Sitting Backwards on My Horse (My Favorite Photos from 2008)

Every now and then you need to take some time to sit on your horse backwards to both appreciate and learn from where you have come.

This was a favorite expression of a good friend and mentor of mine from the business world.  This statement holds true for every aspect of life.  This is exactly what the new year is all about, looking back on the year that has passed while considering the year ahead. Between the Christmas and New Year holidays I spent a lot of time looking back on 2008 photographically.  Then the first business week of the year sort of exploded on me before I could share some of my 2008 thoughts, but here they are without further delay.

One way of looking back is through the photos that I have taken.  A year ago I posted my favorite photos of 2007 (it was actually a collaborative retrospective, I picked out my 10 favorites and then my wife corrected a few of my mistaken favorites 🙂 ). This year here are my 10 favorite photos from 2008 in order in which they were taken:

Downtown Boston as seen from across the harbor in winter (Black & White).

Downtown Boston as seen from across the harbor in winter (Black & White).

Back in January I did a business trip to Boston. While not my preferred time of the year to visit, I was lucky enough to be given some extra time in Boston for photography. I love this early photo of downtown Boston as seen through the fog across the Inner Harbor, the gritty-ness from all the noise gives it a very unique feeling. (more from Boston)

Fawn Pug peeks over top of laptop screen directly at viewer.

Fawn Pug peeks over top of laptop screen directly at viewer.

The great thing about having pets in your family is the way they can create a memorable moment during an otherwise forgettable day. In this case it was Napoleon giving me those sad pug eyes because he would rather be in my lap than the laptop!

Ferris Wheel Shadow During 2008 Taste of Chicago

Ferris Wheel Shadow During 2008 Taste of Chicago

It was so nice of Chicago to through a party for my wife and I when we visited this summer! And all the wonderful food that they brought in just for us. (And the other million people who visit downtown during the Taste of Chicago. Here is a rather unique look down on the crowd from atop of the ferris wheel. There is something about the framing and elements that always pulls me into this photo.) (more from Chicago)

San Francisco Skyline and East Bay as seen over Marin Headlands.

San Francisco Skyline and East Bay as seen over Marin Headlands.

Sometimes, the best impetus to get out and explore your own back yard is when you have family visiting. I discovered this unique view of San Francisco on a perfectly clear day this past August while out playing tourist with my brother and his family. The way that San Francisco peaks out from behind the Marin Headlands as well as the ability to see the south east side of the San Francisco Bay make this a very unique photo. (more from San Francisco)

Office Window of Twist Studios in San Francisco, California showing clutter and Signs.

Office Window of Twist Studios in San Francisco, California showing clutter and Signs.

One thing that I have trained my eye to see is strange combinations of signs. While out on a photo walk through San Francisco this fall, I was drawn into this store front at first because of the way the sunset was casting shadows into the building, then because of all this stuff that was strewn about the entrance. It wasn’t until I took the entire image into consideration that I naturally perceived the interesting confluences of the name of the office along with the unique view of a sign resting in entrance. A very Miksang Moment. Every time I see this image I smile. (more Signs)

Cypress Tree at Dawn in Eureka, California

Cypress Tree at Dawn in Eureka, California

There is beauty in simplicity. The lone tree. My wife has had me on the search for the perfect lone tree for about 3 years yet…she’s a very tough client to please. With this goal in the back of mind, I spotted this lone cypress along the bay in Eureka, California while up for an early morning photo excursion. While it doesn’t seem to meet her needs, I have fallen in love this photo. The pre-dawn sky and it’s gradient of color, the fog rising in the distance off the bay. The silhouette of the tree. Beauty in Simplicity.

Sunrise Over Old Fisherman Statue and Fog Shrouded Power Plant at Humboldt Bay in Eureka, California

Sunrise Over Old Fisherman Statue and Fog Shrouded Power Plant at Humboldt Bay in Eureka, California

Taken less than an hour after the previous photo of the cypress, on the other side of the bay I discovered this wonderful statue erected in honor of the fishermen of Eureka. I just loved how this image came together with the barely visible smoke stacks of a power plant across the bay and this statue. Something about the combination of the old industry of fishing and of new industry requiring the constructions of a huge power plant that strikes me each time I see it.  (more from Humboldt County)

A Landscape Worker appears to hover over two girls walking down Mission Street in San Francisco, California

A Landscape Worker appears to hover over two girls walking down Mission Street in San Francisco, California

Another Miksang Moment while walking to a San Francisco office one morning. I had spotted this worker who was planting plants in the multi-tiered planters along the side of a building. Originally I wanted to just capture the unexpectedness of him floating off the side of a building. But my timing was such that these two girls who were walking by lined up perfectly with the worker and the support wires of the planters. I almost didn’t capture this image as I was so focused on making it to my meeting, however I’m glad I turned back to capture this daily moment. After all, that’s why I purchased a special backpack at the beginning of the year…so I am always caring my camera with me to capture these moments.

Lighting of Pigeon Point Lighthouse on California Central Coast

Lighting of Pigeon Point Lighthouse on California Central Coast

It’s a rare combination of weather conditions that gives you a warm evening and crystal clear skies along the coast of Northern California. Yet that is exactly what we were given this year during the annual lighting of the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. With this being the last planned lighting for the foreseeable future, myself and a couple hundred of my fellow photographers showed up to take advantage of the event.

American flag flies over Pier 1, The Embarcadero at night in San Francisco, California.

American flag flies over Pier 1, The Embarcadero at night in San Francisco, California.

With the drama of the US Presidential elections this year, there was a surge of patriotic energy across the country as we came up to election day. It was the coattails of this energy that I think led me to this image of Pier 1 along the San Francisco Embarcadero. There was something about the lighting and framing for this image that just jumps out at me every time I see it.

Another way of looking back is to gauge progress on projects and goals set for oneself.  In this case, there are a number of photo projects that I have been working on for a while that I’m planning on finishing and releasing in 2009.  The photo archive has continued to grow (privately faster than publicly).  And, as longer term readers will know, I was able to align all my photography related sites under a single domain, look, and feel.  2008 was full of changes, and if a recent fortune cookie I chose is any indicator, 2009 will be as well.

So, what else does 2009 have in store besides more change?  I already have plans for a few limited edition fine art prints of some of my most favored photos.  The afore mentioned photo projects…the first of which will be a unique perspective of the Bodie ghost town from the Sierra Nevada high desert.  And look for a rather interesting photography blog project. All while trying not to participate in the current recession by being innovative and creative so that my clients will choose not to participate either.

To those who have been visiting and commenting through out 2008, thanks for all your support.

For those who have just stopped by, please subscribe to the blog feed and stay a while.  Say hi through a comment or email.

And for everyone, let’s make 2009 a great year!

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