Top 20 Photos Of 2020

My Twenty Favorite Photos Of 2020

This has been discussed a lot on this blog, but 2020 was a time like no other. I went from feeling like I was doing my best work at the beginning of the year to having no work before you could say pandemic. Having nothing on the books was kind of freeing though. I was able to get out and get a little creative. It was also a weird year in that the only time that I left the county was to photograph the Big Ten Tournament for one day in March. Usually I find a spot for a photo from each place that we visited during the year. This year though we stayed at home. I still think that this is my strongest year end set of photos yet. It was not an easy year, but I learned a lot. When I made the photo that leads this post off it was with great optimism for the year.  At some level it was a great year as it made me rethink things a little.

20. This was a different fourth of July. I am usually somewhere planning a fireworks photo at night. This year though the fireworks in the sky did not happen. I actually had no plans for firework photos until my daughter started playing with sparklers. It was not the epic big photo that I normally make, but I really liked how it turned out. This was a lesson that I learned in 2020. Everything does not have to be huge. Sometimes the smaller things can be great photos as well.

19. A common theme this year was passing time. You will see star trail photos in the future, but here I chose a slow shutter speed to allow the clouds to blur. It makes for a nice effect and gives you a different look than just stopping the clouds with a fast shutter speed.

18. The more I see this photo of a summer tanager the more that I like it. This is a bird that I didn’t see a lot this year, but this one time in good light and a great perch was enough. It probably should have been rated higher in my year end countdown than it was.

17. This story has been told a lot this best of season, but one more time cannot hurt. I had this idea of capturing the comet Neowise along with the International Space Station. The idea was for it to happen at the new Purdue gate on campus. About fifteen minutes before the pass the lights came on at the gate ruining the site. I had to come up with a new idea with very little time to do it. I lucked out as everything worked out for this secondary site to make the photo that I had in mind.

16. I love a good reflection photo. Here with an empty campus I was able to make a little different photo of the Purdue clock tower. As with a lot of photos this was not the photo that I went out to make that night. Keeping an open mind while out making photos usually results in my favorite photos from the trip. Maybe that says a lot more about my planning than I think it does.

15. More with the comet Neowise. This was an amazing morning at the county courthouse watching the comet move through the sky. The sun coming up allowed me to make a pretty cool wide angle photo as well.

14. I made more star trail photos in 2020 than probably any other year. The stars just seemed brighter this spring and summer and with more time on my hands it made sense. This was one of my favorites from the year.

13. This was part of a fun photo session. I went out to make a sunset photo of the stadium, but I also had some fun with the grounds crew watching them get the field ready. This sunset photo was one of my favorite stadium photos of the year. You can see more of my favorite stadium photos from 2020 here.

12. I woke up way too early on this summer day to make this photo. I didn’t know what I would find at the bog, but I was hoping for something cool. This heron catching a frog in the morning light made everything worth it. I don’t often get to be this close to a green heron so that in itself was cool. The fact that it grabbed a big frog just made everything even better.

11. For some reason this was one of my favorite stadium photos from last year. Even before the virus I liked how it showed the stadium in a little different way. Now with no fans allowed inside it is a fun reminder of just how cool a loud Mackey Arena can be.

10. This yellow warbler is a bird that loves to tease me. It would come close, but never give me a great photo of it. On this day it not only did that, but then it moved up into the tree a bit so that I could make a photo of it against the blue sky. The power of the Sony A7R4 gave me so much detail that I was really happy with this photo. You can see my favorite warbler photos of 2020 by clicking here.

9. When I go out to make photos I always root for something cool in the foreground. This was a cool scene, but seeing the snow polisher coming at me I knew that it could be better. I just like this as a moment in time on campus.

8. Usually when the sky catches fire I am at a sporting event. Even worse is that the event is indoors. I catch a glimpse of orange out of a window and wish that I was somewhere making a photo of it. On this day I was somewhere else making a photo of the sunset. On this night things just kept getting better and better. The fire in the sky was amazing and was definitely a highlight of 2020. I love making photos of the sky. Here is a link to my favorite sky photos of 2020.

7. I love the thrill of the hunt when it comes to herons. It is an exercise in patience waiting for the right moment. Here were two times this past year when things went my way and I made the photo that I went out to make. There is nothing better than when patience pays off. You can see more of my favorite Celery Bog photos from the year by clicking here.

6. The Neowise comet was a fun way to get out an make photos this summer. It was something to use to plan photos. This might have been my favorite of those photos. This new gate on campus still gets a lot of love from me.

5. This was a fun photo session that ended with an interesting photo. You want to put the supermoon up against something cool. The Purdue clock tower is just that. Just before everything shut down I was able to have a fun night with another photographer waiting for the moon to rise. I miss those days of hanging with other photographers. The moon did just what we thought that it would and we were able to make some very cool photos.

4. This was a photo that was two years in the making. I spent a couple of months looking for this hole two years ago only to find that the owl had moved on by the time that I found it. Flash forward two years later and the owl was back. I am still to this day trying to find a day when the light is good and the owl is alert. You can see my favorite wildlife photos from last year by clicking here.

3. This was the year when access to sports went away for me. I love being in the action bringing people the things that they cannot see from their seats. That went away in March. If I am allowed at a game it is in the stands where the photos just are not as good. You lose the dynamic nature of the photo up there. At some point it would be amazing to be back in the action making photos like the one above. I love showing the athletes that you root for as people. This might be one of my favorite of those photos. You can see more of my favorite sports photos from 2020 here.

2. This was the year of the star trail photo for me. With extra time I seemed to be focused for a while on showing the passing of time in my photos. Star trail photos are a great way to do that. Here I had a really good time hanging out on campus while the earth spun giving me this photo. You can see more of my favorite Purdue photos by clicking here.

  1. This has consistently been my favorite photo from the year. I have worked this scene for a while, but the conditions have never been right. Here the cotton candy sky was a perfect way to help me show off this beautiful campus. At some point you start to feel like you have made every photo you can of campus. The light and sky are ways to make new photos as they are always changing.

Those are my twenty favorite photos from the past year. It is not easy taking an entire year down to twenty photos. My goal every year is to make a better list than the year before. Overall I really think that I did that this year. The past two years I think that I have had a better celebration photo for sports, but that just didn’t happen this year. January is always full of promise. There is so much that you can do in a year. I cannot wait to see what interesting things I will be able to photograph this year. As always you can click on the Best of 2020 tab on the bottom of the page to see all of my countdowns. Just above that tab is a link for all of my other countdowns. I like putting these together if you haven’t figured that out yet. It shows me how much I have grown in a year. It also puts the year in perspective a bit for me. Now 2020 is officially behind me as a photographer. 2021 has already been interesting in what I have seen. Hopefully I can travel a bit more and start to make photos from a different part of the world again.

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