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Favourite Images of 2014

Favourite Images of 2014

D800-Venice Oct 2014-3459-2014-10-01-Recovered

Venice

I suppose it’s natural, on the first day of a new year, to look back at the year gone by and reflect on what we have accomplished.

Looking back on the photography I’ve done in the past twelve months, I wouldn’t say I’ve made any discernible improvements in my technical ability as a photographer. With rare exceptions, I seem to have stayed within the bounds of what I already knew.

D800-Charleston Day 6-2031-2014-04-03

Boneyard Beach, Edisto Island, South Carolina

Artistically, I have tried a few new creative approaches, particularly long exposures and creative blurs.

The lead image, which was taken in Venice in October, is an example of the use of creative blur, using a slow shutter speed to blur movement of a gondola passing under one of the city’s many picturesque bridges in order to impart a dreamy, ethereal feeling of this incomparable city’s romantic heart.

D90 IR 590nm-Peak District-0183-2014-10-11

Twenty Trees, the Peak District, England

The second image was taken on the beach at Botany Bay in Edisto Island, South Carolina in April. This photo was a stretch for me technically because I am normally fastidious about correct exposure and avidly scrutinize the red, green and blue channels of the histogram of every image I take to ensure it is correctly exposed.

D90 IR 590nm-Charleston Day 6-0920-2014-04-03

Edisto Island, South Carolina

In this case, I had to accept that there was no way I could save the highlights in the blazing ball of the rising sun: the histogram is blown to smithereens on the highlights side. But, know what? I’m really glad I abandoned my own normally strict rule about correct exposure and allowed the demands of the image to override all technical considerations. Yes, the image is technically flawed, but I am very pleased with it.

This past year, I have continued to shoot infrared (IR), in both 720 nanometer (nm) and 590nm wavelengths. The former, I use mainly for producing black and white IR images and the latter I use mostly for producing faux colour.

The third image, which was taken during a trip to the Peak District of England in October, is one of my more successful B&W IR images, I think. I was happy with the delicate texture in the trees, the way they seem to be facing the sun, as sunflowers do, and the impression the image imparts that the sunlight is streaming down the bank of clouds to strike the grove of trees. When I posted this image in the Peak District Photography Group on Facebook, I got an overwhelming response from local photographers and residents of the area, who loved the image and know this clump of trees intimately. It is called “Twenty Trees” and it stands in a field above the hamlet of Hayfield in Derbyshire. I loved the Peak District and hope to return to photograph there again, next time I am in England.

D800-Lucca-3510-2014-10-03The fourth image, I’m a little ashamed to admit, was staged. This is a good example of what professional photographers call “working the scene”.  I spotted this abandoned house while driving along a road in South Carolina, stopped to shoot it, found the abandoned child’s tricycle nearby on the same plot of land and placed it in the scene in order to create an implied narrative about a little boy or girl who once lived in this house and once rode this tricycle. It is, I fancy, a tale of happiness lost. But it’s only a tale. A mirage created by the camera. But what the hell! Now and again I allow myself a little creative license.

The fifth image was taken in the pretty little Tuscan town of Lucca. Shot at night with a long exposure, this photo benefited from the fortuitous passage of cars on a nearby street, whose headlights created an interesting tapestry of light and shadow on the sidewalk.

D90 IR 590nm-Kerry-0237-2014-10-16B&W

Abandoned Farmhouse, Drumluska, the Black Valley, County Kerry, Ireland

The sixth and final image is the one which pleases me the most.

I travelled to the remote Black Valley of Count Kerry, Ireland with the specific purpose of finding and photographing this little abandoned farmhouse on a hillside in the most godforsaken part of my home country.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of times when, as a boy of five or six, I visited remote farmhouses just like this, in the bleak, windswept countryside along the border between County Tryone and County Donegal, between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. I went with my father to visit his elderly uncle or with my Uncle Charlie Gallagher to visit his cousins near Pettigo. I remember long climbs up unpaved country lanes, stepping stones across fast-flowing, ice-cold streams, marshy fields full of rocks and bullrushes, thatched rooves, black-bottomed kettles in which water was boiled over a peat fire to make a cup of tea to welcome visitors. To think that, just two generations ago, my relatives lived in houses like this, in locations just as remote, makes me shake my head in wonder.

Of all the photographs I have created in 2014, this image of the little, abandoned farmhouse in the Black Valley of County Kerry means the most to me.

(click on an image to enlarge it)

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12 Comments

  1. Angelina Nga Nguyen January 1, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    I am very impressed with your accomplishments in 2014. I love your photos.
    I hope that 2015 will be even a better year for your photography. I need to follow you closely so I may learn how to improve my craft.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Happy New Year!

    • shaunmoss January 2, 2015 at 4:58 am #

      Thank you so much, Nga, for your visit and kind comments. I love YOUR photos, so that makes two of us. You are welcome to follow me more closely and I am sure that I will learn as much from you as you do from me. Perhaps we can shoot together on a future camera club outing.

      • Angelina Nga Nguyen January 3, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

        Yes. I do hope we will have a chance to shoot together soon.

        • shaunmoss January 14, 2015 at 2:20 am #

          Let’s do it, Nga!

          • Nga January 14, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

            I’m ready 🙂

  2. Gabrijela January 1, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    Once again dear Shaun you confirmed something I have already knew: you are an extraordinary multitalented artist! Your ability of noticing signifficant details, special moments in time, sublime light sensations or whole story took my breath away!!!
    It doesn’t happen so often that a photographer is capable to describe or comment his own work so good as you do so I am not sure what did I enjoy more: your pics or text included. Think about dedicating some more of your time to the literature too – you are amazing as a writer!!!

    Photo No 5 is my fav (photographically) but No 6 has an emotional power: it took me back to my childhood too, when was it? Two hundred years ago!
    Happy new Year!

    • shaunmoss January 2, 2015 at 4:56 am #

      OH, Gabrijela! You making blush, all the way from Rijeka to Washington, DC.

      You are not the first person to say that they don’t know which they prefer: my images or my words. Maybe I should lay down the camera and take up the pen?

      I’m glad you like the image of the abandoned country house. I find it packs enormous emotional power, not just my photo but every photo I have seen of it. On the days when I visited that remote location, I almost couldn’t tear myself away from it, when it came time to leave, it is such a remote, desolate yet beautiful and plaintive place. Anyone who grew up in the countryside or visiting family in the countryside would, I think, identify with that image.

  3. DaniLew January 1, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    Shaun, these are gorgeous images! Staged or not, the tricycle and abandoned house really speaks to me. I also hope to revisit the stark Peak District someday. Happy New Year!

    • shaunmoss January 2, 2015 at 4:50 am #

      Thank you so much, Danielle. Your opinion means a lot to me, as you’re a photographer whose work I have long admired.

      The abandoned house on Edisto Island belongs to a very charming Africa American lady, who kindly allowed me to come onto her property and photograph it. The trickle belonged to her grandson, now grow. It was one of those blessed days when everything comes together…

      • DaniLew January 3, 2015 at 3:06 am #

        Shaun,
        You were doubly blessed (fortune smiled upon you!) on that day to have everything come together so nicely.

  4. Irv Freedman January 1, 2015 at 10:14 pm #

    All in all, I’d say you had a good photography year. An excellent collection of photographs. Now, keep up the good work in 2015. Happy New Year.

    • shaunmoss January 2, 2015 at 4:47 am #

      Thanks, Irv, as always. Got some good shots while out with you this past year and looking forward to further outings together in 2015.

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