Ansel Adams said “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” Well, I certainly am not Ansel, but at the end of the year revisiting the images you like best can be worthwhile. This year I shot over 5702 pictures—I can’t be certain of exactly how many because I deleted all the ones which were really bad. Looking over the rest, I realized that there were only 27 which I thought were both technically good and really interesting. From those, I whittled the pile down to just my top 10 photographs. As you build your portfolio, it’s important to only keep the very best work to show off. If the picture doesn’t make your own top bin, then why would you want to show it to strangers? I am happy to say that my people shots have gotten better. Something I have been working very hard to improve. In fact 3.5 of the photos are people shots—the half because it is a mannequin from the Marine Corps museum. It does help that the others are cute kids.
I was pleased both with my animal shots and how I processed them in Black and White. I spent a lot of time working with Silver Efex Pro this year, because it gives such creative control and more important is so easy to use. They actually implement Adams’ zone system for exposure and using it is a lot simpler than working it in the darkroom like I learned.
Finally, there was one image I kept coming back to because it moves me. The reflection of the flag on the coffin of Sergeant Timothy Sayne still haunts me. It was such a privilege to witness the precision and dignity which the 3rd Infantry Division “Old Guard” soldiers demonstrate when they bury one of their comrades. The tragedy of the family’s loss is heartbreaking. The service to honor him is a fitting tribute for a fallen warrior.