Best of 2017 - Part 2 - Personal

It's that time of year again when we all look back on the year and pick out the good bad and the ugly bits. As a photographer it's a great exercise to review your images and choose your top 10 photos from the year. 

When I do this I break it down into different genre's of photography, this year I've broken it down into 3 categories: Street photography, Personal, and Family. After I've done that I'll then choose my overall top 10 of the year.

Today is part 2 in my series of best of 2017, this time looking at some of my personal work which I often use for camera club competition. If you missed part 1 on Street Photography click here 

Tell me which photo's you'd pick to put into my overall top 10 (by the way I've already decided my overall 10, they're locked and loaded). 

Let me tell you more about each image

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1: Light Rays

Taken in the Peak District on a pretty gloomy day, on the way back to the car a single shaft of light shone down and moved across the landscape. I followed it taking photos as it passed various areas and I love this image the most with the light rays beaming down on a cops.

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2: Three Peaks

On the same trip to the Peak District as the first image, this was taken just a couple of minutes earlier looking back across 3 peaks that make up part of The Great Ridge between Mam Tor and Hollins Cross. I love the path that leads you through the image and across the peaks, I particularly love the lone tree as well. 

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3: Sherwood Pines

Who knows when you'll capture I great image like this. This image was taken in Sherwood Pines in Nottinghamshire, we'd taken the kids to travel along the Gruffalo trail, I had my camera at the ready to take photos of the kids enjoying themselves, but as I walked along the path I saw this scene, I stopped for some reason, my photography senses telling me there was a photo to be had. I turned took a few frames and then caught up with the rest of the family. It was only when I got the photos off the camera when I realised what made me stop and take the photo. It was the patches of light coming through the trees and the path that leads you into the image and through the woods. I entered this image into the Boots Children in Need Photo competition this year and it made it into the calendar, you can read more about that here

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4: Fields of Gold

I drive past this field near every week and I've always seen this barn and thought it would be a good photographic subject I just needed the right weather conditions, whether that be a stormy sky or a beautiful sunset. Anyway, the rape seed was almost at its peak back in April, so I made sure the camera was in the car incase a good opportunity presented itself. I was lucky to get the stormy sky that I'd been hoping for. I pulled over in a lay-by, walked over and was initially surprised by just how tall the rape seed was. Now I know I'm slightly vertically challenged, but they must have been at least 7-8 feet tall. There were times that I had to put my camera on a timer, lift the camera high above my head on the tripod and hope that I'd pointed the camera in the direction of the barn.   

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5: Mary's Shell

This is perhaps one of my favourite photos of the year (spoiler). It was taken at Cleveleys, just up the coast from Blackpool. It's an art installation called Mary's Shell and is a permanent icon on the beach. I was lucky to get a lovely sunset (next image) followed by some gorgeous pastel colours once the sun had gone down. Lighting can be pretty tricky, getting detail in both the shadows and highlights. To get this I bracketed several images together into HDR image. 

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6: Mary's Shell Sunset

Another beautiful shot of Mary's Shell at Cleveleys. This is another HDR image shooting directly towards the setting sun. I like the bit of sun flare and the golden patch of light on the sand. I also entered this image into the Boots Children in Need Photo competition this year and it made it into the calendar, you can read more about that here

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7: Out to Sea

A 2 minute long exposure taken on Blackpool beach after sunset. I think I used a 3 stop ND filter to smooth out the ripples in the water as the wind blew. They don't call it the blue hour for the fun of it, the sky actually turned blue to create this wonderful atmosphere. I've done a little bit of photoshop work to this image, removing the first 2 pillars closest to the camera to allow more space to allow the eye to be pulled into the image. Of course I could have moved further back to achieve the same affect, but the water didn't come down that far.  

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8: Smokey Joe

Something I've done a few times this year is to attend special photography portrait sessions at Studio 3 by Severn in Long Eaton. It's a photography studio run by fellow Beeston Camera Club member Dave Severn, where he'll arrange model evenings. This was a Film Noir evening with actor and model Daniel Grey, a very nice guy who doesn't actually smoke, I added that in photoshop later, and his name isn't actually Joe. 

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9: Rise and Fall

Taken back in March at Huntingdon Racecourse's family open day. Again I've done some photoshop work to this image, first removing some of the distracting sponsorship boards from the background and slightly burring the background further so the focus is directly on the 3 riders. I love the contrast in fortunes between the 3 riders, one who fell at the last fence and the other two who are racing for the finishing post. I called this Rise and Fall as you'll see both from horses are galloping with all hooves off the ground with the fallen rider in the background. 

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10: Ballet Jump

Finally another image from Studio 3 by Severn in Long Eaton. No photoshop work has been done in this image...well maybe a little, haha! Ballet dancer Bethan Smith was the model for the evenings ballet shoot at Dave's studio. Again Bethan was fantastic to work with, we took plenty of jumping shots and several on point photos, but I like this one the best and have spent quite some time playing about with it in photoshop to create the various effects.


Thanks for reading this post, don't forget to leave a comment here or in Facebook telling me which images you think will make it into my overall top 10 of 2017.