This year, following a practice from the excellent photographer Martin Bailey (and introduced to me on the Photo Taco podcast), I've attempted to select my top ten photographs of the last year. This is more of a exercise in honest self-evaluation than anything else, forcing the photographer to exclude many photos they may otherwise be quite happy with in the pursuit of identifying only the very best.
I certainly don't take as many images throughout the year as some photographers, so I thought this task would be a bit easier for me than others, but it did turn out to be more difficult than expected. The initial run through, flagging the potential picks wasn't so bad, but that yielded around 30 images. Culling out another 20 after that was tough. Ultimately, I selected the below 10 images (in order of capture date, not preference) and my reasoning as to why I chose them. For those of you that follow my blog, you'll know I took a trip to Italy last September, so naturally many of the included images are from my time there.
Winter Sunrise, Round Lake
I rousted myself out of bed way too early when I saw the colorful sunrise outside my bedroom windows and rushed down the road from my house to the nearby Round Lake boat launch on Rt. 9. Despite my quick action, I was the second photographer there with several more arriving within the next 15 minutes. The red and orange of the morning sky combined with the cool purple and blue of the frozen lake made for a wonderful palette, with the foreground focus, an old tree stump stubbornly holding its ground, jutting through the ice like a surfacing submarine.
Jaguar Hood Ornament
Sometimes the photos I enjoy the most aren't necessarily the most awe-inspiring or best selling, and I debated whether or not to include this one on my top ten list. However, the simple subject, color palette, and narrow focus made for one of my personal favorites from the year.
I took this photo in my village on a secluded back street. It's a simple floral but I liked this image for the sharp focus yet narrow depth of field.
La Norcineria, Florence
This photo was taken from inside La Norcineria, an old market in Florence specializing in meats (especially cured ones like prosciutto). For the most part I'm happy with the composition, but I especially like the lighting. Usually such a stark difference in white balance between natural and artificial light in a scene is not desired, but I thought the pinkish hue from the fluorescent bulbs worked to highlight the the flesh tones of the various meats.
Palazzo Vecchio at Dusk
This image of the Palazzo Vecchio was taken from a side street, viewing the structure from behind. For me, the mix of golden incandescent light combined with the blue cast of dusk really captured what it was like to walk around Florence as the evening set in.
Sunset, Agriturismo Podere Cunina
This image was taken at the agriturismo where we stayed in Tuscany on a gorgeous evening. The fiery sky and rolling hills behind the old farm building really shows in a single image what it's like to witness a peaceful sunset in the Tuscan countryside.
Morning Chat, San Quirico d'Orcia
This photo was easier for me to choose as one of my favorites. I took this in San Quirico d'Orcia in the mid-morning on a weekend. People we're just starting to get going for the day, mostly congregated around a nearby café. I imagined these three older Italian men chatting was part of a routine many years old. I think the American equivalent are the old timers on their respective barstools at a diner each morning for breakfast.
This scene of Vitaleta Chapel on the road between San Quirico d'Orcia and Pienza felt like the perfect place for a black and white image. The stark contrast of the trees against the tan countryside and the texture present in the potentially threatening storm clouds really lent themselves to the format. I'm looking forward to printing this one up on some nice bright paper to see how it holds up on a physical medium.
Un Segno dal di Sopra
Italian for "A Sign from Above", this shot was also taken from the agriturismo where we stayed. The weather was spotty all day, but towards the evening this often made for a much more stunning scene than completely clear or cloudy skies would've alone.
Red Bianchi, Pienza
This last photo I snapped while walking around some of the back streets of Pienza. This beautiful vintage Bianchi was leaned up against the wall waiting for its owner to return. The composition is very simple, but for me exuded a calm relaxation.