This collection of five photographs are my personal favorites that I made in 2010, all from a different category. All the images were made in the St. Petersburg and Pinellas County areas. All were taken with a Nikon D300 DSLR.
Nikon D300 Tamron XR Di II 17-50mm @ f/11 ISO 200 5-bracket HDR tripod mounted with cable release5 - Purple Fiery Florida Sunset Sky - category: Fine Art
This HDR shot was taken on Sunset Beach, Treasure Island, Florida while teaching a DSLR photography lesson to a student. It is amazing how little I have gone out by myself to photograph the dramatic sunset and twilight skies that are the highlights of fine art photography for Florida. If not for teaching a photography lesson that evening, I would never have made this shot, so I am very glad I did. Why I chose this shot in particular is for the mix of colors ranging from purple to yellow tints, to the pink reflecting off the clouds in the left-center. There appears to be a kind of vortex opening and my imagination always believes something fantastic just might pass through to our world. Read more philosophy behind this shot.
Nikon D300 Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D @ f/4 ISO 200 1/1000th
4 - Sandy-faced Kiki at Honeymoon Island State Park - category: Pet
It was easy choosing this photograph of my own beloved puppy, Kiki. For me it is two things about this photograph, first, her sandy snout. Second, and most of all, it is the super creamy bokeh created by the awesome Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens. It was a really hot August day at the dog beach part of Honeymoon Island State Park. The light was extremely harsh. Not the conditions one thinks a well exposed image can be made in. Thanks to the Nikkor lens and thanks to Kiki having black fur, the harsh summer light served to show detail in her fur not normally seen in photos. I have an 8x10 mounted print of this image on the nightstand by my bed. It is the last thing I look at before I go to sleep every night. Read more about that day at the beach.
Nikon D300 with Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lens @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/100th Strobist: SB-800 Speedlight to left & SB-600 to right
3 - Mother & Daughter bond on Sunset Beach - category: Portrait
I cannot take complete credit for this portrait. Placing their heads together was the mother's idea. I take many portrait photographs over the course of a year, so this was perhaps the toughest category to choose a single favorite. It might be odd to choose as a favorite portrait an image where you cannot even see the subjects faces, but to me, that is one of the reasons why I chose it as my favorite. The viewer has to use her/his imagination, not just for wondering what their faces look like, but also for what they might be thinking and feeling at that moment. I hope it is something this mother and daughter continue to wonder twenty years from now.
Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 1/100th Strobist: SB-800 to left & SB-600 to right
2 - Smiling Bride with Veil on Pass-A-Grille Beach - category: Wedding
This was an easy choice, and I knew it would be my favorite wedding shot of the year the second after I took it. As soon as I saw Rosa in her veil, I got excited because I knew, finally, I would have a chance to make bride/veil shots, which are some of the most beautiful a wedding photographer can produce. Again, I was greatly helped by both Rosa and her big smile, as well as Mother Nature for being able to make this shot on Pass-A-Grille beach at the very tip of St. Petersburg. View the Bride Series images of Rosa.
Nikon D300 with Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 lens @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/200th Strobist: SB-600 @ 1/2 power to frame left
1 - Grandmother's Kiss - category: Black & White
As soon as I applied the sepia landscape filter to this image in Silver Efex Pro, it became perhaps my favorite black & white image I ever made. This was not shot in a studio, but right on Sunset Beach, the scene of many other photography sessions this year. I still consider this a candid image, my signature type of shot, even though the grandmother was aware I had set my light stand next to her and had taken a position some paces away with my camera. Her granddaughter I believe had no idea of my presence. The contrast between the granddaughter facing the lens, but eyes to frame left, and the grandmother in profile lips just slightly pressed against her granddaughter's cheek, are what make this shot my favorite of 2010, in addition to the magic Silver Efex Pro does for black & white image conversion. Read more about the inspiration for this photograph.