My top photo of 2016

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I’ve seen a lot of blog posts from people listing several of their top photos from 2016 recently, but I’m not going to do that here – I’ve already shared my #2016Top3 on Twitter. I’m going to share just one picture with you.

This is not my best photo. It has technical issues. Due to a few practical challenges and gear limitations I won’t go into here, I ended up with some movement blur in the subject (me), and an underexposed image, which I’ve had to boost slightly in Lightroom. This has led to some noise in the sky. Also, the fact that I’m wearing 100% black clothing doesn’t help matters.

But it is my favourite photo from the year. It captures the best wild camp of my life, and a very special moment. The composition is incredibly simple yet striking. To me at least, that band of vivid green aurora injects meaning and mystery into it.

When I shared the image on Facebook and Twitter yesterday, the response was tremendous – far in excess of anything I’ve seen from any of my images before. Popular perception isn’t necessarily any measure of quality, but I think in this case it indicates a picture that genuinely speaks to the viewer1.

I’m not entirely happy with the image for various reasons, but nevertheless I have selected it as my top photo from 2016. It’s certainly something to build on for next year, and I’ll be seeking out more starlit high camps when winter returns.

  1. See my piece on entering SLPOTY for more thoughts on this topic.
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