Sunday, January 01, 2012

Top 11 of 2011 (Part I)

First and foremost, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy 2012 everyone! I hope your New Year's celebration was fun and safe. I actually spent the evening helping my wife and her co-workers move a pharmacy. No, really. The store she works at is being completely torn to the ground but the pharmacy will remain open at an out parcel in the same shopping center. It was quite a move but I actually enjoyed being able to help as well as getting to know the people she works with a bit better.

I have decided to post my favorite 11 photo sets of 2011 as a small recap of my year taking pictures. It almost took me whole first month of the new year to get this post off of the ground but I'm finally (almost) ready to share. In total I shot an approximate total of 23,445 frames. Thank God for the digital age or we'd live in a shack, or worse yet, I'd live alone in one.

For those of you who know me, there may be a glaring omission to my top 11 of 2011 - UF Football. I just completed my third season shooting for the University Communications department and as with the first two years, I had an absolute blast, got some amazing photos, and learned a ton about myself and the art of shooting sports. Without sounding too obnoxious, I feel like I have improved and look forward to joining them again next season.

So, where are all of these "great" photos you took this season, you ask? They're here, but I can't share them as freely as one may think. The photos belong to me, and they also belong to UF. We will work on this during the off season and I hope to be able to share more in the very near future. I respect the University and those I work with and I will not do anything without their permission. Hey, even if I never get to share with my readers, I've got it pretty damn good and I'm going to do my best to be a team player and STAY on the team. ;-)

As I began to type and caption these photos I realized that I had WAY too much for a single blog post, so I have broken the post into 2 parts.

On to the photos - I hope you enjoy!

1. The Blue Angels

2011-04-02- Blue Angels-491

Absolutely love shooting any air show but the event is always just a little more special when the Blue Angels are involved. We had a perfect vantage point from my Father in law's back porch and I took full advantage...

2011-04-02- Blue Angels-795

2011-04-02- Blue Angels-356

2011-04-02- Blue Angels-483

2. Storm Watcher

I have always been intrigued with the weather. Even had my own weather station until our local Red Tailed Hawk exerted his territoriality on it (honestly just wish I got a photo of it). I have yet to chase a storm or see and photograph a tornado but I will. Until then, I'll just keep watching, and shooting storms from my office window...

2011-06-30 - Storm-107

2011-06-30 - Storm-107-2

3. 2011 Players Championship

I have had the amazing opportunity to help shoot The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL for the past 3 years for the Florida Times-Union. Honestly it would take a full post to explain how and why I got involved but I'm truly blessed to have the opportunity to work with and learn from such amazing photographers and editors. They always give me odd looks when I'm so pumped up to walk up and down that course for 4 16 hour days and even into the face of thunderstorms but I just can't get enough.

This year was by far the most exciting tournament yet.

2011-05-15 - Players Round 4-104

2011-05-14 - Players Round 3-320

2011-05-14 - Players Round 3-334

2011-05-13 - Players Round 2-131

The tournament literally came down to the final shots and David Toms needed to make a birdie on the 72nd hole of the tournament to force a playoff. I managed to get a great vantage point as that putt rolled in and his reaction was priceless.

2011-05-15 - Players Round 4-580

2011-05-15 - Players Round 4-581

I absolutely KNEW that one of the 2 photos above would have made the front page if David would have won. Time would tell. After that putt dropped David and K.J. Choi headed to the first playoff hole, the infamous island green on #17. Toms missed a short putt and Choi managed to make his par and this shot of his celebration made the front page instead. The setting sun coming through the gaps in the bleachers hit him perfectly as the putt dropped. The light was absolutely perfect. I was just a witness with a camera.

2011-05-15 - Players Round 4-662

4. Fisheye

I take my camera out in the back yard all of the time. There's usually something going on and it usually involves our son Riley playing. I had grown a bit tired of the standard (boring and flat) shots of him having a blast so I decided to try something different and bring out my fisheye lens for the fun. The images were great and Riley LOVED how close I got to him and how close he was able to get to the camera during the process.

2010-10-05 - Riley Fisheye-142

Otis even got in on the fun.

2010-10-05 - Riley Fisheye-81

2010-10-05 - Riley Fisheye-258

2010-10-05 - Riley Fisheye-310

2010-10-05 - Riley Fisheye-48

2010-10-05 - Riley Fisheye-195

5. 2011 Daytona 500

Attending the Daytona 500 with my dad has turned in to a kind of family tradition for us. We aren't HUGE race fans but the second we went to our first race we were hooked. The people watching, the power, and the speed is just too good to pass up and I love it.

The pre-race flyover never disappoints.

2011-02-20 - Daytona 500 -160

2011-02-20 - Daytona 500 -191

This Daytona 500 marked the 10th anniversary of the death of a legendary driver and my favorite at the time, Dale Earnhardt. I will never forget that day and lap #3 will never be the same.

2011-02-20 - Daytona 500 -233

2011-02-20 - Daytona 500 -230

and of course, with any Daytona 500 there's always plenty of excitement.

2011-02-20 - Daytona 500 -425

2011-02-20 - Daytona 500 -402

2011-02-20 - Daytona 500 -348

Also love watching the unique celebrations of the winner of the race. This one was even more unique as it was the first time a rookie has ever won the 500 and this rookie did it at the age of 21.

2011-02-20 - Daytona 500 -691

2011-02-20 - Daytona 500 -705

Hope you enjoyed Part I of my top 11 of 2011. Stay tuned for Part II coming very soon!

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