Ten Best

I recently suggested that a good exercise for every photographer at the end of the year is to go through and pick their ten favorite photos. Then a friend linked me to her ten favorites, and asked if I’d share mine. Oops! I responded that I tell other people to do that, I don’t do it myself… And then got to work.

After several decades of shooting pictures, I find that my favorites from each year actually turn out to be my favorite moments from that year, more than simply my favorite pictures. To me, photography is a way to amplify the experience of being somwhere. When I’m shooting pictures I’m more aware what’s going on around me, and feel that my senses are sharper and I’m more connected. So here they are, my favorite ten moments from 2013, with short explanations of why. I hope you get at least a small bit of the enjoyment from looking at them that I did while making them. And then take the time to go through your own photos from last year, and find your ten favorite “moments.”

My first photo trip last year was to New Zealand. Near the end of the trip we visited Pancake Rocks, on the west shore, late on a rainy day. The rocks themselves were spectacular, but then we were lucky enough to catch a blowhole in action. Nikon D800, ISO 200,1/250 at f/8, EV  -0.3, 16-35mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

My first photo trip last year was a Mentor Series trek to New Zealand. Near the end we visited Pancake Rocks, on the west shore, late on a rainy day. The rocks themselves were spectacular, but then we lucked into a massive blast from the blowhole, which made the picture. Nikon D800, ISO 200,1/250 at f/8, EV -0.3, 16-35mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

 

As part of a scouting trip to plan a workshop in St. Louis I visited the Arch. The sun was coming and going, and I loved how it lit up just the bottom of the Arch, with the cloud balancing out the frame. Nikon D800, ISO 100, 1/640 at f/8, EV -0.3, 24-120mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

As part of a scouting trip to plan a workshop in St. Louis I visited the Arch. The sun was coming and going, and I loved how it lit up just the bottom of the Arch, with the cloud balancing out the frame. Nikon D800, ISO 100, 1/640 at f/8, EV -0.3, 24-120mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

 

In 2013 I took people to the Galapagos Islands for the third time, and as always, one of my favorite sights was the giant land tortoises. This time we were able to go face-to-face with one. Nikon D600, ISO 500, 1/80 at f/5.6, EV -1.3, 16-35mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

In the spring of 2013 I took people to the Galapagos Islands for the third time, and as always, one of my favorite critters there are the giant land tortoises. This time we were able to go face-to-face with one. Nikon D600, ISO 500, 1/80 at f/5.6, EV -1.3, 16-35mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

 

On one of our last days in Thailand we visited an eco agricultural conservation camp, where people from several different indigenous tribes live, farm and make handicrafts to sell to tourists. This mother was getting her daughter ready for the day. Nikon D610, ISO 400, 1/1250 at f/2, EV of -0.3, 50mm f/1.8 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

On another Mentor Series, trek, during one of our last days in Thailand ,we visited an eco agricultural conservation camp, where people from several different indigenous tribes live, farm and make handicrafts to sell to tourists. This mom was getting her daughter ready for the day, the same way moms do all over the world. Nikon D610, ISO 400, 1/1250 at f/2, EV of -0.3, 50mm f/1.8 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

 

On my other trips to Africa we've seen flamingos, but never gotten close. This past June a group was near the shore, and I loved the way they'd run across the water when taking off. Nikon D7100, ISO 200, 1/1000 at f/7, EV of -1.0, 200-400mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

On my other trips to Africa we’ve seen flamingos, but never gotten close. This past June a group was near the shore, and I loved the way they’d run across the water when taking off. Nikon D7100, ISO 200, 1/1000 at f/7, EV of -1.0, 200-400mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

 

In 2013 I started a personal project to shoot some of the classic scenes around my home in Kansas City. I came across this small hillside off of I-70 on a visit to Kemper Arena. It's called Bull Mountain. Nikon D800, ISO 100, 1/250 at f/7.1, EV of -1.3, 24-120mm lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

In 2013 I started a personal project to shoot some of the classic scenes around my home in Kansas City. I came across this small hillside off of I-70 on a visit to Kemper Arena. It’s called
Bull Mountain.
Nikon D800, ISO 100, 1/250 at f/7.1, EV of -1.3, 24-120mm lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

 

I was shooting Hannah with different eyeglass frames for a local optical shop. We'd gone through various lighting set-ups, and were just wrapping up when I remembered the ring flash I'd brought. I've rarely used it, but sure glad I remembered to bring it this time. Loved the very flat light it gave her face, then I added a slight blur in software afterwards. Nikon D610, ISO of 200, 1/160 at f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

I was shooting Hannah with different eyeglass frames for a local optical shop (Brookside Optical, for you KC folks). We’d gone through various lighting set-ups, and were just wrapping up when I remembered the ring flash I’d brought. I’ve rarely used it, but sure glad I remembered to bring it this time. Loved the very flat light it gave her face, then I added a slight blur in software afterwards.
Nikon D610, ISO of 200, 1/160 at f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

 

While traveling from one area of Glacier National Park to another, I saw this vista and asked the driver of our workshop bus to pull over. The shafts of light crossing the burned-out forest in the foreground were very dramatic, and converting to black and white emphasized the bleakness of the landscape. Nikon D5200, ISO of 100, 1/640 at f/7, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

While traveling from one area of Glacier National Park to another, I saw this vista and asked the driver of our workshop bus to pull over. The shafts of light crossing the burned-out forest in the foreground were very dramatic, and converting to black and white emphasized the bleakness
of the landscape. I’ll be going back to Glacier this year on another Mentor Series trip if you want to join me.
Nikon D5200, ISO of 100, 1/640 at f/7, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

 

I've lived in Kansas City since 2000, and tell people that the Kansas City Chiefs usually play well enough to keep people hopeful. That hasn't been the case the last few years, so the 9-win start to this season really gave the fans something to cheer about. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe encourages them in this game in October. Nikon D3, ISO 400, 1/3200 at f/6.3, EV -0.7. 24-120mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

I’ve lived in Kansas City since 2000, and tell people that the Kansas City Chiefs usually play well enough to keep people hopeful. That hasn’t been the case the last few years, so the 9-win start to this season really gave the fans something to cheer about. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe encourages them in this game in October. Nikon D3, ISO 400, 1/3200 at f/6.3, EV -0.7. 24-120mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

 

When people ask for suggestions for great places to shoot in the U.S., at the top of my list is Yosemite National Park. On a winter night in 2013 we were in the valley shooting the fog when I noticed a brightness overhead. Realizing the moon was trying to burn through the cloud cover, we rushed to Tunnel View. This is an HDR composite of four different frames, to hold the brightness of the moon all the way to the darkness of the trees. Nikon D800, ISO 200, 1/2 to 25-seconds at f/5.6, 24-120mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

When people ask for suggestions of great places to shoot in the U.S., at the top of my list is Yosemite National Park. On a winter night in 2013 we were in the valley shooting the fog when I noticed a brightness overhead. Realizing the moon was trying to burn through the cloud cover, we rushed to Tunnel View. This is an HDR composite of four different frames, to hold the brightness of the moon all the way to the darkness of the trees. Nikon D800, ISO 200, 1/2 to 25-seconds at f/5.6, 24-120mm f/4 lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.