Each year, we review our photos from the past 12 months, and select ten (or 12, on occasion) as our favorite images for that year. Never easy, and does not appear to serve much purpose, but it is a fun exercise, and we enjoy sharing. So, here you go, my 10 for ’16, in chronological order.
- Going Back to Mexico
In February, I was photographing the sunset over the Arkansas River, near the Garrison Avenue bridge in Fort Smith. The Arkansas River originates in the mountains of Colorado, then travels through Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas before merging with the Mississippi River on the Arkansas-Mississippi border.
In front of my camera, the river was flowing without waves, and reflecting the sunset-colored sky and clouds. I made several images as the sun dropped lower in the sky, then this canoe floated into my composition. The first thought was, “oh, no!” However, I then thought how this would add perspective and a human element, and I managed to get two frames, before he left the scene. As I stood there behind my camera, the canoeist called to me, “I’m going back to Mexico, buddy!” At least, that’s what I think he said… 🙂
2. The Pot o’ Gold
On St. Patrick’s Day, I visited Natural Dam, a favorite site to me – and many other photographers. The challenge is to see a different image of this small waterfall, as I and all those other photographers have taken a million photographs here.
So, I selected this viewpoint that revealed the sunrise reflected along the edges of the waterfall – like seeing the legendary Irish “pot o’ gold”. Exposure was set for the highlights, and I made sure the shadows remained dark, resulting in a near-abstract of light and shadow…
3. Devil’s Den Redbuds
April 1 was not a Fool’s Day, at least not entirely, as I found this wonderful juxtaposition of a blooming redbud tree and the spillway cascade in Arkansas’ Devil’s Den State Park. The Park is another favorite photography destination, and you will see three more photos made there among these 10.
4. Waiting Canoes in Spring
In April, we held a Macro Photography Workshop, which included a trip to Devil’s Den State Park. While I was waiting for the students to arrive, I visited the rental canoes. I always visit them, and make photos. Usually, I use a wide angle and get fairly close, but this time, I backed up and used the 70-300 zoom. The telephoto really provided a narrow angle of view, and brought the background much closer and larger. This background was the reflection of the mostly bare trees across the small lake, lighted by the rising sun, and reflected in the lake water…
5. Spring Afternoon at Falling Water Falls
Later in April – one of my favorite months, it appears – I spent the day driving the Ozarks, visiting some popular locations, including Falling Waters Creek and its falls. It was spring, and in Arkansas in the spring, the sky is never clear for long, and I was treated to some great clouds in a blue sky above the waterfall. The clouds’ reflection creates a line from the foreground rocks to the falls to the clouds.
6. Flanagan Prairie
Flanagan Prairie is an Arkansas State Heritage Site, and allows no vehicular traffic. The result is a natural area that abounds with wildflowers throughout the spring and summer. On this June day, I was trying out a new Sony lens, the 90 mm macro. I often visit here, looking for water drops, which are refracting an image of the background But there were none. That is, until about an hour after sunrise, and suddenly everything was wet.
Later, someone asked about only including half of the sunflower. That was intentional, as the image is not about the flower, but the setting. It was about the morning, the water drops and the Prairie.
7. The Milky Way
Along the Talimena Drive, near Queen Wilhelmina State Park just east of the Oklahoma State Line, is a picnic area around the Rich Mountain Fire Tower, with picnic tables and restrooms. Gayle and I spent an August evening there, photographing the Milky Way. My favorite of the night was this one. It is also my favorite of the Milky Way photos I have made thus far – but there will be more in 2017!
8. Brigadoon (Petit Jean Morning Light)
Also in August, on the way home from the Bedford Camera Photo Expo in Little Rock, I drove to Petit Jean State Park. I missed the sunrise, but the morning light was amazing on the flats below the mountain. This photo was made from Stout’s Point on the eastern end of the mountain, overlooking the Arkansas River. (The river is just out of the frame behind the tree.) Looking at this scene, the light, the green grass and trees, the fog on the horizon, I am reminded of the 1954 Gene Kelly movie, Brigadoon. Look it up. 🙂
9. Autumn Starburst
On an October morning in Devil’s Den State Park, there was not much color found for a photograph, except for these leaves against the blue sky. I moved until the sun was backlighting the leaves and shining through a small hole caused by a hungry caterpillar or beetle. With an aperture of f/16, the sun peeking through presented a lovely burst of light, a sunburst.
10. Autumn Canoes
In late October, I once again visited Devil’s Den State Park. And, once again, photographed the canoes. This time, there was a bit of color in the reflection, and complemented the red of the canoes. The canoes are floating at dock, waiting for some park visitors to take them out for a ride on the small lake.
So, that’s my 10 for ’16. Not necessarily the best photos you will see, but my favorites. The photographs I enjoyed making this year, and the ones I still enjoy viewing. Hope you enjoy seeing them, too.
If you follow me on Facebook (Larry Millican), Twitter (@LDMillican) or Instagram (@LDMillican), you may have seen them before. Would enjoy hearing from you; comments are certainly welcome and appreciated. In any case, thank you for looking.
And, keep looking for the light.