News/Update: Top Ten of 2020

While 2019 seemed to be a “light” year for photos for me, 2020 seemed to be even worse. For a while during the Covid lockdown it wasn’t even allowed to be outside at a park taking photographs. Add to that the fact that I didn’t (and still don’t) want to risk getting the disease on a flight, and it didn’t seem like a rip-roaring year for photography. I shot a lot around the area where I live, in particular working on a series of infrared images from the Ottawa Arboretum (a tree park in the centre of town). In October I was able to get away for a road trip around Ontario, which I’ll post about soon. I try to do a fall photography trip every year, and while I was able to do one this year, it was a close call because the second wave of the virus was just starting when I left and there was a risk that hotels would be shut down in the middle of the trip. (I was sure to only book places with private entrances that had virus cleaning procedures in place, and I never ate restaurants.) I finally got it down to a top ten list, but I included (too) many of the ones that didn’t make it in my usual Honourable Mentions section at the end. Anyway, here they are…

From the Ottawa Arboretum. I often don’t know the names of the trees, even though they have labels on them, but I think this one is a Japanese miniature crab apple tree.
This is a stitched panorama of the Carbide Willson ruins in Gatineau Park. I came for sunrise light but it was a bit too cloudy, although I like the image anyway. There was an extra challenge in that even though it was sunrise and I should have had the place to myself, there were a couple of instagrammers (or whatever) there. They saw me there set up with my tripod but just went ahead and stood right in front of the ruins and did their (kind of ridiculous) photoshoot. Pretty rude, I had to wait, and it was 7am, what are the odds?
A staircase at the NAC in Ottawa. I’ve shot spiral staircases before, but this one stood out to me due to the beige colour tones.
From the Ottawa Arboretum. I’ve learned that if you want nice bright leaves, and a contrastingly dark trunk and branches (and also, without sunspots marking up the trunk), you need to shoot infrared images like this with backlighting.
Niagara Falls. I have a shot with the sunrise behind the falls but something about this simple scene made me prefer it for the top ten. The sunrise shot can be seen in the honourable mentions at the bottom.
An early morning at the Ottawa Arboretum. This photo really stretched the equipment, due to very contrasty lighting conditions and also challenging focusing being required (it’s hard to ensure that everything is in focus when parts of the scene are very close and also very far away). I wanted to have the branch coming right toward the viewer to give the image a lot of depth.
An amazing labyrinth right in the middle of Ottawa. I had posted a shot of this location in the 2019 top ten list, but they asked me to come back in 2020 to do some more shooting and I think this is a better version.
A famous tree in Ontario, shot in infrared. I thought I should try to see it, since it is apparently slowly dying, with a branch falling off earlier in the year.
I had to get up early in the morning for this one, but it wasn’t too bad as the location is only a short drive away in Ottawa. The sun only lines up with the aisle of trees for a short time each year and only for a few minutes after sunrise; I was able to get a shot before the sun’s path took it to the right and it no longer lined up with the trees that morning.
A two minute exposure at sunset of a lighthouse off the west coast of the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. The light wasn’t too great and it was super windy, but the long exposure helped to smooth out the water and add some motion blur in the clouds.

And the Honourable Mentions:

– Patrick


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