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This is my personal travel, photography, cinematography and adventure related blog. Here I share my visual experiences coupled with interesting articles from my trips and photography outings

My top 10 photographs of 2016

Another year is coming to end and as usual, it is time to reflect back and pick my top 10 favorite photographs of the year. And also, as usual, this is just my opinion. You might find some of the other photographs better, but thats ok. There is a lot of emotion involved in the selection process, so clearly, it is not based solely on photographic quality. Anyway, let's talk about 2016. It was somewhat uneventful year for me, not just photography-wise. Moving away from Asia last year was unexpected (volatile job market). Quite frankly, I loved being in Asia and I wanted to stay. However, one has to pay the bills and I had to find job elsewhere. I landed "Downunder" in Sydney and jumped into a new work contract straight away. This relocation obviously affected my travel plans, holidays, long weekend getaways etc. What was so easy and convenient in Singapore, became near impossible in Sydney. I remember years when I jumped over to Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia several times a year. all it took was a 2 hour flight at most. In 2016 I made only one single overseas trip to Cambodia and that just before the travel facility on my visa expired. Due to work, I didn't get away from Sydney either, except long weekend over Easter holiday and one more regular weekend in August. I planned to make up for it with the break between the Christmas and New Year. Well, that was the plan. Unfortunately, at the end of November, I badly herniated my disk (yet again) and I was completely immobile for few days. Now, a month later I am very far from being recovered and I had to put any holiday plans, even short one-day hiking trips on hold. So, unfortunately, I didn't take a single photograph in December. Instead, I am writing this top 10 article and hoping for better and healthier 2017. Not just for me, but for everyone. I take the opportunity to wish every one of you a nice, peaceful, successful, healthy and prosperous year 2017. And for you photographers, I wish you always have a good light and tons of inspiration and opportunities for photography.

With that out of the way, let's get to the photographs now. It is always hard to pick t even though this year's selection was fairly limited. Anyway, here they are in no particular order. I hope you like at least some of them.

The emotional pick. This is Borka. She was our most faithful companion of 14 years back home in Slovakia. Even after being away for many months, she always waited for me the gate every time I came home. Just two months ago I got sad news from home. She is gone. I weeped, as I was told she suffered a lot. After consultation with the vet, a decision was made to put her to death to end her suffering. I can't ever forgive myself not holding her head as she was going to her final sleep. This is the last photograph I have of her before I left Slovakia again.. 

The emotional pick. This is Borka. She was our most faithful companion of 14 years back home in Slovakia. Even after being away for many months, she always waited for me the gate every time I came home. Just two months ago I got sad news from home. She is gone. I weeped, as I was told she suffered a lot. After consultation with the vet, a decision was made to put her to death to end her suffering. I can't ever forgive myself not holding her head as she was going to her final sleep. This is the last photograph I have of her before I left Slovakia again.. 

This photograph was taken during Easter holidays 2016 during Budawang National Park hike with my colleagues. We started the hike quite late in the day and soon realised that reaching the camping site before dark is impossible. We found this ledge on the side of the big rock face, wide enough to pitch the camp for the night. It turned out to be the most memorable moment of the hike for me. I love the warm campfire glow in the midst of beautiful Australian bush.

This photograph was taken during Easter holidays 2016 during Budawang National Park hike with my colleagues. We started the hike quite late in the day and soon realised that reaching the camping site before dark is impossible. We found this ledge on the side of the big rock face, wide enough to pitch the camp for the night. It turned out to be the most memorable moment of the hike for me. I love the warm campfire glow in the midst of beautiful Australian bush.

Infrared photograph taken at Centenial Park in Sydney. This is a result of one of my first ventures into infrared world. I used screw-on IR filter on my camera and went out armed only with basic theoretical knowledge of IR photography. Although not perfect, I was quite pleased with the result. Even the false color processing turned out quite ok. Whole image feels that it could be a scene from Japan during cherry blossom season. On top of that I really love how magnificent the tree is.

Infrared photograph taken at Centenial Park in Sydney. This is a result of one of my first ventures into infrared world. I used screw-on IR filter on my camera and went out armed only with basic theoretical knowledge of IR photography. Although not perfect, I was quite pleased with the result. Even the false color processing turned out quite ok. Whole image feels that it could be a scene from Japan during cherry blossom season. On top of that I really love how magnificent the tree is.

I love Phnom Penh’s riverside. Life is happening right there. It is a popular area for tourists and locals alike. They are gathering in big numbers during weekends and public holidays. I often just walk up and down and observing life. Time to time I come across a captivating scene. Like this young Cambodian girl hugging the flag pole and having this dreamy stare into distance. I quickly focused and exposed the photograph the very moment she glanced at me.

I love Phnom Penh’s riverside. Life is happening right there. It is a popular area for tourists and locals alike. They are gathering in big numbers during weekends and public holidays. I often just walk up and down and observing life. Time to time I come across a captivating scene. Like this young Cambodian girl hugging the flag pole and having this dreamy stare into distance. I quickly focused and exposed the photograph the very moment she glanced at me.

Kandal market in Phnom Penh is another favourite location of mine. Similarly, like in the case of riverside, I walk up and down, make people comfortable with my presence and camera. Market is a busy place. In every possible meaning. It’s bustling with people, busy with colors, full of smells and aromas, also annoying flies. One has to be focused and try to capture only what is necessary for a good image and leave everything else out. I noticed this woman entering one of the stores carrying this infant on her arms. I immediately saw the picture in my head, even saw it in black and white. I sped up my walk to get close enough to capture the detail of they kid on her shoulder. It turned out good.

Kandal market in Phnom Penh is another favourite location of mine. Similarly, like in the case of riverside, I walk up and down, make people comfortable with my presence and camera. Market is a busy place. In every possible meaning. It’s bustling with people, busy with colors, full of smells and aromas, also annoying flies. One has to be focused and try to capture only what is necessary for a good image and leave everything else out. I noticed this woman entering one of the stores carrying this infant on her arms. I immediately saw the picture in my head, even saw it in black and white. I sped up my walk to get close enough to capture the detail of they kid on her shoulder. It turned out good.

Angkor Wat is probably one of the busiest tourist destinations in world. Therefore, it is quite challenging to get a shot with no tourists in the frame. As much as I would like to shoot this scene with wider lens and much closer to the subject, the longer telephoto allowed me to capture a clean undisturbed frame of these young monks with heir friend. Looks like mobile phones are taking over even the holiest of places.

Angkor Wat is probably one of the busiest tourist destinations in world. Therefore, it is quite challenging to get a shot with no tourists in the frame. As much as I would like to shoot this scene with wider lens and much closer to the subject, the longer telephoto allowed me to capture a clean undisturbed frame of these young monks with heir friend. Looks like mobile phones are taking over even the holiest of places.

Cambodia is a hot and sunny country. Window of opportunity for photography during sunrise and sunset is very short. Most of the day the light is just too harsh for a nicely balanced photograph. However, that is the best condition to shoot infrared images. I was inspired by work of John McDermott and his infrared photographs of Angkor temples. I gave it a go and I really like the result. Angkor temples look great in infrared spectrum.

Cambodia is a hot and sunny country. Window of opportunity for photography during sunrise and sunset is very short. Most of the day the light is just too harsh for a nicely balanced photograph. However, that is the best condition to shoot infrared images. I was inspired by work of John McDermott and his infrared photographs of Angkor temples. I gave it a go and I really like the result. Angkor temples look great in infrared spectrum.

This portrait is one of the most memorable moments of 2016 for me. Hiring a bike in Siem Reap and going of beaten path was the best idea ever. I ended up in a small village, far from tourist rush. Slowly cycling I noticed this little girl. I got curious and so was she. Her mom was sitting nearby in makeshift stahl selling some bottled drinks and fruit. I stopped there, and bought water and some fruit. It is a good way to support local people. At the same time, the little girl came closer and I started a conversation with my broken Khmer. She smiled when she heard me speaking her language. I asked he mom for permission to take the picture. Poor little girl she froze for a moment trying to strike a pose. Unfortunately the picture with smile was little out of focus but I also love this one. Isn’t she beautiful? Little Cambodian princess.

This portrait is one of the most memorable moments of 2016 for me. Hiring a bike in Siem Reap and going of beaten path was the best idea ever. I ended up in a small village, far from tourist rush. Slowly cycling I noticed this little girl. I got curious and so was she. Her mom was sitting nearby in makeshift stahl selling some bottled drinks and fruit. I stopped there, and bought water and some fruit. It is a good way to support local people. At the same time, the little girl came closer and I started a conversation with my broken Khmer. She smiled when she heard me speaking her language. I asked he mom for permission to take the picture. Poor little girl she froze for a moment trying to strike a pose. Unfortunately the picture with smile was little out of focus but I also love this one. Isn’t she beautiful? Little Cambodian princess.

My good friend Ratny gave a birth to a little boy, Harry. Of course, when I was in Phnom Penh I paid them a visit. The little man was sleepy but also very hungry. I took a whole bunch of photographs of him and his mom. This was one of my favourites. I remember the moment. He rests in the safety of his mothers hands near the small balcony providing beautiful natural light. I hear the buzz of the fan, horns of tuk-tuks from the nearby street. For a moment it feels like a scene from colonial Indochina. It was peaceful and it was perfect. I like the soft quality of the image. Sharpness is sometimes overrated.

My good friend Ratny gave a birth to a little boy, Harry. Of course, when I was in Phnom Penh I paid them a visit. The little man was sleepy but also very hungry. I took a whole bunch of photographs of him and his mom. This was one of my favourites. I remember the moment. He rests in the safety of his mothers hands near the small balcony providing beautiful natural light. I hear the buzz of the fan, horns of tuk-tuks from the nearby street. For a moment it feels like a scene from colonial Indochina. It was peaceful and it was perfect. I like the soft quality of the image. Sharpness is sometimes overrated.

This picture was taken on the slopes of Perisher in Australian Snowy Mountains. This was the first time for me to experience snow in Australia. Location was pretty spectacular with mostly blue skies. They were only broken by clouds closer to horizon, hiding the biggest and highest mountain range in Australia. At some point the clouds the started to roll in rather quickly. I thought the snowstorm was imminent, however clouds stopped at the edge os ski resort. I took the shot of the rather dramatic sight. Resulting photograph looks like the ski station is right in the heaven.

This picture was taken on the slopes of Perisher in Australian Snowy Mountains. This was the first time for me to experience snow in Australia. Location was pretty spectacular with mostly blue skies. They were only broken by clouds closer to horizon, hiding the biggest and highest mountain range in Australia. At some point the clouds the started to roll in rather quickly. I thought the snowstorm was imminent, however clouds stopped at the edge os ski resort. I took the shot of the rather dramatic sight. Resulting photograph looks like the ski station is right in the heaven.

I hope you enjoyed the photographs and descriptions. It may give you an insight about what led to taking the particular picture, what decisions I made or what was my thought process. I hope to see you here same time next year reading about top 10 of 2017 list. That said, please visit also in the time in between to see what I am up to. I am certainly hoping to be on road more often in the next year if my "broken back" allows me.


Gear I used to take these photographs.