Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Favourite Photos of 2011

It's been a great year when all is said and done. And a busy one. With my book finished and at the publishers, my blog going full strong, and me finding my groove with my photography, I really can't complain.

In fact, I have a lot to be thankful for. And I want to say thank you to all of you who have followed me over the year, first with the Brownfoot Journal and then with The Brown Knowser. Since I started my second blog in June, I have had nearly 8600 visitors to my posts. That's more than 1200 visits per month, and that's not including the visits to my blog for Songsaengnim, the Brownfoot Journal, or Gyeosunim—all which were also steadily visited. So thank you.

Over the year, I've enjoyed getting more familiar with my camera, introducing my Where In Ottawa? contest, Wordless Wednesday, and Photo Friday. And so, for the last post of 2011, I'd like to share with you what I think were some of my favourite photos of this year. This week, between the celebrations, the visits, and the relaxation, I've sorted through the hundreds of pictures that I shot around Ottawa and on vacation, and I've been able to pare my collection down to an even dozen. One for every month of the year—though these photos don't represent each month.

So let's begin:

In my opinion, the best fireworks of the year aren't on Canada Day, and not even during the International Fireworks Festival in Gatineau. For me, the best fireworks to see in our city are on the opening night of Winterlude. Shot from the Alexandra Bridge, over the Ottawa River, the fireworks light the bridge, the river below, and Parliament Hill. The pyrotechnicians also create a curtain of fire that runs like a waterfall down to the river below. It's spectacular.

One of my first "investigative" posts dealt with an old sign above a pharmacy. I was sure that the letters had rotated on their posts; other readers and Twitter friends were sure they hadn't. And so I went looking. In the process, not only did I get the answer (they had), but I also attracted a lot of followers. This photo even made its way to another Ottawa blog, OttawaStart.

The more photos I took this year, the more I wanted to play with photo-editing software. And in the spring, I was invited to beta-test Corel PaintShop Pro X4. I went nuts, but I liked the results. The following photos also show how I played with the software.

On Canada Day, our city hosted the Royal newlyweds, Will and Kate. The family and I felt we had almost no chance of seeing the couple as they rode a carriage from the Governor General's estates to Parliament Hill, but we took a chance. We headed to a spot where, only a year before, we saw the Queen parade past. Even though we arrived at the spot later than last year, we were surprised to find the spot—a lamppost with a bit of a perch—vacant. And so we climbed the post and waited for the couple to arrive.

This summer, my family took an exciting vacation to Cape Cod and we got more than we bargained for. At the end of our week, we were faced with an impending hurricane and a dead alternator on our van. But before that excitement hit, we encountered another form of excitement off the coast of Provincetown: humpback whales.

We had a long autumn this year. Late September, October, and November were unseasonably warmer and—for the most part—drier. In October, I joined a group of other Ottawa photographers for the Worldwide Photo Walk, and despite the damp day, we all shot some great photos.

Later in the fall, I purchased a new lens for my camera: a 40-mm micro lens, which allowed me to get up close to my subjects. The inanimate ones didn't seem to mind.

Among my favourite posts this year were my Where In Ottawa? photo contests, and judging by the number of hits that my blog receives in the first week of each month, it was yours too. I love coming up with ideas for locations and then making up clues as the contest goes along. This month, the photo seemed to be the most challenging one. There were plenty of guesses, but no one came close. It wasn't until I posted a second photo that many of you figured out the location. But I really liked the photo that started that contest.

Next contest starts on Monday!
As the holidays rolled around, the downtown core came alive with Christmas lights. And what photographer could resist our famous landmarks lit up?

So these are my favourite photos of 2011. What do you think? Do you have any favourites? Please let me know by leaving a comment. I love comments.

I wish you all the best for 2012. Thanks again for following. You folks are awesome!


  1. all around great photos! love the winterlude one, i've never seen the fireworks for that. happy new year!

  2. nice! love the little stories behind the images. I dig the 'where in ottawa' idea... will it be a feature in 2012 as well?