My 17 Favorite Photos of 2017

It is really hard to narrow down all of the thousands of photos that I made in 2017 to just 17. The number is arbitrary because of the year. The good news is that with each year that passes I get to add another photo to my year end countdowns. This list is not a list of my best technical achievements. I would rather pick seventeen moments that I really liked from the year. Even doing that it is a hard list to put together.

17. Oh boy he is going to talk about his kids again! Of course this countdown starts with my little one. She is probably the person that is most photographed in my life. Here she has a great time trick or treating in downtown Lafayette. I love the smile and the sense of place of this photo. It is probably my favorite photo of her from last year.

16. On August 21st everyone turned their eyes to the sky. The sun would be eclipsed by the moon. With the sky looking cloudy in our area I made the quick decision to head north to where I saw clear skies. We found a country road that we could park on, and we watched the eclipse. Here my step daughter enjoys the moment. I could have set up gear and shot the actual eclipse, but this seemed more important to me at the time.

15. On our way home from Ocean City, Maryland this year my wife budgeted some time into our schedule to spend in Philadelphia near the Liberty Bell. If you know me then you know that I love American History. This is basically where American history started if you think about it. That is what I love about my wife. She knew I would love this, and she made sure that it happened.

14. The night before our Ocean City, Maryland trip I headed in the other direction to see Metallica play at Soldier Field. I love Metallica, and I had not seen them play live in quite some time. This was a great night listening to my favorite band. This photo also shows just how fluid these top 17 lists have been. This photo wasn’t even included in the Top 17 concert photos post, but it appears here. As I was making this post I realized how much I loved the colors. When viewed larger I think that it looks much better than it did in the thumbnail that I used to choose the concert posts.

13. This photo was made on the way to Indiana State. Here I saw a familiar barn that would allow me to create a starburst through. It was a no-brainer to pull off of the road to make this photo. When you can make colorful photos in the winter you do it.

12. Here is another photo made on the way to Indiana State. This was an early morning drive to cover one of the first football practices of the year. I left a little early on purpose so that I could make a sunrise photo somewhere along the way. I looked fruitlessly for a while. The mist in the air would have made for a good photo, but I couldn’t find anything interesting to put around it. Here I found a scene that looked okay, and then the deer showed up. It ran through the frame and made the photo. This is another photo that looks best larger. Click on the image to see it that way. 

11. With everything else going on for me last year it still has to be the year of the quadcopter for me. I bought my first quadcopter last year, and I really had a great time creating with it. I ended up re-visiting many of the places where I first learned photography with the quadcopter. I didn’t realize it for a while, but I was out making new images of familiar places. Sometimes though I didn’t even have to leave my house. Here I took it straight up and just looked behind my house. A storm was passing through right at sunset so everything was in place. You have the beautiful late light on the cloud. The cloud looked like a huge crashing wave to me. To top it all off you have the rainbow moving through the cloud. Add the orange and blue hue to the photo and it is one of my favorite of the year. This year my goal is to get a better storm photo with the drone.

10. Sometimes a photo sneaks into this list that I have never thought of before. I was at the Purdue Memorial Union this day to see the Christmas tree go up. I spotted this laptop, and I knew that it would make for an interesting picture. I normally don’t make photos like this one so maybe that is why I like it so much.

9. Normally when you hear a squeak you think that perhaps something has gone wrong. In Ocean City, Maryland that means that the Golden Man is near. This street performer has given both kids joy for a long time now. I knew that the perfect time to photograph the Golden Man was during the golden hour. Here the last rays of the sun really enhance his look.

8. This is a photo that I made in April, but didn’t really realize until June. I spent a fun morning with Trevor Mahlmann at the St. Joseph Lighthouse in Michigan. The wavs were really battering the outer point that day, and most of my focus was there. I did get a few shots of the actual lighthouse though. One night while listening to some out there score from a movie I came up with this edit. I warmed up the left side of the image and cooled down the right side. I think that it worked really well here to add to the photo.

7. Here is another photo from a day with Trevor Mahlmann. It was amazing to spend the two days in Porter County, Indiana photographing the sun setting behind the Chicago Skyline. The view was great, but the amazing part was how far people had come to hang out with Trevor. I made some new friends that day, and I also finally got to meet some people that I had followed for a while online. The great thing about photography is finding people who share your passion. You don’t seem so crazy when you are around a bunch of people just as crazy about photography as you are.

6. I rented an 11-24mm lens from Canon for a trip to Chicago. I thought that it would be fun to try out there. The funny thing is that when I got to Chicago I had little time to walk around with it. I had a few moments in the hotel that we were staying at to see what it could do. The great thing is that the Hotel Lincoln is a very cool hotel that is worthy of spending some time photographing. I really have always liked this image for some reason. I don’t think that it is great by any means, but I just like it.

5. Speaking of Lincoln I made a stop on the way to ArchMadness this year to see the tomb of Abraham Lincoln. In the times that we live in maybe I just wanted to be close to a great leader. Lincoln was just that. His tomb is amazing, and I had photographed it badly eleven years earlier. I have wanted a chance to make a better image for a while now. This photo just as you walk into the monument was just that. I saw the light and knew that I would go black and white right away. It was a fun memory of a cool trip.

4. When I rented the Canon 11-24mm lens for my Chicago trip I did so intending to use it for a week before sending it back. After using it for a few minutes I knew that I was never going to send that lens back. It has a way of letting me show a familiar scene in a whole new way. Here at the Purdue engineering fountain is a good example. Everything is drawn into the center of the photo which I really like. Photos like this during that week were the reason that the lens is still in my possession.

3. The day before I made this photo I made what I thought was a cool photo of an eagle grabbing a fish out of the Wabash River. I went back the next day with Trevor Mahlmann to see what we could find. I explained to him that the eagles don’t always cooperate, and we could walk away empty handed. Not even ten minutes at the site and this eagle swoops down for lunch right in front of us. We both got the shot although I will admit his is better. This is still my favorite wildlife shot of the year.

2. The best part about flying the drone is seeing the world from a new perspective. I really love getting to look down on the world. Not in a bad way, but rather just experiencing life from this height. Here I was mad at the fishing boat for showing up at first. I then quickly realized that it was the boat that made this shot.

  1. I have loved this shot since I made it. I knew that it would end up on this countdown, but I was not always sure where it would go. I ended up putting it at number one because it is so different from what I normally shoot. I walked into the perfect scene at the perfect time. I decided last year to start visiting the covered bridges in Parke County on my way to Indiana State. When I lived in Iowa I went and saw the famous Madison County bridges, and I wanted to see what the bridges in my own state looked like. At the mill next to the Bridgeton covered bridge I ran into the mill owner who was a very nice guy with a lot of information. As he went back to work I made this photo of him. The light and the room were great. All I had to do was point my camera at it. I like it when the shot screams out to you. It makes it seem like this thing that we do is easy.

So there is my list of favorite shots from the year. 2017 was a fun year for me. I was able to travel more than I have in a long time. I also found some unexpected sources of inspiration. I think that overall list list is better than my list from last year. You can look here to see my favorite shots from 2016. What surprised me as I put this list together was the fact that I did not have a single sports shot listed. I had some great sports moments in 2017, but nothing shots that screamed to be on this list. I think that at some point I shoot so many sports that those shots become a dime a dozen. These photos are out of the norm for me for the most part. They are a huge reason that I think that I stay fresh. My job is photography. My hobby is also photography. It is making the shots that I want on my hobby days that keep the tank full. I hope that you have enjoyed all of my ‘best of’ posts for 2017. If you have missed any of them you can click here or on the Best of 2017 tab in the sidebar. Thank you for all of your support in 2017. It is the base of readers for this blog that make it worth doing.

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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

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