I am writing this on New Year's Eve and it is the perfect time to sort through this year's photos for the ones that stood out. I chose these 20 images for various reasons, not the least of which was reflecting on the experience. Each year, I notice more of a slant toward urban images, but I still like to head out for some grand landscapes and street photos too. In no particular order, let's take a look at the top photos of 2019! [Camera friends can click through to the image files to see the settings, etc.]
This image of the reflections in the Venice Grand Canal is probably one of my best all-time favorite photos. Taken in the mid-day sun, it also is proof that good pictures can be taken at anytime. On a visit during Carnevale, I was simply enjoying walking through the city not thinking too much about photos since the light was very harsh. But when we reached this gondola docking point, the yellow building reflection had this curvy dynamic in the water and so well-framed by the boats.
Walking back from a night photography event, I noticed how the Zakim bridge showed just under the Green line T overpass. Adding to the image are the reflection in Charles River and North Point Park in the mid-ground. Grounded by the iron railing, this is one of my favorite Boston images.
Keeping with the night theme, I like the way these star trails came out around the Desert Tower at the Grand Canyon. This was one of my last attempts of the evening, which wasn't going so well. I just couldn't seem to capture anything very interesting. Sitting on a rock, I setup my gear for the trails and it was only after I put it together later did I appreciate the way it came together. I warped the stars a bit and left in the intersecting plane trails.
Back in Boston, this is the iconic skyline shot from Fan Pier but I one of my best versions. It was late blue hour with the building lights on including the Custom House. The reflections were strong in the relatively still water. I used the iron chain to frame the left side while including a group of pilings to offset the right corner.
Changing pace a bit, these are two of my favorite costume photos from Carnevale in Venice, Italy. Despite the crowds, I was fortunate to meet this unicorn on the Rialto Bridge who graciously moved down to the side so the bridge would be in the background. Death and the angel of mercy were at St. Mark's Square. I like the way his head is under an arch and the background columns while their contrasting outfits completely fit the scene.
Capturing the grandeur of the Grand Canyon was not easy in one image, but I think this one does it as well as any of my others. It was just after sunset when the shadows of the canyon rocks created gradients from top to bottom. I cloned out dozens of people on the foreground ledge but wanted to include it to show the massive scale.
Being locked in the East Coast, this dam in Page, Arizona fascinated me with the dramatic height difference in the Colorado River. Here, I tried to match the lights of the dam with the ambient light in blue hour while smoothing out the water and showing some motion in the clouds over the desert landscape.
Ok, this was technically taken at the end of 2018, but I did not process it until this year so I think it still qualifies. Again, it's the iconic corner at Prince and Salem in Boston's North End with a twist of a car trail at night. It had just rained so the street had a nice sheen to it.
A quick jaunt to the Cape with the Boston Camera Club coincided with this glorious sunset.The tide goes out so far at Rock Harbor Beach creating these out of world sand patterns.
One of New York City's newest landmarks, The Vessel, with stairs to nowhere. This was tricky to photograph since no tripods are allowed in the area. Fortunately, I had to move back anyway to get in the whole structure and building in back. I climbed up to the top where the views are fun too. I liked how the colors and artistic structure really stood out at night.
This was a shot years in the making. The members of the St. Anthony society have wanted to see this view for a while, but I could never find the right rooftop. Finally, for the 100th Anniversary of the feast, it all came together. It was all a little crazy with thousands of people, but that also helped make the image.
I have many Boston skyline images from this year, but this one stood out from the Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Not only can you spot some gravestones in the foreground, but the trees still have some nice Fall color matching the sunset light on the buildings.
The area around the 9/11 memorial and Freedom Tower in NYC has really come together well. It is still an emotional experience to visit there all these years later. This was a long exposure shot where a couple moved in and out, just long enough to leave their ghostly figures in front of the memorial.
Last January, I escaped the Northeast to visit my cousin in Florida. We drove over to Sanibel Island to see the lighthouse which wasn't that impressive, but when paired with a palm tree and cotton candy sky, it's not so bad.
The new light show at the Rose Kennedy Greenway rings fountain is a colorful sight. I think it looks best at blue hour when the city lights add to the scene. And, nothing says Boston like the Custom House shown here.
We ran into a lion pride, still enjoying breakfast after a kill the night before. You can see this beauty chewing on a bloody bone in this image. Fortunately, she wasn't much interested in our vehicle but did look up long enough to show her beautiful eyes.
The markets in Tana, Madagascar were filled with all the latest technology! Typewriters were popular along with sewing machines and calculators. What was great about this guy was how his hair matched the background.
Our group waited a long time for these elephants, but it was worth it! It was the dry season in October so the animals have to eventually come to the water at this time of year. What I most enjoyed about watching the elephants was the family structure. Like many African parks, elephant populations have grown dramatically here, which is often stretching the water and plant resources.
It was worth getting up early for sunrise one morning in Morondova, Madagascar to capture the landscape of the baobab trees against the horizon. I almost missed this shot as the sun was moving up quickly, but my driver was able to stop the vehicle on the side of the road just as the sun passed through the cloud. My favorite part of this image is the little bird sitting on top of the baobab tree.
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