2017 - RJ Wilner

2017 Favorites

2017 Photography ~ The Year in Review

The year 2017 has reached it's final day. As a year ends, it's always interesting to look back through my photographic journey for that year, pick out some of my favorite shots, and reflect on all that has transpired in this part of my life.

For this year, it's remarkable how much of what I wrote for my 2016 review could be repeated this year....

  * Most of the images included in this collection of 2017 favorites arose primarily from 2 trips....this year included one to Reelfoot Lake (NW Tennessee) in May, and the second to Ireland in October.

  * I added little to my portfolio that originated in the home state of Missouri. One day trip to HaHaTonka State Park contributed one image to this collection, and I was fortunate to have *just enough* snow appear on Christmas weekend to make a trip to Forest Park (the big city park in St. Louis) and add a few shots to my ongoing 'The Secret Lives of Trees' project. But for the first time in at least a few years, there's not a single image included that was captured on the small lake community where I reside.

The trip to Reelfoot Lake State Park in Tennessee was a long weeked trip in May. It was sort of an impromptu trip as I'd been wanting to pay this one another visit for some time, but hadn't planned anything. But things just sort of fell into place a couple days ahead of leaving. Timing was good at work as we had a bit of a break in projects that impacted other trip plans, and when I looked at the weather forecast, it appeared there would be some interesting conditions over the upcoming few days. Jim Denham, who pretty much 'owns' Reelfoot Lake photographically, managed to join me on Friday evening...a session that started out a little dicey as a rain event passed through the lake late afternoon/early evening. Fortunately, that broke up just enough just prior to sunset that we both managed to snag a few keepers that evening. And I was able to capture a fair number of other keepers for the remainder of the time I spent on the lake. Reelfoot Lake is such a treat to shoot as those are so many cypress trees with their feet planted in the lake itself that have such wonderful personalities, it's almost difficult to not come away with some interesting images.

The trip to Ireland....wow...what to say. I could easily write several extended posts on that trip. What an incredible adventure led by the LightLand&Sea team of John Dunne and Athena Carey. I know Iceland is one of the world's hotspots for photographers to visit these days, but if you replace the 'c' in Iceland with an 'r', I can pretty much guarantee you will enjoy a terrific adventure as well. We made stops with the group in County Kerry & County Waterford with an independent buzz through County Cork as well. The coastline in particular is just amazing. It seems to be one elongated peninsula (called 'Heads') after another forming the most amazing geological 'cul de sacs' that make for some very unique shooting opportunities. Toss in the large array of interesting historical structures and I could easily keep busy for several months just in the areas we visited. It was also an unusual trip in that we just happened to have the good fortune(??) to be there for a OnceEveryFiftyYears weather event when Hurricane Ophelia decided to pay a visit to Ireland...only to be followed up by Tropical Storm Brian several days later. Made for some 'interesting' shooting conditions. While landscape photogs are used to having a 'Plan B' for such occurrences, I think we were probably working on Plan Q by the time the trip ended. But John & Athena did a terrific job of juggling the shooting agenda and finding something for us to shoot. I'm sure they were just about playing a variation of the old '52 Card Pickup' game as they continually shuffled the agenda by the time all was said and done. All in all, it was a VERY unique trip in a number of ways, and as I've been processing shots from the adventure, I've also realized it is probably the single most 'educational' adventure I've had the pleasure to join. I would do it again In.A.Heartbeat.

My most significant accomplishment for the year involved being awarded an Honorable Mention in the category of 'Nature: Trees' for the 2017 International Photography Awards. It was the single entry (of 4 images) I submitted this year. And while in the big picture, such awards aren't 'the stuff of dreams', it is most definitely always an honor, and a bit humbling, to know industry professionals think enough of one's work to give it some recognition. Because I don't think I can say it any better than I did last year, I think I'll sign off by repeating last year's final words.... "To all those with whom I broke bread this year, to those who contributed to my overall growth as a photographer, and to all those who were kind enough to slap a Like button or leave a Comment wherever you may have encountered my work...THANKS!...for being part of the journey."

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