Here we are on the last day of the year, and I only have one post left to do to wrap up 2022. Since I consider this site a travel and photography blog, I have saved my best photos post for last. And they are all travel photos so that kind of fits.
I wanted to do a David Letterman and give you a Top-Ten list, but I could only narrow it down to 14, and I need some of you to tell me which ones you like better. I shot a bunch of photos this year across two continents in seven different countries and all while traveling. I had some fantastic photo experiences, the best being in Venice and Tarragona, Spain, but I loved the other shots I got as well. So please let me know in the comments which ones I ranked differently than you would have.
Just a note: If you click on any of the photos, they will enlarge on a black background to fill your screen. That’s the best way to view them. And PLEASE…don’t look at my photography on a phone. Please…
Number 14—The magazine ad from Eze, France
I took this from way up on the top of the village of Eze, a true hilltop town in the south of France between Nice and Monaco. When I got back to our stateroom and was going through my photos, I realized that I had taken an advertising photo. Is this not the perfect photo to illustrate any advertisement for the south of France?
Number 13—The view from the Number Two
Floating down the Grand Canal in Venice at 5:45 in the morning, I looked back and saw this view behind the #2 vaporetto I was traveling on. I stepped out onto the back deck and got this shot of Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute and the sky behind us, and I loved the light I got.
Numbers 11 & 12—My two best people photos
I have a bunch of people photos from this year, but I love these two the most. The first is from Corfu. We had gone on a shore excursion that took us to Olympia in Greece and then to a hotel where they did some cooking demos and lunch. After lunch, this wonderful man and his family did some amazing Greek dancing. ‘He was incredibly animated and he really played to my camera.
The second shot, from only two days before, is our guide George who took us all over Athens and then found us the best lunch in the world. I loved his quiet confidence in this shot. He was the perfect guide for us.
Number 10—A flamingo on Grand Turk Island
If you look back on my Top Photos of 2021, what I considered my best photo was a shot of a flamingo I took while we were in the Galapagos Islands. There is something about these birds; they are both majestic and awkward all at the same time. The reflection made this shot. And the really amazing thing is that I shot it from a tour bus at about 30mph.
Number 9—The money shot in Cinque Terre
This is incredible Manarola, one of the five villages that make up the Cinque Terre on Italy’s eastern coast. We were visiting for the day on a tour with the amazing Luigi. We were going from village to village via the ferry. When we arrived in our second stop, Manarola, Luigi told me that I wanted THE quintessential Cinque Terre shot, I would need to climb this particular hill and then look back. He was right. This shot, of the more than 600 I took that day, says it all. It’s the postcard shot.
Number 8—The Columbia Bar, Astoria, Oregon
This one is my most peaceful shot of 2022. I love the way the spray and the water “humps” are just flowing. The lighthouse in the background helps as well. But conversely, this is really a pretty violent photo because, as anyone who has lived in the northwest can tell you, the Columbia Bar (where the Columbia River enters the Pacific Ocean) can be VERY dangerous. Lots of ships have been wrecked trying to sail through these waters.
Numbers 6 & 7—Wedding pics in Venice
Walking into Piazza San Marco in Venice at just before 6:00 am and finding the entire piazza empty except for these three people almost took my breath away. I had been there the afternoon before, and the crowds had been immense, smothering and overwhelming. To walk into the piazza and find this couple and their photographer taking photos right at dawn was like a miracle for me. But I can’t decide which one is my favorite, so this is another chance for you to pick.
Number 5—My best panoramic shot of 2022
This is a manufactured panoramic shot I took while in an indoor shopping center in Naples, Italy. I love taking panoramic photos. Not the kind you get with your iPhone but this kind. Ones where I plant my feet and move the camera by pivoting my upper body as I take a series of shots. Then I take them back into Photoshop and stitch them together to create what I was seeing from where I was standing at the time. This shot is one of the few vertical panoramas I have taken. I started as three vertical shots. If I have any complaints with it, it is that it seems slightly tilted to me and when I try and fix that, it only looks like it is tilted in the other direction. But I still love it.
Number 4—A hole to the sky in Barcelona, Spain
We were on a tour in Barcelona, Spain, and we had stopped to see Gaudi’s La Pedrera—Casa Mila. This is a multi-story building that initially housed two condominium-type dwellings for two fairly wealthy families in the early 1900s. Just before we took the elevator up to the top floor to work our way down, I leaned out into the center of the building and took this shot, looking straight up the shaft that is the inner courtyard. I had no idea it would turn out this good. And it really helped to have amazing weather, so I had the blue (with wisps of clouds for contrast) sky.
Number 3—The lights of Kotor, Montenegro
Someday I will blow this shot up and hang it on a wall. It might be the best nighttime shot I have ever taken. We were in Kotor on our Viking Sky cruise. During the day (while Kathleen was quarantined due to Viking giving her food poisoning), I hiked up this mountain/hill and took many great photos looking back. I was so impressed with the city. Luckily for me, the ship did not sail away from the city until fairly late that night. We were in our stateroom watching another episode of Downton Abbey (what else do you watch on a Viking ship 😜) when I happened to look at the bow cam on our TV and saw this scene. I literally grabbed my camera and ran to the front (and top) of the ship to get this photo of the entire town lit up, including the old fortress that protected the city. I have to give huge credit to my new Nikon z7 being able to get me a shot this clear when I handheld it at 1/20th of a second. Amazing.
Number 2—Man eating breakfast in Venice, Italy
My favorite (and I believe the best) photo I have ever taken was a shot like this. It told a story. You can see that one here. This one does the same thing for me. I was up early in Venice and pretty much lost and wandering the calles and campos I turned a corner, and there in the distance was a man having breakfast. And just like my best photo, this one was all about the light. Or, in this case, the lack of it. What light exists does exactly what I want it to do, it send my eye directly to the subject. No photographer could ask for more.
Number 1—The blue hour (actually about 15 minutes) in Venice
Lots of people know about the “golden hour” of photography. It’s that time just before sunrise or after sunset when the sky turns golden. What you may not have heard of before is the term “blue hour.” This really isn’t an hour but it’s the 15-20 minutes just before or after the golden hour. The sky is transitioning from the black of night to the golds, oranges and pinks of the sunrise. If you get lucky and do some planning, you can be in the right place (standing on the Rialto bridge) at the right time (the blue hour) to get the shot you want.
So that’s it. Another year of photography behind me. I like to think that I get better each year. Retirement, or at least cutting back on work and being able to focus a little more on taking pictures, has helped me improve. Sitting here writing this at 4:00 am on New Year’s Eve I feel really good about the shots I got in 2022. Can’t wait to see what I put in my post a year from now.
Happy New Year! Hope we all have an awesome 2023.
Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. —Dorothea Lange