Happy New Year! It’s 2024 can you believe it? Celebrating the new year as a photographer ushers in an opportunity to take stock of the year that was. A lot of times we look back and see how we did. For me, this always makes a lot of sense because a lot of times throughout the year I get so caught up in shooting more and moving onto the next subject or location that I forget to look back and evaluate my results.
The great photographer Ansel Adams once remarked that “twelve in a year is a good crop,” meaning that even a seasoned photographer usually only gets about 12 good images per year. Sure, we might shoot thousands and, if we’re being honest, many of them are good but they’re not GOOD good, they’re just sort of good-ish. Think of it as being “OK” versus being really genuinely good. I always thought he was right about this (he was right about a lot of things, but that’s a subject for another day.) As a photographer, if you can get 12 keeper images in one year, why, my friends, you’re doing good. That really is, as the master suggests, “a good crop.”
The folks over at Instagram in their infinite wisdom (ahem!) have decided that we can create these “Top Nine” montages. Now, I’m not quite sure what the criteria is for this selection. Is it the most popular? The image with the most hearts? Some other secret kind of special sauce? I’m not really sure here and if I’m being honest, it doesn’t really matter. I say that because, well, this is simply Instagram’s take on my images. It’s my work and, at the end of the day, I get to pick. That’s how the process works. Sure it’s great to get feedback but feedback is after all a suggestion. What you do with it, why that’s up to you.
No matter the criteria, these are my Top Nine for 2023 as suggested by Instagram. While I do think it’s good to take stock on the year, I find it an odd selection. It is perhaps the more popular images from my more accessible subject matter. Think flowers, ocean, and pretty lands I’ve visited. Many of these images are not from 2023 but were shared along the way as part of my posting to the platform so I suppose they count in the mix here.
Starting from upper left, some notes:
- A flower from the Borrowed Garden – this is a water lily from the Hill Country Water Gardens.
- An abstract landscape from Iceland – taken in rural Iceland.
- Red poppies in front of a blue house in Georgetown, Texas – original image taken as part of the Georgetown Red Poppy Festival, this is actually a mixed media piece: part photo, part watercolor.
- The Poodle Dog Lounge as recreated in the Sign Bar – this is from 2023 and was taken on a recent visit to the Sign Bar in Austin, Texas.
- Geothermal area in Iceland – a place I dubbed “Satan’s Fire Pits,” this is from the geothermal areas in Iceland.
- Pacific Ocean waves – this is from 2023, from a recent visit to Big Sur, California.
- Blue door in Barcelona – this from my visit to Barcelona, Spain, this was taken in the Gothic Quarter and features a blue door and shop entryway.
- Portrait of local women – this from my journey to Longsheng, China. These are some of the women who live in the village up near the rice terraces, shown wearing their local attire.
- Iceberg on the beach – this was taken in the glacial lagoon in Iceland.
If I’m being honest, I’d have to rate 2023 as a good year for me photographically. I didn’t get to travel as much as I would have liked but I did get to take some unexpected trips with surprising results. Who knew I would fall in love with Carmel-by-the-Sea, California and Big Sur but I loved it so much I found myself going back for seconds. I do think I have 12 or so image, although not these in particular. Perhaps, if I’m in the mood, I’ll share my picks for 2023 at some point. For now, this is Instagram’s take on the year that was.
I hope you had a great New Year and are welcoming in 2024. It’s already shaping up to be a wild ride and frankly I would not have it any other way.
Until next time…