2016 Top 10 Photographs (Year in Review)

Another year has passed as I continue my journey through photography.

2016 marks the year that I switched from using my full frame Canon 5D Mark III to using the crop-sensor Fujifilm X-T1. Despite the lower resolution and capabilities, I have fallen in love with Fuji’s X-series cameras. I’ve made a sizable investment in lenses and accessories for the smaller camera and already have my pre-order in for the soon to be announced Graphite version of the X-T2 (As long as the rumors are true, Fujifilm will announce the camera in January 2017).

I also started a 365 project this year. Challenging myself to create an image every day proved more difficult than I thought. Being a photographer only part time, I sought inspiration whenever I could and for the first several months managed to only miss a few days here and there. As time went on, I started to cut back the time spent looking for the daily photos, but even though my frequency dropped, I never gave up completely. I intend to keep my @JAYPOC365 Instagram going until the end of the 1-year period. I may not get a photo for every day, but I’ll try my best to keep new images coming.

I have to thank Jeff Harmon of Improve Photography. If it weren’t for his Photo Taco episode on the benefits and importance of a Top 10 list, I might have forgotten to get these together. I started my top 10 last year, but interestingly enough, my workflow is very similar to Jeff’s. If you’re interested in setting up an annual Top-10 of your own, definitely check out the Dec 15th, 2016 Photo Taco Episode: Why and How of Annual Top 10.

It wasn’t an easy selection, but here’s my Top-10 photos of 2016:

With the purchase of my X-T1, I started my 365 Project and nobody was more supportive than my coworkers. While they could have been annoyed that I carried my camera around with me everywhere, they actually allowed me to take photos of them (or maybe they were just being nice by not saying anything). I shot a photo of them playing pool in our break room one day, and with permission of Reddit user hellzkeeper1216 who took the photo of this dungeonous basement, I composited the two images together.

I was inspired to try to capture silhouettes by street photographer and podcast host, Valerie Jardin (Check out her podcast, Hit the Streets). While seeking out high contrast scenes, I came across a location in Babylon Village’s Argyle Park which has become one of my favorites. I loved the beautiful view of the lake, and how this crooked tree gave me an extra silhouetted element in the shot. I waited, aiming towards the setting sun, as walkers, joggers, and bikers crossed my cameras view and captured some great scenes showing the activity in the park.

One of our regular stops after visiting the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo, NY is Gasho Hibachi Steakhouse in Central Valley. Having my camera on me, I asked to photograph the fun antics while preparing a Hibachi meal. Using creative perspective, I photographed my dinner as it was being served to me by our chef. Definitely stop in if you’re in the area!

While at a Hudson Valley winery wedding, I had an opportunity to walk around the grounds photographing some of the landscapes and equipment. I got many great photographs from the grounds and from the wedding itself, but I love the color-styling I applied to this image. It’s caused me to begin playing around more with split tones in Lightroom, and to take more of an interest in the color-grading process.

I am currently the organizer of a portrait group that meets monthly and offers Free photo shoots to anybody who would like to participate. My friend Ken came down to one of our meetings cosplaying the main character from Fallout 4. Loving the resulting photograph and lighting I set up, I put forth extra effort dodging and burning and color-grading this image to establish what you see here. This is one of the images I loved so much that I printed one to frame, and even provided Ken with a matted print of his own.

Okay. Here’s where I cheat a little. I’m splitting this spot between both images from a recent urban exploration trip. I love the mood set by the lighting and the gritty feel of the images. I just couldn’t choose one over the other.

2016 is also the year I got married to the most wonderful woman in the world. With my wife being a huge Disney fan, and having not gone myself since I was very young, we celebrated our Honeymoon in Disney and Universal. I got so many great photographs and memories while on the trip, but this magic happened in the Magic Kingdom. I was fortunate to come across a location where I could get a good view of the castle without the crowds of people. It didn’t hurt that the weather was absolutely beautiful as well.

I photographed this in Disney’s Sustainable Agriculture and Research Center. I just knew that the pattern in the sand, and the similarities in color among the elements would make a great photo. I’ve been trying to spot scenes like this containing complimenting colors, shapes or patterns. It’s not always easy to see them among the rest of the environment, but when you do see it, it can be rewarding!

Here is another example of seeing the image and grabbing it. While at the wedding of my friends Tiffany and her wonderful husband, Rob, I noticed the placement of lanterns along the red carpeting. One of them was right at my feet. While Tiffany and Rob were up at the altar, I placed my camera on the ground with the 16mm lens attached and the aperture wide open. I tilted it up to look down the aisle with only the lantern in focus.

To conclude the top 10, here’s a photo that was created today, the second to last day of the year. It was cold, but beautiful outside, so I headed down to Freeport’s Nautical Mile. At the southern end of Woodcleft Avenue is the Woodcleft Scenic Pier. I took a few photos in the location, but this one is one of my favorites, and I love the details and lighting captured in this image.

And that concludes my Top 10 photos of 2016. Hope everyone has a happy and healthy new year! See you in 2017!