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You haven’t heard from me in a while but I’ve been busy as ever with my camera. Hope you have been well.

Before January gets away from us, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite photos from 2021. It’s a worthwhile but difficult process. For me, the process actually begins in November because for the past decade or so, I’ve created and printed calendars and sent them out to friends, sort of like Christmas cards, just as a fun way to keep in touch through the year. So here are the 13 photos (there’s a cover photo too, of course!) that made it to the calendar.

An apparent tunnel of trees along a Gabriola Island roadway
The Cover photo, leading you into the new year. This is “The Tunnel” on Gabriola Island.
rain clouds approaching land
On the weekend before the Big Rains hit BC in November, I was out at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. A four minute exposure allowed the clouds to trace their path across the sky.
A heavy blanket of clouds over the city of Vancouver, BC
This scene got me out of my seat while travelling home on a BC Ferry. Looking at the city the way incoming ships do, the cloud cover looks threatening but the city can handle that. Taken with my iPhone and printed at home. This print lives on our wall.
A bouquet of tulips turned into art.
Whenever I bring tulips home to my wife, she needs to clarify, “Are these for me or you?” Often my good intentions get sidelined for a while so I can photograph them. That’s what happened here. I photographed these on the kitchen table and rotated the vase several times, then combined the layers in Photoshop.
A tulip curves as it leans out of a vase
This gift of spring had a natural downward gaze which seemed to work out well for the funky old bottle.
fawn lilies growing on the forest floor.
These little beauties appear faithfully every March in a forest nearby. It’s not spring without some photos of these guys. They are honorary members of the family, hanging on the wall where the kids should be!
Rainbow coloured texture in the sky.
No, I didn’t find a plaid rainbow and it’s nobody’s tartan. It’s just the happy result of experimenting with my camera. This is actually a quadruple exposure which resulted in the delightful rainbow effect. The intent of the 4x exposure was to create the frame of blue colour. The rainbow coloured pattern in the sky was the surprise. This is why PLAY is my favourite four-letter word!
Western red cedar and ferns in the forest
The magnificence of the western red cedar and the adoring supporting cast of ferns were my subject here. With slight upward motion of my camera, I wanted to capture the strength of the tree in its natural environment. This image was printed as a four foot canvas for our wall.
forest photo inspired by the art of Emily Carr.
Emily Carr inspired this photo, created with a combination of camera movement and multiple exposure.
Nine o'Clock gun explodes every night in Vancouver
It’s always great to plan a trip to Stanley Park in Vancouver to capture the nightly disturbance of the peace. But it really works best if you pay attention to when the sun goes down so you get the right backdrop for the very bright explosion. Complete details on how to succeed with this shot are here.
impressionistic photo of a garden in Autumn.
Autumn in Monet’s Surrey garden. Oh, you didn’t know that Monet had a garden in Surrey, BC? Neither did I but it sure seemed like his spirit was alive and well in my Nikon to create this impressionistic view. Thanks for the inspiration, Claude.
impressionistic interpretation of a BC coastal scene.
If you know Gabriola Island, you’d know this tree at Drumbeg Park. But if you know Ontario, you might think of the Group of Seven. Well, I did. Another impressionistic interpretation of a BC coastal scene.
A lone tree stands against the oncoming winter.
Hello there, December. Can we be friends?

Thoughts for Photographers

I avoid this process of selecting my favourite photos of the year but make myself go through it anyway. Like medicine, it’s painful and valuable. I have dozens of other images that didn’t make the cut for various reasons and did I make the right choices? In the end, it doesn’t matter as much as the fact that I completed the task and spent some time looking at the images and comparing to previous years. I’m glad to see that my photographic approach changes from year to year, even if only a little. It means I’m growing, learning, reaching out, pushing myself. It’s also the time to plan for continued development. For me, I know I will keep pushing in the direction of impressionistic imagery.

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