2015 was quite a productive year for me, with over 100 images published. The vast majority of them were abstracts from the three Metal Portfolios, but there were also quite a few added to the Glass Portfolio.
At the beginning of the year, I was finally able to concentrate on my photography full time. This allowed me to take several field trips -- three or four to the Motor Transport Museum in Campo, CA; three to the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum in Vista, CA; one to Freddy's Truck Farm in Southern California; two to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA; and two fantastic trips to the Techatticup Mine near Nelson, NV.
This made selecting my favorite 10 for the year a somewhat daunting proposition. I don't publish an image unless I really like it. I took thousands of images during the year, but the ones I added to my site were the only ones that made the cut. There's something about these 10 images that struck a nerve, though, and I'll try to explain my choice of each one of them.
#1 - House of the Rising Sun - Orange Empire Railway Museum
I grew up around art from China and Japan, and this image brought back those memories. I also was entranced by the strong textural elements, as well as the earthy color combination. It's the sort of image that epitomizes the best type of combination of the compositional and metaphorical elements of an abstract.
#2 - Night Electric - Orange Empire Railway Museum
This image reminded me of the tremendous thunderstorms I saw as a kid over the Colorado plains. There's a hint of a rainbow, a colorful sunset, and lots and lots of lightning and electricity. I could almost hear the thunder and smell the rain when I first looked at this image.
#3 - Fireworks Display - Motor Transport Museum
The rust and peeling paint lined up perfectly in this image to create a beautiful fireworks display. And unlike the ones you see on the 4th, it doesn't disappear in a few seconds.
#4 - Fire by the Colorado River - Techatticup Mine
This came from my first trip to the Techatticup Mine in August. The temperature in the shade was around 115 F. I had spent a few hours walking around the mine, sweating like a pig, and decided to make the short drive to the Colorado River (at that point called Lake Mojave). The water was the same color as the blue in this image. The hills around there had little or no vegetation, so of course there couldn't be a fire like this. However, the heat in the air made it feel like a fire. Somehow this image captured the spirit of the area perfectly.
#5 - Ghost of a Miner - Techatticup Mine
This was one of those images that I didn't think much of when I looked at it in the camera. When I got it on the big screen, though, it was clear as day. There was a miner from Techatticup, coming back for a visit after a century or so. The miners there, by the way, were a violent lot. In fact, there were so many killings law enforcement generally didn't bother with the place.
#6 - Lady in Blue - Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum
For almost a year, I had this image in my computer "upside down." In Spring, I experimented a bit, and the obvious metaphor sprang out at me. This is the story with quite a few images. I have to let them "ferment" for a few months, and suddenly I understand why I held onto them.
#7 - Sea Monster Tending Her Garden - Orange Empire Railway Museum
I love images that convey a bit of fun and humor, and this one fit the bill perfectly. Some people didn't see a sea monster; they saw a hippo. That interpretation works just as well. The texture on the side of the railcar really complemented the image.
#8 - The Refugee - Techatticup MIne
This image epitomized the plight of the millions of refugees in the world today -- undernourished or starving, facing so many obstacles that it looks like a barbed wire fence receding into the distance. What is even more shameful is that some of our political "leaders" make their lot even harder by sowing seeds of fear.
#9 - The Flight From Obscurity - Freddy's Truck Farm
This was a most unusual pattern for safety glass. What really appealed to me was the subtle transition from barely formed to full blown expression. It's a good way to remember Freddy's Truck Farm. It's also a good metaphor for all of us photographers who are striving to create "art." We start way over on the left, where different patterns are competing for attention. If we're lucky and persistent, we end up on the right, where clarity emerges from the din.
#10 - Snowflake Mountain - Techatticup Mine
The mountains around Techatticup Mine used to be filled with gold and silver, and this image, found on the safety glass window of an old truck, is a great reminder of that past.
There is no doubt that being able to concentrate on photography full time this year contributed a lot to my output. Some people think that this art form is nothing more than finding a good spot and clicking away. Yes, luck and persistence have something to do with it. But there is also a lot of processing after the image is selected, so that it represents the vision I had when I found it.
I published 120 photos this year, and would have felt fortunate even if these were the only 10 I came up with. If you would like to see all of them, please take a look at my 2015 Gallery.