As December rolls to a close, it’s time for me to peruse the 18794 new exposures that appeared on my RAID drive this year and pick my favourites. After much humming and hawing, I’ve narrowed it down to the 14 pictures seen here and in the new “Best of 2018” gallery I’ve just posted. Some of these are genuinely good photos (at least in my opinion) and others are included because they represent a milestone or some particularly happy memory from the year.
A few things pop out at me as I look at the collection. The first, and I’ve been noting this increase for a few years now, is that the number of portraits has finally reached more than 50% with 7 of these images containing faces. The older I get, the more I enjoy photographing people and I suspect this trend will continue.
The second, which again I’ve been aware of for a few years, is that my HDR use is definitely tailing off. Only two of these images used HDR techniques and both were processed in such a way that you shouldn’t be able to tell. I’m doing a lot less “arty processing” than I used to do and am moving towards feature and documentary images.
With a compression ratio this high, cutting 18000+ frames down to 14, I really couldn’t do justice to everything I’ve shot this year. Our NxNW trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park yielded many images I love, certainly very much more than the two that feature here, and I shot plenty of motor racing images that I considered including before selecting only the one from ARX weekend that appears above. One of the photographic highlights of the year, shooting the North Hays County Fire Rescue calendar, yielded two images in this collection but could easily have added a dozen, and my take from shooting the UT Longhorn Band easily provided me with 40 or 50 shots that deserve their own album. Maybe I’ll get round the building these some time over the holiday?
The two panoramic images here that represent photographic milestones for me. The image of the original Pieous and Pie-e-tea restaurants was shot as a gift to the owners when them moved to their new location this past summer. It’s the first example of a large, multi-frame light-painting that I’ve done (it used 50 or so different exposures, each lit with a single strobe then merged in Photoshop) and I’m very happy with the result. The other pano of the Austin skyline was my first attempt at a low light, multi-frame, HDR panorama shot from the Mavic Air drone I bought earlier in the year. If you look at it really closely, you’ll find flaws but it was exciting to see the possibilities that an aerial camera platform can provide and has me fired up to do more with this “toy” in the future. Time to study for my FAA Part 107 commercial drone pilot’s license!
To all the great photographers, assistants and subjects I’ve interacted with this year, thanks! It’s been a good year photographically speaking and I wish everyone an equally good, or even better, 2019.
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