Friday, December 30, 2011

Eleven Favorites of 2011

 I am quite happy (super-thrilled and downright giddy, to be honest) to say that I had a hard time choosing only 11 favorites for the year. Doesn't seem it would be a huge task, considering the substantial volume of photos that I take on a monthly basis (over 2,000 in October alone), but, to be able to look at them with pride is a huge accomplishment for me as a photographer. It seems the better I get at recognizing a great photo, the less I like what I've taken in the past.

So, this was a rewarding and motivational exercise, just writing this first post.

Let me also say that most of my favs are so because they were a-ha moments for me.  So, here they are:

 This one was big for me because of the catch lights in his eyes and the overall even and flattering light. I did the 45 degree angle with a picture window. Not to mention capturing the pup at an opportune moment.

 I have been taking photos of this band for as long as I've been taking photos (nearly) and I've never done it quite right. Everything I study in terms of creating portraits of my boys and anyone else just doesn't seem to apply here (at least in my brain).  Dark rooms, awkward angles, BIG band, shy photographer all add up to a large collection of so-so (at best) photos of a band that deserves better. 

Until this one. Perfect white balance, adequate light, lively faces, good framing. Makes my heart sing right along with them.

This is what this hobby is all about for me. Capturing the fun and joyful spirit of my boys for the future. I'm so happy to have a weather-resistant camera, which allowed me to do this without too so much worry that I couldn't enjoy and therefore capture the moment. The challenge was a VERY bright day and no shade to be found. But, the colors, the action, his expression... LOVE IT.

This one has many levels of meaning for me. I love the image itself, with her classic swoop curl and his sweet expression.  That you can tell she's on her tip toes to reach his cheek. So cute.  But, it's also the first time someone trusted me to be "the photographer" for an event.  You know, pressure to get the shots or else the moment's gone? Eek.  My nephew was going to prom and the trust-er was my sister, who else?  But it really meant a lot to me because she loves good photography, too and she was confident that I could capture the day. She saw in me what I (still sometimes) don't.

Catch lights, catch lights, catch lights. When I looked at this photo and saw the complex catch lights the light finally went on in my brain about the importance of reflecting the light back onto the subject to get them. Let's hear it for white paper plates (and rainbow cake).

This was another perfect storm of a photo. The morning was extremely foggy when I finally had the time and we were all well enough to take Halloween costume poses.  I was kind enough to let the boys have breakfast before we went in search of this gas-light-looking lamp and the English garden type shrubbery to go with the fog and their Holmes and Watson get ups.  We tried all manner of poses, but when Enzo, er... I mean, Watson, got that suspicious look out of the corner of his eye... (thank you, noisy truck) and BOOM... I knew it was the one.
The a-ha here was waiting for the right moment rather than spraying the scene with a continuous shutter release. I just stood at the ready and watched them until I knew the second it happened. 

Again, sis entrusting me with Homecoming Dance photos of this beautiful girl. I love the classic, Jacklyn Bouvier look she's wearing and I knew black and white was perfect for the moment where I caught her primping in the dining room mirror.
I can't help but love all the things that are technically right with this photo. The leading lines, rule of thirds, the frame of trees around them... the colors! But, on an emotional level, I love the almost undetectable contact between them with Nico holding Enzo with his two fingers, even though I told them to be "tough guys" to get the expressions that I wanted. Heart singing again.
I got to do a baby session! I got to do a baby session! Woo hoo. So incredibly exciting. There are many from the session that I love... gee whiz, do you see those faces?  But, this is an un-posed, in-between family moment and it is my favorite. A-ha to paying attention to them when they think you're not.

More technique making me happy. I read and read and tried and tried to get those lights to twinkle like that and finally on Christmas Eve (I think it was Christmas Day by then), I nailed it. Merry Christmas to me.
Ok. If this is not the shot that every parent with a camera hopes to grab on Christmas morning, I don't know what is. I can find lots of things technically wrong with it, but their expressions are enough to make me forget all of that and put it as a top 11 in my book. 

So, it's all I can do not to try to cheat and add a few more. There are a few more I love. (Only a few really... I'm not getting carried away into thinking there are many more that are worthy.)  But, I'll just hope that in 2012 the job of choosing only 12 will be even more difficult. 

This post was inspired by the Top 11 of 2011 challenge at Click It Up a Notch