With the calendar flipping over to a New Year, I’ve taken on the personal challenge of reviewing my photos from 2016 with a critical eye and selecting a dozen that represent my most satisfying work.  I’ve  limited myself by picking from only three genres: nature, people and impressionistic. As well, I’m not including any photos that I’m hired to take or any family photos. It’s much harder to be objective about family photos because there are such strong emotional ties.

It’s no easy task to go through 25000 photos and pick a dozen. So, I had to settle on some criteria for selection. First, there needs to be a strong emotional connection to the photo. Even though I may have a perfect image of an apple, if it isn’t meaningful to me, it doesn’t make the cut. Second, the image needs to be successful in terms of meeting my goal for the shot. Third, the image needs to tell a story. So here goes.

 

  1. Nature

When the Perseid meteor shower entertained us in July, I travelled to Mt Baker to get a few shots and ended up photographing until the sun came up. A wonderful and memorable night. This one shows Mt Baker with the Milky Way looking a little like a steaming volcano. And, thankfully, with a meteor showing up. Capturing a meteor is pure luck, you just have to have your shutter open and hope one streaks across your scene.
arbutus tree in sunset
Our family’s annual summer holiday, this year at Saturna Island, offered many opportunities to capture beauty. This Arbutus tree, always one of my favourite trees, added a perfect silhouette to a stunning sunset.
An old Model T Ford lies in a garden, rusting.
Out on my motorcycle one summer day, I happened upon this rural scene in Langley. It looked like a winner so I turned around and got permission to photograph. I love how the car is sloping downward, on its descent to oblivion while the tree, with its much longer life span, frames and guards over it. The white fence adds to the country feel.
close up of a spider web, creating an abstract image.
With a macro lens on my camera, I crouched just a few centimetres away from a spider’s web. A gentle breeze created the curved lines of silk and the deep shade is responsible for the blue tone. I made many images of the spider’s intricate work but this one shows the simplicity yet complexity of the amazing design.

2. People

I was delighted to photograph these two sisters in Fort Langley. The doorway provided just the right space for them to interact in a friendly, sisterly way. Later in the computer, I added a painterly effect to the background.
At a photographic workshop in Bella Coola, we asked Bonnie to demonstrate how she repaired nets for fishermen. Having learned the skill from her grandmother, she is now one of very few people left who knows how to do this. The fabric artwork that superimposes the portrait was a design on her handbag, also made by her. As a child, Bonnie played at the cannery where the workshop was held. Being there again opened a flood of memories for her and helped put that smile on her face.
violinist and his violin
Just weeks before this young violinist headed to Toronto to attend music school, I had the chance to photograph Royce. An accomplished musician already, Royce is looking toward a promising future. The concentration and dedication that has propelled him this far seems to be revealed in his expression.
a photographer poses with this tripod.
Meet Chris Harris, my friend and teaching partner, on the eve of the publication of his latest book, subtitled ‘A Photographer’s Journey’. I made this photo at one of our workshops and love how it captures his spirit of joy, passion and enthusiasm for life.

3. Impressionistic

trilliums in forest
The forest is a favourite place to visit when the trilliums are blooming. Getting low and using a fisheye lens, I wanted to emphasize the flowers in their forest habitat. A little post processing to add the painterly effect made it come alive.
One of the highlights of our trip to Rome this fall was a visit to the Pantheon, a 2000 year old place of worship. As we walked though this historic building, we felt such a peaceful presence. Although there was a steady stream of visitors, there was a reverent hush. This double exposure of people passing through the building represents to me the journey of so many of the millennia who worshiped here.
impressionistic view of tree and lupines.
In the Bella Coola valley, we found a grassy field filled with lupines. On their own, the tree and lupines made an appealing photo. But, by I twisting my camera as the shutter was open, I was able to create an effect that reminds me of the seasonal cycles.
On a rainy day in October, I saw this beautiful tree on a residential street in North Vancouver. I was drawn by its intense colour and carpet of leaves underneath, like a reflection on the grass. I walked all around the tree, taking a picture every few steps. At home, I combined the 20 images on my computer to create this impressionistic view of autumn.

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