My Favorite Photos of 2013

This post came close to not making it into existence.  2013 was a year where I essentially put down the camera for the sake of the family, hence the stillness here on the blog. With a few exceptions, it was my most un-productive year for creating new photographs (except for family photos of course!).  However, the end of the year has traditionally meant participating in Jim Goldstein’s annual blog project and though many things in life conspired against me I really didn’t want to break my six seven year streak of participation (you can find previous year’s favorites under the Favorite Photo tag).

So, in chronological order here are My favorite Photos from 2013:

California Livin

California Livin’ – Winter Sunset at Beach north of Santa Cruz, CA

A purely chance photo during a Sunday drive to the coast with the family.  After a day of playing in the sand and surf, the kids had fallen asleep in the backseat and we pulled into a random vista point/beach access just north of Santa Cruz.  The couple in the photo and us in our car were the only ones who enjoyed this view…until now.


Sunset Bliss and the Golden Gate

Another happy accident.  On a return trip from San Francisco I had planned to stop at Treasure Island–I think my goal was to create some photos of the new Bay Bridge under final construction…not sure I even made those photos–and that was when I discovered Bliss.  A 40 foot tall steel frame statue statue of a women what was created for the 2010 Burning Man festival. The Block Rock Arts Foundation arranged to have the statue installed after the festival on Treasure Island.  It had been there for about a year when I accidentally stumbled upon it.  It is illuminated at night with changing color LED lights which make it a night time photo destination in the bay area.  But of all the photos I took of it illuminated at night, this sunset photo with the Golden Gate bridge in the distance is still my favorite.

2013 Bouquets to Art - Michael Daigian Design & Jennifer Lato, AIFD

Michael Daigian Design & Jennifer Lato installation for 2013 Bouquets to Art at the de Young Museum, San Francisco.

The only time I seriously picked up the camera in 2013 was for the 2013 Bouquets to Art at the San Francisco de Young Museum.  With my wife in the floral design business, she has been participating in the Bouquets to Art for a number of years now.  So it has become a require photo shoot based upon her request and a number of floral designer friends of her.  Why this photo of her co-design was one of my favorites is largely I know all the planning and implementation details that went into creating the floral design.  And I ended up standing in the gallery feature her work for an hour just watching people come up and try to figure out “what are those clouds made of” or ” how is it supporting itself”.  That joy of knowing comes back to me each time I look at this photo.

2013 Bouquets to Art - Freya Creative Floral Design

Freya Creative Floral Design installation for 2013 Bouquets to Art at the de Young Museum, San Francisco.

2013 Bouquets to Art - Freya Creative Floral Design

Freya Creative Floral Design installation for 2013 Bouquets to Art at the de Young Museum, San Francisco.

After attending Bouquets to Art now for 6 years and being so immersed in the floral design world (the visual aspects of which are not that different from photography), every year there is usually one deign that has a level of detail to it that can be easily overlooked.  This design by Freya Creative Floral Design is one that really stood out for me in 2013.  The hand painted serpents on the calla lilies that were used in the design (detailed in the first photo) perfectly complimented the art work Rubbing from the Ballcourt at Chichén Itzá. The second photo gives you the perspective of the floral design with the art work.

Boy and Pond

Boy and Pond

There is something about the simplicity and childhood innocence portrayed in this photo that made it stand out for me.  This is quite literally a family snapshot of my son staring out over the pond behind Grandma and Grandpa’s house in Wisconsin.  Trying to guess at what’s running through his rapidly evolving mind at this moment that makes it a favorite of mine.

RAGBRAI XLI Day 2: Danish Immigrant Museum and countryside in Elk Horn, Iowa

RAGBRAI XLI Day 2: Karras Loop Patch Pickup at Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa

One of the other reasons 2013 was so photographically unproductive for me was RAGBRAI XLI.  This annual bike ride across Iowa is a 7 day ride for about 10,000 cyclists, and 2013 included me and three family members. So the 1200 miles of cycling done in the months leading up to RAGRAI cut into my photography time just a bit.  I had planned on taking more pictures and posting updates during the ride, but physical exertion (on this particular day it was cycling 110 miles in 90 degree temps) and new camera technical issues limited me to taking only about 55,800 photos…mostly with my GoPro for a time lapse video of all 7 days of riding.  This photo is a quick iPhone Pano that I took on Day 2’s stop off point on the optional Karras Look, the loop makes the day a century ride for those who take it.  On the left you can see a road (filled with cyclists if you zoom in) heading west, the Danish Immigrant Museum in the middle, and fellow riders returning to the loop on right.  RAGBRAI is something that is hard to describe until you attend it.

Children Gazing out Train Window on Roaring Camp to Santa Cruz train.

Children Gazing out Train Window on Roaring Camp to Santa Cruz Beach train.

The Roaring Camp to Santa Cruz Beach train is a great old fashioned way of getting to the Santa Cruz beach.  The train starts in the redwood forest near Roaring Camp and literally ends on the street in front of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. If you have kids, it’s a great day trip that will wipe them out!  This picture was taken from one of the passenger cars; with wide open windows they are perfect for letting kids be kids.

Mendocino Coast Cabin

Mendocino Coast Cabin

I love the simplicity of this photo of a cabin on the Mendocino Coast.  Enough said.

Private Residence Guardians

Private Residence Guardians

One of my favorite gardens is in the city of Mendocino, tucked behind one of the buildings on main street is an amazing garden that separates the commercial building from a private residence in the back.  After visiting this garden many times over the years, this year was the first time I noticed the guardians of the private residence. 

Father and Son Watching the Ocean Waves

Father and Son Watching the Ocean Waves

December 29th at Half Moon Bay beach, it was 70 degrees but the water was only in the upper 50’s. After 30 minutes of standing at the water’s edge letting the waves wash over us my feet were numb and I had to lure my son away from the water with promises of snacks back at the car…

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

One interesting thing about 2013 is that even thought I took fewer photos than in previous years (excluding the GoPro time lapse 🙂 ), the cameras that I used were the most varying: few with the big DSLRmany with the iPhone, and an increasing number with point and shoot digitals that give amazing amount of control if you want them. The lesson here being that in the end…it’s all about the photo, not the gear.

Onward to 2014 and many great new photos…

Bonus Personal Favorite:

Caitlin and Matthew Enjoying Apple PIcking

Caitlin and Matthew Enjoying Apple Picking

Had to include one family photos that has become one of my favorites from the year.  Caitlin (1.5 years old) and Matthew (3 years old) having fun eating apples during an apple picking family excursion this fall.

2 Replies to “My Favorite Photos of 2013”

  1. Hey Greg – nice look back at your year. Those flower displays are quite amazing! Best wishes for 2014 to you and your family – and remember – don’t photograph anything that isn’t colored Radiant Orchid. 🙂 Perhaps your wife can use it also in her flower displays!


    latoga Reply:

    @Mark, Thanks. Actually, after a quick review of my photos from Bouquets to Art 2013, I found a number of instances of Radiant Orchid (or close to it). Let’s see how many floral designers during 2014 show favor it…


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