Best photos 2023

by Jon Sullivan - 2024-01-03 - Photography

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I judge the success of my life by the best photos I take each year. In 2023 life was good.

2023 was a major milestone in my life. Moving to a new state was part of it. But the bigger change was seeing who I am and what I believe completely remade. I feel like I learned more about myself and the world in 2023 than the previous 40 years combined. I never believed in many of the things that now live at my core. I feel like I've lived my whole life wrong, and now, in 2024, I have the tools to be so much more/better/happier. But most of that is extremely subjective. And perhaps a wee bit delusional. We need an objective measure. Thus, we look at the photos I took this year.

I didn't move here for photos. I moved to have many adventures where great photos would have no option but to happen. And I have so many. The new car, with it's "go anywhere in grand comfort" vibe, was a sea change. My life is so much bigger with it. Road trips, something I've always loved, are now the norm. I've camped enough this year, in pastures, in campgrounds, in backyards, to feel fearless just getting behind the wheel and GOING with or without a plan. Just get on the road, drive to wonderful places, and take great photos. And if the objective measure is how many great photos I took, 2023 was mission accomplished. Was it my best year for photos? Not even close. I may never improve beyond the 2018-19 captures. But I'm fine with that.

Some favorites :

  • The GBB Fest concert photos. This was the most powerful weekend of my life. It seems trite to say that. But it changed so much of what I believe and how I live. And the photos of the concert are ones I've wished I could take for a very long time.
  • The Oregon photos. If I didn't get some great photos of Oregon, what is even the point? But Oregon is one of the most stunningly photographable places I've ever been. The coast photos especially seem almost too easy.
  • This photo of the clouds over Eugene. Simple enough - Walk out the door, point the camera up, press the shutter. But the result is so powerful. I get lost in this one every time I look at it.
  • I played around with black and white a bit more in 2023. And this one is a favorite. That's actually taken before sunrise, and it looked boring as hell in color. In B&W it's maybe the most artistic photo I took this year.
  • This still life. I love photos like this. Quiet moments that people walk past all day without noticing. Or, since my sister's house is so finely curated, perhaps she set it up on purpose and waited for my camera to come along.

    Of the thousands of photos I took this year, exactly (randomly) 300 were what I'd call "keepers". And of those about 50 are ones I'm truly proud of. My "best" for 2023. Out of those, 5 were good enough to make my top 100 all time. Not bad at all.

    So how was my 2023? Going by the photos, pretty damn wonderful.

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