It is once again that time of the year when it is in order to list the best shots of the year. I have done the same since 2010. For two years now I have been included in Jim Goldstein’s list of best photographs of the year which is very popular among photographers. I am truly grateful for Jim for the opportunity to be included in his list. It has brought lots of new readers to my blog. Since I changed the theme on my blog the layout of the pictures has changed in the old posts but you can still find them in this blog, here are My Best Shots 2010 and here My Best Shots 2011.
Every year I also take part in the Wildlife Photographer of the year competition. It is the only competition that I take part in. I am a member of the Finnish Wildlife photographers and for the membership fee the competition is free of charge. They also give out an excellent magazine that I enjoy reading. However, quite a few of the photos that do well in that competition are photos of wild animals and that is not what I do. Still, taking part in the competition is fun for me in itself and it has become sort of like a tradition, a divider in between the years and days when I roam around in the forests with my camera. The Wildlife Photographer of the year competition is the biggest photo contest in the Nordic Countries and it has been arranged for 32 years in a row. You can find the names of the winners of the previous years here. Interestingly, there isn’t a single female name on that list.
As I have done the previous years, this year too I rate my photos according to the faves on Flickr. Out of all the places in the social media where I share my photos, that is the place where I’ve been longest. I feel confident in uploading on Flickr and I refer to that site when I share my photo in other places like Twitter for example. The statistics on Flickr are easy to read and the feedback is more constant, whereas on Google+ for example it seems that people react more to the size of the photo or the way in which it strikes you in the fast flowing stream. And if you are there posting when the American side of the globe is sleeping, your photo will remain unnoticed by most Google+ users. I am very grateful for the people that still follow me on Flickr since I must confess that I have been doing post-and-run mostly due to my busy schedules.
My most popular photos this year were mostly winter scenes from Nilsiä where we went with my family in February 2012. Our plan was to teach our sons to snowboard but it was way too cold (-30C) for snowboarding that week. Instead my sons spent the week in the spa (luckily they had one) and I explored the area and photographed the gorgeous snowy landscapes. The mist on the creek was created by some holes that the locals had made in the ice in order to make it stronger so that people could drive on the ice. In Finland it is customary to use ice roads during winter. For me it was a lucky coincidence that they decided to do that while we were there and to top it off there was such gorgeous sunny weather.
Other favorite photos of mine include spring scenes photographed via reflecting surfaces, mostly puddles. I enjoy water reflections immensely. It is like another surreal world that offers me endless alternating views. It feels almost like an opportunity to paint images on canvas without knowing anything about painting techniques or without having the ability to control the brush in such a way as to make the lines appear exactly the way you want. The same happens with droplets. Those mornings when I see droplets on the branches are the only mornings when I skip my morning coffee and instead jump into my boots, grab my camera and came back for coffee when the sparkly moment is over.
In the top ten of my best shots in 2012 I have also three summer pictures. I have been fortunate to visit many gorgeous summer places, one of which is a friend’s cottage just an hour’s drive from us. Every time I go there it inspires me to photograph and naturally there is a lake involved. Living in southern Finland we also have the sea close by and there are fantastic islands all around us with their enchanting histories and all you have to do is to find out how to get there. I love the sea. The best way for me to spend my summer is to spend it by the sea. I have written many posts about the places I’ve visited by the sea or on the islands. You can find them if you follow the tag ‘Sea‘. It is not only about the water and the horizon. It is also about the wind and the colors and the light. They are all special out there.
As always, this years photos are all unedited. I watermark my photos, make them smaller and sometimes I crop them a bit. If there is a horizon I might straighten it a bit. But that is all I do to my photos. I don’t even have Photoshop and I wouldn’t know how to use it. I’ve seen that there are many very talented photographers around who photoshop and when you do it skillfully, it really makes some fantastic photos. However, I feel that is not my cup of tea. I think it’s nice to do something different from the others. I don’t do it to make a statement, it just suits me best. I suppose I just want to find a way to do something different than most people do and I constantly want to find ways to challenge myself. I try to create moods with my photos. Finding the right white balance or tone control does not interest me, it is only the mood and the story I want to convey with an image.
It will be interesting to see what 2013 brings me in the world of art and photography. I will continue to post my photos on Flickr and sharing them in various places in the social media. The photos that I share online are small and watermarked. The ones that I sell are big and mounted on aluminum. I have just sold one recently and I might be looking into opportunities to showcase more of them next year. I do have my teaching job so I don’t need to worry about selling photos and I’ve made the decision that I will not do stock photography at all, just because I don’t have time for it. The big prints that I sell are signed unique works of art to hang on your wall, and if you do not have need for one of those, then my photos can be looked at in small sizes online.
My best shots 2012 are 1. Canyon Creek 2. Spring 3. Canyon Creek II 4. Out of Place 5. At That Hour 6. On This Side of the Sun 7. Don’t Let Go 8. Arctic Sun II 9. Island in Blue 10. April Skies. One of my personal favorites that did not make it to the top ten is this photo below. Just some dew drops on a plant in our front yard, but it was such a joy to make it look like something else and create and altogether different mood to the sunny morning sunlight just with the tools provided with the camera itself, shadows and the light. Just to enjoy some unexpected intrusions of beauty.