One of my favorite things to do at the end of the year is look back through the thousands upon thousands of shots that I took during the year and picking out some of my favorites to share here on my blog. I feel like it gets a little harder every year, especially this year, since the portrait side of my photography really took off. With that being said, i’ll be putting together two separate editions: one for the landscapes/cityscapes and one focused just on the portraits. I tried to narrow it down so that I could do my 13 favorite shots of ’13, but no matter how hard I tried. I just couldn’t do it. Some shots, while they may not be the best technically, still had a specific significance to me that I wanted to share. Plus, going to New York City, Chicago, and Aruba (the latter two for the first time), I knew that I wouldn’t be able to pare it down. I did manage to narrow it down to 20, so enough of the rambling, here are my favorite shots of 2013 (in no particular order)!
Downtown Chicago from the John Hancock Tower – For my wife’s birthday this year, we made our first ever trip to Chicago to celebrate. This is the view from the observation deck of the John Hancock Tower. What a view!
Waves crashing on the beach in Aruba – This summer, my wife and I made our first ever visit to the island of Aruba and it was just as beautiful as we imagined it would be. This was one of my favorite shots form the trip.
Sun rays break through the clouds in fall from the roof of the Steel Building – This might actually be my favorite shots of the year. I had the opportunity to see an amazing sunset from the roof of the Steel Building in downtown Pittsburgh at the peak of the fall colors…it was just incredible,
Pittsburgh glows on a winter morning – This is an image from the West End Overlook on a very cold morning towards the end of the year. The sun had just come over the horizon and one of the trees on the Overlook was framing the city perfectly.
Blue hour reflections of the Pittsburgh skyline – I love this view, a four image panorama from the Duquesne Incline Station in Pittsburgh. The reflections were so crisp and when you add in the bridges and Christmas tree to the skyline you have quite a view!
Morning reflections in the Steel City – Also near the top of this favorites list is this view of the Pittsburgh skyline from the North Shore early one Saturday morning. The reflections were so crisp that day with such a rich blue in the sky, it made for quite the picturesque scene.
The moon rises over Pittsburgh – While this image may not be one of my best of the year, I love it because it represents so many aspects of the summer all in one shot. We had some great weather this year, which you can see by the clear night, the giant rubber duck was in Pittsburgh and the fountain was turned back on. Plus, it’s from one of my favorite places, the West End Overlook!
Downtown Manhattan from 230 Fifth Avenue – This spring I went to visit my brother who lives in Hoboken, NJ, just across the river from New York City. One night of my visit we made our way into the city and visited the bar 230 Fifth Avenue, a rooftop bar with a great view towards the Empire State Building.
A fountain-less fisheye of Point State Park – On this particular night, I was out shooting with Zach Frailey of the Uprooted Photographer and Jaime Dillen-Seibel of JDS Photography. We were down by the Point, as it was fireworks night at PNC Park celebrating a Pittsburgh Pirates’ win, but eventually they turned the fountain off. That allowed me to capture this incredible view of downtown Pittsburgh reflecting in the fountain bowl.
Lasers at the Point – As many of you who are from Pittsburgh know, the fountain got turned back on this year, with a huge celebration on the weekend of the event. They had lasers that went from the roof of PPG Place downtown the fountain, which I was able to capture from Mt. Washington. Had I been literally a minute later, they would have been turned off!
The fountain rises in Pittsburgh – Finally we get to a close up of the aforementioned fountain! This is a fisheye view, taken from the Point looking back towards the fountain and the Pittsburgh skyline, on a busy weekend during the summer. People hanging out by the fountain, a Pirates’ game going on in the back right…a classic Pittsburgh summer night!
Raise those Jolly Fireworks! – I hesitated to put this shot in since it was similar to the lasers shot, but this is one of those ones that I was talking about that had special significance. The fireworks on this night were celebrating a Pittsburgh Pirates’ win and when you add in the fountain, it certainly made sense to include it on the list!
Happy 4th of July – For the fireworks on July 4th, my wife and I posted up at the West End Overlook early in the day to make sure we had a great view. This was by far my favorite shot of the night, with the fireworks going off right in front of the Pittsburgh skyline!
Light up Night 2013 – Once again, I was lucky enough to be on the roof of the Steel Building for Light Up Night 2013, complete with fireworks being let off from the Roberto Clemente Bridge. I had never been up there at night before and there is no better view of the Steel City than from over 800 feet up!
A quackin’ good time in Pittsburgh – Ah, the Giant Rubber Duck…I knew that I would be including one of my shots of the yellow bird that visited the city for a few weeks this summer. Thousands upon thousands of people were on the North Shore to see the arrival of the duck, and even though I had a rehearsal dinner for a wedding that I was shooting to go to that night, I still high-tailed it downtown to capture this image, which to date is still my most Liked/Commented on/Shared picture on Facebook!
Fishy Pittsburgh skyline – One more that, while I love the shot, it is what the shot represents and why it makes the list! This is a view of the Pittsburgh skyline that I captured this summer that Pittsburgh Magazine chose as the cover of their City Guide, an issue that remains on newsstands all year. It wasn’t my first cover shot, but one of my most significant!
Jonathan Run Falls, Ohiopyle State Park – Fall foliage was near the top of things that I wanted to do a better job of capturing this year, so I made sure that that happened by taking a trip to Ohiopyle State Park. In this shot, you can see a two minute long exposure of Jonathan Run Falls, complete with swirling leaves at the bottom!
Morning moon in the ‘Burgh – I’ve always wanted to shoot from the West End Bridge at night or early in the morning, but for all the time that I’ve spent out in Pittsburgh, I didn’t make it there until March of this year. It was such a cold morning and I was there with my dad, and we spent a couple hours capturing the sunrise. It was a lot of fun and a chance to create fond memories!
Morning dawns in Pittsburgh – So while this is one of my favorite sunrises (well, pre-sunrises I guess) of the year, I also captured this image one morning while training for the Pittsburgh Marathon, my first. Every time I see this image I think of the 21 miles that I put in that day and how it was all worth it!
The Chicago Theater – Another view from our trip to Chicago earlier this year. One of the most iconic buildings in the city, and the one that I recognized the easiest, was the front of the Chicago Theater. The fisheye lens provided the perfect compliment to the scene!
Well, that’s it (at least for the land/cityscapes!) for my favorite images of 2013! I hope that you’ve enjoyed reliving some of my best photographic moments and travels of the years, and I look forward to creating many more in 2014!