Friday, December 20, 2013

Best of 2013 photographs

A long, long time ago--back in 2007!--I put together an end-of-year "best of" list of 10 favorite photographs from the previous 12 months. I guess this was a knee-jerk habit that carried over from my newspaper days, when the last week of the year was largely given to recaps and "best of"lists.

At the risk of underwhelming the minimal readership of this blog further, I'd dug out this year's Top 10. I'll admit that they're not real grabbers. Honestly, I haven't done a lot of great photography this year. Most of these shots are close to home, and a couple of them are family photographs, for chrissake. Maybe I'm just more discerning of my work. I did make some nice railroad photographs on the few times I went out trackside, but much anymore, a train photo is a train photo is a train photo (unless, ya know, it's thirty years old, depicts something that has long since disappeared, or has a great story behind it). The train shots this year were solid railroad photographs, but nothing really that deserves being in the top 10.  At the risk of being pedantic or overly expository, I'll add a bit of commentary to them.

So here goes, in no particular order:

Aluminum Overcast: A vintage World War II C-47 cargo plane casts its shadow over a Fort Worth overpass while taking paying passengers on a quick 20 minute flight over downtown. I bought a groupon ticket that was too good to pass up and took my son E. along. He loved it, as did I. And it was LOUD in that good, roaring radial engine loud. Canon 60D.

Losing Grandpa: A very emotional photo for me, obviously. My father's long battle with Alzheimers is a couple of days from a conclusion, and we brought the boys to make a last visit with him in the nursing home. Not that it matters, but this is one of two photos taken on an iPhone4.

His First Pair of Glasses: E. takes his first look around in the optometrist's shop after getting his first pair of glasses. I was surprised he liked how he looked. I think he looks great, though that's not usually how a kid feels when it happens to him. I remember that day well myself. Fuji X20.

The Fashion Icon: I. is the actor in our family, a little ham who always surprises us with something he says or some attitude he strikes. We were headed to a friend's wedding the Fort Worth's funky Stockyards area when I put him up against the wall and told him to work it, baby. And he did. James Dean has nothing on this guy. The other iPhone image.

Feeding Time: On a visit to the Gulf Coast at Port Aransas, Texas, I got the clever idea to tell I. to hold some potato chips over his head. It didn't take long to attract a flock of seagulls that would've made Hitchcock proud. No human was shit upon in the making of this photo, either. Amazing. Fuji X10.

Barefoot, Beer, and a Six String: An enjoyable afternoon with Mary taking in the yearly Art Google, where the trendy Magnolia District in Fort Worth opens up galleries, artists sell from tables and musicians play in parking lots. This guy took the barefoot route. Big drops of rain were falling, and he was soon chased under a canopy to wait it out. Fuji X20.

Say Howdy to Big Tex: After bursting into flames in 2012, Texas State Fair icon Big Tex was back after complete reconstruction. A reproduction life-sized bust of Tex was a popular stop in one of the fair's exhibit halls. Fuji X20.

Tools of the Trade: Went to the northwest in October to give a photo presentation, and spent the day after checking out the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad, a tourist and steam preservation operation that boasts one of the largest fleets of operating steam locomotives in the United States. It'd operated since the mid-1980s, and it was my first visit. The friendly, mostly-volunteer crew gave us the run of the place. My favorite place was the machine shop where big greasy lathes and presses made parts for locomotives where no replacements were available. Great still life possibilities of an industrial realm. Fuji X20.
12:30pm, 11/22 in Dallas: The time and date are indelibly etched into the memory of people of my generation who remember the day in 1963 when John Kennedy was murdered in Dallas. The 50th anniversary of that dark day was 2013, and as the remembrance service took place downtown, I drove through the city in weather appropriate for the somber occasion. Fuji X20.

Steve Earle and the Dukes: In 2011, I showed up for his show at Dallas' Granada Theater with a hulking Canon 60D DSLR, only to be turned back at the door with the admonishment that "the artist doesn't want any professional cameras at the concert." A bit puzzled--I guess Mr. Earle would prefer that only shitty cell-phone photos be made of him?--the incident pushed me down the road to getting rid of the big DSLR's entirely, beginning with purchase of a very small, non-threatening Fuji X-10 camera. I returned in 2013 with the X10's  successor X-20 model; I've since supplanted it with a slightly-larger but higher quality X-E2. But there's nothing wrong with the quality of this little point-and-shoot. Quite amazing performance from a camera so small. Thank you, Mr. Earle, for helping me see the light!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These are great. All of them.