The Fifteen Top Photographs of My Lifetime

Father / Daughter Monterey Jazz Festival 2009

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.

Here, then, from number 15 to number one:

surfer andrew molera state park

#15 – Surfer

Andrew Molera State Park

Myrna, Street Singer in San Miguel Mexico

#14 – Myrna

Street Singer in San Miguel, Mexico

Welder Redwood City

#13 – Welder

Redwood City

Baby Hummingbirds my back porch

#12 – Baby Hummingbirds

My back porch

Dance Rehearsal Treasure Island with Old Bay Bridge

#11 – Dance Rehearsal

Treasure Island with Old Bay Bridge

Avalon Ballroom Catalina Island

#10 – Avalon Ballroom

Catalina Island

Cal Cheerleaders - Cal vs Washington game 2014

#9 – Cal Cheerleaders

Cal vs. Washington game, 2014

(Note: try putting your foot 12 inches above your head)

Katie Thiroux Monterey Jazz Festival 2007

#8 – Katie Thiroux

Monterey Jazz Festival, 2007

Regina Carter Monterey Jazz Festival 2017

#7 – Regina Carter

Monterey Jazz Festival, 2017

Clairdee Monterey Jazz Festival 2005

#6 – Clairdee

Monterey Jazz Festival, 2005

Farm near Castroville Hwy 1

#5 – Farm near Castroville Hwy 1

Highway overpass Foster City

#4 – Highway overpass

Foster City

Jerry Johnson becoming a Buddhist Priest

#3 – Jerry Johnson becoming a Buddhist Priest

Mary McGlynn and Katy McGlynnGilbert Sea Ranch

#2 – Mary McGlynn and Katy McGlynnGilbert

Sea Ranch

Father / Daughter Monterey Jazz Festival 2009

#1 – Father / Daughter

Monterey Jazz Festival, 2009

19 thoughts on “The Fifteen Top Photographs of My Lifetime

  1. Mary Warren says:

    Gorgeous photo as your top pick. Such a universal experience for parents. The Avalon Ballroom is a stunner. This must be a satisfying project for you to go through all your photos. Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Meribeth says:

    Happy early birthday Rick….you inspire me with every blog on how to live life to the fullest…Thank you for these amazing perspectives through your camera lens…..

  3. Sgt says:

    These 15 beautiful photos reveal who you are — a righteous soul with an exceeding optimistic view of the world. Thanks for being you.

  4. Barbara says:

    #3 is phenomenal! The diagonal “line” of the silhouettes captures the glasses of both priests’ “vision” and–linking both–is “time” on the priest’s wrist. Read into it what you will. This deceptively “simple” photo says so much. Thank you.

  5. Ray says:

    Thanks for sharing. I know there are many other special photos Rick has taken as I’ve had a number of enjoyable opportunities to go on “shoots” with him.

  6. Lisa May says:

    Wonderful collection, Rick. Thank you for sharing. If I were to vote, mine would be for hummingbirds. Somehow, you captured the beauty in their stillness while the texture of their feathers and nest is stunning. Spring shines through in this photo – Bravo!

  7. Lil Schaller says:

    Your photographs are inspiring ~ stories in themselves! Although you’re an amazing storyteller, I think your photographs are your true art.

  8. Bill says:

    You are a great example of the principle that enough practice makes approaching perfect possible.

    But 15 of 47,000 is 0.032 %, a percentage a hundred times more than the 0.00032 % you give yourself credit for. LOL!

  9. Susan Page says:

    I can’t imagine trying to pick the BEST of 47,000 photos. Yikes!!! What discipline! Right now I’m dying to see #16! And 17, and 18!! I’m sure there are dozens of stunning ones. I’ve seen extraordinary ones that didn’t make it. But these are truly a pleasure to gaze upon, for sure. I adore the Mary and Kate one. I’m happy San Miguel made it into the top 15!! Sounds like a fun project. Good luck!

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