Top 10 Images of 2019

It became apparent just the other day that we are wrapping up not only another year, but another decade. In a couple of days it will be 2020, holding the promise of the next decade of our lives. It is exciting to think about what the possibilities are! For me, I hope to hit the road for a LOT more travel. And not just within the US (even though there is still a lot I haven’t seen in the USA), but taking trips to places like Japan, Paris, other European locations. Who knows? The list is always changing and growing.

But enough about that. Now is the time to look back on the year and see what I’ve accomplished. I started out the year visiting abandoned buildings in southern states, hitting locations such as St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans, Birmingham AL and various locations in Georgia. It was the last time I took part in what has become 3-4 trips a year these last four years. But, I have decided to retire from these trips, mainly because I want to take the time to focus on other areas of photography, such as drone photography. And also see other things besides abandoned buildings. I still enjoy shooting them, but just not focusing on them as much as I have these last 10 years.

I also visited Cincinnati with Bryan Levy, and Chicago and Milwaukee and Scott Shields. I made two other trips to Chicago, one to teach at the Out of Chicago conference in June, and to hold a workshop with Scott Shields with photographers from Detroit in September. It’s not a typical year if I didn’t visit Chicago 3-4 times.

My photography stats are listed below. And, for the first time ever, venturing outside of my typical Detroit fair to East Lansing, Kalamazoo and Perrysburg, OH.

  • Photos taken: 12,446
  • Photos processed: 800 (clients and fine art images)
  • New abandoned locations visited: 40
  • Fairs attended: 16
  • Workshops/events hosted: 14
  • Classes taught at Schoolcraft College: 2

I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported my photography this year, whether it was a like or comment on my images, or you purchased an image from me, or you hired me to take photos for you. It is all very much appreciated and keeps me motivated to continue to learn and grow as an artist. I hope you all have a WONDERFUL and PROSPEROUS 2020!!

Without further ado, here is my Top 10 Images of 2019 (in no certain order)

1. Ford Fireworks from Ferry Street Bridge. Every year, it’s my goal to capture the fireworks from a different location around Detroit. This is a location that has been on my list for a few years, and finally made the decision to shoot from here this year. No sooner when we arrived and started to set up our cameras, it started to rain. We grabbed our equipment and dashed back to the car, waiting for the rain to subside. We got really lucky and it stopped just as the fireworks show started. And if you are wondering, yes this is a blend of two different exposures. The fireworks are about 3-4 seconds, and the car light trails were 30 seconds.


2. Cullen Carousel at Cullen Plaza, Detroit. I’m so happy I’ve been able to photograph the carousel several times over the last couple of years, thanks to my friend Marc at the Riverfront Conservancy giving me permission to do so several times this year. As with any time you go to photograph a location at sunset, you just don’t know what you are going to get. So far, this is the best sky I have photographed with the carousel. 


3. Chicago Theatre Interior, Chicago IL. This year was the first time I had toured the inside of the Chicago Theatre (but have photographed the exterior many times). Scott Shields and I went on the tour on Easter, not sure if the tour would take place on the holiday, but it did. We lucked out since we were leaving later that day back to Detroit. All I can say is that this theatre is amazing. Stunning. Gorgeous. I was able to photograph it two others times this year and would still go back again!


4. Manhattan View from Helicopter, New York City. One of my favorite places to photograph, I visited NYC in October this year and flew in a doors-off helicopter experience that was scary, but still cool. To see the rest of my images from my trip, read my NYC photo story.


5. Metropolitan Building / Element Hotel. I cannot say how impressed I am of the renovation that took place inside the old Metropolitan Building, opening to the public in December 2018. I was fortunate enough to be allowed to photograph “after” images to accompany the “before” images I captured in 2014. The hotel loved the before/after images and purchased several that now hang on the second floor of the hotel. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my photo story that highlights all the before/after images. This is a project that I am proud of and was definitely the most viewed and commented on this year.


6. Psych Hospital Patient Suitcases. It may be apparent there isn’t many abandoned images in my Top 10 this year. But I have to include at least one, especially since this scene is so poignant. All of the suitcases left here in this storage room belonged to a psych patient when they arrived at the facility. Many of these suitcases still had personal effects and clothes inside. I could have photographed these suitcases for hours.


7. Basilica of St. Josephat, Milwaukee WI. This was the first time I had ever been to Milwaukee. Scott Shields and I had planned a trip to the east coast, but the weather forecast was rain for most of our trip, so we changed gears and instead went to Milwaukee and Chicago. Wow I was so impressed with the architecture in Milwaukee. Besides it being super windy when we were there (up to 40mph), it didn’t stop us from photographing interiors and other parts of the city. I will definitely be visiting Milwaukee again!


8. Sunrise at Mt. Echo Park, Cincinnati, OH. I visited Cincinnati twice this year, and the first time I really seriously explored the city. Did you know Cincinnati has more historic buildings than any other city in the US? That is because back in the 80s the government was handing out money to cities to tear down their old buildings and build new ones. But Cincinnati wisely said no thank you. Mt. Echo Park has some great views of the city, be sure to bring a telephoto lens on this trip to get some closeup shots of the city.


9. Scott Fountain at Sunset on Belle Isle, Detroit MI. One of the best things that happened to me this year is learning about (and buying!) the 12mm Voigtlander lens for Sony. OMG this lens is amazing. The first time I took it out for a spin was on Belle Isle and Scott Fountain, and the skies did not disappoint. Thanks to Nenad Spasojevic for introducing me to this lens.


10. Downtown Detroit Looking Down Grand River Ave. I rented a 70-200mm lens for a client shoot, and decided to take it around Detroit to capture some images of the city. This scene looking down Grand River Ave. works very nicely with the telephoto lens. This was a popular image at my art fairs last summer.


6 thoughts on “Top 10 Images of 2019

  1. Grace Mather says:

    Beautiful pictures! My mom grew up in Milwaukee (St. Adalbert church). She was one of 10 children several of whom are buried in the cemetery by the same name as the church.

    I found the picture of the stacked suitcases very sad! They look so old – not the luggage of recent years.

    • Alanna St. Laurent
      Alanna St. Laurent says:

      Thank you so much Grace for your comment! That is neat to have the family connection to Milwaukee! I am not familiar with that church but there is still a lot to explore in Milwaukee! Yes I had the same response to the suitcases, and you are right there were quite old. Many of these hospitals were just locked up and forgotten about, with everything still inside. Hard to believe sometimes when you come across something like that.

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