2017

March has become April, the weather has continued to be rather grim here in DC, and my camera has not been nearly as active as I'd like it to be. This has led to a good bit of creative reflection on my last year behind the camera, and post that has been more than a little bit overdue.

A Reflection

By any metric, 2017 was my most fulfilling yet as a photographer. Among other things, I...

  • Took photos in 9 different states (FL, GA, IL, MD, ME, NJ, SC, TX, and VA), as well as DC
  • Stepped foot in, and pressed my cameras' shutters in 4 countries outside of the states(UK, Iceland, France, and Spain).
  • Released for free, a good number of photos on Unsplash, with some very good results.
  • Partnered with a couple of close friends to launch 202 Photos, a family-centric portrait & lifestyle photographic collective.
  • Embarked on a major revamp of this website.
  • Worked collaboratively on a DC-centric photography project.

What follows are a few of my favorite images from 2017. They each have some sort of story behind them, and I hope speak to my strengths as a photographer.

Bahía de La Concha

 Taken from Monte Urgull in San Sebastián, Spain on October 9, 2017.

Taken from Monte Urgull in San Sebastián, Spain on October 9, 2017.

This photo was my favorite thing I captured in 2017, and it speaks to everything that I loved about San Sebastián. It was taken mid-day during a hike up Monte Urgull. The pastel colors evoke the calm, relaxing vibe of the city, and the beautiful, delicate nature of the cuisine. The rolling mountains that fade into the background make the city feel apart from time and space, as if it lives in another world. I implore anyone and everyone to visit the city, and experience a true gem.

Bay Bridge

 Taken from Sandy Point Beach in Chesapeake Bay, MD on February 11.

Taken from Sandy Point Beach in Chesapeake Bay, MD on February 11.

Early in 2017, Sandy Point beach was among the first photographic excursions of the year. We hoped to capture a sunset, but the clouds didn't cooperate. Instead, the sky faded from day to dusk with an incredible gradient of blue and purple. I pulled myself from my comfort zone to deploy a tripod for a longer exposure, and was lucky to find, that not only was I able to capture the details of the bridge, the beautiful colors of the sky, but also the twinkling reflection of one of the bridge's lights on the bay.

Photographer & Horse

 Taken in Rangarvallasysla, Iceland on February 19.

Taken in Rangarvallasysla, Iceland on February 19.

Iceland was a beautiful country to have a camera in. It is unlike just about anywhere else in the world, and it's no wonder that so many photographers flock here every year. This image was particularly special, as it came after a long day of being chased by fog and drizzle. As our group made its way back across the Southern coast to Reykjavík, we decided to make a pit stop to photograph some of the beautiful Icelandic horses or "puppies" as Erica (pictured) called them. The combination of the contrasting subjects one either side of the frame, as well as the intersecting lines of the environment brought a certain visual interest to the scene that I was looking for, and the day's weather gave me a color palette and mood that spoke to our experience.

Alice Smith & Citizen Cope

 Taken from the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC on June 17.

Taken from the Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC on June 17.

I've always admired photographers that were able to capture emotion and atmosphere at live events. I've not had the opportunity to practice in these types of environments that I'd like, but a free concert in the National Portrait Gallery's Kogod Courtyard gave me the perfect opportunity. I snapped quite a few images of both Alice Smith, and the headliner, Citizen Cope, but this image of the two spoke to the emotions that they share. The joy of two people that love to perform, performing with the one that they love was infectious. I think this moment, a shared looked stolen between verses, captures these two performers in the perfect moment.

Bass Harbor Light

 Taken in Bass Harbor, ME on August 3.

Taken in Bass Harbor, ME on August 3.

This image was pulled from my Mainecation story, and speaks not only to moment it was captured itself, but to the process of finding this image within the capture. The evening in question, we had hoped to watch the sunset over the water near the Bass Harbor Light. When we arrived, we found, both a tide that was uncooperative, but also a larger crowd of fell sunset-enjoyers had joined us. I made snapped a few images, but decided to mostly just enjoy the moment, and ignore that we had not quite gotten what we hoped for photographically. Once home, I found, that rather than an underexposed, worthless image, I instead had captured a gorgeously dramatic pink sky contrasted with a dark, dramatic foreground surrounding the Bass Harbor Light. I was amazed at the detail I was able to pull out what I thought was a ruined image.

Eclipse

 Taken from my back patio in Alexandria, VA on August 21.

Taken from my back patio in Alexandria, VA on August 21.

On August 21st, in the the United States, we were treated to a rare treat: an eclipse! I had not planned on taking any photographs of the event, as DC was only going to about 81% of the way to totality. On the fateful day, however, I decided last minute to fashion an extra pair of eclipse glasses into a makeshift camera filter. I had no expectation of getting a usable photo, but decide to take a photo every 10 minutes or so leading up to the eclipse. I could not have been happier to discuss that my amateurish rig worked, and worked about as well as I might've hoped. The series gave me the opportunity to experiment with creating the composite series that you see above.

Holiday on Bond

 Taken from Bond Street in London, England on December 12.

Taken from Bond Street in London, England on December 12.

My final selection from 2018 is from a December evening in London. It was my first time visiting the city during the festive season, and this image was a perfect encapsulation of the evening. While I could point to the iconic doubledecker buses, the busy shoppers on the sidewalks, or the brightly lit storefronts, instead I'll never forget the lighting displays. A challenge to photograph, and a beauty to see, these lights were everywhere. This particular composition stuck with me, as the lit globes appear over the foreground, and eventually converge into a sea of light in the background.

Looking Ahead

I'm very proud of all my photographic output for the year, but I can't help but be greedy to do more. I'd like to challenge myself to find new subjects, new stories, and a unique perspective to photograph. As look ahead, some personal goals for 2018 will include things like...

  • Learning how to use and control light from artificial sources to enhance my photography of people and objects/products.
  • Take more photos of the mundane; the moments and bits of light that happen every day, and are worth capturing.
  • Adding something new to my creative repertoire. I enjoy the "story" format for my travelogues, but I'd like for at least some of my photography to be a little less driven by linear story, and more by something abstract or intentional.
  • Continue the hard work of improving my criticality over my own work, and only sharing those things that deserve to be shared.

These goals are pretty lofty, so I don't expect to get "all the way there" with them. I do hope though, that this time next year, I can write a similar post, with a similar happiness with my output, and a whole new set of areas to improve.