Thursday, December 31, 2009

Keeper Dozen 2009

Inspired by a Flickr group started in 2008 by my Flickr friend word artist: Keeper Dozen. Ansel Adams said: "Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop." What are your dozen keepers? The best of your best. Your masterpieces.

Here are my choices for 2009. In 2008, I had about 9 clear candidates and picked another 3 to make up the dozen. This year, 24 would not have been enough to collect all the shots I am really happy with. Trimming it down to 12 was a nightmare, but here they are, ranked from 12 to 1 (see the numbers in the mosaic above):

12. Fantastic
Sometimes you know the moment you take a shot: this will be one of the more popular ones you have taken. That happened to me last April when in the tourist trap that is Shanghai's Old Town I saw this stand selling fans. The combination of the shapes, colours and textures made this an obvious hit

11. Don't yank my chain
Spotted whilst walking a street in Shanghai - even from the other side, the chain's shadow immediately jumped out at me,

10. Seeing red
A shopping window display in Antwerp, Belgium. Shot throgh the glass, but the end result is still satisfying. Very Magritte.

9. Come into the light
When I visited my wife in Shanghai in April, there were occasions where we attended a business dinner, and I sneaked out with my camera whilst she was talking to colleagues. This is one of the results, a corridor of the restaurant. Almost matrix-like in its atmosphere - the main challenge being to handle the low light intensity with a handheld camera.....

8. Black is beautiful
Another souvenir of a day trip to Antwerp. This was a display inside a high end fashion shop. Whilst my wife was looking at the clothes, I was peeking behind one of the interior walls to stumble upon this perfect scene. The vignetting, a rare feature in my pictures, was done to get rid of a too white spot in the top right corner.

7. Abstracted architecture
Back to Shanghai, zooming in on one of many fascinating modern architecture construction. I love the abstract feeling of this architectural detail and the combination of lines and curves - as well as the optical illusion effects they cause.

6. Silhouette du soir 2
A second shot taken within a few minutes in the French city of Blois (Loire) as evening fell - the first one is still coming. Although the two are rather similar, they are sufficiently different to treasure them both.

5. Luxembourg legs
Another souvenir from France - taking advantage of someone else's model shoot in the Jardins des Luxembourg. Of all 12 shots, this is one that really grew on me.

4. Silhouette du soir
The first of two shots taken within a few minutes in the French city of Blois (Loire) as evening fell - the second one is at number 6. Quite some postprocessing to get to this intense black and white feel.

3. Modern art museum
Shot in the fascinating Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris, a (for my stream) rare example of using the frame-within-a-frame composition technique.

2. Through the ice
A typical Dutch windmill, reflected in ice and turned upaside down to give the feeling of being under the ice and looking up/ By all rights, it should not even exist. It is part of the last set of shots that I uploaded to my desktop before it crashed. The crash came too soon to have them back-upped. And normally I delete the shots from the camera once I check that they are on the computer. For some reason, I forgot that last part and this shot was still in the camera.....

1. Cutting edge
I was a bit surprised that in the end this one came out as my shot of the year, all things considered. I have used this building, which is five minutes walking from our home, before as a subject a few times, but this is the one I like best so far. The extreme angle (realized by rotating it in post-processing), combined with the black and white conversion, turns the building into an almost abstract shot, with a fake reflection that is uncanny.

It is interesting to note by the way that in the course of 2009 I had 41 pictures in Explore, and that of my 12 final pic(k)s of the year only 5 received that honour......