Favorites of 2011

The fact that this year end round up is 3 weeks late is a perfect metaphor for my photography in 2011.  I would think about subjects and have grand plans for photo projects, but in the end I just kind of wandered through the year without much direction.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing. I feel a lot more relaxed about my photography than I have in a long time.  I don't feel like I need to "keep up with the joneses" because I have accepted that I am just not going to be one of those star photographers or photobloggers. 2011 was a lot more about getting back to me.  

The biggest sign of that was the change from Photine back to laanba on my photoblog, personal blog, Twitter account and just about anywhere I am online.  When I took on the name Photine it was an effort to try to have a brand, to set my photography apart from myself as its own entity and give it its own life.  In the end it never really set well with me even though I went down that road for years.  I feel much more myself now that I'm back to laanba (the first two letters of my first, middle and last name and the first handle I went by in my early social media days).  Laanba is me and my photos are an extension of me.  Nothing grandiose or earth shattering.  Just me. 

This is my 6th photo round up (!!!).  Every time I put these together and look at my work from past years I always feel like my best work was years ago, but time passes and I grow to appreciate my collection over time.  I am sure it will be the same for my 2011 choices.   I went through all the photos posted to my photoblog in the calendar year of 2011, picked my favorites and elminated until I was down to 10.  Clicking on the photo will take you to the individual entry.  Photos are presented in the order they appeared on the photoblog. 

Year in Review: 2006,  2007,  2008, 2009, 2010

1.) A Southern Fall

This is the only photo that is from 2010 and it was taken in late December of that year.  I'm not completely sure why it made it into the favorites list.  I kept trying to eliminate it and it kept coming back.  It feels personal to me in part because I actually have my hand in the photo and I remember the moment when I took it: pulling over to a colorful area, finding a leaf to photograph and then trying to balance and focus the camera (a manual film camera) and frame the shot.  

2.) Mural Tomatoes

This was one of my failed projects for 2011.  I had plans on focusing on a new color each month and over the course of the year creating a portfolio of color shots.  I failed pretty spectacularly.  For example when I was looking for red, I would instead would find great yellow or green subjects, but since it wasn't what I was looking for I didn't take the shot.  I still like the idea of a color project and may bring it back in a revised form.  Thankfully I did get some shots I liked while struggling through and this is one of them.  This is a close up of a mural that was in downtown Houston.  The mural was covered up in the middle of last year because the wall it was on had to be repaired.  

3.) Forbidden Gardens

This photo subject is also now gone.  This scene is from the Forbidden Gardens museum that was located in Katy, TX.  It had a model of the Forbidden City as well as this replica of the TerraCotta Army of Emperor Qin.  The museum closed because a highway will soon be coming through its location.  The pieces of the museum were dismantled and sold off to the public.  Weeks after the museum closed I saw a guy selling some of these figures on the side of the road in my neighborhood.  A sad end to such a unique space.  As for this photo I think the black and white is what draws me into this photo.  I am very big in the color camp but I can see why people love black and white.

4.) The Rodeo

There are some recurring subjects on my photoblog and the Houston Live Stock Show and Rodeo Carnival is one of them.  Even though I have a signature photo that is of this exact same subject, I love this one too.  I love the lights and the colors of the carnival rides and I love being there when the sky changes from afternoon to dusk to evening.  I will never tire of it.  

5.) 10

Another rodeo photo.  I love the warm light and the clouds and the instant I framed it the number 10 popped into my head.  I am terrible at naming photos so I revel in the few instances when I am creative. 

6.) On Watch

This sculpture is between my apartment and downtown Houston.  I remember going out to photograph the area.  It had been a long time since I had gone to get photos at a location just because and not because it was an assignment for my photo group or a festival or event I was attending.  I miss the days of just wandering around a location with my camera for no other reason than to wander and photograph and I hope to do more of it this year. 

7.) Have a Seat

My first steps into Carribbean Waters.  A beautiful hour spent at a private bay near the city of Portobelo Panama.  It was sunny and warm, but not hot, there was a perfect breeze, the water was as warm as a bath and the sound of the waves and the smell of the salt air made this one of the best hours of my life and definitely of 2011.

8.) Peanuts

One of those happy accidents that happens when you put a film camera into the hands of an amateur like me.  This was taken with an Olympus XA2 and I love it.  I have so much fun with film. 

9.) September 11th

I wanted to mark the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on my photoblog so I went out in search of US flags.  I didn't feel particularly inspired while taking the photo but this one came to life for me while I was editing it in Lightroom.  My favorite part of this photo is the flag flying on top of city hall.  It wasn't a particularly windy day so capturing the flag in motion was luck.  Happy to have luck on my side at times.

10.) Goodtime Gal

Another recurring theme on my photoblog is airshow photos.  I love the airshow a great deal but usually my airshow photos do not include people.  When I walked around the corner of this plane and saw this guy sitting in this pose, with that uniform on, I just knew exactly what I wanted this photo to look like.  I only use Lightroom on my photos but I got it pretty close to what I wanted and this has immediately become one of my favorites.

So that's it for 2011.  An interesting, if not focused, year.  Onward 2012!


The Holidays