20 Best Photos of 2014

According to Lightroom, I took well over ten thousand photos in 2014. It wasn't easy to narrow those down to my 20 favorite photographs, but I gave it my best shot. I hope you enjoy them. 

Here's to many more photo-worthy moments in 2015. Happy New Year!

"Stormy Sunset in New York", October 2014, Brooklyn, New York
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/5.6, 2.6 sec, ISO 500

I've probably taken this shot of lower Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park fifty times now. This one stands out for me, not just because of the amazing sky, but because of the way the metal bands on the tops of the pylons reflect the streetlights behind me. Usually, these poles either fall completely in shadow (like this), or are partially lit and a bit distracting (like this). But on this night, some alchemy of lights, angle and camera settings came together to give each silhouetted pylon a shimmering halo, mirroring the bands of lights along the skyline.

"Wall Street"  May 2014 , New York City
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/150, ISO 800

I took this photo on Wall Street, a block east of the New York Stock Exchange. While I'd like to tell you that this was a single, serendipitous moment, it didn't quite come together that way. After noticing the poster on the wall and getting the idea for the photo, I went back to this spot for two days in a row trying to capture this image. It must have taken 200 tries before I got one with a single businessman walking in the right direction, looking just the right amount of unhappy, who was just the right height so the rope would intersect the back of his neckand frozen at just the right moment so those two inches of rope would actually attach to his collar. 

"Cherry Blossom Festival"  April 2014 , Washington, DC
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/11, 1/35, ISO 800

Even though I lived in the DC area for most of my life, I never actually made it to the Cherry Blossom Festival during its peak. This year, a visit home was timed perfectly to catch "peak bloom." I arrived at the Tidal Basin before sunrise along with dozens of other crazy photographers. I got  some great shots from the sunrise, but this one from a bit later in the morning is my favorite. When the early morning sun hit the cherry blossoms, the pinks just lit up. 


"Man in the Middle" January 2014, New York City
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/8, 2.1 sec, ISO 250

On a rainy weekend in January, my wife and I went to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was playing around with a slow shutter speed to give this stoic scene of the Grand Staircase a sense of energy. But then this guy stopped right in the center to check his phone, which froze him while everyone else blurred. Totally unplanned. But it totally made the shot. This may be the only instance in history where a guy checking his smartphone has actually improved a photo. 

"Your Journey Continues" April 2014, New York Botanical Gardens, Bronx, New York
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/11, 1/125, ISO 5000

I take it back. Maybe there are two instances in history where a guy checking his smartphone has improved a photo. I may be the only photographer to ever visit the New York Botanical Gardens and come away most excited about a photo of a guy in front of a beige cinderblock wall, not a flower in sight. I don't do much in the way of social commentary in my work, but I just love this one. The guy, completely oblivious to the journey that lies ahead. The total blandness of this space. The polite sign trying to encourage him on to bigger and better things. The ray of light from the heavens beckoning him on to something unimaginably amazing. He's blind to it all. Right now, there's candy to be crushed.   

"Storm over Williamsburg" June 2014, Brooklyn, New York
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/8, 1/40, ISO 1600

In June, I drove to Grand Ferry Park in Williamsburg to photograph an event called the "World Naked Bike Ride." It was going to be a bizarrely great photo op. But nature had other plans. Not more than 15 minutes before the official meet-up time for naked bike riding, this storm rolled in. I stayed around just long enough to take a few dramatic shots before the sky opened up, dumping a monsoon of rain across the city. I'll never know if they went ahead with the naked bike ride. 

A day after I posted this photo, I got a notification that one of my favorite National Geographic photographers, Jim Richardson added it as a favorite on Flickr, which is the photography equivalent of Frank Sinatra stopping by to compliment your karaoke performance. 

"Watching the storm roll in" June 2014, Brooklyn, New York
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/8, 1/150, ISO 320

This photo was taken just eight minutes earlier than the one above. I started shooting this scene down low along the rocks. But then I stood up and saw the couple with the umbrellas. As a rule of thumb, people are almost always more interesting than rocks. 

"Covered Bridge at Sunset" March 2014, South Woodstock, Vermont
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/4, 1/80, ISO 250

In March, we planned a long weekend trip to Vermont. Two days before we were scheduled to go, a storm dropped 24 inches of snow across the state. While the snowstorm made for some harrowing driving moments on the less-plowed side roads, it also made for this covered bridge photo op, which is about as iconic Winter-In-Vermont as it gets. Much to my good fortune, they even left their Christmas Wreath up for St Patrick's Day. 

"The Long Walk Back" March 2014, Burlington, Vermont
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/16, 1/320, ISO 200

When we checked into our hotel in Burlington, the concierge suggested we take a walk across the frozen Lake Champlain. This seemed like a terrible and dangerous idea. But sure enough, people were out there traipsing around all over the ice. So we took a walk on the lake. After all, "when in Rome." Sure enough, it was frozen solid, clear across to New York. This is the first time the winter has been cold enough for the lake to freeze since 2007. 

"The Flatiron Building at Sunset" November 2014, New York City
Fujifilm X-T1, 35mm, f/1.4, 1/30, ISO 800

In November, we edited at a studio on 5th Avenue called Rock, Paper Scissors. This is the view from their kitchen. Wowsers. 

"The Birdwatcher" November 2014, New York City
Fujifilm XPro1, 63mm, f/4.5, 1/60, ISO 200

The trouble with taking photos of iconic New York landmarks like the Bow Bridge in Central Park is that they've been photographed a zillion times before. Fortunately, this birdwatcher gave me the opportunity to capture something more unique than the typical postcard view. 


"Two Bridges" May 2014, New York City
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/8, 250 seconds, ISO 200

Sticking with the bridge theme, here's one of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges that I shot from the East River Promenade. This was a four minute long exposure, which made the water on the East River go silky and created the sense of movement in the clouds.  

"Brooklyn Bridge" May 2014, New York City
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/8, 240 seconds, ISO 200

Here's another shot from the same evening. I love how foggy the water looks around the pylons. The scene feels totally silent except for the flapping of the flag on top of the bridge. (Of course, it was far from it, with horns blaring overhead on the FDR Expressway)

"Coney Island Reflected" June 2014, Brooklyn, New York
Fujifilm XPro1, 74mm, f/5, 1/750 seconds, ISO 200

My favorite shot from Coney Island's raucous Mermaid Parade wasn't even of a mermaid. It was this quiet moment of an amused spectator, sitting on the boardwalk railing, taking in all the madness. I love how isolated he is against the blown-out sky. It's only when you see the reflections in his sunglasses that you get a sense of place. A jam-packed boardwalk with Deno's Wonder Wheel spinning in the background. 

"Bonk" April, 2014 New York City
Fujifilm XPro1, 35mm, f/4, 1/55 seconds, ISO 1250

It's hard to create slapstick humor in a scene without any people. But when I spotted this poster at the Broadway/Lafayette Street subway station in SoHo, I knew I had to come back with my camera. I took this photo on 4/2/14, so it may have been inspired by April Fools Day. Or, more appropriately, tax day. 

"Little Cupcake Bakeshop" January, 2014 New York City
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/2.8, 1/105 seconds, ISO 6400

I love the feeling of this photo. There's something kind of Edward Hopper about it. And there are so many little details. The glimpse of the Empire State Building in the distance. The snowflake decorations that make the cupcake shop feel just a bit cozier. And the fact that the two people crossing on either corner of the street are perfect mirror images of each other. 

"Indecent Proposal" May, 2014 Brooklyn, New York
Fujifilm XPro1, 14mm, f/8, 1/40 seconds, ISO 400

I have so many questions. Was it a real marriage proposal? Did she say yes? Did they cash his check? Was the tiny shrub in the shipping crate part of the proposal? 

"Houston Street Noise" May, 2014, New York City
Fujifilm XPro1, 35mm, f/8, 1/160 seconds, ISO 1600

This famous mural on the corner of Houston and Bowery Streets has had rotating artist installations for 30 years, including work by Keith Haring and Shepard Fairey. I've just learned that the wall has been temporarily dismantled for the construction of a new building. This mural by Cope2 was the final installation. 

"Welcome Freedom Creators" December, 2014, Edgewood, Maryland
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/8, 1/160, ISO 200

I took this photo just a few days ago. We were driving home for the holidays and pulled off I-95 to to get gas. This hotel was next door. This is why you always carry a camera. 

"MacDougal Street Snowstorm" January, 2014, New York City
Fujifilm X100s, 23mm, f/2, 1/125 seconds, ISO 2500

This year was one of the ten snowiest winters on record for New York City. So there was no shortage of picturesque snowglobe-quality photo opportunities. But of all the winter photos that I took this year, this shot from Greenwich Village is my favorite. I took this photo while kneeling in the center of MacDougal Street. I snapped a few shots, played around with settings, and tried to compose something interesting. But then this guy stepped off the curb in the distance and crossed into the middle of street. Sometimes it's that tiniest of details that makes all the difference. The other photos from this series are totally unremarkable. This one is magic.