Monday, December 24, 2012

Year in Review-My favorite Photographs

It has become a tradition over the past few years, to take a look back at images I've made during the last 12 months and pull out and revisit some of my favorites.  Sometimes distance in time changes my perspective on a photograph-some I love more, some fall off a bit.  I could be very formal here and pick one per month, but these are my rules and I'll just select my favorites from the past year and be okay with that. 
Sunset on the Reed Farm
I start with a sunset?  Well, yes.  I'm not really a sunset shooter, whatever that is, but I'll get suckered in from time to time if there is something different.  This one was from last winter, barely a crust of snow on the ground and I was out with the lab on a fatbike ride.  The sunset this night was so intense I didn't dare think about sliding the saturation over-if anything, turning it down!  The blue and orange of this evening was almost fake and I had to make a picture of it.
Growlers Snowbike Race-Bearpaw Inn
A long snowy drive took me to White Lake Wisconsin last winter to shoot a snowbike race at the Bear Paw Inn.  Fresh snow and a sunny winter day made this a great day to be in the woods.  The fat bikes had the singletrack ribbon packed and smooth and I even had to do a lap to join in the fun.
Snow Rain and Willow
There were rare occasions when we did have snow last year. On this night it was a sleety snow coming down in sheets making for an interesting image.  I always enjoy something I haven't seen before and was lucky enough to have a camera at the ready.
Centered Polar Plunge Girl
 Polar plunges are target rich photography environments and I always try to attend one when I can-as a photographer!  Plungers hitting the freezing water will almost always yield interesting expressions.
Jeff's Beard
Jeff is a Special Olympian and top plunge fun raiser.  He had a great "entering the water" shot, but I liked this portrait of him better.
Crusty Fatbike Ride
I call this post "my Favorites" of the year, not the "best-of" (as in photographs) because I didn't want to judge on strictly photographic rules.  Shadow pictures can be cliché, but I just plain liked this one-good texture, not a bad subject and a time and place I enjoyed.
Wedges Creek Ride
 Even Ansel Adams applied tricks in the darkroom, so I didn't feel too bad about using a yellowing filter on this shot. I liked the low angle perspective having my small camera balancing on a river rock brought to this scene.
Self Portrait with Coffee
This photograph was taken while sitting in a blind overlooking a marsh on a waterfowl shoot.  Darkness hadn't yet lifted, so in the quiet I waited and enjoyed a cup of coffee.  Quiet and coffee can be so good sometimes.
Hoodie Drake
Of all the waterfowl shots I managed, this may have been my favorite.  Not loud splashy color like Wood Ducks, but more subtle brown and gold.  he was resting or contemplating his next move on another male and female who were out of frame.
Honkers in Spring Buds

Sometimes you get lucky.  I was out on a spring turkey hunt on a nearby farm and a pair of canadian geese got up-my gun was shouldered and I had a long lens handy and kept firing as they circled and flew off.  I was surprised how crisp the birds turned out while panning with them.  A keeper image for me this year.
I had a lot of "Spashy Woodies" pics, but liked this one with the reflection in the water.  Maybe not the best composition, but it's at least something to show for hours in the blind.
Young Buck
Way too bright, but when you shoot into the early morning happens.  This young buck approached up wind of me, couldn't quite figure out what I was and circled a few times offering this pose in the clover field.  Spring is here.
Maybe the most exciting experience I had last summer was tagging along on a wolf monitoring project.  I'd tracked a bunch during the winter and followed several while biking, but this was a chance to be hands on and personal.  Great care is taken in handling the animal and tons of data is recorded before attaching a collar and sending him on his way.  6 months later, he's still out there sending signals.
Summer-Sturtz Prairie
I love seeing the prairie change throughout the year-always beautiful in so many ways.  The flowers blooming isn't a bad time to wander around with a camera.  Toss in a sunrise and some ground fog and one might just make a good picture.
Levis Photo Shoot
An advertising firm selected "my" trail as the backdrop for a photoshoot of Arctic cat ATVs and gave me a chance to see the "pros" in action.  It was fun to see them work and some of their techniques and they go about capturing the very best of a location.
Biker Dudes
Nothing about photography-just a travel picture of two friends on the road.
Morning in the Bog
Quiet Fog
Grand landscapes are fine, but sometimes I think I like the smaller ones, the quieter places and it  doesn't get much more peaceful than a northern Wisconsin floating bog lake.
UP River and Falls
So from "quiet" to loud and the rush of water on the Presque Isle River in Northern Michigan-yeah, the rock is pretty amazing and it's almost overwhelming to find the right things to shoot.
Fire Chief
A cool (ha) visual effect of a long lens flattening distance.  The Neillsville Fire Chief stand watch over a prairie fire, keeping an eye on the burn progress.
Fireman Chuck
One of the volunteer fireman at the prairie fire-and the stories he can tell....and did.
Colored Tunnel
Fall, my favorite time of year-almost too much color?  I'll take it-too bad one can't capture the smell as well-this was a perfect fall day with shotgun cradled and black lab scouring cover for birds.
Quick Drink
Tom and Olds
I did a photoshoot of an old car for my friend Tom.  He's a car and race nut, so the location on an old abandoned race track in Black River Falls was perfect.  The native grasses are trying to reclaim it and are pretty successful.
The annual homecoming parade will always find me with camera in hand.  of the hundreds of photographs I took, I kept coming back to this one-a happy innocent they should be.
Northfield Sunset
Not a grand sunset like my first picture, but a subtle one looking up across a tall grass prairie.  Pretty darn simple, but for an unknown reason to me, it's a favorite.
Lake Placid Birch
I'm not sure this will pass the test of time or not, but something in me saw a picture as I walked by this tree.  It generated some discussion on a facebook page-good banter and feedback to be sure.  I know Douglas Beasley had some influence on me or I'd walk past such a simple, not-quite perfect subject.

So I went was over my year limit here in selecting these photographs-oh well, they are images I enjoy and for me, that is the reason for making pictures...not money, certainly not fame but rather the sheer satisfaction of seeing things maybe others miss or at the least, seeing something that captures my attention and I find interesting.