Favorite Five Photographs of 2018

Five to Stay Alive

I have renewed my end of the year custom of choosing my Favorite Five Photographs of the past year. I first did this back in 2009, my first full year as a professional photographer spanning time in Tokyo and Florida. I kept up this custom until 2013. Then there was an absence as things meandered in my life and my business. However, I have reemerged in 2018 with my photo business having had its best year ever, and with a diversity of photos that once again made it very hard to choose just five.

My criteria for choosing are simple:

  1. photos made in the 2018 calendar year (so some great Malibu shots just missed the cut that would have made it otherwise

  2. Only one photo per category

  3. There is something about the photo that appeals to me in a unique way

Below I will post links to all past Favorite Five years. I would really be interested in feedback in the comments on what you think of my 2018 selections, and as compared to my past years’ selections.


category: landscape

Five Favorite Category: LANDSCAPE — The Mittens of Monument Valley, Utah at sunrise

I have long been a fan of classic Western movies, and the cinematography seen in them. The sweeping western views do not get anymore iconic than those of Monument Valley Utah. All my life these mesas were just something of fiction, only a movie set. In 2018 I saw these were in fact real, though no more believable to my eyes even in person such is their stunning presence in an expanse of open desert. I woke up early to make this sunrise shot just before 6am. Now I have my own image of the famous Mittens.

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category: commercial

Five Favorite Category: COMMERCIAL — Flambient technique living room sunset

Upon first taking in the final edit of this photo, it was an immediate favorite and has been the very first image one sees when visiting my website most of 2018. This shoot was the first I used the complex shooting and editing technique called flambient. It combines natural light exposures with off camera lighting shots. This is by far the most technical of photographs I produce requiring multiple steps in shooting, and many steps in editing. The results are better than HDR for interiors. The natural ambient line is able to be the base for the photo with the off camera light exposures blended in to add highlights and remove shadows. It also helps this architectural home was perfectly decorated and has a panoramic sunset view. My photographs of this $1 million+ home helped sell it in less than 4 months.

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category: people

Five Favorite Category: PEOPLE — Macro close-up portrait for maximum impact

My first photo shoot using a new macro lens I bought (Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD) was in support of the One of Many group, which supports survivors of domestic violence. I photographed ten survivors over the course of a Saturday, each sharing their own story through their eyes. The combination of the incredible sharpness and detail the new macro lens captures, with the intensity & emotion in each woman’s eyes, made for a powerful day of shooting.

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category: drone

Five Favorite Category: DRONE — The Animas River bisects the Road in Colorado

I follow a lot of other drone pilots on Instagram and saw many of them making straight down view aerial photos of the Road. It took me a long time for my opportunity, as not just any section of road makes a good aerial photo. I had to go all the way up to Colorado and find this hidden spot were the Animas River bisects the Road to make my own shot. Drone photography is a revolution.

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category: event

Five Favorite Category: EVENT — NGHTMRE takes the stage at SOMOS ABQ

I happened to hear about something called SOMOS ABQ directly from the head organizer of the event during a meeting of people more important than me I just happened to be invited to. An evening of music across multiple stages and genres right in the closed off streets of downtown ABQ (Albuquerque). The organizer was so passionate about it, I made a note to attend this time, which was going to be just its second time. I had not experienced anything like this in ABQ before. I was like, “where are all these young people the rest of the time??” The biggest stage was for EDM. I never heard of NGHTMRE before, but the electricity of the crowd’s anticipation drew me in. Then emerging from a wall of lights before jellyfish streamers and waving LED light batons, NGHTMRE took the stage, fire burst forth, and the crowd went crazy. It was an intense physical experience, very visceral. I had my camera with me of course and there was a break in the crowd just as he stepped out and raised his fist. I was ready and knew from first seeing it on the back of my Nikon that this was going to be a favorite photo.

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