Best of 2016 A little bit of everything

Sandia Mountains, my view from the backyard. We don't usually have clouds here in ABQ, so when I get a formation like this I don't hesitate to take out the camera and go for a stroll. This is a pano of about 13 images - I only had a 135mm fixed lens - that I stitched together in Lightroom.
Merry Christmas 2016 from the Palaviccini family! The hardest part of this pic was setting everything up on a tripod with a timer and having everyone look at the camera. Used flash on an umbrella at camera right to fill in shadows in our faces.
Anna just wouldn't smile for the camera, until she had the chance to sit down with her brother who got her personality to show. (This shot is right out of the camera, with just resizing and sharpening. Shooting into the sun made it a little tough to nail the focus. Shot in manual mode, as letting the camera choose the exposure would have been a disaster. The colors here are the warm tones we get to experience just about every evening)
A cactus wren on one of my favorite perches. (I went out to shoot landscapes/wildlife/birds exactly 4 times in 2016 and on my last trip out this cactus wren was out in the open - a rarity for them. I had Penny on my back in here carrier and she was just pointing and practically yelling 'buuuurd, buuuuurd'. I'm pretty sure that's the only reason I got this look-back from the wren)
Penny riding along the neighborhood. This is by far her favorite toy of 2016 - and likely 2017. She calls it her 'up'. As in, 'dad, get that over here so I can get UP and we can go rider outside until there isn't any more daylight'. UP!
Balloon Fiesta with mom, part 1. When I saw the NM balloon go up, I couldn't help but envision a shot like this one. I got in position (down low in front of the balloon) and had Penny and Megan wait for the right timing. Penny did her thing, and I just snapped a shot.
Balloon Fiesta with mom, part 2. One of the few prints that we have in the house. Again, shot into the sun for the natural flare effect (it's my look of 2016). This was Penny's pose most of the day, just pointing at every balloon she could see.
Penny's first trip to the park. She just looks so relaxed and comfortable in a swing that, well ..., just doesn't look that comfortable to me.
Ollie, the protector. He follows Penny around everywhere, and this was back when she was still drinking from a bottle. He would lay on the rug until she was done, and then follow everyone back to the living room. I decided on a low point of view and a shallow depth of field on this one to emphasize Ollie.
This is probably what I remember most about Penny as a baby. Just laying there and smiling up at the camera (or the toy that I may have been dangling next to the camera).
In 2016 I also stepped out of my comfort zone a bit and did a couple of maternity and family shoots. This one was probably one of my favorite shoots. Getting Sam (the guy) to smile and look natural was like pulling teeth ... and then this moment happened and I happened to be ready for the shot. It's just like when a bird turns your way while sitting on the perfect perch. Bliss.
From the same shoot as above ... We made it out to the trail a little early and had harsh light most of the time. The last 15 minutes were just spectacular and I decided to shoot into the sun ... and I got hooked on the look.

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