Photography Year in Review ~ 2020

'Photography ~ The Year in Review'...has become a something of a common annual exercise for many photographers, myself included. And many photographers tend to focus on selecting their 'Top 10' for the year...which I had also done for a number of years.

But like I've done the last couple years, and because I've grown weary of having a contest with myself to  select a 'Top 10',  I'm going down a bit of a different path this year. In this year of the covid-19 pandemic with long distance travel being pretty much a no go, similar to my 2019 Yr In Review, I'm going to focus on the 'experiences' that led me to go out and photograph locally, and include images related to those experiences. And rest assured, there will be more than 10. :D 

All in all, it's been a very productive year, I think. And in some ways, more adventurous than many in that, rather than traveling to some far off land with a pre-conceived notion of what I wanted to shoot, this year I've spent quite a bit of time & energy working out of my 'comfort zone'. I should probably do more of that in years to come.

So, let's get this 'Best of..' thing out of the way at the top. Both these images were random 'shoot it or miss it' opportunities. They don't relate to any particular activity/experience other than Mother Nature dropping them on my plate as if to say...'Let's see what you can do with this scene, sucker''. And I do think these would be amongst my top images for the year. Perhaps even more interesting is the story of rather extreme weather events that have at least some correlation to the year's 'stormy' pandemic event.
Sidebar: The image on the right (the 'shelf cloud'...I think) was an iPhone capture...a first mobile device capture to be included in my annual review.

The pair below arose from an all too infrequent group event early in the year prior to the pandemic forcing lockdown measures to be taken across the USA. It was a class hosted by a local pro to the Missouri Botanical Garden's annual orchid show. A group of 12-15(?) of us had the show to ourselves one evening.

I came away with more 'keepers' in that 40x80ft(?) display room over a couple hour span than I ever have in any other similarly sized space(s) with these 2 providing me a particularly Zen like vibe.

    And 2 more from the only other group event(s) in which I was able to participate this year. These captured while participating in a couple different PhotoFlood STL sessions. The 'window' image was captured during the 'flood' (how members refer to the event) in Hermann, MO, and the 'fence' image during the Franz Park session in St. Louis city.

    The window image intrigued me for the contrast between the very formal lines of the man made portions of the structure vs the very random organic lines of the bit of flora on the left. 

    The fence image has pandemic implications for me in that the fence represents the pandemic that allows a view of only a sliver of life 'how we used to know it'.

    For more 'flood' info, see the above link, or this one, to a collection of all the PhotoFlood images I've submitted as candidates in the resulting article associated with each event.

    The year 2020 was great for project work. I was able to add a couple images to my ongoing 'Silent Stories' project and several to the 'Ferns' project. And have pretty much flushed out a new 'Slilvers' series that should be ready to publicize in the near future. And though no images from it are included here, a 'Totems' project is well under way, and may be published not too far into 2021.

    A fun little 'Out My Front Door' event occurred over a couple week span when Mother Nature decided to grace the edge of my yard  with the presence of some 'Jack O' Lantern' mushrooms for the second year in a row. I photographed them for the duration of their initial electric orange presence, when first spotted from my deck, in September, through their eventual decay/demise. The couple included here were captured pretty close to the peek of their growth phase as it turned out. (And no, I did not 'photoshop' in that fact, I toned it down just a tad).

    Over the summer, several noteworthy pro photographers hosted various themed 'creativity challenges'. I participated in a fair number of the challenges and the two below are a couple of my better efforts.

    The image on the left is one of my iPad. Our theme for the challenge was the letter T. I was pondering what to shoot one tv watching evening when I noticed the horrible state of the iPad's screen as a light from across the room strafed across it. That state resulting from my 'touch'...I had my entry for the theme.

    The image on the right is also from inside my house. Our theme for this one was 'Light'. And the image turned out to be another 'Unexpected Sighting'. I was pulling dinner out of the oven, and as I rose up, I noticed the reflection of my front yard  through the living room window appearing in the window of the microwave's window/door.

    Another new series of images I've been collecting I'm currently filing under an 'Unexpected Sightings' are those images captured within the 4 walls of my house where sunlight has found its way through a window, or through a slit where the curtains don't completely cover a window, and lands on an unexpected location in that room.

    The 'green' image below was spotted on 'laundry day'. I had stripped my bed of sheets to take their turn in the washer, and after loading them, pulled a load out of the dryer and threw it on the stripped bed. And as I grabbed some hangers for the latter, I noticed the electric green of one tee shirt being reflected off the comforter I'd thrown temporarily on the floor. The light had found it's way through a thin opening in the blackout curtains in the nearest window.

    The 'outlet' image was also in the same bedroom with light again finding its way through the same window and landing on the opposite wall. I never have figured out why it created the little arc.

    I also participated in an afternoon 'creativity workshop' hosted by another local pro that involved creative ways to modify photographs to morph into something else. There were a variety of approaches presented...of which my favorite was giving photos a painterly look. I've worked at turning a number of images into a watercolor look, and think this one of a hummingbird captured off my deck best suited the style.

    And...just because this post isn't long enough already, one last shot. Other than the 'PhotoFlood' excursions, I seldom find my way to a location involving urban subject matter. But discovered this architectural piece in downtown St. Louis in the Old Post Office Plaza. And though the side planned for visitor viewing is covered with stainless steel panels (at least I think they're ss), I found this back side of the structure far more interesting.
    Sidebar: Note this is a color image as captured by the camera...not a processing 'interpretation'.

    Well, obviously I lied. The previous 'one last image' wasn't. :)

    I've been working on this post for a little over a week, and thought I was done. But a rather impromptu trip out a couple days ago for which I had hopes of capturing B&W long exposures with some rather impressive cloud cover in the area resulted in something entirely different. After heading for a couple nearby state parks with the aforementioned in mind, and having that turn out to be a bust, I wound up at a small county park along the (not so) Big River capturing this abstract in late (for winter) afternoon sunlight.

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