BEST OF 2019

First of all, some caveats. I’m almost certainly overlooking some of my best images, which means I’m leaving someone out, and I’m sorry.

And second, some of my very favorites have subject matter I’m opting to not include….and I’m sorry.

And third, an in-ordinate number of the best pictures of 2019 have ME in them. That’s not because I’m my favorite subject…..or in my top 100….it’s just that I’m always available 🙂


First! The best PURE, straight out of the camera nature shot according to me:

Northern Water Snake. Most of my favorite images have a few things in common: Great composition, DIFFICULTY and in particular, intent. If I get a lucky shot of an amazing subject, I’m not going to be all that impressed with myself. But if I crawl on my stomach for 50 feet through muck, to get at just the right angle to shoot with just the right lens……without scaring the snake….

One more of this gorgeous water snake (and a better look at the muck)

Next, the best pure wildlife shot as chosen by everyone else:

For composition and technical achievement, a nearly flawless hummingbird shot.

Best INDIVIDUAL LOOK of the year:

Clearly the subject is doing most of my work for me here…..but that’s it’s own challenge because now I have to elevate so that my effort matches the subject…

…and a bonus:

One of the best uses for ME as a subject, is in complicated shots that require me to shoot at a moment’s notice. I knew exactly what I wanted out of this shot, the exact location, and time of day and weather conditions. A photographer makes the ideal subject. It was just easiest to use me….and when I tell me “I need you shooting up at 45 degrees,” I always get it the first try. And absolutely everything else worked.

Best Horror + Sex Appeal of the year…..

..and a bonus:

Best minimalist composition, slash abstract, slash turns out this is pretty hard to do…of 2019

….this is not edited into the shot, I really did THROW the chair 🙂

2019 was the year I took one animal at a time, and kept working to get that perfect picture.

Baby Skunk.

I flared the same pair of Mallards a dozen times over the course of a week trying to get the perfect shot…

Favorite natural portrait. This just has so much going for it beyond the beautiful subject….and because I assembled it in my head then made it happen, it gets to be a year’s best.

Best cheat of 2019…

…and a behind-the-scenes:

One of my projects for 2019 was to start capturing PERFECT images of Michigan reptiles and amphibians. This is the Blandings Turtle. Razor sharp, perfect color.

Best execution of someone else’s concept shot:

Best interaction with urban environment without getting yelled at…

Best use of Fall Color….

Best high concept product shot…

Best shot that I thought was just pretty and cute when I shot it, but turned out to be REALLY sexy…

Best new technique for 2019, “Mackinaw Monochrome”

Best use of added light in a selfie…..the 48″ octobox at Ludington State Park…this one was pure compositional perfection, it was like someone planted those trees a hundred years ago with my future selfie in mind.

Cutest siblings……this shot all by itself would have made the trip up to Ludington worth it 🙂

Cutest siblings, tie:

Best use of juxtaposition:

The best “I just wish it wasn’t in a zoo” for 2019:

Best use of creative color:

The key, for me, to composition, is building your subject into the framework of the scene. I saw this setup and knew the light wouldn’t last, I had mayyyyyybe 3 minutes to get the shot. Of me.

Cutest siblings…..part III.

…and a bonus.

Best Reflection, part I

Best reflection, part II

Best use of aperture…

Best use of snow:

…and a bonus

Best use of wind:

Best use of wide angle + stitching:

Favorite shot of another photographer:

Sexiest picture of the year………………well, obviously.

Vintage Farm Equipment, Shot of the Year (v.f.e.s.o.t.y)

Best use of added light….off camera flash from outside the room….

…and a bonus:

Best shot that most people would ignore:

Best shot that most people would ignore……part II

More from the Perfect Shots of Michigan Reptiles and Amphibians series:

Best Fine Art Nude:

Best “Jaeger makes every end of year list” shot:

Best Mother & Son….

Best God Rays….

Best God Rays, plus subject…

Best example of how something can be adorable………………………or kinda spooky.

Best use of adapted “flat lighting”

Favorite Bride shot, long lens…

Favorite Bride shot, wide angle lens…

Favorite Bride Shot, steamy….

Best Senior Portrait Concept that’s been on my todo list for forever…..Forest Runner

Best Bare Belly, 2019:

Cutest Puppy, 2019:

Concept shot that took the most time (making the sign took 9 hours, lol)

Best Steamy Couple:

Best Romantic Couple over 29:

Best Couple before they’re allowed to actually see each other:

Best………whatever category this is:

Best architectural, part I

Best architectural, part II

Best architectural, part III

Best Real Life Moment:

Best use of multiple exposure, part I

Best use of multiple exposure, part II

Best real picture, fake danger.

Best black and white nature:

Best outside the box Senior Portrait, part I

Best outside the box Senior Portrait, part II

Most beautiful maternity:

More from Perfect Shots of Michigan Reptiles and Amphibians, the Painted Turtle:

…behind the scenes:

Best Jr. Concept Shot:

Best use of 4k Capture:

Best use of 4k Capture, part II

Best use of Visual Metaphor:

Second most challenging selfie composition of the year (this is multiple frames, stitched)

Best high key…

Best use of multiple exposure, part III, photographer on sand dunes….

…and behind the scenes:

Best recovery from adverse conditions…

…and the before shot:

Best odd subject….the Root Beers:

Best use of props and light…….the glitter.

Best of “Same scene, two looks”

Best ALMOST of 2019……if only the subject was perfectly in focus….

Best Outside the Box Maternity….

Best Slam on the Brakes……..with very dark clouds rushing in, but a moment of sun still on the sunflowers….

Best shot of gear…

My project for spring 2019 was wild birds with shorter lenses to get more depth to the scene….

Best group concept shot “Hillbilly Family Reunion”

Best quick thinking, can’t believe it’s actually going to happen nature shot….

And the creep through the swamp for 30 minutes to his brothers shot….

The best insect with added light shot:

Best Wild Goats of Michigan shot………………………………..ever.

…and, I think it’s my best photo of 2019. The composition was carefully thought out in advance, I waited for absolutely perfect conditions, and creating the shot was technically very difficult.

And it worked 🙂

…again, there were THOUSANDS I could also have chosen, so I’m leaving a lot of people out, and I’m sorry. But use it as motivation to get on your game and do something AMAZING-er for 2020!