2015 Year in Review

It was a long and productive year, and I have a lot to be thankful for!  The new opportunities, the continued support... it all added up to my best year yet blazing my own path as a freelance photographer and fine artist.  I'm making a few slight adjustments to my creative vision and continuing to explore creative horizons... but before we move forward let's take a look back at 2015.

My Instagram #bestnine totaled my top posts for the year and I was very happy with the results!  It looks like my shots of coastal waters and oceanic activities top the charts, which is great since those subjects are closest to my heart.  Not all of these were actually taken in 2015 but I'd like to share my #bestnine with you anyway!  With a medley of abstracts, beach shots, two images from Baja, and other outdoor activities in or near the water, I thought this set of nine summed up my work rather well.

When it comes to my personal favorites from 2015 there's a bit of overlap with the #bestnine and a few other shots that deserve a mention.  And while I couldn't narrow it down to a "top ten" or anything, here are my favorite moments and explorations from the year!

This shot was captured very early in 2015 as I began to build a portfolio of interior photography.  With no one but myself in a beautifully styled and well lit coastal home, I played for a few hours capturing shots throughout the first floor.  This is by far my favorite interior shot of the year and well worth a mention.  A special thanks to Teddy for patiently modeling for me and walking down that hallway over and over again.  You deserved every single one of those kibbles!

I began to explore food photography a few times throughout the year, most notably during my trip down island to St Barths in November.  While the one muffin shot could have been captured essentially anywhere, the soft light and pale blues against the delicious and dark brown baked goods makes it a personal favorite from a photographic point of view.  And the second shot, while I am especially pleased with the composition, also captured a very distinct sense of place.  Between the two I couldn't choose just one since they both portray something extremely different from the other, but are certainly two food shots I'm very proud of!

Another new exploration for 2015 was yoga photography with a few friends.  One day we were out on the bluffs in Narragansett with the ocean as a backdrop, and another day we were in the backwoods of Wickford, RI.  Another special thanks to Christina and Deedee for being such wonderful yogis and models :)  I can't wait to do some more of this work soon... perhaps on a beach...

This is one of my favorite sailing shots of the season as I looked down the starting line towards Rose Island Light across the harbor.  I was called in to capture the annual Conanicut Yacht Club Around the Island Race this year during Labor Day weekend.  We were absolutely blessed with perfect weather and I was particularly thankful to be included with such a wonderful group of people!  It was a terrific and fun event with all sorts of sailors and families competing for one last hurrah as we said goodbye to the summer sailing season.  A big thank you and shout out to the CYC ATI organizers and race committee!  You made this one day regatta seem like easy work and you were all a joy to work with!

It's not a complete year without a new and stupendous lighthouse photo!  This was captured during a rather rushed sunset shoot in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  As I ran around with gear and dwindling light, I approached Wood End Lighthouse with moments to spare and captured this shot within the last minutes of sunlight late in the summer.  While I have a few other shots from this excursion, the vibrant energy and colors of this one can not be topped.  It's surely an all-time favorite of mine for coastal outdoor adventure shots.

As my abstract photography is usually relegated to the winter months, neither of these abstracts fit that mould.  I captured these new photos for my abstract seascape series during the summer months of June and September.  Both were during dusk with one being from Bass Rock in Narragansett and the other from Mohegan Bluffs of Block Island.  It's much more difficult for me to get motivated for sunrise shoots but as this series continues to develop I find myself wondering what a sunrise abstract would look like compared to these soft pink dusk varieties...

My quintessential travel photo:  the arrival by plane in St Barths.  This photo wholly captured my experience of seeing the island for the first time and will forever remain a favorite, if not only for nostalgic reasons.  There's nothing more to be said other than I can't wait to go back!

This photo was taken in the last weeks of 2015 as I photographed surfboard shaping for the first time.  While I have several shots of the tools, the hands and the board, this photo captured more than just the act of surfboard shaping for me.  This personal project for Lyle became a photographic project for me as I watched him cut, shape, and sand the foam blank of what will soon become my very own handcrafted-by-Lyle longboard.  It means a lot to be given a gift by someone close, and even more when that gift is created by loving hands.  

These two shots (again I couldn't pick a winner) both captured some of the water sports and activities as part of the St Barths trip this past fall.  I love these shots equally for their composition, capture of the activity, bright caribbean blues, and of course the memories they provide for me of my first trip to the island.  It was also the first couple of times I used my Ewa Marine underwater housing for my DSLR and I had a blast with my new photographic toy!

I was on the race course for J111 Worlds in Newport, Rhode Island this year.  While it wasn't my first regatta, it was a new collaboration with J Boats and I found myself once again surrounded by wonderful people!  It was quite a turnout for the new J Boat class and while not every day of competition was perfectly breezy and sunny, there were some great moments throughout the week.  This shot in particular is a favorite of mine for more artistic reasons than anything else, perfectly capturing the blue and white sail dancing between the big ocean swell.  There's not much else to say other than I love the this photograph for its colors, composition, and the sense of being comfortably alone out on the water just sailing, just you and the ocean.

Another shot from down island, this photograph is another favorite in-water photo for an entirely different reason.  The two photos featured in the #8 slot give a sense of outdoor activity in a sunny caribbean landscape, but this photo's mood is altogether different and mysterious.  It was one of those accidental captures as I was getting adjusted with the Ewa Marine bag, but upon review it said something about exploring the unknown that I loved.  The colors might be darker but the mood is still full of adventure, of unexplored horizons, which is exactly how I felt diving into the waters of Colombier for the first time.  I love the way this one turned out.  It will always be a happy mistake.

As I begin to think about my photography for the longterm something has been speaking to me for quite some time:  outdoor adventure.  Photographing sailing and surfing has touched on this subject matter but I've been thinking about delving into the broader realm of outdoor adventure photography more thoroughly in the upcoming year.  A hike to one of the highest peaks in St Barths provided me with an early opportunity to create some adventure shots without being tied directly to the ocean.  While the island is certainly still a coastal community, this shot helps pave the way for me personally to explore more of the great outdoors than just what happens on the water, and learn about the photographic eye required to properly photograph it.  Not to mention it perfectly captured what it felt like to climb that 276m high mountain in the middle of the caribbean ocean!

Another personal goal for my photography has been to capture people in outdoor settings, whether it be for adventure sport or coastal lifestyle.  This shot is definitely in my top 5 because it touches on so many aspects of my photography I already love and other parts I want to keep working on!  I've always loved shooting in natural light and directing people has been a lagging part of my photographic portfolio for some time.  The ocean/yacht setting and the dusk light are both specialties of mine, and while this wasn't 100% styled or professionally modeled, I was still able to capture not just the scene but what it feels like to be the person experiencing that moment in time.  You can almost feel the warm sunlight and hear the lapping water against the boat.  You feel like it could be you sitting out there on the water watching the sunset.  For me, that means mission accomplished and one of my best photographs of the year achieved. 

This image speaks to the previous points about putting people in coastal scenes, making you feel like you could be experiencing this moment yourself, but it also achieved something for me that I had not done in a long time:  film photography.  This was part of my first roll of film shot with my new Nikonos V, a discontinued all-weather proof camera built by Nikon around the 80s.  This little orange camera is a brick but I absolutely love it!  It provided me with creative freedom and an aesthetic that I had been wanting to get back into.  The grit, the grain, the reproduction of color, the shallow depth of field... all of it plays to a wonderful vintage feel recently revived in the photographic community.  Shooting with film to capture this aesthetic is a professional photographic goal but I also can't wait to get my toes back in the sand of Block Island at the first opportune moment!

The runner-up for my favorite shot of 2015 harkens to the earliest parts of my professional portfolio:  sailing on Narragansett Bay.  This was captured during the Wickford Catboat Summer Series as part of my second time out with this little fleet of old salts!  It was a perfectly picturesque evening on the bay, the kind that we all hope for every night of summer sailing, and as we approached the windward mark everything came into place!  The wind, the late afternoon sun, the spray, the beautiful wooden boats... it all clicked.  I watched the scene developing with anticipation and as quickly as the moment arrived, I knew I had captured the money shot.  This is certainly one of my favorites from 2015, and not just within the realm of sailing photography.

Here it is, my number one favorite from 2015!  It's not a sailing shot or a surfing shot or an abstract... but a nighttime exploration into astrophotography from my trip to Block Island in September.  The stars aligned, literally, for a perfect evening of shooting the stars.  It can be difficult to find the right location in Rhode Island to photograph the night sky because of civilization's encroaching light pollution in every nook and cranny of this densely populated state.  The best night shots are usually brought to us from photographers out west or in remote Scandinavian landscapes, but one cloudless night when the moon wasn't schedule to rise until much later, I was on the south shore of Block Island looking southwest at mostly ocean and the Milky Way was wonderfully clear.  I had only attempted astrophotography maybe two other times previously, but I felt confident as I photographed the stars for about 2 hours in the early evening.  I modeled for myself, and took some frames with Lyle too, again all in the effort to shift from a landscape photographer to an outdoor photographer putting people in places and giving viewers an experience instead of just a photograph. 

And with that I'd like to say a very big thank you to everyone who helped me build my body of work this year and continues to support me as we move into 2016!  I can't wait to see what the year has in store..

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