on my filter that I hadn’t seen.  I was utterly defeated after that realization and knew that I had to come back to try the shot again.  I had the ability to plan out the day and time that I was going to visit again so that the conditions would be what I wanted for the picture.  I had time to play out compositions in my mind and work out the details.  I knew I had permission to be there which is always important when photographing on somebody’s property.  I had everything going for me on this particular shoot.

However, when I got there I found a variable that I hadn’t planned for.  There was a car sitting in front of the shop that I was going to use for a background in the composition.  All of my planning was out of the window at that point and I was ready to abandon the attempt and wait for another time.  As I was leaving, I saw another potential composition and decided to try that out instead.  I knew that the same detail rules would apply and I worked the composition out so that no elements blocked any of the signs on the store.  This took some careful positioning but wasn’t too bad since I had already been considering the need for that little detail work.  I also knew that I would have to be careful to frame the image so that the car that was parked to the right didn’t enter into the scene since it wasn’t a part of the story I was telling.  All that was left was waiting for the light to hit the front of the store just like I wanted.  Sadly, it never did materialize in that fashion, but I knew how far I could push the camera and what I could accomplish in post processing.  All of that came from the last year of learning Lightroom as well as I have in respect to the local adjustments.  This image was almost completely done locally as opposed to having global adjustments.  They were all very subtle in nature and I built them up over time to bring about a huge change in the overall feel of the image.

When I was done with the editing and finally released it on this website and on social media I saw that I had an immediate hit on my hands.  There are just a few of my photographs that take on a life of their own once they go public and this is one of them.  Now, I don’t put that much weight in social media and regularly find reactions to my images whether good or bad confusing.  This was not one of those cases.  I knew that it was a really good image from the beginning and that was reinforced by the response that it had.  As of right now, it has only been released on Facebook, and only on my photography page.  From that single posting, I have generated a reach of 19,275 viewers with 2,174 comments, reactions, and shares.  Only 555 reactions were on my page while the others were based on shares to other pages and groups my other people.  These are very significant numbers for a single posting because I usually don’t see reactions like this until I start posting to the various groups that I am a member of.

Outside of social media though, this is still a very significant image for me.  Something that I have always said in my workshops is to fill the frame with what you like and to exclude what you don’t.  That is often easier to say than to do.  I can say that this image only includes what I like.  We have a great sky with lots of detail in the clouds.  The trees have personality and fill the negative space on the left with tons of stark lines from the branches.  The store shows off its great texture in the wood paneling and all of the period correct advertisements are there uninterrupted by any of the other elements in the photograph.  The Texaco sign is prominent in the foreground, but not so direct as to alter the visual weight that it possesses.  A little trick that I did here was to add a touch of light in the sign lights which were actually not on.  I added that to give a little separation from the trees and to help draw the eyes up just a little bit.

This image encompasses so many things that I have learned this year about photography and I think that is why I have selected this brand new image as the most significant of the year.  Only time will tell if it is one of my best, but for right now, I can say that this single image represents where I am currently with my photography, and that says a lot.

 

Thank you for joining me for this list of my twelve most significant images of 2019.  With only a few days left in the year, I don’t foresee anything popping up to change this list.  I have really enjoyed putting it together and have learned a few more things about my photography from doing it.  I’ve been very interested in my personal style here lately and a technique that I have learned to help determine that is to put together a small collection of your favorite images and they will tell you all you need to know about your style.  So what have I learned from this list?

  • I definitely prefer shooting my 24-70mm lens, more than I thought.  Ten of the images here were shot with that one lens.
  • I really look for balance in my images whether it be color or texture
  • Cloudy conditions are my favorite
  • I go for the moody images when I get the chance
  • I am usually fairly reserved with my post processing but when I let myself go, I really enjoy the results
  • I don’t favor one over the other when it comes to horizontal vs vertical compositions.  50/50 in this list
  • There is a shift in my overall focus from being a landscape photographer to being a rural decay photographer
  • The story behind the picture is often more important and engaging than the actual image is
  • I tend to put my main subject as the dominating part of the frame forcing the attention on it
  • My use of saturation in images is directly related to the mood that I am trying to convey

So, there you have it.  I’m always learning, and I have enjoyed this opportunity learn from this list.  They might not be the best images from the year, but they are each very significant to my life as a photographer.  Thank you again for joining me.  Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  I’ll be back on January 1st, with a special Behind the Camera wrapping up 2019 and talking about my first quarter as a full time photographer.  Hopefully, I will also have a couple more adventures with the camera before the year comes to a close as well.