I’m so excited to share this post with you! 2020 was a slow year for me in photography, because I spent most of my business and working time on developing my music for horn and electronics and this website to share what I’ve been doing with anyone who may stop by. I was able to periodically refocus on my photography over the year, and five photographs emerged as my favorites.
One thing interesting to point out is that every single one of the photos I selected as my favorites for 2020 were taken with a single lens: The Olympus M.Zukio 12-40 2.8 PRO. It’s not a secret to any of the friends that I shoot with that I love shooting with this lens, but I was surprised to see that I consistently picked photos from this lens.
In January I was lucky to have a visit from one of my favorite musicians (and people!), Milena Gligić. We spent the week eating great food, attending shows, classes, and hiking all around this island of O‘ahu. This photograph was taken on the Kaʻena point trail on the North Shore, where I love to take friends to see the westernmost point of the island. This location always photographs well in the afternoon as the sun nears the mountains and shore. The violent shorebreak creates air thick with mist- if you are tolerant of bright whites in your image, you can make excellent atmospheric photos of the area.
It can be tempting to only shoot at a wide angle here, but zooming in can give a sense of size that I feel is easy to lose with the wider perspectives. This image certainly doesn’t have the greatest technical quality, but I look back on it months later as the last visit I had with someone this year.
It’s funny that out of the scope of a whole year I pick two images from the same day! This is some dried mud from the same hike. I loved this picture for a long time but I couldn’t articulate why until I saw an amazing landscape photographer and YouTuber, Thomas Heaton do a video on an image that looked very similar! Thomas explained that his image wouldn’t get much success on instagram but that he liked it all the same, and reminded his audience to take photographs that they like. It was a helpful reminder as I started to take my internet performance more seriously. Looking back, I don’t remember why I shot this at ISO 5000. It wasn’t that dark!
Of all the images on this list, I think that this was the most deliberate. Most of the photographs I take have some sort of thought process behind them, at least in the moment That being said, it’s often a process of a couple of seconds to a few moments that takes me from identifying the subject, seeing the picture I want to make, to finally taking the picture. This image was very different. I had seen this rock in the ocean off of the spitting caves on the south side of O’ahu and wanted to photograph it for some time. I consulted a sun direction calculator and a tide table to find the perfect time to head out to take the picture. I was very happy with how it turned out!
I love having taken this image after a long rut of not shooting. That I was able to be focused on making a good image, make the plan, and then take a photograph that I was proud of was great!
This is the first photograph I sold! And yes, I did write a blogpost about this image, where I talked about seizing opportunities from the clutches of disappointment. That blog was two months ago and I feel just as strongly about it today. A few weeks after the blogpost, someone reached out to me and asked to buy a print of this photograph. I was excited to sell it to him, and was more happy to have the validation of someone liking the art.
For me, this photo represents going outside of a comfort zone and taking a chance. I got hired to do an engagement photoshoot at the end of the year in difficult backlit conditions, and I needed to add external lighting to my ability to shoot portraits. As I read and know first hand now, this is a huge step in many portrait photographer’s journey and a huge upgrade from insisting on natural light only photographs. I took the Strobist Lighting 101 course (free online!) and followed the instructions carefully. After a little bit of troubleshooting I was able to consistently produce images like this one. I am so proud of how it turned out!
My husband and music educator Nick Matherne volunteered his best 90’s sitcom heartthrob look for this project and did an excellent job. Although I expect to make many more portraits like this one, there’s something special about it being the first one, and for that reason, it’s my last “Favorite” of 2020!
Thank you so much for reading, and here’s to a good 2021! Please stay tuned here for more music and photography from me in the future. If you’re in to what I do, subscribe to my YouTube Chanel to get notified when I stream live or use the button below to join my email list to receive my newsletter detailing big news and happening!