The Top 50 Fan Photos of 2018

Our celebration of moments in life, lovingly preserved by the people who live them. Thank you to all who share your memories with us.

#50 Ashley Teal Beaty‎

To advance to the next slide there are some arrows hiding on the white background to the right of this picture. So here we go...

Okay, ask yourself what it is you like about this photograph. Seriously, take a minute and come up with an answer. I submit to you that what you think you like about this photograph and what you really like about this photograph are possibly two different things. There are some obvious answers. Super cute baby. Really neat drop of water on the bridge of the nose. The smirk. All good answers, right? But I think what put you over the top here is the fact that there is a blast of white light bouncing around on a white bathtub turning the whole thing into an exercise in glory. It’s just that simple. If the source of light in this photograph had been an overhead fluorescent bulb we would not be talking about this picture. Lighting is somehow related to our DNA. I am not kidding. It touches us in ways we can’t even begin to measure. And yes, super cute baby! Great photograph.

#49 Anita Fusco Baumann‎

This is a point that can’t be overstressed but I’m going to keep trying. When things go wrong just push the button. THEN, and only then, fix it if you think it needs fixing. There are SO MANY photographers that would have tried to fix this before they pushed the button. Is there any doubt that this will rank very close to the top of the best photos ever taken of these three? There might not even be a close second. The clients here—that’s the kissers—love this picture by the way.

#48 Tricia Miller‎

Thank God for clouds. Although they happen to be in the sky they turn so many LANDscapes into breathtaking views of the planet—even if it happens to be the farm down the road you’ve driven by several thousand times. Notice how 2/3’s of this view is sky and it’s gorgeous texture and color. There’s even some rain up there. The clouds have created the transitions of light that’s happening on the farmland, too. Thank God for clouds. Beautiful, beautiful cloudscape, Tricia.

#47 Lyndsay Daniels‎

This might be something to think about the next time you’re planning to drive 100 miles to an amusement park to pay that  $75 entrance fee. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Here are Lyndsay’s words:

“I think one of my favorite times of the year is spraying the kids down with hose for the first time each spring. There is something to be said about the simplicity of water and hose and the happiness it brings to the kids' faces. You can spend all the money in the world to make them happy, when in reality, sometimes the best times and memories are made in your own back yard.”

#46 Louise Bradt‎

Our firefighter Lou took her camera into a 600 degrees training fire and brought it out still functioning. Her incredible pictures of firefighters are usually packed with clarity but this one if different. For me, the softness and horrifying low contrast of the smoke drives home the reality of what these incredible men and women do every day—and night—as the rest of us complain about the weather. Another photographer from our page recently mentioned Lou and said that one day we will all be saying we knew her when. Here are Lou’s original words:

“Today I took my camera inside a firebox with live fire and attempted to get shots of flashover. To protect my camera I stayed at the rear of the box where temps only reached approx 600 degrees F instead of the 1200 degrees at the front of the box, only about 8ft further forward. The black smoke was so heavy I was unable to get any really clear shots but I did manage to get a couple of good silhouette shots. The first is of Captain Nick Mason who was at the rear of the box with me and was opening and closing the rear door to help ventilate the fire, the second is of Captains Josh Chapman & Lance Loyer who were at the front of the box where the fire source was and this image was taken at the end of the burn when they were extinguishing the fire and had doors at the front end thrown open to allow the smoke to escape."

The good news is - my camera survived 600 degrees and is working perfectly. I will need to develop and make the shroud before I attempt taking her into anything any hotter though. If I need to be on SCBA with air in these situations, so does my camera really!”

#45 Judy Bruner‎

What a beautifully composed, beautifully lit, quiet moment among friends; everyone needs a good cuddle every once in a while.  I’m tempted to say that black and white might remove some of the color issues but that’s a minor detail really—this photograph is all about relationship and it’s bound for the Family Treasures folder. ( Sometimes, shooting next to a window when the sky is blue outside can produce some color that is a little bit of an editing wrestling match.  I don’t think black and white would be a cop out here by any means. The shapes and textures might be accentuated by the boldness of all gray tones.)  But, Judy, don’t get me wrong. This is a really sweet moment and portrait. Beautiful. Love it.

#44 Diane Endrud DeFoe‎

There are not enough photographs of Theodore Roosevelt National Park in my world—photographs that look like this. Look at the blues next to the yellows next to the greens. Do you see those greens? This photograph is a rainbow. 

TRNP is located near Medora, North Dakota on the other side of the state from Fargo, the city of my people. In other words, it’s more than a little off the beaten path. But my son’s presidential namesake thought it was bliss and said the three years he spent there as a cowboy were the best of his life. He was a Harvard educated dude who dressed like one and wore funny glasses, but anyone in a Medora bar who called him “Four Eyes” lived to regret it. 
Honestly, if you had shown me this photo and asked me where it was taken I just might have guessed western North Dakota, somewhere near the park and I’m not sure how how I knew.
Finally, I just have to assume that Diane and I share dozens of acquaintances. I went to school with lots of “ruds”. The Rudruds, the Stutruds, the Oleruds, and yes, the Endruds. Please give my best to them all, Diane.

#43 Aimee Morr

Aimee said: "Of all the pics I've taken, THIS is the one that made my heart skip a beat. THIS is the one that validated my craft. The joy was stronger than the rain. Victory Day is an event in which our football players & coaches give special needs kids a day full of the entire high school football experience. Every year. Rain or shine. We all leave with hearts full of memories like this. To see a boy (who would most likely never get to play HS football) score & celebrate a TD is a real tearjerker. It's an emotional day for all, and this photo shows what Victory Day is all about. The joy was stronger than the rain. “

It’s funny how photography works.  The rain just sets a up a wonderful contrast for the joy and happiness that’s plowing through it.  And it goes without saying, a real tearjerker.


#42 Pam Leland Trevathan‎

Anne, my wife, came to me and personally recommended that this photograph achieve FPOTD status; it was already done.  She loves the hair; I love the low contrast and the lighting. Together there’s a mood and spontaneity that make a simple headshot sing. A word about the editing: it’s low contrast. The blacks are actually dark gray. That has softened the whole thing up and made it feel a little mysterious (the facial expression helps there) and dramatically feminine. Beautiful photograph.

#41 Molly Hover‎

It’s always worth asking yourself why a photograph tells a story at a glance. We are looking up at her. We see enough of the hill to know it’s steep. The color takes us right to the adventurer. The look on her face lets us know that she’s in for a big, maybe dangerous thrill. And then there’s the artfulness of it that takes it to another level. The textures of sky and snow, the color of her clothing and vehicle, and that great shadow on the disk. Boy, does this photograph work!

#40 Laurie Marshal Miller

The reason both of the girls are perfectly sharp is because Laurie wisely decided to use f11 as her aperture. That increased the depth of field— what's sharp near and far— so that both of them are treated equally in the frame. If she had used a larger aperture one of the girls would be sharper than the other. Only experience will tell you what lenses behave at what apertures at what distances; it's a little dance that photographers have to do with their camera settings. Practice, practice, practice. And that's what Laurie was doing to great success. This is just a great childhood photograph. Pure joy.

#39 Arlett Sailer Gerde‎

We’ve had several versions of this incredibly poignant and amazingly thoughtful moment shared on this page over the years and  I always find myself at a loss for words. This is Arlette’s father-in-law, in hospice care, saying goodbye to his wife of 67 years. The picture says it all.

#38 Anita Bell‎

They were flower girls at the wedding and then their grandmother decided to take them out and photograph them as the Fall Leaf Fairies. (My words.) The picture is all about joy and fun and childhood and magic and we don’t need to see their faces to get it. The body language says it all.  I remember as a young photographer thinking I was doing something wrong when I didn’t show someone’s face. Sometimes you just have to take a chance and step over the line to realize that it’s safe on the other side. In fact,  it’s more than safe. The creative act of photography is a joyful dance unto itself.  Beautiful photograph, Anita!

#37 Lori Campbell‎

Three of the fan photos this week have been of little boys in storytelling situations with their faces not visible. It was just a coincidence, but it’s a great lesson that you don’t always have to show someone’s face to communicate what’s happening.  In this particular  case  someone has just said “no”  to Lori’s grandson. “No” can be hard to take. We have all felt this way and that’s why this photograph works so well. We can relate. We have all been there.  Who doesn’t know the feeling?  In the interest of full disclosure, I converted this photograph to black and white.  All pictures of hangdog posture should be in black and white. All. 🙂

#36 Nicole Ethridge Brown‎

Nicole is one of those photographers that doesn’t post often, she bides her time, she waits until she has one. She pushes my buttons, she’s come to know me and she knows I’m not going to resist a boy feeding a rabbit a little piece of carrot with his  mouth. It’s pretty much that simple. Beautifully done. We are lucky to have Nicole posting on our page.

#35 Amy Williams‎

Red white and blue and action and emotion to boot. No, I am not going to suggest that this be converted to black and white. But one thing to take note of— without the clouds it’s a different picture. The older I get the more I love clouds. Is it overstatement to suggest that the clouds are just as important as our screaming teeter-totter rider? Everything in the frame counts, including the clouds.  Please don’t feel like I’m  ignoring the incredible facial reaction or the contrast of colors. They are wonderful! I’m just saying, it’s a different photograph without the clouds.

#34 Robyn Morrow‎

Sometimes old photographs rise up and become something different. Obviously, the color and black-and-white versions have very different feelings. Same everything except the color.  Sometimes you find a new photograph by cropping an old photograph. Sometimes you see a reaction in a picture that you didn’t see the first time around. Old photographs are fun to play with. Here’s what Robyn said about this one:

“I took this picture of my mom with my oldest son 13 years ago today. After watching your video about grandparents day I just had to post it on my wall. Then, I started playing with it... I think I like the black and white even more!”

#33 Darcie Brosig‎

First of all, no one would ever think to paint this image. Or how would you ever explain to anyone why this picture was going to work? It wouldn’t make any sense. You would say something like: so there’s this kid swinging and then there’s this glance through a chain link that draws the viewer’s eyes.  It’s just such a unpredictable, purely photographic moment. And there it is on our page with that I locking onto URI through the chain link. What spontaneous serendipity and what a fun image that I would never think to paint.

#32 Kay Keeshan‎

Kay is joining us in New Orleans for our workshop this week. As I write this, we haven’t met yet, but we spoke on the phone last night in our one-on-one get to know each other phone conversation I do with all the students who come to our workshops. She shared several photographs with me and this was one of them. That’s her husband on the right and their dear family friend on the left who is dealing with oncoming Alzheimer’s disease. My reaction: I told Kay  she’s a big-hearted photographer because it’s big-hearted photographers who shoot photographs like this. It's pure photojournalism. She had the decency and the wit to stand back and let the two men interact without her camera interfering. She just let it happen and she totally appreciated the monumental moment as it blossomed. That’s what big-hearted photographers do. They grasp what’s important to other people and respectfully document it for people like us to appreciate and feel.  The "it" in that sentence is the human condition. Beautiful photograph, Kay.  (But don’t get the big head here. You have a lot to learn this week.  : )

#31 Trudy Williams

From Trudy: Thanks Nick Kelsh! This made my day... I have to confess, I was sitting at the table, in our motorhome, when I edited the photos. (On the way home). I was on a pontoon boat when I took the photos though. No tripod. I have made minor adjustments to photos in the passenger seat of our suburban in the past. This was so much fun! You choosing my photo as fan photo of the day, is just as fun! Thank you!

#30 Tom Reese

Oh, no! Not yet another FAN PHOTO of the DAY by Tom Reese!

Well....YES!!! When someone shoots photographs that are as much fun as this he deserves all the accolades he gets. And these multiple exposure / layered pictures are so much FUN.

And Speaking of fun, I'm having a lot of it watching Tom develop a style and voice to his photography that is all his own.

Here's what Tom said about this photo:

"Busy Baby" – This composite photo shows our nine-month-old granddaughter making the rounds in her play room. What a fun way to show how active she is!

I shot these in the morning, when this room has enough natural light to supplement the overhead lights. It was difficult to combine the various photos together, since the pictures were shot over an hour time span, and the natural light changed through the morning. The light shining on the carpet when she is at the front gate was not there at all when we started. But I had to shoot at this time of day, since this room is too dark later on; the large porch is fun to have, but really cuts off the light coming into the house.

Another problem is that baby is moving all the toys around as she goes. So it is not just baby I am selecting, but also the objects around her. If you look carefully, some toys are in the photo more than once. She even moved the baby fencing around, to make it even more difficult to piece this puzzle together. It has taken me several hours of Photoshop work to get this looking as good as it is, which is by no means anywhere close to perfect.

I shot in manual mode with manual focus using my tripod as high as it would go, at f/4 and 1/30 second shutter speed with ISO 1600 and my zoom lens out as wide as possible to 24mm on my full frame camera. I developed the first of the series in Lightroom, then used the LR feature to Synchronize the development settings for all the photos in the sequence before starting the work in Photoshop.

There were too many photos to open them in PS all at once. I started with my base photo, then opened each of the others one at a time. When I opened a new photo, I copied it to be a new layer. Then I made a rough selection around the part from each layer that I wanted, and did the finishing work using a layer mask so I could add back in when I erased too much.

I shot a lot of photos, then narrowed them down to about 28 I thought I might use. But I had to reject many since they had instances of her that would overlap with other instances. So I finally selected fourteen copies of this sweet little girl having fun in her playroom. — with Cheryl Reese Lawing MD.

#29 Becky Senf

Becky Senf is a mother and photographer. She lives in Phoenix, AZ. She occasionally posts pictures and comments here and loves what people do on this site. She is also one of the heavy hitters in American photography. She’s the chief curator at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona which is considered the primier proponent of American photography. Among other things she manages the life’s work of Ansel Adams which is stored there. Very few people in the world know more about Adams than Becky (and many other great photographers also).

What I love about Becky is the crossover she does between the everyday documentation of where whe lives and the big time art world where she works. It would only come across as self-aggrandizement if I shared her many kind comments over the years about what happens here at HTPYLife. It’s an inspiration that someone with Becky’s sensitive awareness to what photography can do recognizes it’s power on a modest Facebook page and on the walls of the world’s great art museums.

#28 Nick James‎

This photo strikes me as such a quick “grab shot” and I mean that in the nicest possible way. It’s pure moment. You have to see it and react. You have to grab it with whatever camera you have. In this case Nick used his smartphone. And he told a story I don’t need to retell…it’s all there. The smartphone is an amazing visual story teller. Just the fact that it’s alway with us means it’s always ready. Lovely shot, Nick.

#27 Debbie Lindemann‎

Walking around the block with my grandson when we found this HUGE leaf, larger than his 4 year old body was tall, hanging over onto the sidewalk. Of course it was an invitation to go behind the leaf and peek out. Those precious eyes that stare out into the world with wonder and curiosity day in and day out forever captured! Thank you iPhone!! I thought the black and white version gave it more mystery. I also like the color version with the green leaf and blue eyes but it was instantly recognizable as a plant. Thanks for Going Manual again Nick, and making me think more often of cropping tighter and going black and white!

#26 Jean Fouché Eason‎

It was taken from a bus in Denali National Park. (That’s Alaska. I had to look it up myself.)  Personal Facebook fans went crazy for it! I can see why. Seeing a wolf is a thrill, for sure—we saw one at our Nick Kelsh Photo Workshop in Banff  and everyone was hooting and hollering. He was there for a second and then vanished.  We saw him long enough to get a little look and then he was gone. We have one slightly out of focus shaky photograph. But there was no doubt about it! It was a wolf! It was not a German shepherd or a big coyote or someone’s dog. It had been skinny hips and a big broad chest with an evil looking head just like in the cartoons. It was pretty amazing.  People who  who had lived in the area for 20 years told us they’d never seen one. So I get Jeans’s enthusiasm for capturing it with a camera.  And I couldn’t help but playing with it in Lightroom. I went into the green channel and upped the saturation on the green to give it a little more pop.  And it has to be in color, doesn’t it? The black and white falls short. This is just a great nature photograph, Jean. I love showing the stuff to a larger audience. It’s one of the best parts of my job. Great work!

#25 Sarah White‎

I know that I go on and on about getting close to subjects. Just yesterday I was commenting about the importance of getting in really close on some eyelids and snowflakes. But there comes a time, for sure, when what people are wearing or aren’t wearing tells the story. It would be almost criminal to crop those bare legs off. Sarah had the good sense to stand back and show us the whole scene. And she used all the lines and blank spots in the background to frame him up. Beautiful work, again, Sarah.

#24 Mindy Kinkade‎

This is one of those photographs that is so simple and straightforward and powerful that analyzing why it works so well is almost like trying to explain a good joke—if you have to explain it what’s the point?  But let’s take a look. The converging lines of the stairwell take us right to the subject. The dog appears to weigh 200 pounds which must be about 105 pounds more than the young woman with the rabbit on the back of her head.  Everyone appears to be comfortable here so we must assume that they’ve done this several hundred times.  The framing of brightness around them at the landing just adds to the punch.  There’s a terrific feeling here that everyone appreciates what important photograph this is end they have all stopped to help Mindy. Mindy, wisely made the decision to blast away with her smart phone and not run for the big girl camera. Sometimes you’ve just got to use the tools at hand.  Holy wow!

#23 Kathy Runnalls‎

The prince and a golden slipper can't be too far away at this point, but for now Cindersuzie has to clean up after her own party. You need to keep your eyes open for these great little, totally unexpected storytelling moments. They're not always easy to spot in the moment but life is a non-stop parade of them. And that balloon back there adds so much to the immediate "read" of this delightful birthday image—at least, I think it's a birthday. The juxtaposition of princess dress and getting down and dirty totally makes it, obviously. What fun!

#22 Gail Schaible Kreiser‎

If there was ever any doubt that the quality of light somehow reinforces a visual storyline you can probably stop right here with this tremendous little storyteller by Gail. I’ve struggled for years with coming up with a logical explanation for exactly why that is, but I can’t. You just need to let the light speak for itself. Or the photographer. Here’s some reinforcement from Gail:

Two grandchildren in the hammock, three pushing. Goal is to dump the hammock- dwellers into the giant mud puddle just on the backside of the hammock! I waited and waited for the big splash but the two were hanging on tightly! The blessings we possess when we have grandchildren are priceless.

#21 Leila Thompson Flavell

There are certain photographers that express their love of people and land with light. Leila Flavell is one of those. Living on a farm she documents the sky and the plains of the great expanse of Western Canada. Certain people seem to be born to know what a good photograph is. She and her assistant husband (he actually deserves a little credit for shlepping all that gear in the middle of the night countless times to record the Aurora Borealis in sub-zero temperatures) are essentially out there in the middle of nowhere making the world a more beautiful place and I for one appreciate them. Subject matter, composition, and lighting pretty much say it all for me in this interior of a barn. Great photograph.

#20 Vicki Winton‎

I think we used to call this spit polish.  Anyway, I can totally feel his pain.  Vicki shot this at a wedding and wisely pushed the button for the moment between the moments. Yes, she used a flash. No one cares. Fantastic photograph!

#19 Karen Daugherity Rice‎

Witness the miracle of the shutter speed. Your manual choice of a shutter speed controls the way your camera sees action—fast OR slow. In this case a really fast shutter speed (I’m totally guessing, but I’m going with 1/2000th of a second here.) has revealed a reality that we can’t see with our naked eyes and an amazing reality it is. Every little grain of sand in the broad jump pit is frozen and turned into abstract art. The proper exposure setting for the fast shutter speed have resulted in a large aperture—another guess: F4, maybe? That’s put the rest of the track team in the background into soft focus giving our guy up front sharp, attention grabbing perfect faces. The result is a stunner that’s so much fun to look at.

#18 Vicki Winton

Here’s a wonderful example of the power of words and pictures:
“Some assembly required.”
That little phrase from Vicki tells the whole story, doesn’t it? Dan, a father of six, had just finished assembling Josiah's space shuttle and launch pad and decided to catch a few. Vicki had been photographing the little boy, looked around, and saw dad’s reaction. As you look at other people’s photographs notice just how many of the good pictures are “reaction” shots. There’s a lot to learn from these pictures, but you really need to be on your toes in real life to see them. Vicki was.

#17 Leila Thompson Flavell

This is a photograph taken by a woman with a very big heart. She photographs snowy owls, the Aurora Borealis, and her grandchildren with the same sense of wonder. The world is a beautiful place and you need only look as far as Leila’s preview screen to find out why. Yes, this is just a picture of some boys playing in the mud, but in all of Leila’s photographs you can feel the profound presence of, well, God. You are a great photographer, my friend.

#16 Tara Greer Mock‎

I hope I’m not violating Tara’s privacy here when I tell you that she used the word therapy in her description of it. It’s her children and you can feel the spiritual rejuvenate of power of a mother’s photograph here.  I don’t think I have anything else to add here. Sometimes words distract. I don’t care how many great photographs you take after this one Tara, this one is always going to be near the top of the pile.

#15 Larry Myers‎

This works for so many reasons but but at it’s heart is composition. (Fog, clouds, bridges and ships don’t hurt, either.) This composition was felt and not learned. No one gave Larry any instruction that produced this result. It just came from within him. I think that’s how the best compostions happen. There are no clear cut rules. The pieces of the puzzle get put together in the viewfinder and often times there’s no logical explanation. It’s the nature of art.

#14 Denise Decloux‎

Have you ever tried shooting photographs in the bitter cold? Or when you’re totally famished?  (Here’s a little insight into  me: I have taken very few good photographs on an empty stomach. That’s another story.)  But both of these pale in comparison to crime busting when it’s really cold outside.  What a wonderful storytelling image and what a precious boyhood moment!  Another insight into me: this picture brought me to tears.  Of course, I can’t help but think of my now twelve and nine-year-olds  and how these days will soon be behind us. I absolutely love this photograph. Now you know everything there is to know about me.  I especially love how he’s riding in the front of the train scouting out any potential trouble.

#13 Diana Miller Brinsley

When I write the FPOTD  I often refer to the subjects in the photograph as “Susan’s daughter” or  “Tom’s grandson”  just to set the stage. Obviously, it makes it more personal and meaningful. But sometimes I’m not exactly sure what the relationship is simply because the photographer never mentioned it in the original post. So in this particular case I went to Diana’s  personal FB page to try and determine what exactly Diana’s relationship to this child is. I assumed it was a granddaughter, but let’s face it, in this day and age you have to be careful. (Oh, don’t I know.) Based on the photograph of Diana on her FB page this could easily be her daughter.  But after some investigation and deep digging I find the reference to this little girl as her GREAT granddaughter which is a little jaw-dropping if you want to know the truth. The times they are a changing.  Looking good, Diana!  So that was a long circuitous route to getting to this wonderful storytelling photograph. They are great grandmother’s shoes photographed by great grandmother.  All that space around or does a couple of things. First, it creates the feeling that we are standing back observing a private moment. It’s a simple, loving observation from a distance. And secondly, all that space puts emphasis on the subject and creates a compelling composition. I used the word classic when I initially reacted to this picture and it is.  Wonderful work, great grandmother.

#12 Elizabeth Sabates Kuhn‎

It’s the placement of that bubble that makes it so amazing.  Sure, there was a lot of luck involved— actually, more than a lot—but there it is, a picture of a girl who loves to swim in a picture that screams it in the most unpredictable, unreproducible fashion.  You could not reshoot this photograph in several million years, it just showed up in the camera of the swimmer’s sister. It’s almost like it has a life of its own.  Of all of the “heart” photographs we’ve published on this page, this one is my favorite. How cool is this?!

#11 Heather Killoran Rees

Yes, luck had something to do with it. I mean seriously, how many thousand times would you have to ask those birds to fly by before you could recreate that alignment? But there it is in Heather’s camera and not mine, she was there and she pushed the button…probably several times. I love the space between that male and the female. I remember reading that one way bird photographs succeed is that they show you the difference between the sexes. Boy, does this picture do that! Wonderful work, Heather.

#10 Cynthia Dooley‎

It’s a relationship photo but it may not be the relationship you think. The reaction of the relatives in the background says it all—and it’s ALL relatives back there, two sister's of the bride, the groom’s parents, and a great niece watching the bride dance with her father. Their emotions may be more complicated than normal, too. There’s a palpable sense of relief in the room, the wedding was north of Atlanta and a weekend snow storm wreaked havoc on the event preparations and rehearsal. As you can see, it all worked out in the end, but it was nip and tuck for a while with a happy ending. Great family group shot, Cynthia. (That’s Cynthia’s niece starring as the bride.)

#9 Abbie Winter‎

Take a little boy in a red coat who happens to know his way around livestock and put him in some nice light—which happens to be in every barn in the world—and you will make some beautiful photo music. Of course, it’s this little guy’s comfort level with his new friend that makes this possible but it doesn’t hurt that the goat seems to be alright with it, too. Based on the look on it’s face it would appear that this is not it’s first rodeo.  Another nice little touch is the red detail on those heat lamps to echo the red of the coat. Also notice how a slightly messy background has been minimized by being in the relative darkness—yet another useful lesson to be learned from the natural light of a big, dark, cold beautiful building. Such a sweet picture, Abbie.

#8 Jannie Van Der Haar‎

Some photographers would have asked "Opa" to wash his dirty hands before the photo shoot. Jannie chose not to. Don't get me wrong. Sometimes it's OK to record the world as we want to see it. "Hey, everyone! Look in the camera and smile!" But reality is a sound way to go when it comes to's a lot like telling the truth. Juxtapositions of unlikely subject matter often do that. Beautiful family photograph.

#7 Mary Day Burgy‎

First of all, the imagery here from Mary is just terrific, but it really is impossible for me not to go straight to the cooperative effort of photographer, mom, and daughters. This was a lot of work but it was all worth it. But I just keep thinking of the ncredible memory that has been created with these images, the memory of making it happen and watching other people experience the fun.  There’s a serious attention to detail here that did not get in the way of the original wonderful concept, these pictures are so much fun and so valuable. Just fantastic work on Halloween from Mary— again.

#6 Sarah 'Phimister' Johnson‎

Lifelong relationships need to be recorded. Honestly, I don’t believe it takes lots of photographs to do it. I believe it takes a few great ones and this certainly belongs in the great pile; it’s almost like the photographer isn’t there. He’s old; she’s young. There are other differences, too, but none of the matter. The out of focus background solidifies the impact of the slurp. And, of course, I believe that black and white is practically mandatory. Fantastic portrait.

#5 Toni Motherway Trainor‎

The goalie was shelled in the  last seconds of the championship game. Through high-impact plastic, padded leather and metal  the referee has come to soften the blow. This photograph is a monument to all of the dads, moms, coaches, referees and umpires (and drive kids to practice and make snacks)  our young and vulnerable athletes.  I know I sound like a broken record, but so many of the greatest sports photographs ever  have been taken after the buzzer.  It would’ve been easy to get lost in the loss and have not even seen this moment. It happens all the time to the best of photographers.  And I can’t ignore his teammate— goalies take a lot of blame when there’s a loss. There’s a big dose of kindness and sportsmanship going on here.   And the fact that there is a clean, out of focus background doesn’t hurt either.  Like I said in my Nick Kelsh Radio Picture Show,  I predict this photograph lives for years on the website of this hockey league and well it should.

#4 Amy Henderson Hall‎

I don't need to say much about this poignant moment. Amy's mother's golden retriever passed away last week and the event "crushed"their family. Amy wrote these touching words: "I took this at Thanksgiving when she never left my grandmother's side. She has Alzheimer's and the dogs were never far from her. Grateful to have captured this for my mom who dearly loves both and is grieving the loss of her fur baby."

#3 Kathy Murray‎

Don’t ever under any circumstances put your subject smack dab in the middle of the frame. Never. Ever. It’s a rookie mistake. Don’t do it. It doesn’t work. Not once, never ever. (Unless it works, of course.)

#2 Liz Sharp Griffin‎

I need to say almost nothing here and that’s what makes this so wonderful. When a storytelling image shows up that look like this it’s best to sit back and let it work its magic. That’s grandma and grandpa coming over for a visit. They are unaware the kids received Bearded Dragons for Christmas.

#1 Mary Day Burgy‎ ‎

We have been there. You can’t take your eyes off the defects. Everyone else sees, well, and incredible moment. We humans are funny. Great picture! Here’ what Mary had to say about it: The photographer in me can't help but notice the imperfections in this photo.. .. It all happened so fast (not posed) so I just took the photo as quickly as I could and didn't worry about technical side and ended up with chopped fingers, etc. However, the MOM side of me looks at this photo and screams "NAILED IT!"


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