Boy, have I been neglecting this blog. Not sufficiently motivated, I guess. Who visits this blog anyway? Besides, there have always been other tasks that needed completion…
Then, I suddenly find myself in 2015, and it’s the best-of time again! Last year, I chose three; this year, I’ve decided to go for 14 of what I consider were my best of the year. I looked for image quality, naturally, paying special attention to noise level, focus, composition and lighting. However, what I looked for most was perhaps the mood, a feeling, something about the image that touches my heart, and hopefully, the viewer, too.
Last year, all three shots were black-and-white; this year, monochrome still predominates, but because I’ve chosen 14, a few coloured shots found their way to the collage. Last year, all three photos had people in them; this year, you’ll find people in most of them, too. My personal top favourite of this lot, however, is “Vacant”, centre left. Not a soul in sight. The lights were on, but they might as well have been off. The sea to the left looked deceitfully calm. The benches were merely seats for the raindrops. You don’t see any rain falling, but the handrail bears witness to the fact that it had been. The road gently curves into the distance…
Had someone just passed and disappeared into the blackness? Had there been someone, perhaps a couple of lovers, seated on the bench before the rain fell? What was the photographer doing there? …
Below the collage, you can find the Flickr links to the individual shots, should you wish to see the original versions.
So, what about 2015? I’d like to think I’ve been progressing and developing my own style. What do you think? Can you see “me” in each of these photos? Can you detect any progress? The best of 2012 can be seen by following this link, and the best of 2013, this link. I’d been thinking of getting myself a full DSLR, but the money situation is tight so I’m hoping to get my hands on an Olympus 45mm lens instead (equivalent to 90mm full frame), so maybe 2015 will see me delving more into portraits…
If you’re here, why not post a comment? Constructive feedback is welcomed!
To say they’re my “best” shots would be wrong in the sense that I’m no expert and that judgement is best left to some others, so rather than “best”, perhaps “favourite” is a more apt word. It wasn’t easy to decide and I relied on Facebook friends to help me with the choice. In the end, I settled on these three.
On number three, Tormented“. Photos reflect real life, not just smiley poses and this one packs, for me, emotion. What emotion the subject is displaying is best left to the imagination of the viewer. The focus and lighting are to my liking. Even though this photo was from a shoot, this particular one came out rather candid.
“Looking in” is my choice for number two. As with most of my favourite photos, this was a case of being in the right place at the right time. I was walking along with the camera in my hand when this vision just sprang up at me, begging to be shot. I brought the camera to my eyes, and snapped. Just the one click. I was afraid that the subject would notice and might have thought me a weirdo or something… In retrospect, perhaps I should have risked it and tried different framing and angles…
My favourite of 2013 is “Composing“; quite a simple shot, really. It was at a surprise party. The subject is not a photography enthusiast, but had been asked to take some photos because the owner of the camera would be too busy with hosting the event. It was a very sunny day, I remember, and I just happened to be near the subject, in the shade, and thought, wow, this is perfect. Up came the camera, and clicked it went.
Those of you who follow me in the social media scene will have been aware that I’ve been doing Project366, snapping at least a photo a day for the whole year. I’m proud to say that I didn’t fail a single day. It had been fun, but, at times, somewhat stressful.
So, to commemorate the completion of the project, I decided to choose my own favourites out of the 1000+ images from the year’s output – not an easy task. I originally thought of 3, but, in the end, opted for 6. That was yesterday. Today, I woke up, started working on this blog and decided against the devil’s number 😉 and added 1 more to the list. This is, after all, my 7th blog, so it seems fitting to have 7 as the magic number. I was just going to post my selection to Facebook; then, I thought to myself what better time to start a photo blog than now? It had been on my mind for a while.
I started the project with a point-and-shoot, a cheap, but excellent, Panasonic DMC-FS62, but I grew increasingly frustrated by the lack of control I had over it. In October, I splashed out and bought myself a birthday present, a Panasonic DMC-G3 with the 14-42mm kit lens. Unfortunately, a couple of weeks later, I knocked over the lightweight tripod I had the camera on, and broke the flimsy plastic mount. 😦
I had little choice but to buy another lens as though I had money to throw! Still, what use is a body without a lens? I opted for a prime lens: Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm f1.4 ASPH. I’ll have to admit that I’m a little biased in my final selection of favourites – they were all taken in the period October to November, with this new mirrorless camera.
I would love to know which your favourites are. You can see them here. Look at the sets of Project366 plus the sets Seville and IH CLIC; you can also include the Las Palmas and the Aula10 sets.
So, here is the list…
It’s a simple shot, but it captures my melancholic mood well. You can almost feel the autumn sun, and the lone green optimism tries to tower itself over the multitude of oranges and browns.
I stumbled upon a wedding in Seville, and I thought this lady looked so classy. The original photo had the face very much in shadows, so it underwent a fair bit of post-processing. I love the style and the colours.
Another lady. This was a student of mine. I like this photo a lot and I thought she looked beautiful; however, she herself didn’t. She thought her hair was horrible, she looked tired, etc. At the risk of enduring her fury, this is here to tell her to stop putting herself down all the time.
This was taken in darkness, but with the lights flashing in through the window from the bypass beyond. In spite of the fast 1.4 aperture, I still find it difficult to get enough bokeh; the one here is one of the rare moments I got almost what I was looking for.
It gets tougher. This one has been steadily growing on me. I like the symmetry, the bokeh, and the colours capture the essence of the cold precision of high technology.
I have to admit I have a very soft spot for this one. It just about failed to make the top spot, losing out on technical merit. Hatty herself gave the impression that she didn’t like it, but diplomatically remained silent until I asked her outright, to which she brushed it aside, mumbling ‘sad’ or words to that effect. But, that’s precisely the beauty of this image. What I love about it is the melancholia it exudes – reminds me of the sadness Marilyn Monroe gave out. I love the contrasting light, the shadows blending with her dress, and the sunlight highlighting her blond curls. I remember how strong the sunshine was that early October day, and she was squinting against it. Perhaps it was just the light; perhaps it was something deeper inside her which made me fell in love with this creation.
This is the one I finally chose over the rest, rightly or wrongly. This was taken on 14th October when my heart was in several different places all at once. I remember walking along this bridge, Puente de Isabel II, with my son, and looking at these locks, looking for the right ones to photograph. I remember the light was gorgeous, and I said to myself ‘Here is the perfect chance for me to take a damn good shot. Yes, I can. And I will’. I’d been struggling – and still am – with the focus even though people generally rave about it on the G3. I’d taken to focussing it manually now, but this was, if I remember correctly, snapped on auto focus, and it came out spot-on.
Even though I was using the LUMIX G VARIO 14-42/F3.5-5.6 then, the bokeh of the Guadalquivir River and both the east and west banks came out beautifully, in my humble opinion. The red lock adds a striking contrast to the blue river. Even my caption felt right, “locks” being an intended pun.
Beautiful day, beautiful son, beautiful Seville… what was missing?
What do you think? Do you like my choices? I would love to hear from you!