2015 – The Year in Review

Well, it’s that time of year again my friends.  The end of the calendar year for me is a time to reflect upon the previous twelve months.  This is done on both a personal and professional level, but the focus here will be on the latter here, for obvious reasons.  You will, however, find some overlap since I had some personal milestones and moments that were more than worthy of being photographed.  If you don’t already know what I’m talking about, you’ll soon see.

During my self-imposed yearly review, the most significant and challenging task is to is to choose my best and/or most memorable photos from the year.    Generally, they are not always the most popular on social media or the top 10 or so selling prints of the year, but they have special significance.  This year is no different.

Luckily, 2015 was a pretty darn good year if I may say so myself.  It was filled with features on the news, successful social media campaigns, great shows, and even a tv interview on Pittsburgh Today Live.  Most importantly, though, it was a year of great photography and I’ll let you be the judge in just a moment.  What 2015 was not good for, apparently, was blogging.  This is my first post of the year and it’s only 4 days before year’s end.  That’s a problem I REALLY intend to fix in 2016…but why wait until then?  Let’s get to the photos already!

McConnells Mill Autumn Fall Reflection Briddge Rock blog

10. McConnells Mill is an often photographed subject. A new composition is touch to come by, but with a bit of hard work, I think I was able to come away with a unique, beautiful photo.

Smithfield Street Bridge Streaking Pittsburgh Sunset blog

9. The Smithfield Street Bridge is an amazing, yet often overlooked (by me) structure. Combine the details with this amazing sunset and it’s now wonder this is in my countdown.

Soul of Serenget African Wildlife Lion Portrait Pittsburgh Zoo blog

8. I’ve always had an appreciate for wildlife, particularly big cats.  In fact, the first place I ever used my first “real” camera was at the Pittsburgh Zoo.  I’ve spent countless hours there and many motionless moments in front of the lions.  This photo is my reward.

Serenity North Shore Sunrise Pittsburgh Skyline Pink blog

7. Light is crucial to my work. I can’t stress this enough. This year, there was plenty of great light on my adventures, but not much colorful light around sunrise. Except here. Wow.

Dusty African Elephant Pittsburgh Zoo Black White blog

6. The elephants at the Pittsburgh Zoo are always a real challenge for me. The light is usually harsh and I prefer my zoo photos to be as natural (no enclosure elements) as possible. This is my best EVER elephant photo.

Fire Red Maple Pendleton Point Blackwater Falls Autumn  blog

5. This fall, I really focused on details. Grand landscapes are great, but when the foliage is as colorful as you see here, and the light is isolated on one tree, the photo should isolate that tree as well.

The Usual Haunt Pittsburgh Incline Fall Autum Sunrise blog

4. Every fall I trek up to the “Old Faithful” of Pittsburgh, the Duquesne Incline overlook. Once again, the light dictated the composition here and allowed me to shoot a bit wider than normal for my favorite photo I’ve taken from this spot.

Lonely Leaf North Shore Pittsburgh Sunrise Reflection blog

3. Luck is sometimes a crucial part of photography, since I cannot control light. For most photos, I’m in position up to an hour beforehand scoping out the area and setting up my shot. I arrived on the North Shore about 5 minutes before this scene unfolded. Check out that lone leaf.

Kaylee Snow White Disney Princess Seven Dwarfs blog

2. I don’t have to say much about this photo. It’s not often a portrait makes my list, but my sweet little Kaylee dressed up as Snow White…this is perhaps the ONLY photo I’ve ever taken that I wouldn’t do anything differently if I had to do it over.

USS LST 325 Pittsburgh Sunrise World War II Ship blog

1. This photo is my crown jewel of the year. The USS LST 325 is a WWII ship that spent some time here over the summer. I knew when and where it would depart, so I camped out on the West End Bridge. I was the only photographer there, so I’m the only one with this shot. And it went viral. What a feeling.

So there you have it, my year of hard work summed up in 10 photos.  Before I started this endeavor, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to come up with 10 quality shots.  But as I dug deeper, I actually found it hard to select ONLY 10.  So to that end, here are a some bonus photos from the year that didn’t quite make the cut.


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