It’s the time of year I get to reflect back on my little photography hobby. While a lot of photographers are reflecting back on their top 10 or 15 photos from the year, I hate trying to limit mine to a certain number, so I basically went and picked my favourite… 29 in total.
2015 was a film-tastic year. I enjoy shooting on film because I enjoy the process and that I can make it my own. With such a variety of cameras, lenses, film stock, and developers, the possible combinations are endless. In total, I shot 82 rolls of film in 2015 – 27 rolls of medium format film and 55 rolls of 35mm. Further breakdown shows that I shot with 25 different film stocks on 14 cameras. I hope to up that game in 2016.
That’s not to say I didn’t shoot any digital, because I did… and will continue to do so. However, I have noticed that since I’ve started back into film, that the number of digital shots I take per outing is greatly reduced… which is a good thing.
Below are my favourite shots from the year ordered chronologically… more or less. I’ll try to describe each and why I selected it.
I chose the photo below for its simplicity, shallow depth of field, textures and tonal range. I took it in my backyard last winter.
This photo was taken at Warsaw Caves Conservation Area and it was cold. Damn cold. I was experimenting with different perspectives and got down on my belly and rested the camera directly on the ice.
Taken at the Toronto Reference Library, this multi-shot panorama highlights the size and awesome architecture of this building. Also, it is a place that I used to frequent back in high school before the Internet was readily available and going back there brought back some memories.
St. James Cathedral in Toronto is awesome. I like this shot because it emphasizes the lines and size of the building.
I stole the idea for this shot from another one that I had seen the day before that someone had captured on their phone. I thought it might look awesome using a wide angle lens and in black and white.
I like the shot below because it was a great family outing and because of it’s sharpness. I was surprised how sharp the image was considering it was a film shot.
I love the shot of the bike below. It was taken with some expired and discontinued Kodak Ektacolor Professional 160 film on a Minolta XG-M and was the last photo that camera ever took before the shutter curtain jammed and was not fixable. The tones and colour of the photo are the reason I got into shooting film. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the bike is made by Jeep and parked behind a Jeep.
I had pre-visualized this shot, but when I got there, my buddy told me that it was frowned upon to take photos on the subway platform. I had all my settings just right to freeze the people and capture the train flying by, and it was just a matter of lifting the camera, quick focusing, and boom – image captured.
The photo of the staircase below was taken at Camp 30 – an abandoned POW facility in Bowmanville. I like this shot because it is dark and dirty. You can see the mounds of debris on each step and the amount of graffiti on every surface. A couple weeks after I took this shot, I think they started dismantling this historic site.
Got to have some family shots in here, so I picked this one as it captures each of my kids personality perfectly.
The shot below was taken down in Whitby on a warm summer evening. My youngest was out exploring the park and slowly and quietly walked around the perimeter of the tennis courts. I love the lines in this shot.
Peterborough Beer Fest… or whatever it was called. A really, really hot day, massive line-ups, and a general sense of disorganization. This is a shot of the Smithworks Brewery staff pouring samples. I like the shot for its sharpness, exposure, and depth of field which all seem to be spot on.
The shot below was taken on a borrowed Mamiya 645 on Canada Day. I simply think it’s a great shot of my son and the tones are perfect… in my opinion.
I’ve taken a lot of snapshots using my crappy iPhone 4S, but this is hands down my favourite one. I don’t know what is NOT to love about this photo. Evening light peeking out of the clouds over low tide in Prince Edward Island silhouetted my wife and son going for a walk on the beach. The long shadows and solar flare were bonuses.
The shot below was taken in the same location as the shot above and really captures a mothers love for her child… especially when that child was being a total grump.
Colour. I don’t shoot a lot of colour photos, but I love this one. The purples, blues, greens, and a touch of red make it one of my favourites.
Love this shot simply for the colour tones and depth of field. It was taken in Avonlea Village in PEI last summer.
To get away from our severely grumpy youngest son, I took my oldest for a walk on the beach and took this happy shot with some Kodak Ektar. I love how the colour of the sand and my son turned out… the sky… not so much.
This was just one of those fun shots. We were having some ice cream in Cornwall and our little guy was being super silly. I love the expression on his face. He does need to learn to chew with his mouth closed though.
I’ve lived in Peterborough for 11 years and never once been to the Trent University Campus. I was blown away by what I saw there. The architecture and line work of each and every building was awesome and the building layout seems very chaotic. I could have spent many more hours there and hope to return next summer when the crowds thin out.
This was one of my first intentional double exposure images. Two photos taken on the same piece of film. In this case, the subject of each works well together. And I like trains.
I can’t really explain why I love this shot so much. The sharpness of this film shot blows me away. The image quality from this camera never ceases to amaze me. I also found the subject to be quite interesting; how a tree can grow in such an environment is beyond me.
The colours and tones are what got me from the photo below. Taken at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, this is one of the many, many areas on campus that is a photographers dream.
Colour. Simplicity. Depth of Field. I love it all.
I had to hike 3 kilometres in the dark with a lot of heavy photo equipment on my back to catch the sunrise in Killarney back in October. The colours of the sky and simple silhouette make this one image that I will definitely be printing in the future.
Took this shot with my Pentax 6×7 medium format camera and a roll of Rollei RPX 400 – a new film stock I was trying out. Absolutely blown away by this film. The tonal range is insane. I love this image for its contrasts. Constrasts in colour, texture, and subject. Plus the composition and leading lines make this one I’ll be printing as well.
The shot below was taken back in December at Lang Pioneer Village at their Christmas by Candlelight event, which should have been called Christmas by High-Powered Artificial Light. It was so dark out, that the bright lights were needed for safety reasons and the fog only made it more a challenge to shoot. As the rest of my family was inside one of the farm houses, I noticed this silhouette and waited for someone to walk into the frame.
When shooting film, the results are not alway predictable. We call those “happy accidents” and this is just one of those cases. A double exposure of my oldest son and what appears to be a brick wall and door. What makes this shot really interesting is that it was captured on film from two different cameras. That’s right. I had loaded my Pentax K-1000 and was firing of the shutter to get to the first exposure. I never took anymore shots, and when I got home, I wanted to use a different camera. So, I rewound the film from the Pentax and loaded it into my Nikon F3. The first shot I took was of my son in the living room. I love the effect and story behind this photo.
We pass this driveway all the time. I’ve taken a couple different photos of it at different times of the year, but only when there are no leaves can you get the impression of how long it is. I love the symmetry and tones of this shot.
Well… that’s it. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past year. I look forward to seeing what 2016 has in store. I have some ideas in mind of what I’d like to focus on, but I’ll save that for a future post.