It’s my favorite post of the year!

Happy New Year everyone!  I typically post these on Dec 31st, however since New Year’s Eve fell on a Saturday this year, I thought I’d just let this post be my Picture of the Week this week as well.  Something else different for this year is a “Runner Up” gallery, full of some of the other images from this past year that I also really like – some of which I haven’t published yet!  My good friend Bill is always encouraging me to share more images, so instead of my typical “Rest of the Best” image, with only thumbnails, you can click on the images to see them, or just thumb through them.

As I get ready to create this post every year, one of the things I do is read through the previous year’s post to remind myself what all I’d said.  It’s a wonderful time of further reflection, and to me, a great way to add some context to the things I’ve experienced this year.  Last year I mentioned having not traveled abroad for the first year in quite some time, and in 2022 we managed to leave the continental US not once, but twice; visiting both Hawaii and Poland.  Poland in particular was such a wonderful trip.  We got to visit many of our friends there AND attend the wedding of our dear friend Nico. It was such a sweet, sweet time.  Both us and our friends commented multiple times that it was a great reminder of life before the pandemic.  While on that trip, I experienced something I hadn’t experienced in a while.  I was content.   I wish I could say I carried that feeling throughout the entire year, but alas, life crept back in soon after we returned home.

Like 2021, 2022 was a year of loss.  Holly’s uncle Tommy passed away this past June, leaving a sizeable void.  Holly was especially close with her uncle, having served as his caretaker for the past several years.  She’s commented multiple times since his passing that she hadn’t realized how good of a friend he’d grown to be in her life until he was gone.  Uncle Tommy was such a fun person to be around.  Funny, mischievous, and above all, caring.  Tommy was a proud veteran of the United States Air Force, for which he served in Vietnam.  Below is an image I created in his memory of his favorite hat – he is greatly missed.

On a more light-hearted note, Holly and I had a good deal of success this year with our garden.  We had beans and okra coming out our ears for a while, and we managed to keep the vermin out of the corn and watermelon long enough to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  The apple trees managed to regain the growth they lost from the “deer incident”, and was able to get fruit off my muscadine vines this year for the first time.  We enjoyed that so much that I’ve added two new vines to the garden, which I’ll get to play with in the coming years.  Also, after two years of waiting, Holly and I finally got our pool put in!  It, of course, went in just ahead of the cool temps, so we never got to get it in this year, but we’ve enjoyed looking at it and are looking forward to warm weather in the new year.

From a photography perspective, I actually took more pictures in 2022 than I have any other year – ever!  Like last year, which was my previous high water mark, I have no idea how that happened.  I suppose I found a lot of inspiration everywhere I went.

Well with that, I’ve rambled enough.  Let’s get to the pictures!  Holly and I hope you all have a blessed New Year!

–Dan Thompson

Number of Pictures Taken Annually

2022 Mapped Out

My 5 Favorite Photos from 2022

Surfs Up!

I first published this image back in March, after Holly and I visited Hawaii for the first time January.  Sometimes when you take a picture and see how it turned out, you just know it’s going to have staying power.  This is one of those images that as soon as I saw it on the back of my camera, I knew it would be in the running for my 5 favorites.  I just love everything about it.  I typically don’t take pictures of people, however as I mentioned in the blog post about it, the guy just happened to take such a perfect line into the photo that I felt it just really worked.  When combined with the crazy beautiful colors of the waves, this to me is just the epitome of Hawaii.

On the Lookout for Flames

If you’ve hung around my blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that night photography is my thing.  Since last year, I’ve been working on shooting more than just the Milky Way, trying to incorporate other night sky objects into my scenes.  As part of that, I’ve worked on shooting deep space objects and juxtaposing them with terrestrial objects to help illustrate the scale of these nebulae.  This particular image has been important to me because I felt like it was the first really good execution of what I have been trying to accomplish with this series, and has inspired several other images for me.

The Beauty of Sunrise in the Smokies

Like the image from Hawaii above, this foggy image from the Smokies has stuck with me all year.  It is one of those images that just speaks to me, for whatever reason.  I love the balance of fog and mountains, I love the contrast of it, I love the mystery the fog gives to the scene.

Arches Under the Desert Night Sky

If you asked me to pick my absolute favorite image of 2022, I’d be hard pressed to pick between this image, and the image from Hawaii.  I obviously like all these, but this one stands out to me.  This particular weekend in Joshua Tree was an absolute blast, and I came away with multiple images from that trip that I just love.  You may note that the image has changed a little bit since I first published it.  I’ve since re-edited this sky a number of times, and the one you see above is my current favorite.  To me, that’s a hallmark of a great image – you just keep coming back to it and working on it more.

Fireflies and the Swan

Like the image above of the fire tower, this image has meant a lot to me this year as I’ve pushed myself to photograph other parts of the night sky.  The Cygnus region of the Milky Way is just stunning, and admittedly a challenge to image.  I really just love how this one turned out with the fireflies in the foreground, and what looks like flames in the sky.  This image has also changed a bit since I first published it.  I’ve since expanded the sky to include more detail and stretched the color space a bit more.

Other Favorites

My 5 Favorite Photos from Past Years

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