Dec 31 2011

Best of 2011 – Rich Voninski – Images created during 2011

My 10 favorite images from 2011 

2011 was really an amazing year of photography for me. It did include 106K miles on airplanes, and spending many nights away from home (for work and photography) but I saw things I had been hoping to see my entire life. The 10 best images cover 3 continents and each one has a story behind why I took it and what it was like to be there at that moment. It was really hard to choose ten images. I started with a list where I hoped to write down my favorite 10 and it wound up being 16. So this is what I whittled the list down to.

You can see most of the images I had to choose from in my new work section —> here 

Here are my choices (and why): 

#10 – Chrysopigi Church Star – Chrysopigi Monastery – Sifnos, Greece 

Chrysopigi Church Star

Chrysopigi Monastery is located on the east side of Sifnos Island and was originally built in 1650. Veronica and I had the place to ourselves but I just couldnt find any worthwhile images. This image came to me after about an hour of quietly walking the grounds. 


#9 – Writings in Study – Hongcun, Anhui, China 

Writings in Study

I found these ancient writings in the study of one of the prominent homes in the town of Hongcun . I wanted to take an image of the great Chinese prints and the weathered texture found in the traditional wall. 


#8 – Eiffel Tower – Paris, France 

Eiffel Tower

Veronica had never seen the Eiffel Tower so we took the subway over to the station and wandered over to the tower. She commented that it was a lot more massive than she expected. It really is massive. This image was taken at about 8:30PM and I really love the refraction of the 14mm lens in the image. 


#7 – Concorde Metro Station –Paris, France 

Concorde Metro Station

Veronica and I accidentally wound up transferring to another train through the Concorde Metro station and were presented with this ‘boggle/scrabble’ like wall of letters. I couldn’t resist and stayed around here for a while taking pictures. What is actually on the wall in tiles is the French ‘Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen’. 


#6 – Factory Staircase – Boott Cotton Mills – Lowell, Massachusetts 

Factory Staircase

Ok I admit it. I have a real soft spot for staircases. This is another example of having to return to a location to ‘get it right’. There were several challenges to getting this image and physical obstacles in the way. Eventually I decided that the cross members and pipes work well and everything works together to lead us to the upper floors. 


#5 – Powder Tower – Prague, Czech Republic 

Powder Tower

Arriving into Prague only an hour earlier I wanted to hit the streets quickly and start exploring (in spite of the rain). I found the Powder Tower (circa 1475) and got out the raingear for the camera and built my composition with the 24mm TSE. The rain creates the glow you see on the street and cobblestone sidewalk. 


#4 – Virgin River Flow – Zion National Park, Utah 

Virgin River Flow

Fall colors is a great time to visit Zion National Park and usually my eye is focused on the vibrant colors at every turn. It is very easy to get distracted and forget to look for other possibilities. This image was taken on the Virgin River in Zion National Park. 


#3 – Expanse of the Great Wall – Jingshaling Section – China 

Expanse of the Great Wall

I have wanted to visit the Great Wall since I first saw it in 1st grade. Mrs. Hookway explained to us that this wall went for thousands of miles to keep the Mongolians out of China. Stepping onto the Great Wall completed a lifelong dream for me. It was more impressive than I could have ever imagined. 


#2 – Hallways at the Louvre – Paris, France 

Hallways at the Louvre

I loved the way the light was spilling through the hallways at the day at the Louvre. The surrounding campus of the Louvre is an absolute treasure trove of images for the patient and observant photographer. 


#1 – Sunrise Cormorant Fishing in Yangshou – Li River – Yangshou, China 

Sunrise Cormorant Fishing in Yangshuo

I have wanted to take an image like this since I was 19 years old. For the previous 2 days we woke up at 4AM and went out to get ‘the shot’ with no success. I woke up at 4AM with my guide Lilly and our driver to head over to the Li River to head out on the water to capture an image of a traditional cormorant fisherman with 4 birds, lantern and bamboo raft. The skies cooperated with me for around 3 minutes and I captured this handheld panoramic while kneeling on my small raft. 


Thats it.  I am already working on planning some trips through new territory for me in 2012.  I really wish all of you happiness, health and some really great shooting in 2012. 

Dec 18 2011

Greece – 2011

Veronica and I travelled through Greece in October 2011.  Due to multiple strikes with air traffic control, taxis, archaeological, ferries and garbage it was a real challenge to travel around.  Just as a reminder make sure you have extra time set said (if you are a photographer) for airport security in Athens as each time we travelled through there they had me remove iPads from cases, dissasemble cameras, open all lenses etc.  It took about an xtra 15 minutes beyond normal screening each time we travelled through there.  On this trip we explored the islands of Santorini, Paros and Sifnos.  

These are some of our favorite images from our vist to Greece.  The complete collection of images from the trip can be found here . 


Panoramic of the village of Oia after Sunset

Every evening in Santorini, Greece huge crowds gather to watch the sunset. Like clockwork they watch the sunset, applaud and head out while the best light is available on the Oia village. This image was taken exactly after sunset Oia and is a panoramic stitch of 15 images. 

Door and Checkerboard Floor

The worn checkboard floor was a perfect opportunity to work with my ultra wide Canon 14mm L lens.  I love the leading lines of the floor.  The hardest part of taking this image was making sure that the symmetry was spot on.  It required many shots that I was able to preview onsite before ‘getting it right’. 

Windmill & Door

I woke up my 1st morning in Oia, Santorini to a solo, quiet walk through the many alleyways and paths throoughout this cliffside village. The clouds surroundinf the windmill were really awesome this morning. 

Two Churches

Sunrise is a quiet and peaceful time to walk the streets and alleyways of Oia, Santorini. I took this image one morning right after sunrise while wandering around.

Cloud over Fira

 Veronica and I were exploring Fira on a day with fierce wind. I saw this cloud moving very quickly in the distance and managed to ‘bunker’ down my camera and tripod for the shot. Due to the winds within a minute of this shot the clouds vanished.

Cross Shadow

 I saw the shadow of the cross through the doorway into St Johns Cathedral in Fira Santotini and wanted to find a way to frame it while showing both the cross and its shadow.

Orange Wall at St Georges Church

The previous day I had wandered through the area surrounding St Georges Church in Oia, Santorini and fifured that morning light would provide a nice pop of warmth on this interior hallway.

Cloud over Church


Exploring the Santorini Vlllage of Fira we experienced some really violent wind.  With the wind came some really great clouds.  This image was taken with some fast changing clouds overhead.

Tree and Bench

 I found this cafe in Lefkes on the island of Paros,Greece. Unlike other places in Greece this place was surprisingly empty and I was able to wander around this town square and experiment with a variety of compositions.

Thunderstorm and Church

 Veronica and I were driving around the island of Paros, Greece with some really sketchy weather around. I dodged a few raindrops as I captured the drama of this white church and the oncoming storm.


Church and Clouds

Veronica and I were wandering around Apollonia, Sifnos where I saw some really interesting clouds forming. Scrambling to figure out a composition before the opportunity was lost I managed to hustle into position quick enough to grab this shot.

Chrysopigi Church Star

 Chrysopigi Monastery is located on the east side of Sifnos Island and was originally built in 1650. Veronica and I had the place to ourselves but I just couldnt find any worthwhile images. This image came to me after about an hour of quietly walking the grounds.