This past June, I stepped down as store manager at Bedford Camera in Fort Smith. Called it “retirement,” but I knew I would return on a part-time basis, and I did. Let’s call it “semi-retirement.”
One result of semi-retiring is having more time to make photographs – and I have tried to do that. Enough that when I tried to select my favorite images for the year, it was difficult to narrow it down to just 10. But here are the ten images I most enjoyed creating this year. I hope you enjoy them, too!
(Click the image for a larger version.)
- In early June, the purple coneflowers at Cherokee Prairie were in full bloom. I used the Tamron 180mm macro lens for its telephoto effect, blurring the background. The early morning light was soft and warm.
- Also in June, an Eastern-tailed Blue butterfly showed up at Cherokee Prairie, just as I was setting up my camera. A first of the species for me.
- In August, two friends and I were exploring in the Ozarks, and found this small stream. I admit one of the reasons I like this photograph is because I made it without following Mike up the side of the hill to where he was! (Yes, Mike did have some great images.)
- This image was made in our front yard. We have a number of feeders, and a good number of birds visit year-round. Using a macro lens, and then cropping tighter in post resulted in this close-up, which reveals detail of the structure of the feather.
- The Grand Canyon image almost did not happen. Originally, my travel plans for the trip home from the California Photo Festival included my first visit ever to the National Park. However, our governmental leaders had chosen that time to close all federal facilities. The day before I got there, the State of Arizona, as several other states had done, took it upon themselves to open the Park. Yay for them! – and me!
- Two days after visiting the Grand Canyon, I stopped at the famous Cadillac Ranch in Texas. What I did not know until then, was that graffiti artists are encouraged to use the old cars for their art – so much so that you can hardly tell these once were luxury automobiles.
- My friend Mike and I went looking to make fall foliage photos and we found some of the best I have ever seen. This image is in the Arkansas Ozarks, on Haw Creek.
- Muskogee, Oklahoma is home to Honor Heights Park, known in our area for its annual “Azalea Festival” in April. In addition, the park also puts on a dazzling Christmas lights display. This photo is of an animated LED light tree, and so required a long exposure so that all the light were lighted at some point during the exposure. Then, during the open shutter time, I rotated the zoom ring, creating the “burst” effect.
- We have had some snow already this year – unusual for us – and I made this photo one evening of the Crawford County Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which sits on the County Courthouse grounds.
- This last photo is one of the most recent, and I caught this Mallard blasting off from a pond in Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, in Oklahoma.
So, there you have them: my favorites from 2013. They may not be great photos, but each one of them holds special memories for me. I hope the next year brings as many.
Here’s wishing everyone a Happy New Year 2014!