Realizations: 2016 Retrospective

The sun sets over Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., Wednesday, June 8, 2016.

I didn’t imagine one of my final moments of 2016 would entail being mocked by a jar of gummy bears. Alas, here I am, hole up in a hotel room in downtown Atlanta (on the road once more lighting R&B singer Anthony Hamilton) where a decidedly tempting mini bar spread has been left for my perusal. Of course, there are the usual confections – Snickers, pretzels, Pringles, and just about every beverage that might quench a thirsty desire. At the forefront, however, is a jar filled to the brim with colorful gummy bears (the jar itself shaped like – what else – a bear). Try as I might, I just cannot justify parting with $7 of my per diem to conquer these viciously flavorful critters, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t tempting.

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A New Understanding: 2015 Retrospective

01_guypoy2015_122915Mammatus clouds in the sky over St. Nicholas Church in East Chicago, Ind., following a thunderstorm, Wednesday, June 10, 2015. Mammatus clouds are formed by cool air sinking rapidly from the upper atmosphere.

For the past several years, whenever I’ve sat down to begin selecting my favorite images for this year-end blog, I’ve gotten an overwhelming feeling of worry. I’ve always second-guessed whether I’ve shot enough things throughout the year that stand out enough to be featured together in a best-of collection. Typically, my worries go unfounded, and I’m left struggling to narrow down 50 or more of my favorite images to a palatable selection.

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Goals, Growth, and Gratitude: 2014 Retrospective

01_2014_yearendLightning strikes the Willis Tower following a severe thunderstorm as seen from Solidarity Drive, Monday, June 30, 2014.

“Do you ever wonder how many times your life is gonna end? Like how many people you’re… like how many times your life is gonna totally change and then, like, start all over again? And you’ll feel like what happened before wasn’t real and what’s happening now isn’t actually…”

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Wet Plate Journey

01_wetplate_072914

Bronwyn Coffeen and John David Mercer pose for a wet plate collodion portrait on their wedding day in Mobile, Ala., Saturday, July 19, 2014. The 8×10 tintype image was produced using a vintage 1896 view camera with an 1880 brass petzval lens.

The technical journey photography has taken me on over the past twenty years has been nothing short of remarkable. I’ve gone from shooting 35mm film on a Canon AE-1 for the Block Jr. High yearbook, to shooting on my first digital camera in high school that had a whopping 1/3 megapixel (yes, one-third of one megapixel) resolution, to clacking away at ten frames-per-second on the latest Canon 1-series digital bodies. While digital technology has allowed me to obtain images that would have been impossible to capture as cleanly on any other format, there’s something about the digital workflow that lacks soul. I can’t hold 1’s and 0’s in my hand. I can’t accidentally drop and scratch a .jpeg file. I can’t smell a histogram.

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