My Year in Review
Wow! Another year has been put to bed. I cannot believe how fast the days slip past. I remember as a kid thinking how long it was until my birthday, Halloween, Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Each day of school seemed to last forever and those big events never arrived quick enough. I never seem to have enough time in a day to get all the work done. Now, I find myself wishing everything would slow down so I can enjoy it better.
This past year has been another year of great exploration and travel. I was fortunate enough to make quite a few trips to Florida and those trips allowed me to explore a good chuck of the east coast. There is a lot still to see and you can bet I have more trips planned. Florida has become more than Walt Disney World for me. It has become the place I enjoy photographing and exploring.
I also made a few trips (although not as many as I would have liked) to the state parks near me. I definitely want to increase my trips to see more of what my home state has to offer. I know I have made this promise to myself in years past, hopefully this coming year will be the one in which I keep the promise. All I know is that every park I visit has unique vistas for me to explore and finding the images I want to capture brings me joy.
I’m not sure if I have grown as a photographer this year. I do know I have captured fewer images but the ones I do bring home have more meaning to me. I have moved beyond the spray and pray methodology, and have put more thought into the process. It doesn’t always work out for me, maybe I over think it some times, but it does create a better experience for me overall.
Well, I don’t think everyone is up to too much soul searching in this post so I should move on to the images. As I have been fond of doing in the past, I selected my favorite image from each month. Some months that was way more difficult than in others.
January – Once again the first month of the year started out very sparse photographically. The majority of my images were from a trip to the Rosemond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse. Every year the zoo has a photo contest which allows free entry into the zoo with a camera. Although I managed to find a lot more images in 2016, my favorite image was not from that trip. This image was captured on January 2nd. I was out for a walk on a beautiful morning and spotted this deer path through the field. I really like how the path leads the eye to the tree and colorful sunrise sky.
February – Last winter was very mild (I’ll bet we have almost had more snow this winter then all of last year) and I was able to venture out with the camera more than usual. This image was captured at the Utica train station at the start of a very busy Saturday. Reading the post associated with this image I am amazed how I was able to accomplish so much yet still make a couple of trips out for pictures. This image is classic leading line material. No subtlety involved here. But hey, it works!
March – The first month involving one of those numerous trips to Florida I mentioned. This trip was to drive my Mom and Grandpa down to my Mom’s place in Lake Alfred. I spent a few days with Mom helping get her place opened up and then ventured over to the East Coast to visit my Mother-in-law. It was during this stay that I captured this beautiful sunset with the Melbourne Beach Pier. It was a cloudy day and most people had given up on the sunset but I waited until the end and was rewarded with this view.
April – I return to my Grass Poker days for my favorite image this month. I refer to my early photography when I was participating in the various photo themes on Google Plus. I started exploring around the house more, looking for those unique images which can be found all around us. Of course, long time readers also know I have a thing for the dandelions as well. The processing on this image was a departure for me but the results created an image I have hanging on my wall.
May – The start of the state park trips! I had promised myself I would explore more of the NY State parks this past year (alas, I did not fulfill that promise very well). I started with a Spring trip to Chittenango Falls. I have learned quite a lot about photography and post-processing since my first visit and I used all my knowledge to capture another portrait view of this wonderful waterfall. When the water flow is right the cascades create a very classic waterfall look.
June – Part of my continual issue with myself is dragging my butt out of the house. I let myself be very lazy. On the day I captured this image though I planned the night before to get out to Hinckley Reservoir for the sunrise. Luck played an important part in that the clouds were moving fairly fast across the sky. This allowed me to use my neutral density filters to utilize a longer exposure and capture the movement in an otherwise static image. I played with various compositions until I settled on some natural framing with the grass.
July – Another image as a result of wandering around the yard looking for the over-looked details. I used this day as an opportunity to focus on the tiny and intimate. I fitted the camera with my macro lens and poked it into every little space I could find. This little flower was nestled within one of the lilac bushes that ring the property. I was fascinated with the contrast between the detailed stamen and the soft petals. I didn’t complain about the nice contrasting colors either… 🙂
August – There was much internal debate over my favorite this month. The other image contending for the title (Sunset Ring) was unique due to how I happened upon it but in the end the colors of this image won out.
September – I have an app on my phone called The Photographer’s Ephemeris which allows me to see the location of the sun & moon rising and setting. I can pick a location and date to plan where I want to be to capture that perfect image. For this image I consulted the app to find the moon would rise inline with the barge canal during the full phase. The best location close to me was Bellamy Harbor Park in Rome. The full moon is difficult to capture with surrounding landscape due to the overpowering brightness but your best bet is when it is closest to the horizon.
October – When I started a new job in April I discovered the Old Erie Canal Park a few minutes away. It has become my escape during those hectic days at work. I leave a pair of hiking boots and the tripod in the car so I will be ready when the mood strikes me. I have capture various images at the aqueduct over Butternut Creek but this one is my favorite so far. I love that I was able to capture the swirl of the water. The processing was also a departure for me and I am happy I strayed outside of my comfort zone.
November – Ah, the super moon. That is all everyone was talking about in November. I got caught up in the excitement as well. Turning to my app again I realized the day of the great rising that I could catch the moon over the B-52 memorial on the old airbase in Rome. It was definitely more difficult than I anticipated. I tried to get multiple exposures so I would have more detail in the moon but this low on the horizon it is moving surprisingly fast through the sky. After struggling to combine two images I settled on this one with the great detail in the plane.
December – This year’s Christmas trip to Florida once again produced a great many images from which to choose a favorite. The heron watching the sunrise won due to being “out of my normal” type of image. Viewing this image brings me back to that morning and how impressed I was at being able to get as close as I did for this view. I find I am liking more of my images that have another element beside the landscape, be that people or animals. Something to look forward to in 2017.
Disney – It wouldn’t be a year in review post if I didn’t include a Disney image. I did not have my usual two Disney trips this year but I did manage to visit almost every time I made it to Florida. I feel like a local, popping in for a quick visit, see a few shows, ride a few attractions and grab my images. It works for me!
I could not settle on one image this year. There were two that stand out for me. Both are from my trip in October. The first is a night image of Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom. A few years ago I was able to stay in the park after sundown and I have been waiting for another opportunity. It didn’t disappoint. The second is a happy coincident as extra magic hours in the morning at the Magic Kingdom were about an hour before sunrise. Fog and limited access spoiled the image I had planned but the Cinderella Castle image with a hazy sky is no consolation prize. It is definitely my favorite castle image so far.
I would like to thank everyone for their continued support. Your comments and encouragement are always welcomed and appreciated. I also value the friendships I have developed with a lot of my regulars. Although we have not met in person, your presence in my life has meant a lot to me. Thanks!
Happy New Year and best wishes for a fun and entertaining 2017!