Last year my friend Tom Vadnais challenged a group of photographers to find our top 5 images from the year. It was such a fun and interesting exercise, that I’ve decided to make this part of my New Year tradition (see 2015’s top 5 here). Last year I complained that it was extremely hard to narrow it down to just 5, and I wrestled with it so much this year that Holly told me I should just make a top 6 instead! Well, that just wouldn’t do, so I decided to add an honorable mention as a compromise. 🙂

2016 was quite the incredible year. My job continues to afford Holly and I new adventures. Together we visited numerous locations in 6 different countries (including the United States… she decided to pass on India), across 3 continents. My photography seemingly peaked early this year though, as I took my favorite image of 2016 on January 7th, and my second favorite five days later. Needless to say, Easter Island proved to be rich with photographic opportunities! 🙂 As with last year, a few of my favorite pictures haven’t made it to Picture of the Week yet, so this will be a bit of a spoiler for the avid POTW fans out there, BUT, who knows, maybe the images will change some by the time they make it to the blog (as the second image below did).

Finally, my non-photography friends will likely find this interesting (frankly, I find it interesting myself!). Of the 15,059 pictures I took this year, I really liked 80 of them, and I LOVED 22. That means I have to take about 188 pictures to get one I like, and 684 to get one I love! That’s a lot of pictures (and thank goodness for digital!!)! Now, many of the images I like are actually comprised of many pictures stitched together. As an example, the picture of the Singapore skyline below is actually 7 pictures, taken vertically, and then stitched together. The picture from Bhutan of the Tiger’s Nest Monastery is a 21 picture panorama, while the star trail image from Greeter Falls in the “Rest of the Best” collage was created by stacking 102 pictures together (see the full size image here). Even still, my ratio of great pictures versus pictures that get tossed is staggering. Ansel Adams once said “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop”, and while I’m no where close to being the photographer he was (and clearly not as picky!), the truth remains. You have to go out a lot to get great shots!.

Well anyway, without further ado, I give you my favorite pictures from 2016! Holly and I would like to wish you a healthy and prosperous 2017. Have a Happy New Year!

Have a top 5 for 2016? Post a link in the comments! I’d love to see it!

–Dan Thompson

Maoi at Sunset

Rano Raraku is the highlight of Easter Island and clearly one of my favorite places on this planet as two of my top 5 photos from 2016 are from there. You really have to see it in person. 🙂 Here’s the full Picture of the Week photo essay .

The Milky Way Over Rano Raraku

The second of the Moai images, this night image taunted me all year. The way I process Milky Way images has changed quite a bit since last year, and I finally got this one looking the way I wanted it to. You can see the first revision of the image in my essay, located here.

The Beijing Egg

I focused a lot on my urban photography work this year, and ended up capturing several that I really liked. This one of the Beijing Egg was one of my favorites though. The colors in the sky, the reflection, and the symmetry, all played together to create an image I just really love. Full Picture of the Week article here.

Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands

Singapore was a new country for Holly and I in 2016, and I think the Marina Bay Sands building (pictured left) really captures of the essence of the city’s skyline. It’s a beautiful place! Picture of the Week article coming soon!

The Tiger’s Nest Monastery

Ah Bhutan, such an amazing place! The Himalayan nation was another new country for Holly and I in 2016, and a major bucket list destination for both of us (especially me). The Tiger’s Nest Monastery is probably the most iconic place in country, and I was SUPER pleased with this image. Picture of the Week articles coming in the near future!

Honorable Mention

The Great Wall of China

I REALLY wrestled with this image. I wanted it to be in my top 5, but I just couldn’t decide which picture I liked it better than. So, as Holly told me, sometimes you just have to bend the rules and have a top 6! 🙂 Also, this picture is a testament to why you should come back to your images every once in a while. When I created my Great Wall photo essay, I totally overlooked this one, and it turned out to be my favorite of the whole bunch! Full Picture of the Week photo essay here.

The Rest of the Best

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