Narrowing down my portfolio of images for the year to just ten is rather daunting. This blog could easily be my favorite 20 or favorite 10 from each season, but for me that would not fulfill my goal. So what is it I am trying to accomplish by committing myself to select just 10 images? I do this for the sole purpose of evaluating myself as a photographer. Evaluation is a process that critically examines a body of work. It involves collecting and analyzing information, characteristics, and outcomes. Its purpose is to make judgments, to improve effectiveness, and/or to inform decisions (Patton, 1987). Here is my education and training as a special education teacher coming to light. Over the years this process for me has evolved as I have evolved as a photographer. It use to be about composition, light and color, about images making an impactful statement, and the viewer saying wow. I have found myself moving beyond that recently looking past those check the box characteristics into more of a "what is the story" evaluative criteria. This really came to light this year for me while roadtripping through Alaska. Each new place came with a different story. Telling that story in the same way did not do justice to the uniqueness of the landscape. It wasn't until I came home and really reflected on the journey both as an adventurer and a photographer that I began to understand that an image isn't just a composition for me. It is alive with emotion. Though a photo is a two-dimensional representation of a living, breathing world the image itself can convey the living landscape. I must live the story as I tell it, not just read it's elements. This has been a big growth for me this year as a photographer as I forge my own path in the breadth of professional landscape photography. This evaluation process, though sometimes painful, helps me gain an understanding of where I have been and create a roadmap of sorts for where I am going. This year it has become less about creating stunning imagery and more about experiencing a place then telling it's story. This maturity in my journey as a photographer has been a bumpy one full of self-doubt and insecurity. It has also lifted a weight off my shoulders. My job as a photographer is not to find the best light, the best composition, or the best color. My job as a photographer is to live the landscape and only when I have breathed in the air, smelled the dirt, and allowed the emotion of the wilderness to flow through me do I point my camera to tell the story. At this point I almost feel like the story tells itself. I have become so in tune that I feel it not just see it. While this creative process almost seems at odds with the process of evaluation both have become vital in me getting to this point. From the body of work I have processed so far from 2018 these are the 10 images I have selected. Each one of these images I lived. I felt the story I was photographing. Feeling the landscape rather than seeking the image is my manta for 2019. Stay tuned. I'm excited to see how this works out.