For the past 2 years, I have tried to gather my best photos in one big end-of-year post. I first did it in 2017 and really enjoyed the process. I don’t spend enough time looking back on my photos, but it’s nice to review those memories. I decided to do it again in 2018 and also really enjoyed looking back over a year of travel… It was a pleasant exploration, and it made me think more about my photography. It made me ask what a good photo is – something technically impressive? something beautiful? something that makes you think, remember, or pine to return?
In those collections, I posted different sorts of photos. There were animals and landscapes and people… There were even a few fuzzy photos that were technically not great, but which I somehow liked. This is, after all, my list. I’m not trying to sell these photos. I’m not sure anyone will even look at them and I don’t honestly care.
With that thought, I’m going to cut to the photography…
At the beginning of this year, I toured Europe. My first stop was Venice. This was an accidental visit because actually I intended to skip it and go to Napoli instead, but I booked the wrong flight. In the end, Venice was a lovely place and nothing like the tourist nightmare I had expected. Then again, I was very much offseason in the depths of winter, so perhaps that was to be expected.
Napoli was easily my favourite part of Italy and I spent several days there shooting photos. For the sake of this list, I shall just include one. It was impossible to do justice to the brilliance of that weird place, but this photo captures something totally different from the beauty of the winding alleys and Mediterranean vistas. It captures the jammed-together nature of Napoli, where everything is wonderfully chaotic.
Picking just one photo from my trip to Florence was difficult. Like Napoli and Venice, it offered up incredible views and had me absolutely captivated. The light during my trip to Florence was also perfect and so I had many good photos to sift through. This one, though, was my favourite. I spent a long time photographing the river and its bridges, but this one sort of brought everything together at just the right moment.
After a few days in Athens, it was hard to pick just one favourite photo. There were so many pictures of iconic locations with perfect blues skies… but unsurprisingly, they all looked a bit unoriginal. Ultimately, there was something about this simple shot that appealed to me. It draws the eye. Where? Nowhere. But that’s ok.
Ships on the Aegean
Another simple photo, this one taken at Thessaloniki. These ships look more like they are painted than photographed.
After traipsing through the Balkans, I returned to Italy with a flying visit through Verona. I didn’t know what to expect… but what I found was stunning. Verona is a gorgeous little city full of beautiful old buildings. I got a million and one great photos here, but I somehow liked this shot of their arena – a building very similar to Rome’s coliseum.
The Dive-Bombing Seagull
Though not a technically great photo, I rather liked this one of a seagull diving into the water just off the West Sands in St. Andrews. The shot was accidental yet perfectly timed.
Lightning Over Phuket
This is another technically weak photo. It’s not hard to see that it is blurry and poorly focused. Yet this is to-date my best photo of lightning. I am not very experienced with night photography but I enjoyed spending an evening on my roof, shooting lightning. (Yes, yes, I know. Bad idea.)
After moving to Phuket, I took a motorcycle trip up off the island to mainland Thailand. I drove around and eventually found a nice vista from which to view Phang-Nga Bay – a collection of limestone karsts jutting out of the sea. This iPhone panorama caught the scene as well as any other photo I took.
A Firetower in Georgia
I spent most of the summer in the United States, touring the Deep South with my friend, Harrison. We visited many states, saw a lot of amazing things, and had an all-round great time… but I didn’t really get many photos. We were probably too busy enjoying ourselves (or just drinking). Anyway, aside from the predictable shots of alligators and other wildlife, I quite liked this one, looking up at a fire lookout tower in the Okeefenokee.
For my birthday in early November, I spent a few days in Singapore. There were lots of incredible sights waiting to be photographed, but somehow this 7-Eleven proved the most interesting subject. It’s odd how that sometimes happens with photography… Looking back over these photos, I realize how few of the obvious pictures I have chosen to include. Sometimes you get the best photo when you turn away from the dramatic sights at which everyone else is looking.
And finally… a flower
What kind of flower? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. I have taken a great many pictures of flowers and for some reason I just liked this one.
And that’s it for 2019, folks. I took a lot of other photos that I really liked, but these are the ones that I consider my best for this year. Pretty much all other contenders are on my Instagram, which is @davidswills. Gimme a follow if you like…