Above: Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in The OBX. The lines of the fast moving clouds accented this iconic landmark against a beautiful North Carolina sunset! My unicorn!

Once again, looking back on the past year seems to follow a theme of change that the previous two years produced as well. With that said, the major changes in 2016 were beneficial to my photography where the previous two years were not quite as inspirational!

The first change happened just before the new year when my name got pulled out of the hat in a Gogo Internet/Scottevest raffle, yielding an approximate $5000 prize package, including a brand new Sony A7II camera. This was significant as it became my first venture into a full frame digital sensor, as well as toe dipping into the mirrorless camera technology. It didn't take long to sell off the Canon gear and go Sony all the way, however, this was by no means a knock on my Canon. It served me brilliantly for 3-4 years and I can tell you that I would have been just fine moving into the new year with the 60D, but it just didn't make sense to work both of them and the new technology won out, along with the photographic inspiration that new gear tends to bring with it!

The second change was our moving to Lexington, TN in July. Reelfoot Lake was about the only good inspiration photographically in the Dyer County area and as good as it is, you can only go back to the well so often before boredom sets in! Henderson County has the wonderfully beautiful Natchez Trace State Park, covered in beautiful pines and kudzu, and flanked by more than a handful of lakes, rolling hills and beautiful farm land. It's no Smoky Mountain National Park area, but there's plenty to get excited about here!

As a result, the number of photo outings for me increased this year, and, in my opinion, the quality of images benefited! It also did not hurt the cause making another trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina in April, however, Mother Nature did make this trip more challenging for sure!

So without wasting too much time yapping about, here are a few images from the past 12 months that stuck out in my mind. They are listed specifically in chronological order, all taken with the new Sony.

About midway through the year, I published a photo book called Waking Up Reelfoot, mainly as a result of mornings like this one in January. The leafless bald cypress trees in the winter seem to have a greater hold on my attention than the full versions brought forth in the spring and summer. They lend themselves to a more dramatic image both in color or black and white. This was my first go at Reelfoot with the new mirrorless kit. Nothing was in the correct spot, at least compared to the Canon, at it was definitely awkward getting started with it. Fortunately, Reelfoot Lake can overcome many of those issues on beauty alone!
After selling off the Canon gear, two Sony lenses were purchased: the first being a wide angle zoom for landscape images, and the second being my first ever macro lens at a 90mm focal length. While my son was playing around the computer, the macro got put through some tests up close and personal to the boy! This image excited me a great deal as I was able to not only fill the frame with my boy's beautiful eyes, but was able to get very close rather than shooting from a foot away or further! Look at those lashes!

By far the best image of the Manteo Lighthouse on Roanoke Island that I've taken in the three trips there! It was late in the evening and the cloud cover yielded great conditions for a long exposure. Somehow, this image has been viewed over a billion times on Google+, at least that's what Google+ tells me. Notifications of +1s and comments continue to come in daily. Don't think it deserves that much attention, but it's way cool to know that so many people have viewed and appreciated an image of mine!

Had some good luck in the OBX taking some abstract images, with this one being my favorite. Some intentional camera movement with a 10-stop filter attached yielded some serious texture and drama! The contrast in the blurred reeds with the sporadic sharp ones really sets this one off with me!
Jockey's Ridge Park in The OBX is a huge collection of sand dunes that reside inland from ocean. Hiking around them can take a lot out of you, especially when reaching the top! My buddy Chris Nitz happened to be at the apex of this dune and dos silhouette in the late evening sky just looked awesome, especially in this minimalistic fashion. He looks so small, but he's actually quite the tall dude, and a good one at that!
Mid-May brought a rather unique pastel look to this particular morning in Reelfoot's Grey's Camp area. In the field, this shot frustrated me a great deal as no clear line of sight could be made to the cypress without the overgrown grass on the banks, however, after pulling it up on the monitor and editing, it became one of the bets from the outing!

By far my favorite image ever taken at Reelfoot, just 3 weeks after the previous shared image. A long exposure during sunrise, making the lake a virtual mirror of the sky!

After moving to Lexington in July, we invited all of the Denham clans to our new home for a Labor Day get together. Unexpectedly, almost all of our clan made it, including my niece Renee and her family from Ohio, Hadn't seen them in so long and immediately fell in love with her two girls Lilly and Luci. Lilly had just started a photography class and we hit it off immediately - such an awesome spirit in that girl. Luci, on the other hand, was better suited on the other side of the camera - look at this eyes! She's an amazing blend of grit and beauty, and fortunately willing to let me capture some of that on camera!
One of the many local lakes in Henderson County, Sycamore Lake provided a beautiful sunrise on this late October morning! Previous sunrises in the area were void of clouds but full of mist due to the cooler morning temperatures. This one swapped the mist for great clouds, which were just about gone by the time this long exposure was taken.
A friend and colleague at work requested some shots of her husband's family barn and tractor just up the road a few miles in Parkers Crossroads, TN. Both the barn and the tractor were very photogenic and offered a rather timeless look in this black and white image of both! Such an honor to be asked to document this wonderful structure and its contents for the family! Lucky me!
One of the beauties of having so many lakes so close to home is that if the clouds get interesting in the afternoon, you can be at one of them in no time flat to grab a cool image! In this case, storm clouds were moving in over the Black Bottom area of Beech Lake and within a couple of minutes from leaving work, my gear was set up framing those clouds over this cool set of rocks just to the side of the lake spillway.

The banks of Browns Creek Lake still contained some nice fall color to contrast against the grey, leafless trees sprawling over the water as November started to give way to December!

That's it for now! Team Denham would like to extend to you and yours a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Here's to 2017 and the opportunities it brings to all of us!

Created By
Jim Denham

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