2023 was a very productive year with a variety of locations, conditions and subjects. Like last year, many of the images were captured fairly close to my hometown of Kingston, Washington. I love living in this wonderful place. In the 2022 Review I focused on the matter of luck with each image. This year I would like to concentrate on what key elements drew me to select the image. Light, subject, composition? We will see. So, here are my top twelve favorite images captured during 2023 in chronological order. As always, if you see an image you like, let me know. I love to print!
Cheers and many thanks!!
Whelen Engineering Cadillac Rollout
The list starts off strong as this is probably my favorite photograph in 2023.
A favorite spot at the Daytona International Speedway to capture images of the race cars is from the garage roof. If you time it right you will see the cars rolled out of their garages providing a unique angle for photos. Captured during the rollout for night practice, I wanted to capture some movement so a slow shutter speed was used. The key elements here were the crew member dashing in front of the car, the lights of a passing car behind and the front of the car in perfect focus.
Details: photographed January 26, 2023 at Daytona International Speedway, Florida. 0.3 seconds, f/4, ISO100 at 70mm
Aston Martin at Speed
Taking panned shots of race cars at high speed takes a lot of practice. The Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of Automatic Racing was in the fastest section of the road course infield when this shot was captured. The sun was moving towards sunset behind me adding bright reflections in the background and a warm tone. The key elements are the blurred sense of speed, the great light and the awesome graphics on the car.
Details: photographed January 27, 2023 at Daytona International Speedway, Florida. 1/40 second, f/16, ISO100 at 450mm
Pink Skies and Tahoma
Tahoma (or Mount Rainier) is a northwest icon. I have many images of this majestic volcano but when capturing this five image panorama I knew it was something special. The early morning conditions were absolutely spectacular and a layer of fog had settled in to the south. The sun had just started adding some alpenglow to the mountain summit but the light was still soft. The key aspects for me here are the colors on the wispy clouds and the way the fog broke up the tree topped hills lower in the image.
Details: photographed March 12, 2023 from Bainbridge Island, Washington. Five image panorama; 0.5 second, f/11, ISO100 at 360mm
Light Rays and White Sands
Visiting White Sands National Park was definitely on my photography bucket list. I had a couple of days to explore this amazing national treasure and found some great locations. The light was best late in the day as the sun settled behind the San Andres mountains. Dust in the air picked the light and added wonderful, warm rays. The pure white sand reflected the ambient light perfectly. Heaven!
Details: photographed March 26, 2023 at White Sands National Park, New Mexico. 1/80 second, f/11, ISO100 at 220mm
The Sun Transits the Gateway Arch
Planning was the key to capturing this fun image. The wonderful PhotoPills app helped me pick the location and luckily the weather cooperated. I used thirteen photos (all shot from the same spot) to create the image as the sun moved across the St. Louis cityscape. The flag added a great sense of movement to the overall image. I was glad that I stayed after sunset to grab one more image of the city lights. The key elements are the movement of the sun over time, the silhouetted flag and the city lights adding a bit of depth.
Details: photographed May 3, 2023 in East St. Louis, Illinois. Sun images: 1/4000 second, f/16, ISO100; skyline image: 1/200second, f/6.3, ISO100; city lights image: 0.3 second, f/6.3, ISO200; all images at 190mm
Bremerton Bridge Blast Fireworks
The city of Bremerton puts on the spectacular “Bremerton Bridge Blast” fireworks show every summer a week or so before the 4th of July. I positioned myself across the bay to provide plenty of foreground water for great reflections. The show did not disappoint and I captured about 100 photos. This image is a composite of two photos, one for the lower fountains on the bridge and one for the mortar shots in the sky. My favorite elements are the explosive action of the fireworks themselves (you can almost hear them!), the great foreground colors and the presentation of launching fireworks from a bridge.
Details: photographed June 24, 2023 in Bremerton, Washington. 8 seconds, f/11, ISO100 at 150mm
During the summer in the Pacific Northwest the sun sets pretty far north. The beach in Hansville, Washington is one of my “go to” spots for summer sunsets. Combine some nice wave action, old piers and red clouds and you have a great composition. My key elements are the subtle colors in the sky, the wave movement enhanced by the slow shutter speed and the soft reflections on the beach sand.
Details: photographed July 16, 2023 in Hansville, Washington. 0.5 seconds, f/16, ISO200 at 58mm
Hansville Beach Cabins
This image was captured just a few yards from the Hansville Sunset photo location. While taking photos of the wonderful aurora borealis that evening (one of those images ALMOST made this list) I noticed the cool light on the beach cabins. Above the scene there were interesting clouds with a nice, dark sky. At first the power pole was a distraction for me but in the end I think it adds to the overall image. Key aspects here are the image symmetry, the contrast in light and the fact that I love shooting at night.
Details: photographed July 16, 2023 in Hansville, Washington. 15 seconds, f/4, ISO800 at 45mm
There is a resident group of deer that call our neighborhood home. The matriarch doe has raised at least three sets of offspring (that we know of). In 2023 “Mama Doe” took a year off and wandered around with her yearlings in tow. I noticed that she did not appear as drained as previous years looking really beautiful. Having a lot of time to set up for this shot I sat down on our back patio and waited. When she came out from behind some bushes and turned to look back at her kids, I pressed the shutter. The key elements are the contrasty, orange toned light caused by smoke in the air (summer wildfires), the lines of her body as they curve backwards and that little highlight in her eye.
Details: photographed August 20, 2023 in Kingston, Washington. 1/640 second, f/5.6, ISO400 at 450mm
Backyard Bumble Bee
Thirty minutes after capturing the image of Mama Doe, I shot this photo of a bee. My wife had recently potted some new flowers and the bees were having a field day. I love photographing bees as they go about their daily foraging. They are such an important part of our world and it is fascinating to watch them hop tirelessly from flower to flower. The key elements are how most of the image is out of focus except the subject and contrasts in color from the background.
Details: photographed August 20, 2023 in Kingston, Washington. 1/640 second, f/5.6, ISO800 at 450mm
Caddo Lake Cypress Trees
The swamps of Caddo Lake are well known among photographers who are looking to shoot those amazing bald cypress trees. I visited Caddo Lake State Park in east Texas to capture this image. While I was too early for the fall colors, the lacy green fronds and wispy Spanish moss provided an abundance of atmosphere. The late day sun added the dappled spots of warm light. The key aspects for me here are the vertical patterns formed by the trees and the foreground lily pads in calm waters.
Details: photographed September 24, 2023 at Caddo Lake State Park, Texas. 1/100 second, f/8, ISO200 at 115mm
Big Island Tree
This grand jacaranda tree was one of several situated on the west facing hillside above Kealakekua Bay on the Big Island of Hawai’i. The image was captured as the sun was setting over the Pacific so the side lighting was perfect for adding a great sense of depth. This area sees a fair amount of rain so everything was a lush green. I would love to return to this spot when the tree is in full bloom. For me the key elements are the main branches picking up the warm side light and the overall sprawling nature of the tree itself. It truly has a tropical vibe.
Details: photographed October 6, 2023 on the Big Island of Hawai’i. 1/50 second, f/4.5, ISO200 at 45mm
As always I truly appreciate everyones support over the past year. Capturing images such as these is only increasing my passion to keep seeking them out.
Thank you for reading and cheers!!