It’s my favorite post of the year!  No joke, this is my third year doing a “My Five Favorite Photos” post (there are links to the previous years under the image counts to the right, or bottom, depending on what device you’re viewing this on) and I have to say, I’ve been looking forward to this day… well, since this time last year! 🙂  Sharing these photos is a great opportunity to look back over my year, and not only enjoy the photos I’ve taken, but also remember all the blessings we’ve received.  I really hope you enjoy these, but if I’m honest, this is as much therapy for me as it is anything.

Like last year, 2017 was quite the year.  Holly and I went to concerts, did some hiking, got to do some traveling, which included a wedding in Poland and in Destin, FL, a solar eclipse in Wyoming, I got to see a good friend in Australia, and countless other adventures (all told traveling across 9 countries including the US, spanning 4 continents). I was honored to have my photos appear on the covers of books (here and here), in a magazine, and now in a permanent display at a museum, AND we finally finished the car I’ve been working on for what seems like ever (frankly, I had been feeling like 2017 was sort of held hostage by the car project, but looking back over what I’ve just written, that is clearly not the case!).  Incredible.

From a photography and artistic standpoint, 2017 was an interesting year.  You’ll note that I took about 4,000 fewer pictures than in 2016.  So what happened?  Well, in 2016 we traveled to Easter Island (5228 pictures) and Bhutan (1561 pictures), purely for fun, and that netted a TON of pictures (if anything 2016 was a down year minus those two trips!).  I also felt WAY more passionate about my images last year and had a harder time picking my favorite 5 images (I could have easily used 5 images from Easter Island or Bhutan, I just felt like it was a waste to have all 5 images from the same destination!).  This tells me that when I go places I’m passionate about (as opposed to just making something really fun out of a work trip), I create images I’m passionate about, and end up having more of an emotional tie to my images.  Definitely something for me to consider going into 2018.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that my eye continues to be drawn to the “big scenes”.  Just like last year, 3 of my 5 favorite images (and a good number of the “rest of the best”) are panoramic images, meaning it took multiple pictures to make a single image.  As an example, the Tobacco Bay Sunset image below is actually made up of 11 pictures.  The Kanching Falls picture, which may not appear to be that wide of an angle, is actually 7 pictures (I was REALLY close, and the falls are REALLY tall) stitched together to make one image.  Consider that I shoot these sequences several times while I’m working the scene, and that starts to add up pretty quick!  All in I took 11,051 pictures, of which I really liked 74 and I LOVED 20.  Beyond the numbers though, and my final thought, is that even though I’m going to China for work, the Great Wall continues to yield pictures I’m excited about.  Like Szczecin, Poland, this is the second year where a photo from there has landed in my favorite 5 collection.

Well anyway, without further ado, I give you my favorite pictures from 2017! Holly and I would like to wish you a healthy and prosperous 2018. Have a Happy New Year!

Have a top 5 for 2017? Post a link in the comments! I’d love to see it!

–Dan Thompson

The Zhuizishan Doorway

Definitely one of the great adventures of 2017 was returning to the Great Wall of China and doing some exploring along remote sections.  I was particularly fascinated with this doorway, as that was all the remained of this particular tower, and it had a post apocalyptic feel to it.  See the whole post here.

Szczecin in the Rain

While in Szczecin, Poland for a dear friend’s wedding I managed to capture this shot of one of the town squares and the Cathedral Basilica of St. James the Apostle.  Interesting fact, this is actually the second time this church has appeared in a ‘top 5 of the year’ post, I think perhaps speaking to the photogenic nature of the area!  Here’s the Top 5 post, and the other picture.

Tobacco Bay Sunset

Hands down the prettiest sunset of the year, this spot in Bermuda did not disappoint, and even though it was a tad chilly while we were there… I’d trade that for our weather right now for sure! 🙂  Here’s the full post.

Kanching Falls

I haven’t shared images from this year’s trip to Asia yet on Picture of the Week, but as usual, it was full of photographic opportunities.  I had a weekend to burn in Malaysia, so I went exploring in around in the Kanching rain forest.  As you can see, it was pouring the rain in the rain forest (who would have thought!?), which made for some interesting and very moody images!  More soon!

Finally Finished

Another image that I’ve yet to share on Picture of the Week (as a matter of fact, I didn’t shoot this one until the week before Christmas!) is of my 1967 Camaro.  I REALLY like this image, but it also has a lot of sentimental value to me as well.  I bought this car when I was 19 and finally finished it at age 40 (though admittedly I was only really working at it over the last 11 years), and so I’m thrilled to be finally sharing pictures of it… and driving it. FINALLY!  A huge THANK YOU to my wife Holly –no joke– without her support this would have never been finished, and this is truly a dream come true.  If you’re interested, you can see more pictures of the car and read about it here.

Picture of the Century?

The Great American Solar Eclipse

When I was looking through my images from 2017, I thought to myself, how could I not include an image of the eclipse? I mean, it was such a unique event to see (if you’re not chasing them across the globe it was perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime event), and it was just SO COOL!  The reality though, is while I really like the picture I got of it, pictures REALLY don’t do it justice, and there are far better images out there of it than mine.  Still though, it was definitely a defining moment of 2017, and I’d be remiss to not at least mention it, one more time!  🙂

The Rest of the Best

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