We’re almost to the end of a horrible 2020, but I always enjoy marking the end of the year by participating in Flickr’s Your Best Shot contest. The rules are simple — pick your best (and this year your worst) shots then add them to to the appropriate contest group.
Of course I never expect to win anything. It’s just a great reason to review the year’s photos to choose something that stands out. Too often we keep shooting and shooting without stepping back to see our our photographs have changed over the last twelve months. Are they more technically adept? Has the subject matter changed?
In this pandemic year it’s clear that I’ve shot hundreds more photos around the house — flowers, self-portraits, still life — than my usual walking around photos subjects of landscapes and street photos. Left working at home with easy access to eBay and KEH I’ve occasionally succumbed to GAS (gear acquisition syndrome), expanding my film camera collection to include a 35mm Contax RX and medium format Hasselblads and Mamiyas. Expecting to shoot less film in 2020, instead I’ve shot as much as ever. Meanwhile my basement home office has become a mini-studio with the unfinished ceiling holding paper rolls serving as both photo and Zoom call backdrops.
So here are my “best shot” and “worst shot” for 2020 with a background about why I chose them.
My best shot of 2020
Earlier in the fall I took my Hasselblad 500cm to the West Seattle waterfront to wander around. I’d loaded it with Ilford HP5+ (ISO 400) black and white film knowing I’d be able to use a shutter speed fast enough to shoot handheld. When I came across this area of broken concrete “beach” though I’m not sure anyone would be able to really enjoy this piece of “public shore”.
Those outside Seattle might not know that the main bridge connecting my West Seattle neighborhood to the rest of the city has been closed to traffic for emergency repairs since this spring. Looking from the “shore” towards an almost inaccessible downtown made this picture mean even more to me and my choice for my “best” of 2020.
…and my “worst”
Nothing fancy about this mirror selfie taken on a rainy day in the basement. I was experimenting with the Hasselblad not long after I’d picked it up. This was the best of a bad set of experiments and the “worst” photo of a very bad year.
As you looks towards 2021, whether for a contest or your own learning, I hope you take time to review your work and find your own “best” and “worst” of 2020.