My first photos were taken with a small Brownie point-and-shoot. In 1966 I got my first single-lens-reflex camera. It has been an expensive cavalcade of cameras and lenses ever since. Every few years some new shiny object comes from Nikon that I MUST have to make me a better photographer. It never works. The new stuff breaks the bank, but doesn’t improve my “eye.”
I now favor my iPhone camera. As soon as Apple comes out with the new 48mp iPhone camera, I may just sell all my Nikon gear. You know, we move from film to digital to the iPhone, just as we move from internal combustion cars to electric.
In March, I turn 83. Time for looking back and taking stock. What did it all mean, if anything at all? My writing? My work? My relationships, including my family? My photography? Photography is the easiest to answer. So hang on, here we go.
I have 47,000 images in my various hard drives and computers. I am going through all of them and selecting the best. So far, I’ve chosen about 2,000 images (about 4% of the total) as “the best,” spread across 13 categories: Nature, Sports, Music, Portraits, etc. That means only about four of every 100 photos I take are worth much. A 4% hit rate? The sorting process is ongoing. When finished, I will put these images on Flash Drives and give them to friends. You will then be able to get the top 4% of all the photos I have ever taken.
To get started on this project, I have selected the top 15 photos from the best 2,000, or .ooo34% of all the photos I have ever taken. Out of those 15, I chose the best ever. The top. My favorite of all time. Talk about “Sophie’s Choice!” It wasn’t easy.
So what did I base my choice on? Content? Story? Focus? Composition? Color? Shadows? Uniqueness? Yes.
My #1 photo of all time: Father and daughter at the Monterey Jazz Festival. They were sitting three rows ahead of us. I used my 200mm Nikon lens. I could see instantly this was a good shot. At intermission, I approached the dad and showed him what I got. He loved it. The story: He brought his daughter to the jazz festival in the hopes of getting her hooked on jazz at a young age. As he told me, and as you can see on her face… the plan failed. Turns out he lives in Redwood City, not far from us. I made a print of the image and took it to him the week after the festival.
The story, and the girl’s expression, and his nurturing manner are what took this photo to the #1 slot.
I hope you enjoy these images. Keep your eye out for the release of the Flash Drive. You could be the proud owner of the top 4% of all the photos I’ve ever taken. Wow. Eat your hearts out Ansel Adams and Annie Leibowitz.