Top 25 of 2016

I know, I know, most photographers do a Top 10 list of their year’s best images. But I have to admit, with all the travel I did this year, it was really hard to narrow my list down to just 10. Seriously. Plus, it’s like picking which children of yours are your favorites. They all are. 😀

It’s also a good idea to review all of the workshops/events/art fairs I did as well as the places I visited. Below is my list of accomplishments for 2016:

Art Fairs Attended: 13

Workshops/Events Hosted: 18 

Places I Traveled To Shoot: Italy (my first time, which was the top of my list to visit forever!), Chicago (4 times), Toronto, Upper Peninsula, Toledo (4 times), Cleveland (3 times), Pittsburgh (twice), Philadelphia/New York/New Jersey, Louisville KY, Buffalo (3 times), Columbus, Lansing and Grand Rapids. 

More trips planned for 2017 as well as workshops and events (I am getting ready to leave again for the east coast next week for more abandonment fun!). If you haven’t heard already, I have closed up my workshop company on meetup and have joined a great group of professional photographers at Creative Vision Photography Workshops. You will now find all future events, workshops and trips listed there. I already have three on the calendar for 2017.

Without further ado, here are my Top 25 images of 2017, in no particular order. You can find all of these images for sale in my galleries too!

1. Blue Horizon Boxing Ring, Philadelphia, PA. This former Loyal Order of Moose Lodge was most recently a 1500-seat boxing ring venue until it closed in 2010. Learn more about this building here.

2. Cass Avenue Underpass, Cass Avenue in Detroit. Bryan Levy and I were downtown this particular evening shooting the MacGregor Conference Center at night, light painting around the reflecting pools. As we were driving home, we drove underneath the underpass, as we drove underneath he put the brake, the red brake lights causing the reflectors on the roof of the underpass to turn red. I asked him to pull over (which he did in the left turn lane), after promising I would be very quick. I asked him to press his brakes to light up the reflectors, and this is the shot I took. I quickly grabbed my tripod just before a bus came careening down the street (just before it entered the frame of this image).

3. Detroit Skyline with Canadian Geese. This image was captured at my third-annual Shoot the Detroit Skyline from Windsor workshop in June. We were fortunate to have a decent sunset, but this particular evening it seemed the Canadian geese wanted to get in on the action. I enjoyed including the geese as some of them floated by on the river.

4. Scott Fountain, Belle Isle. This fountain always seems to make my Top of the Year list, its so photogenic and beautiful, its a location that I love to return to again and again. This particular summer evening there were some really interesting clouds and I captured a few different cloud formations, but this was my favorite.

5. Broadway/Sattler Theatre, Buffalo NY. During my first trip to Buffalo, we had already planned to shoot this theatre, as we had received permission beforehand. There are some things, however, that cannot be planned and this beautiful sunray appeared as we were shooting and stayed for a good 15 minutes. You never know how long you have to capture sunrays so you shoot quick. We were especially lucky as we were the very last group to shoot the theatre before they closed the tours for good, as renovations are planned. You can learn more about the history of the theatre here and here.

6. Anna Scripps Conservatory at Sunrise, Belle Isle. I will be the first to admit I am not a morning person. But some mornings are worth getting up for, and this one did not disappoint. Bryan Levy told me about shooting the conservatory in September where the sun will be perfectly aligned between us and the front of the conservatory, giving it a gorgeous orange glow. This was the first time I shot this scene and hope to again. Bryan inspired many photographers this year and has become a popular destination to shoot it.

7.  Unnamed Temple. Captured when visiting the east coast earlier this year, this temple took my breath away. It was so unique, different than any other church I had explore up until then. The skylight was the frosting on the cake, so to speak.

8. Ford Fireworks from Marine Terminal. For years, Chris Clark and I talked about shooting the fireworks from the Marine Terminal roof. Even though we only saw the fireworks from the side view, I really appreciated the unique vantage point incorporating the Ambassador Bridge. My favorite part, however, was the twinkling of the boats lights, it reminded me of jewels sparkling as they bobbed along the river.

9. Lake of the Clouds, Porcupine Mountains (UP). Capturing Lake of the Clouds has been on my bucket list for a long time. While most of my images are of buildings, that doesn’t mean I don’t like to get out into nature every once in awhile! We had arrived just past peak color, and it had been raining and cloudy. This is another fortunate moment when the sun came out for a few minutes to give some life to the scene. The fog rolling by on the surface of the lake was an added bonus!

10. Marine Terminal Reflections. I won’t lie, reflection images are some of my favorites. I LOVE to find pooled water where I can capture these mirror-like reflections inside the abandoned buildings. No Photoshopping here, this reflection is as I found it!

11. Looking down Larned St, Detroit. This isn’t a wildly popular image of mine when it comes to my Detroit images, but its one that I like. I love the colors of the One Woodward building (on the left) at night. And, if the People Mover tracks are anywhere in the scene, I will definitely be capturing it as it goes by.

12. Couch in Hospital Apartments for Nurses. The couch. The color. Nuff said.

13. Crockett High School, Detroit. Most of the abandoned Detroit schools have been boarded up this year, Detroit is on the ball to fight the blight. Good for the city, not good for abandonment photographers 😉 This was another auspicious moment where a sunray decided to appear while shooting the school’s auditorium. This is the only school where I’ve seen leather seating.

14. Transcending Sculpture at Hart Plaza, Detroit. This view of the city throws people for a loop. At art fairs this summer I was asked frequently where this was in Detroit. I had to explain I was at Hart Plaza looking back towards Detroit. Most people see this sculpture from the other side.

15. Unnamed Church. What did I like about this church? The round dome was really neat. But what I liked was this busted up organ, just sitting on the table. I know, it’s weird, but it called to me.

16. Pere Marquette/Polar Express Locomotive, Owosso MI. Thanks to Scott Shields who got me hooked on shooting this historical locomotive. Sure it was incredibly cold, as the train ran between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I didn’t let that deter me from making the trek to Owosso to capture the train. It was a lot of fun and look forward to shooting it in 2017. Learn more about the locomotive here.

17. Detroit Skyline from Packard Plant. As a Detroit photographer, it’s always a challenge to find a unique perspective of the city. I was happy this day to have found this one, I especially liked the Packard Plant framing the Renaissance Center.

18. Positano at Night, Italy. Sure, I took a lot of images in Italy, even of the most shot scenes that exist. My travel companion, who was a photographer, told me that you couldn’t get a “good” image of Positano at night (AND that it would not sell). WELL, of course I took that as a challenge, telling him, “watch me!” and this is what I captured. I loved it, one of my favorite images I took of Italy, actually. And, I have sold a few of these at art fairs. So, there!

19. Farwell Atrium, Detroit. People love this image, and I can see why. Who can resist the lovely atrium with it’s beautiful railings? Unfortunately this was the only floor that still had the original railings left, as scrappers had taken the ones from the floors below. The good news is this building is being renovated. I look forward to seeing it when completed.

20. Detroit Skyline at Sunset with Dynamis and Equation Sailboats. Chris Clark had asked me if I wanted to shoot the sailboats as they sailed from Bayview Yacht Club to the Ambassador Bridge. Apparently, sailboats don’t really sail this stretch of the river, so I knew this would be a unique opportunity to capture them. And, of course, a breathtaking sunset occurred which made it that much better. You can see some of my other sailboat images from that night here.

21. Detroit Sunrise with Michigan Train Station and Skyline. This was another morning that it was totally worth it to get up early and capture the sunrise. I’ve been wanting to capture this scene since I had seen this view from another photographer’s image. It was on my bucket list for over a year, and finally captured it.

22. Unnamed church. I wondered how many people had kneeled on those kneeling contraptions? I didn’t even know something like that existed. But my favorite part of this church was the stained glass windows. So beautiful, this church had them on three sides.

23. Renaissance Center at Sunset. Nope, I don’t get tired of shooting the Renaissance Center. I typically didn’t shoot it at sunset from this vantage point, usually I shot it at night. But an image from Mike Boening inspired me to try this spot at sunset. I was literally on I75 heading home from shooting in Detroit when I looked at the sky and thought there was a chance of a good sunset and sped over to this scene. I shot this image as soon as I arrived, and then the color faded a minute later. As they say in photography, timing is a big part of getting great shots. And did you notice the People Mover down there?? Yeah.

24. Casa Belevedere, Tuscany, Italy. This is probably one of the most photographed spots in Tuscany. So of course we had to shoot it! Originally when we arrived it was overcast so the scene was quite flat. But after about a half hour, the sun peeked out from the clouds, casting this wonderful glow over the green pastures. And even better, fog started to creep in from the right. I was happy with this image, even though I have seen many great ones others have shot, but for my first time, not bad!

25. Aerial Shot of Detroit. I was really happy with the aerial shots we were able to capture during our flight over the city. I had wanted to fly over Detroit for a long time, it was a great experience, the next time I do it the plan is to fly more during sunset time of day.

Whew! You didn’t think it would ever end, did you? Thanks so much for sticking it out and reading through all the way. And thanks for supporting my work, I really love what I do and it’s all of you who make it possible! 

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Happy New Year! Here’s to 2017 and all the wonders it will bring us!

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