I’ve never considered myself a gifted photographer. I occasionally take a photo I like pretty well in the course of collecting pictures to illustrate the stories I write. And with today’s digital cameras and automated settings that are nearly, but not quite, idiot proof, getting a decent photo is a tad easier than when we used twin lens view finder cameras that required a lot of backing up and moving forward to get the proper perspective. And we shot black and white only, which offered opportunities for good illustrations if one took the time to set them up. Too often I get in too big of a hurry and miss a good shot.
The digital age also makes a photographer’s most important chore a lot easier—throwing stuff away. When we used those twin-lens and later 35 millimeter cameras, we had to be careful not to run out of film while we were in the field. Now, I can shoot and store more than 1,000 shots before dumping photos onto my computer, a flash drive or the garbage icon. I often leave a farm with more than 100 photos, most of which are soon discarded.
I spent an hour or two last week looking back at some of the photos I took in 2015. I shot a lot of bad ones, out of focus, poorly lit, a few featuring people that looked as if they had telephone poles sticking out the top of their heads. I even shot a few without insisting that the subject remove sunglasses. FYI, a good photo shows the subject’s eyes. Sunglasses make subjects look like they have holes in their heads.
I did discover a few photos that I like well enough to include in this gallery, which I’ll call my favorite photos of 2015. The exercise, to steal a line from Jimmy Buffett, "remind me of the places I've been." Most appeared either in the pages of our print issue or on our website. Some may be offered for the first time.