It has become a tradition for many photographers to publish their favorite photos of the year. I embrace this tradition because it helps me review my photography for the year and also is a good way to introduce new images to my followers. I have included some background information for each image below as well as why it was chosen. These images are published in chronological order so the order is not any indication of my preference for a particular image. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed shooting them!
It is rare for the Seattle area to have a large snow storm, but in February we had several inches accumulate. When I woke up to this winter wonderland, I decided to visit my favorite tree at the Seattle Arboretum. I named another image of this tree “Dancing Tree” so I decided to name this one “Dancing in the Snow”. It was a beautiful sight to see, but it did not last very long. The next day most of the snow had melted.
Dancing in the Snow
Seattle can be a bit dreary in the wintertime so we like to travel to sunnier climates for a break. In March we visited Hawaii and the weather was great. We stayed with a friend in Honolulu for several nights and one day we visited Waimea Botanical Garden on the North Shore of Oahu. I love to photograph at botanical gardens because the plants are so well taken care of and you can often find very unusual species. This is a spider lily. I think it almost looks like an abstract painting. Mother Nature is such a wonderful artist!
I like to shoot abstract images whenever the opportunity presents itself. One of my favorite places to find abstract images are marinas. While I was in Honolulu I spent an afternoon shooting at the Ala Moana Marina. This marina is near several high rise hotels which were reflected in the water with the yachts. The ripples in the water created some interesting abstract designs.
Marina Reflections V
In May and June we traveled to Scotland and England. Our first stop on this trip was Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland. One evening I walked up to the top of Calton Hill which has a wonderful view of the city. This was the view after sunset when the lights came on. In the distance you can see Edinburgh Castle on top of the hill and just to its right is the clock tower of the Balmoral Hotel. The monument in the foreground is a memorial to Dugald Stewart, a Scottish philosopher.
After Edinburgh we spent several nights in Glasgow. One of the highlights of our trip there was a visit to the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. During the 19th century, Glasgow was a major ship building center and the second largest city in the UK. The botanic garden was founded during this period of prosperity and they built several large hot houses to display their extensive botanical collections. This image is looking up at the roof of Kibble Palace. The foliage visible around the roof are tree ferns imported from New Zealand.
Kibble Palace Roof
After Glasgow we drove up to the Inner Hebrides Islands and took a ferry to the Isle of Mull. At the far west of Mull is the Isle of Iona. This small island is called the cradle of Christianity in Great Britain because St. Columba first came here from Ireland in his quest to spread Christianity to Scotland in the 6th century. Iona is on the western edge of the Inner Hebrides and is physically very close to Ireland. The monastery flourished from the 6th to the 9th centuries when it was attacked and pillaged by Viking raiders. In the 12th century, it once again became an important Christian center after the Vikings were banished, but was once again abandoned after the Scottish reformation. This current building was rebuilt in the 20th century, and while not ancient one can still feel the history of this place.
On our trip to Scotland we ventured up to the Orkney Islands which are located above the northern tip of the Scottish Highlands. These are the Stones of Stenness which are thought to date back to 3100 BC in the neolithic age. While their original purpose is not known, scholars believe they were used as a ceremonial site similar to Stonehenge and most likely predate Stonehenge by several centuries. I thought it was interesting that sheep were allowed to graze near this very important archaeological site. I like the setting sun peeking through the clouds in this image.
Stones of Stenness Sunset
I am always looking for interesting abstract designs. This is lichen I found growing on a standing stone in the Ring of Brodgar on the Orkney Islands. These standing stones are more than 2,500 years old so one could wonder how old the lichen is. Perhaps the lichen is not very old, but it does make you wonder. I like this abstract design created by Mother Nature.
After touring around Scotland I flew down to London and spent several nights in England’s capital. One evening I walked from Trafalgar Square down to London Bridge. This is a view of Whitehall from Trafalgar Square with Big Ben in the distance. I used a long shutter speed for this shot which created some motion blur of the bus in the foreground. I think this image captures the feeling of London.
Whitehall & Big Ben
Whenever I am traveling I like to shoot iconic places because everyone recognizes them. This is Tower Bridge which is one of London’s most iconic scenes. Many people think this is London Bridge, but London Bridge is next to the Parliament Buildings. This bridge is called Tower Bridge because it is near the entrance to the Tower of England. I waited until well after sunset to capture the illuminated bridge against a dark blue twilight sky. I like the illumination along the river promenade as a frame.
Twilight Tower Bridge
Autumn is always a great time for photography. When the colors were at their peak I visited Kubota Japanese Garden in Seattle. These are some autumn leaves I found there. I like the selective focus of this shot. The leaves in the foreground are so sharp you can see every water drop, but the background is pleasantly out of focus.
I am a big fan of trees and I found a wonderful one at Kubota Garden this year. I decided to name this image “Reaching For Heaven” because it looks like it is doing just that. I just love these twisted branches with the autumn foliage and the pond in the background.
Reaching for Heaven
Happy New Year! Wishing you the Best in 2018. I hope our paths may cross!