Milestones are important. These are the moments in life when we pause, reflect and are made aware of the beauty and mystery that is both grace and life. At the beginning of each year there’s always the question – “what will the next 12 months hold in store for me?” And then always on December 31st the answers that surprise.
In no way could I have predicted the experiences during 2012 that would lead me to where I am now, but without a doubt I can now look back with nothing but thankfulness.
As a photographer I have the added blessing of visually recording those times and experiences when I become completely lost within the light and the spirit of my subject. At the end of each year I try to make a “top 10” list of those images that truly reflect who I am as an artist while telling the story of my life experiences. It can be tough to narrow-down the selections. The temptation is always there to include those images that received the most “likes” and shares on Facebook or the ones that resulted in the most print sales on my storefront. But in these end-of-the-year lists I try to emphasize those few images that have more depth of personal story behind them, the ones that are infused with deeper meaning and reflect what I was feeling and thinking at the moment and in the place where the camera shutter was released.
Sure I could just simply include the technical data involved with each of the following photographs (and that’s available if anyone would like to know – email me and I’ll be happy to answer) but I’d rather share the story, the meaning, of what was happening and changing within my life and my style of photography at the moment of the image.
Indeed what an amazing year of discovery, emotion, reawakening and ultimately a turning in the right direction. All of it means even more to me now that I see my time on Hilton Head Island coming to an end and a new chapter opening westward, in Texas and beyond. The previous year and this place (Hilton Head) was a time and location of reflection and learning, more of a crossroads than anything else. Many new friends and the haunting beauty of the tidelands. I am thankful for the lessons both have taught me and the opportunity to capture and share the unique light and character of coastal South Carolina. But also during 2012 I was fortunate to have a few initial previews of what is in store for me during 2013.
In marking the conclusion of 2012 here are my top 12 photographs –
Blessed in Morning Light | Hilton Head Island
The crabbing dock behind the building where I rent my apartment. March 17, 2012. The sunrises over the marshland that borders Broad Creek have a calm beauty and peacefulness that endures despite the development of the Island and the hustle and flow of visitor traffic. To experience sunrise from this location is a living prayer set to light. This is a place to go and meet the incoming tide with peaceful reflection. The time I’ve been fortunate enough to be blessed with here on Hilton Head has for the most part been a period of contemplation, prayer and redirection. There is a reason why I was moved in this direction at this point in my life, perhaps to come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of what truly matters, through perhaps one or two painful lessons but mostly quiet observation.
January Moonrise | Hilton Head Island
To appreciate the true beauty of the nature of the area you HAVE to get out on the water, whether by boat or paddle board. This where the spirit of the Lowcountry is met on an intimate level. The water, the water, the water. Sunlight dances but moonlight enthralls. I am very thankful for the opportunity to own a boat and explore the local creeks, sounds and offshore ocean. This is the source of all positive energy that flows over and through the islands. In preparing for my move to Texas – and to gather the funds for the move – I had to sell my boat. That was the first time in my life that I found it hard to part with something material but the fact is that boat – a 23′ Century – was my access to the water, from swimming and tubing with my daughters and son to cruising out alone to the open waters of Port Royal Sound at sunrise and coming back in at nightfall under the light of a rising Moon. It was freedom and an investment in memories for a lifetime.
May Rain at Cedar Falls | Hocking Hills, Ohio
I’m thankful for the opportunity to return to Hocking Hills, Ohio at least twice each year, to teach weekend workshops on photography at The Inn at Cedar Falls. On the Sunday afternoon portion of the program last May I took my group out in the rain to demonstrate how wet weather often can be a benefit with spring landscape photography in this area. The lady with the umbrella was not part of our group nor was she asked to stand in that location. I was just sitting up on a ledge under a rock overhang, talking with one of my students, when she just appeared with this purple/pink umbrella. I thought to myself “this is too good to be true.” She also stood still long enough for the longer exposure I needed to capture the flow of the water off of Cedar Falls. Every year my top 10 list includes at least one image from Hocking Hills. The place has become a part of who I am and for good reason. It is home.