Best of 2016

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop. ~ Ansel Adams

With every new year comes new goals and ambitions. As an artist one of them is to grow and perfect one's skills. In the ever changing world of technology, it can be hard to keep up - new editing programs, better cameras, new skills learned, etc. But it is also important to remember the basics which never change no matter how much the world has. It's so easy to compare myself to other talented photographers, but in the end, the only comparison that really matters is the one to myself - 12 months ago.

I took a look back at the images I created this year and picked 5 of my favorites. Some I have have never shared publicly before. All of them are images I am proud of. Some involved using new techniques I set out to learn in 2016. Others were created perfecting skills I had learned but wanted to improve. In my mind, there's no doubt my work as a photographer has grown a lot these last 12 months. In many ways, I have far exceeded goals I set for myself. My journey to defining my style has really started to take shape this year. It's been a fun ride and I'm really looking forward to what 2017 has in store for me! 

This is probably my all time favorite photo of Izzy! Which is saying something because I swear every time I take a new photo of her, that image is my new favorite! I love everything about this - from her expression, to how life like she is, the background and the beautiful blue sky. Creating this image was a big defining moment for me this year. It set the path I've been down regarding my artistic style and where I plan to take my creative vision in the future.

Of all the images I captured this year, this shot of Kita is the one I am most proud of. I've had this vision for over a year and for one reason or another was never able to make it happen. Then one night I saw the sunset I had been longing for, grabbed my camera and said it's now or never. With a long to do list of things that needed to get done, creating this shot was the most important thing to me that summer night. I emphasize the word create as this is more than just being at the right place at the right time. It took careful planning to make it happen. You'll see more images like this from me next year especially on some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. 

One of the things I wanted to do more of this year was capture the relationship between the pets and the people who love them. Posed shots are great, but it's the moments when something special happens right before my lens, the interaction that isn't coaxed, planned or forced like this one that I want to photograph more of. I love this special moment between Harley and her mom, don't you?

Although this is similar to the image of Izzy above, I included it because of a challenge I gave myself and met while creating this photo. I loved working with 5 month old Asher. Not only is he handsome, but he really worked the camera like a professional model! This day I proved to myself that I can use my lighting to create beautiful images at a location I had never seen until that very moment. All within 10 minutes of arriving to my session. This is harder than you might think. Especially when working with a very active and easily bored puppy!

There's something so special about this image of Nixon and Snoopy. From the fall colors, to the magical light, to the way they sit side by side - best buddies and "brothers" - my heart just melts every time I look at it. Maybe because while I got to know these two, I truly came to love them. Maybe because I know the bad rap that pitties get and I wish people could meet dogs like these two. I don't know, but honestly, it is one of my favorite photos captured this year. Seeing it printed on a canvas wrap for a Christmas present was even more awesome. 

While I've come a long way since last year, I still have so much growing to do. I can't wait to see where my journey takes me in 2017!