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Selecting favourite images from a year of photography

For some painful reason, each January I inflict myself with the task of choosing my favourite images from the past 12 months. I try to convince myself that it’s useful to go through my collection, clean it up and throw a lot out. But the task of choosing 12 out of 30000 is not easy. My worst fears check in: what if they’re no good? Have I seen growth from the previous year? And there is a useful part: what do I need to work on for the next 12 months? After a while, making the choices is almost like throwing them at the wall and the closest one wins.

And what a year to choose from! Travels to Peru, Ireland, Wales and Scotland and Vancouver Island added to the collection. Part of the 30000 images were photos done for clients and family. I decided to leave those out and just focus on the images I made for enjoyment.

So, after hours of narrowing down, I chose to share one photo from each month. My criteria for doing this has evolved from last year. Each photo must:

  • have an emotional connection for me. I know that if I don’t care about it, you sure won’t.
  • make the usual appear unusual. That’s my photographic mantra: find unusual ways to portray what we usually see.
  • include an element of story. Without a meaningful story behind the picture, how can it be a meaningful picture?

OK, so here we go.

Vancouver Convention centre reflected at sunrise
January: My wife and I were staying at a fancy hotel in Vancouver for her birthday weekend. Early one morning, the iconic Five Sails at Canada Place appeared as a reflection in the convention centre nearby. Good morning!
February: A great month for indoor photography! Some tulips from the local grocery store and my light table allowed for some creative photography.
merganser paddling with head down.
March: Bird photography has become a new interest this year. This common merganser, while foraging below for a snack, created an uncommon view.
young girl with alpaca in Peru.
April: On an unforgettable trip to Peru, our group paused to visit some roadside vendors, high in the mountains. After purchasing a beautiful handmade Alpaca sweater, I had the chance to photograph this little cutie.
Two sandhill cranes look after young
May: A resident pair of Sandhill Cranes at Reiffel Bird Sanctuary in Delta attended to their young hatchling (about 12 hours old) while waiting for the second egg to hatch. Sadly, the second egg didn’t hatch. This little youngster was amazingly active around the nest at such a young age, keeping Mom and Dad quite busy.
Old man with beard and tall hat.
June: At a workshop on portraiture in Drumheller with Dave Brosha, I was able to photograph Lothar, who guides tourists each night and tells ghost stories. What a great character he is!
Edinburgh castle
July: After three weeks in Ireland, Liverpool, Wales and Scotland, how do I choose just one image? I loved Edinburgh and this is the famous castle, right in the centre of town. The viewpoint here emphasizes the castle’s strategic location as a military stronghold on the highest point in the city. 
impressionistic view of apple orchard.
August: While co-teaching our 7-day workshop in Bella Coola with Chris Harris, I made this image in the apple orchard. Using the multiple exposure setting on my camera, I made 10 images while moving the camera slightly to create the impressionistic effect.
curious bear sniffing the air.
September: While exploring northern Vancouver Island, we took a tour to Bute Inlet to observe the bears feasting on the salmon. This one, about 4 years old, paused from his meal and seemed to be using his nose to curiously check us out.
Old pilings in river with sunset
October: A trip down River Road in Ladner led to the discovery of these old pilings, standing erect for decades like sentries. As the sun went down with Vancouver Island in the background, the colours and reflections created a beautiful scene.
paddler in kayak
November: While working in Fort Langley with a group of photography students, we spotted this kayaker paddling quickly toward us. Run! to get into position. Lying on the dock and holding my camera just above the water’s surface, I made this image. The mist on a fall day, the low perspective, the movement in his paddle and the intensity of his gaze made it all come together for me.
frozen water drops in a forest scene
December: This image was my Christmas gift! The day after a light snowfall, the sun shone brightly and caused much of the snow to come dripping down from the branches above. While focused on a frozen, sun sparkled twig, the water drops and wash of forest colours created a beautiful effect for my camera. 
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