I think Joe mentioned once that whenever he puts together a best-of-the-year post he hates his previous year’s best photos. That’s a good goal to have as it would indicate growth as a photographer. I don’t hate all my 2012 stuff, but I do think my selections from 2013 are a lot better. Most of my strongest photos from this past year are also the simplest, maybe nothing more than a single small object surrounded by negative space. As an added bonus, many of the photos in this post link to wallpapers! So without further ado, here’s the Best of Bohan 2013!
In August, Joe, Brandon, and I left for what was supposed to be three days in Yosemite. We knew the Rim Fire was burning in the northwest part of the park, but reports indicated that Yosemite Valley itself was clear. Well, those reports were wrong, but we made the best of it, even if we cut our trip down to only one day. Chase Jarvis even critiqued the iPhone version of this photo during the GeekWire summit in Seattle in September.
The year started off where I grew up in Washington. I shot this photo of Mount Baker on January 1st, and realized I could do a 365 project. I’d thought of doing one in previous years, but I’d always missed one or two days by the time I remembered or got reminded. This time I decided to go for it, and as a result I’ve gotten quite a few photos that otherwise would have been missed. Some of these photos were never on Life Blasters because they didn’t belong to any stories, so this will be their first time in front of a wide audience.
I decided to climb Mission Peak a lot more often this year. I didn’t do it as often I would have liked, but I did get to see the sunrise up there more than once. In this instance, I was one of six people on the summit, and all of us were shooting east.
I shot the moon a lot this year, but one of my favorites was the waxing crescent chasing the sun to the western horizon.
I wanted to expand my street photography portfolio, so one night Geoff and I hung out near the strip clubs in San Francisco to see who came by. This guy certainly was an interesting fellow. He basically begged me to take his picture. He danced and “sang” and was generally jolly. He didn’t even want any money.
Videographer Tommy T. Knight trekked across virgin snow on his way to a shooting spot at the Sno*Drift Rally in Michigan. With nothing besides Tommy and snow in the frame, this could just as well have been a scene in Antarctica.
When we got back from Yosemite, Geoff’s house became a live music venue for a night. I’ve never been in a more crowded place in my life. There wasn’t even shoulder room as Rude played their set, but people managed to get rowdy anyway. I held my camera and flash above the crowd and hoped for the best.
All my friends were shocked when I suddenly became a father. I didn’t want to tell people Mrs. Bohan was pregnant at first, then I just decided it would be funnier to not tell anyone at all. Our daughter Katharine was born at 6:11pm on February 19th, and of course I was there with my camera.
My parents came down from Washington to see their first grandchild, so I took my dad around San Francisco one night to see the sights. We made a stop at Twin Peaks, and it was super foggy when we got there but it lifted almost immediately, revealing this classic view.
The Mint 400 kicked off the main part of the racing season for me. I went with Larry and Alex and none of us had shot it before so everything was fresh and new. We didn’t know where any good shooting spots were but we managed to find a few. We also learned dry lake beds make a LOT of dust and it looks amazing at sunrise.
Stage rally doesn’t have checkered flags, so it was a nice change at the Mint 400 to see a flag waver signaling the drivers that they had finally finished the race. The dusty air let the trucks’ headlights cast shadows behind the flag in ways I’d never seen before.
Rally America stopped in Oregon in May, and Alex and I were there to capture it. The first four stages take place partly on Portland International Raceway and partly on its gravel service roads, and Ken Block knew just what to do for me as he drove off into the sunset.
In June, Joe and Justin teamed up with Drift Evolution to throw Bash to the Future in Medford. After the event wrapped up, they, along with Hert from Hoonigan, wanted to go do a photoshoot on the backroads. I hung out the back of a lowered mini truck with my camera just inches from the pavement in order to get this shot.
While on the east coast, my buddy Rich and I did a loop of New England, with War of 1812-era Ft McClary in Maine as our furthest-away stop. We went down into the Caponier, which was built during the Civil War, and the recent rains had made a perfect mirror on the floor.
I visited Seattle more than any other place this year. In fact, I spent more time in Washington than in California in July and I’m writing this story in Washington right now. All that time up here allowed me to go waste a sunset on another long exposure skyline shot.
On my way home from Seattle, I came up the escalator at SeaTac and was blinded by an immense amount of light. The sun was shining directly into the terminal, reflecting off the tile floor, and reflecting off two airplanes outside. I quickly grabbed my camera and tried to capture the light and the frenzied travelers rushing every direction.
Cal State East Bay, my alma mater, had decided to demolish its iconic Warren Hall administration building rather than fortify it against earthquakes. Before they imploded it, they spent months removing furniture, fixtures, interior walls, and even the windows. Pretty soon all that was left was the empty concrete shell and some work lights. I shot the building often to track their progress, and this was one of the most saddening.
On the night the new eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened, Joe and I went down to the Embarcadero to shoot the western span with no traffic on it. Just an hour later we were in the first group of cars to cross the new span.
There was just enough smog in Los Angeles to make the sunset sky bright orange, but not completely obscure the buildings. What I liked the most, though, were all the smoggy layers and shadows behind the trees.
My parents flew down to visit their granddaughter again, and this time I took my dad to see the recently opened new eastern span of the Bay Bridge. Its ultramodern suspension design is contrasted by the original canteliever-and-causeway span.
I hadn’t had much time for model photography, but I managed to squeeze in a hike/shoot day with my friend Gladys. The low tide at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach left wet sand that mirrored the wispy clouds.
Sometimes good photos happen when you least expect it. If it wasn’t for my 365 project I never would have dragged my camera outside to shoot the sunset colors from my front yard. I didn’t even know there was a small airplane buzzing by until I looked through the viewfinder.
The 25 Hours of Thunderhill is always a great opportunity for photos. Of course race cars will be there, but the track and the surrounding scenery can also offer something cool to shoot. This year it was foggy the morning before the race, and as it was burning off around the track, billowing fog banks could be seen still coving the neighboring farmland.
Sunrise at Thunderhill is one of the most amazing sights to behold and it never fails to present world-class photo opportunities. The cloud formations this year were very different from last year, but it’s always good.
And the reason I wanted to get good at shooting star trails becomes clear. I failed at this shot last year, but got a lot closer this year. Even if it wasn’t quite as perfect as I was hoping, it was probably my most popular photo of the year, getting over 500 likes and more than 50 shares on the Life Blasters and Thunderhill Facebook accounts.
I finished shooting the stars around 4am, and it was only two hours until the sky started to lighten. Sunrise was coming soon, and I wondered, “how do the flaggers have hot drinks?” Maybe they have electric kettles in the towers. The flaggers are probably the only people who get as cold as the photographers, but at least we get to walk around. I walked out to Turn 3 to shoot the sunrise and saw this flagger manning his station, silhouetted against the dawn colors.
And just yesterday I was in Alaska, where I found an almost-sunrise on the Turnagain Arm just southeast of Anchorage. I say “almost” because the sun never actually got above the mountains. That’s winter life at 61˚ North.