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Jan 04, 2023
As 2022 comes to a close, we want to take some time to reflect on the year as a whole. It has been, for us, a time of monumental change. But that change has offered many opportunities for growth. As you know, 2022 marked the beginning of a fusion between Photography by Ben Jacobi and ANMadden Photography. For years, we captured nature side-by-side, and after so much time, it just made sense for us to do it under one umbrella: Jacobi Creations. For starters, having all of our work on one website simplifies access. Two, it cuts down on the amount of work each of us has to do just to run five social media accounts and two websites. And three, it opens up our time so that we can pursue other opportunities such as commercial projects, workshops, and keynote speaking.
In 2022, Jacobi Creations saw the installation of our art in several medical facilities and numerous residences. It’s been a big year for us. And we’re excited to see what’s in store for us in the new year.
Our plan for 2023 is to continue exploring and photographing subjects along the way. We have discussed the strong potential for a return to time-lapse photography. It has been several years since I (Ben) have done this, and Ashlee wants to take a stab at it. Now seems like the right time to get back into it. In addition to time-lapses, 2023 will also host the beginning of our Jacobi Creations photography workshops. We greatly look forward to offering these workshops as a way to usher in a new generation of nature enthusiasts.
We want to thank you all for your support. We are greatly looking forward to all of the new experiences that await us in 2023.
Before we sign off, we’d like to showcase our top 10 images of the year and share a bit about each one.
--ASHLEE'S TOP FIVE--
BUCK BENEATH CANOPY
As I traipsed through the fog, I could feel an unmistakable pair of eyes watching me. Peering through the viewfinder, I found the subject. A fairly mature buck was staring me down. Quietly, I sat down with my hiking pack and unhitched my tripod from its latch. With every movement, I could feel the glare of the wild beast. Affixed to the tripod, I set the camera’s focus to manual and began taking its portrait.
This Great Blue Heron stands in a sea of nothingness to reflect. Often, when a heron is looking into the water, it has one thing on its mind: food. However, after watching this Heron for some time, it became apparent that something else was on its mind. It seemed instead to be poised as it reflected on its life.
Photography scouting on a windy and sunny day often leaves more to be desired in terms of actual photographic potential. Stumbling onto a patch of cacti and other prairie grasses and flowers, I decided to hang back and let Ben continue on his expedition. Instead, I would focus my attention on some macro photography. Lying on my belly and contorting in an unfamiliar way, I found a gorgeous Reakirt’s Blue Butterfly approaching this wildflower. By the time it landed to take a drink, I was ready to make the image. As a bit of luck would have it, the wind stopped blowing for a second, and I was able to make a sharp capture before the butterfly returned to its flight.
Visiting the LBJ Grasslands, one might be surprised to find a piney forest. These trees may not be quite as tall as the Redwoods of California, but to us in North Texas, they are quite wonderful. So, while walking on the piney floor bed, I found that there were places where I could slide down the small hills. Rekindling the kid in me, I began sliding down the hills. It was then that I landed with my face upward, gazing toward the tree canopy. Noticing the interesting patterns, I found that I wanted to capture them. So, holding my camera steady, I made this image.
Caprock Canyons has vista after vista to offer. It can be overwhelming to choose one composition when there are so many great ones around you. Looking around, I liked four different possible images. How would I choose? Remembering a friend’s advice, I looked for the light. "Where is the light falling?" I searched the scene and found the light on this pyramidal rock formation. The glow of this red rock will forever be burned into my mind. It serves as a reminder, too, that light can make a shot.
--BEN'S TOP FIVE--
This image is a departure from my usual subjects and compositional style. In fact, most of the time I would just ignore this scene and continue on the trail. But on this pleasant morning hike in Bonham State Park, all the elements were aligned. The early morning sunshine was just starting to enter the woods, spilling patches of sunlight on the forest floor. The sun would reflect off the moss, making it glow with a radiant iridescence. Following the light, I was able to spot an interesting subject and composition in this group of fallen, moss-covered logs. The strong diagonal lines and high contrast really help separate the logs from the chaotic leaf litter.
BAKER PEAK WICHITA MOUNTAINS
For me, the sky is equally as important as the terrain when it comes to landscape photography. Without a good sky, it can be difficult to convey emotion or mood in an image. On this particular day, thunderstorms were predicted to form in the late afternoon, so we were anticipating dynamic and fascinating weather conditions. Armed with this knowledge, we traveled to the west side of the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in hopes of capturing a nice photo of Baker Peak. For a few hours, light and shadows danced up and down the mountains before an isolated storm developed right over our heads and we were forced to retreat. When I captured this photo, I immediately knew the final result would be black and white. This image reminds me of Ansel Adams’ infamous “Winter Sunrise Sierra Nevada” photo.
PANTHER CREEK OVERLOOK
I just love spontaneous sunset photo shoots! On a whim, Ashlee and I drove to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge to try and capture sunset in the mountainous terrain. With limited time, I chose to visit Panther Creek Overlook. Sunrise was the time I had always envisioned this location, but conditions for sunset were excellent. When we arrived, the sun was just sinking below a layer of clouds, sending warm light spilling all over the landscape. While scouting the area I found this composition, and I waited for the light to enter the scene. I love the little kiss of light in the foreground. Without this light, the whole image falls apart.
Earlier in the year, a potent winter storm made its way through our area. In its wake, it left bitterly cold temperatures, clear skies, and around 5" of snow on the ground. We decided to brave the icy roads for this shot. Ashlee had confirmed this location earlier, and I had hoped to capture a unique photo of these hoodoos. When I arrived, I noticed the shape and position of these table rocks. They have a curious and reflective nature. They almost appear to be daydreaming. To add to the "dreaming" effect, I purposefully, shot this image with a large aperture, allowing the stars in the sky to fall outside of focus. This, combined with the soft light on the snow, created the dream-like atmosphere to the image.
DOE IN CANYON
Sometimes, as a landscape photographer, I can get tunnel vision. But one of the most important rules in landscape photography is to always look behind you. I guess the argument could be made to always look below you as well. I did not notice the doe in this photo until Ashlee pointed it out to me. I was excited to see some of her shots and looked back over some of mine; sure enough, the doe could be seen in the hectic landscape. Now that I knew where the deer was located, I pulled out my larger telephoto lens to try and capture an environmental portrait of the doe. The closer images were nice, but they didn’t show the scale and patterns of the landscape. I rotated my camera to portrait orientation to include more of the surrounding terrain, and this was the result. Although the deer is the subject, you almost have to search it out in the canyonlands, but once you discover it, the whole image comes together.
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