Favourite images of 2020

Waiting for rain. Highway 22, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

The Lens-Artists challenge for this week is to look back at 2020 through our favourite photos.

These are not an attempt to make sense of the year (as in last week’s Changing Seasons), but to consider my journey as a photographer.

I love photographing landscape, but not the picturesque and panoramic landscapes of travel blogs and brochures. More and more, I want to capture the back roads, the mundane, the damaged. I love how small changes in light can render the ordinary, if only fleetingly, extraordinary.

Don’t look back. Ararimu Valley Road, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Water, especially the sea, has always been a focus for my photography. But again, I’m interested in the quiet places, the cloudy days.

Not even the fishermen. Wharf, Island Bay, Auckland, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Beach walk. Kariotahi beach, NZ. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Shooting indoors, I find myself again drawn to the quiet, liminal spaces.

Echoes. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Rest. Image: Su Leslie 2020

I started 2020 with the intention to take more portraits, both to improve my technical skills and to make me engage with people more. With hindsight, yeah, I picked the wrong year.

Windows on the soul. Image: Su Leslie 2020

The guy above asked me to take his photo. He thought I’d be interested in his moko (tattoo), and I was. But I was way more interested in his eyes.

In the middle of lock-down, and lacking human subjects, I shot a “Portraits of the Mundane” series. The goal was to play with lighting, but I enjoyed the results too.

Whisked. Image: Su Leslie 2020

All that remains. Image: Su Leslie 2020

As in the past, my photo archives are overflowing with images of food and flowers. With both, I think my skills have improved over the year, but (perhaps because the field is so crowded) I don’t have any real favourites — except perhaps this.

And probably because it’s one of the few flower shots I’ve captured that I think works well in black and white.

After the rain. Image: Su Leslie 2020

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge | favourite images of 2020

56 thoughts on “Favourite images of 2020

  1. I don’t even know what to say. It’s one of the reasons I often don’t say anything. All of your photographs are beautiful and I love the way you capture light. It was capturing light that got me started taking pictures way back when I was shooting with a non-digital rangefinder Leica using exclusively B & W film because i could process and print it myself. You take exquisite pictures, even the most humdrum shots are amazing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you Marilyn. My son has gone back to shooting film and has been hassling me to do the same. We have the processing gear somewhere โ€” but I think I am too wedded to the (relatively) instant gratification of digital.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful, Su. I am greatly admiring your indoor photography, the quietness and the light. The portrait is spectacular – but as you say, it is the eyes. What special eyes! is it you I see in them? Or what is that special “broken spectra” look? Fascinating.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ‘exquisite pictures’…I think Marilyn nailed it. Each of these photos has such a quiet reverence to them, Su. I remember being struck by so many of them when they were first posted, and I still am. Absolutely beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are quite wonderful Su. You have captured the dark feel quite well. I love the chair in the window. Capturing the light just right, Your journey as a photographer is well on track to becoming a fabulous photographer ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well Su, words fail me on this one but I shall try. Yes, your landscapes are dramatic and beautiful. Yes the portrait is wonderful. But it is in the mundane that you have truly set yourself apart. Of all of these, I think the chair is my favorite – and what could be less interesting than a simple chair. But that would be the first I would blow up and frame if it were mine. I also loved the piano image, and your flower is extraordinary. Your creativity and eye for detail are beautifully represented with these. Superb.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Exquisite photography. You really do like a dramatic sky don’t you? I’m now thinking I need to get out and capture those moody days. But your photo of the piano is one that draws me in – you really have a great eye for the light and the mood. A successful year for your photography I would say.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Jude ๐Ÿ™
      Iโ€™ve realised Iโ€™m constantly bemoaning g the lack of rain, yet from my photos youโ€™d think we got nothing else. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜‚
      I was really pleased with the piano shot too; it โ€œbelongsโ€ in a dream I had years ago that I intended to turn into film โ€” before earning a living got in the way.


  7. I love your photography philosophy, Su. I’m not a fan of the travel brochure photo either. In fact, they are enough to convince me that I don’t want to go there. I believe every place has a story to tell and your photos tell those stories so well.
    Funny how I hardly noticed the tattoo on that gentleman.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Tracy. ๐Ÿ™
      I feel the same way. I hate how โ€œtravel brochureโ€ photography is destroying some of the most beautiful scenery in the world so that hoardes of people can post inane selfies on FB and Instagram. Grrrrr.


  8. I remember several of these images from first time round. I think I am always struck by the quietness in your photos. You excel in showing us tranquility, and as others have said, the quality of light is lovely too. Keep ’em coming!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Su, these left me with such a feeling of peace. You and I like the same sort of photography–taking the ordinary or the overlooked and making it (or trying to make it) special. Hard to choose a favorite, but the one with the chair is wonderful. You’re very talented and these photos showcase that talent beautifully.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Magnificent. Quiet places on cloudy days sounds like a good title for a book, but maybe I have books on the brain since I just came from Sarah’s post on all the books she read. ๐Ÿ˜› And the mundane shots! You should be proud, they’re all really fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy new year su and loved tour images for the 2020 reflection post.
    I think you could maybe predict my fav photo would
    be tattoo man!
    And his eyes were interesting – as were the tattoos / nose and entered face and posture that is felt through his serious (but not harsh) look!
    Absolutely love it

    Liked by 1 person

  12. They’re all so beautiful, Su, and you’re so right about the guy’s eyes being even more interesting in this portrait than his tatts.
    Too bad about that taking portrait project not coming along but look forward to you continuing it once this nightmare is over!

    Liked by 1 person

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