Farewell to shadows of bluebells on white chicken coop walls…Farewell to pleasant afternoons hanging laundry on the line in the company of friendly toads…Farewell to grasshoppers, and white trumpet vines, and all other such elegant pairings…Farewell to barefoot days at the edge of the lake……Farewell to the haunting serenade of loons… Farewell to daisy bouquets made by small hands, and smoky sunsets, gifts from forests burning far away…Farewell to cumulonimbus, those splendid, tall ships sailing by in the sea of the sky…Farewell to restless, flitting warblers in green, green meadows…Farewell to lush gardens decked in the thousand diamonds of sudden morning showers…Farewell to the brief, warm nights, sparkling with celestial beauty and fireflies, humming with mosquitoes…Farewell to all the sun-ripened berries hiding under the leaves…Farewell to picturesque encounters on whimsical summer evening drives…Farewell to all the babies, now raised and grown…Farewell to dancing swallowtails in ballrooms of flowers…Farewell, sweet summer; welcome, glorious autumn!
It’s a fun tradition during the first week of the new year to go back over my posts from the previous year and pick out my favorites. It’s also a bit of a challenge, so this year I decided to give myself some categories to help make the task easier.
Also, I decided to title this year’s round-up as “favorites” rather than “best of” as I have in the past. My actual favorites are not always the photos that would be deemed my finest “works of art”, and that’s okay. To determine what is my best work I’ve decided I’m quite content to leave to the viewer’s discretion; what is my favorite work only I can determine and, I suspect, makes for a much more interesting story.Favorite Bucket List Score: A non-blurry close-up photo of a hummingbird has been on my list for a long time. If you know how fast these little beauties move, you know why I considered this opportunity a gift! This wasn’t the only shot I scored, either—and you can check out all of them in this post.
Favorite Associated Memory: Not surprisingly, my favorites are often so because of the stories and memories behind them. This photo reminds me of a happy walk in the golden glow of a late summer evening, that ecstatic moment when we realized the ditch we were walking along was studded with these ripe little jewels, and the mental picture of my husband down on hands and knees picking every one in sight. And the taste, oh the taste!Favorite Travel Shot: I really had a hard time choosing, but oddly enough, I ended up settling on this one that never even made it into a blog post! (Thus, a bonus photo for you!) My reason is solely based on the humor of the situation. This is a wild turkey mama who apparently doesn’t believe in broadcasting photos of her family for the world to see. She paraded them daringly along the edge of the road, oblivious to traffic roaring by—but when I tried to discreetly poke a camera lens out the truck window, that was a different story. She has at least six chicks, who are down there in the grass by her feet hiding. I’m really not sure if that’s a twinkle of mischief in her eye there, or a glint of suspicion, or just a look of triumph for foiling my designs. She granted me this one cameo peekaboo shot, and that was it.
This is also memorable, because my husband is the one who spotted her as we were driving and turned around of his own accord to go back so I could take a picture. Now that’s true love, folks.
Favorite Action Shot: The story behind this one can be found here!Favorite Landscape: The more you get into photography, the more you obsess about light. The absence or presence of the right kind of light, outside of actual studio photography, is something you chase after, wait for, wish for, do your best to contrive for, but cannot ever completely control. When you catch it, its a glorious moment. I passed this roadside bed of fire weed many times this summer, but it wasn’t until just the right shaft of late-afternoon golden light hit it, spotlighting the blossoms against the dark backdrop of forest, that it actually became worth stepping on the brakes for.Favorite Car Window Shot: Hands down. It makes me smile every time I look at it.Favorite Floral: Obviously I wasn’t the only one who appreciated the cornflower blue of these bachelor buttons in my flower garden this year!Favorite Challenge (as in the photos I worked the hardest for): That would definitely be any photo containing otters. Just don’t ask how many photos I actually took to secure those I deemed worthy to share with you (you can view a couple more in this post). I’ve found that otters, like hummingbirds, don’t sit still very much. This is the first year I’ve actually gotten decent shots of them, but I by no means consider the challenge over. Next Bucket List item: otter close-ups!Favorite Nature Close-Up: I love the contrast of this perfect autumn leaf from my parent’s maple-rich yard posing on their picnic table.Favorite Sky Capture: this alignment of the storm clouds and big round moon just after sunset was so stunning, and I enjoyed the extra fiddling with my camera required to expose those lunar craters just right! It rated high enough in my small world to become my desktop wallpaper. It must have appealed to you, too, because it also rated as the post with the most views for 2017!
A close runner-up to that one, however, was this stormy sky:This was the most magnificent sunset I have seen in my life, and the pictures (yes, they’re both from the same evening) hardly do it justice. It was also the one redeeming feature of the most severe summer storm I’ve had to drive through in my life. That was the road trip in which we missed half-dollar sized hail by a mere couple miles and because it was raining so hard could see nothing but the taillights ahead of us for what seemed like eternity (probably more like fifteen minutes). It was unforgettable all around.
I was going to do “Favorite Wildlife”—but so many of those ended up qualifying for the other categories that it seemed a bit redundant!
These photos, along with all the others I shared with you this year, represented lessons learned, whether in the technical realm of photography or in the stunning world of nature, and always in the beautiful realm of our Creator’s goodness, infinite creativity and love. I considered each opportunity to take a photograph a gift, and it is my prayer that each one, in turn, became a gift to you as well. If the sharing of these images have even once shifted your heart from the temporal to the eternal, from worrying to praise, from self to God—then I rejoice right along with “the little hills…on every side” (Psalm 65:12).
Now, here’s looking forward to all the yet unknown experiences, encounters, lessons and photographs 2018 holds and looking forward to continuing to share it with you!