Top 13 Shots of 2013

As another year came to close, I thought about how long it really has been since I have been working at photography. I started in 2006, and was mostly playing for a few years. I started my website in December 2008 (5 years!) and my blog in June 2010, but it wasn’t until a cold December night under the stars later that year that I decided to really take photography seriously. A few months later, I linked up with the acclaimed Floris van Breugel, who led me into Olympic National Park and helped see the artistry of the craft.

After I dedicated myself as an photographic artist and not just a hobbyist, I found photography much more fulfilling. Each picture was a figurative representation of myself, not just a representation of the literal world around me. The problem I found, though, was that I did not know what that representation of self was. What was I representing? What is my artistic message? Am I calling for action or just to observe and appreciate? Are my images speaking for themselves? What am I saying that others aren’t? So many questions stood where before, it was just a picture.

So began another journey into photography and myself. At first, I was impatient – anxious for an ah-ha moment. But finding the message wasn’t that easy for me. Some photographers have their message before their imagery, and some know it right from the start. Others exude their message subliminally through their work. Some may never find their message and instead, and either brush it off or wallow in a purgatory of blandness and repetition.

Rather than come up with an answer, I instead decided to… wait. It is relatively easy to build a working expertise in photography — all you need is to spend enough time studying technical tools and light. It is, however, much more difficult to pair that technical expertise with a coherent thought that is illustrated in imagery but still somewhat intangible. After getting quickly frustrated with an apparent lack of progress, I realized that… this takes time. No one becomes completely confident in his or her abilities overnight. But, I am happy to say I have had several companies buy large prints to hang prominently on their walls. I am happy that some artists find inspiration in my renditions enough to paint them. I am humbled when each one of my friends or acquaintances compliments my work. Overall, I am proud of the work I put into photography — planning, shooting, editing, printing, writing blogs, coding the website, and marketing. And with more work and time, I think I’ll continue to refine my message and art into a body of work that can ultimately speak for itself. An analogy that comes to mind is for me to chisel, not hammer, into the next year and beyond.

In 2013, I spent much time refining my Washington, D.C. portfolio. This was with purpose, as I taught quite a few photography classes in and around the city and because I want a marketable portfolio to help my clients see my other, non-city work. I was also fortunate to capture some local/travel shots from Great Falls, Northwest Maryland, Western Virginia, California, and Italy. Overall, I am happy with the turnout of images from this year.

As I turn to next year, I will attempt to become more “inventive” and “figurative” when shooting in and outside of the city. It is relatively easy to recreate what is clearly in front of you rather than to look just a little longer, just a little deeper, and find that little something that is more unique. That’s the goal at least.

Now, onto the images from 2013. These are only my personal favorites. I would be very happy if you would comment on your favorite, or perhaps another that didn’t make my cut.

Thanks for the support and kind words… and Happy New Year!

"Sea

Under the Pale Moonlight” (Bonus – from 2011 but re-processed this year)
Distant sea stacks in the mist of night, lit by only the full moon.

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Orange city lights light up the scene just past twilight at Great Falls, MD

The Other Side
Orange city lights light up the scene just past twilight at Great Falls, MD

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A blue overcast snowfall past sunset accents a mystical scene at Muddy Creek Falls, Oakland, MD

Magically Melancholy
A blue overcast snowfall past sunset accents a mystical scene at Muddy Creek Falls, Oakland, MD

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The rapids of Great Falls weave water in and out, and into interesting shapes

Woven in Water
The rapids of Great Falls weave water in and out, and into interesting shapes.

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Fallen petals act as somber gifts of grace from the Cherry Blossom peak at the Tidal Basin

Sincerely Yours

Fallen petals act as somber gifts of grace from the Cherry Blossom peak at the Tidal Basin


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Vibrant red tulips are showcased under a beautiful moonrise at the base of the Navy Merchant Marine Memorial

Tulips under the Moon at the Navy Merchant Marine Memorial

Vibrant red tulips are showcased under a beautiful moonrise at the base of the Navy Merchant Marine Memorial


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A colorful sunset after a powerful storm at the Air Force Memorial

A colorful sunset after a powerful storm at the Air Force Memorial

A colorful sunset after a powerful storm at the Air Force Memorial


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Smoke from a nearby wildfire scatters distant light from the sun and stars over Mono Lake

Beneath the Darkness

Smoke from a nearby wildfire scatters distant light from the sun and stars over Mono Lake, California

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Morning light dapples impressive tufa formations surround Navy Beach at South Tufa shore of Mono Lake, California

Morning light dapples impressive tufa formations surround Navy Beach at South Tufa shore of Mono Lake, California

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An ancient Bristlecone pine tree stands tall and alone upon a barren, granite mountain in White Mountains Wilderness.

An ancient Bristlecone pine tree stands tall and alone upon a barren, granite mountain in White Mountains Wilderness.

An ancient Bristlecone pine tree stands tall and alone upon the barren, granite rubble of the White Mountains Wilderness.

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Twilight at White Mountains reveals the milky way along with dark blue hues just after sunset.


“Dreaming in Blue”
Twilight at White Mountains reveals the milky way along with dark blue hues just after sunset.

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A pothole reflects the blue sky at Elakala Falls at Blackwater Falls State Park.

“Remember the Sky”

A pothole reflects the blue sky at Elakala Falls at Blackwater Falls State Park.

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enus shines brightly during twilight over autumn trees at Lindy Point, Blackwater Falls State Park.


“Venus Watching”
Venus shines brightly during twilight over autumn trees at Lindy Point, Blackwater Falls State Park.

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Twilight Clouds at the U.S. Capitol in Autumn.


City lights mix with twilight to paint purple over high clouds during peak autumn foliage at the U.S. Capitol.

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