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Martin’s 2016 Personal Top Ten Photographs (Podcast 556)

Having shared my thought process and selection workflow last week, today I share my personal top ten photographs from 2016. Since I started doing this in 2007 it has become a yearly tradition and although it's an invaluable learning experience in itself, over the years it becomes a wonderful record of...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
  • Lloyd Kasper
    Posted at 13:39h, 08 January Reply

    Hello Martin, Happy New Year!

    This is my third year in a row at doing this exercise and once again tough choices…

    My starting point was 195 this year, and easily got that number down to 120, which I will have printed into a blurb book in the future. I really loved the advice you gave on using groups, and this really help in reducing the number. Getting down to 16 was achieved through multiple passes, but the last two when I got to 12 was the most difficult.

    Some interesting facts.. Only three of my photos where shot in my home country of Australia, which is a great feeling. It’s my first Top Ten with portraiture photos in it. My most popular lens is one of my oldest lenses; the Canon 70-300mm IS USM. I have two images with beautiful colour in the sky. And I’m very proud to say, not a single HDR image in there!

    I have also included my last two years as a benchmark


    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 21:36h, 08 January Reply

      Hi Lloyd,

      A Happy New Year to you too.

      Wow! What a beautiful set. I look forward to seeing your images each year, and this one did not disappoint. Your previous years were good, but this year’s has really taken your work to another level. Stunning.

      Of course, the Iceland work is very familiar. I really enjoyed traveling there with you in 2016. I absolutely love the boxer shot too. That has a very polished, classic look to it. Very nicely done!

      All the best for 2017!


  • XtoF
    Posted at 17:46h, 08 January Reply

    Hi Martin! As usual, your photos are gorgeous! So are those posted by Lloyd!
    Here is my (modest) contribution:
    The last one was shot by a smartphone which is very unusual for me. Its a mundane picture, but there is quite a personal story behind it. So it ended on my list 😉

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 21:38h, 08 January Reply

      Nicely done XTOF! The puffin shot is really nice. The tunnel of trees works very well too. And the iPhone shot is pretty cool. I can almost imagine sitting there drinking that with you. 🙂

  • Graham Morgan
    Posted at 20:36h, 08 January Reply

    Martin this could easily have been a photographers top ten of all time. Some fabulous destinations and wonderful captures. I thought Skógafoss had been shot to death until I saw your image tonight, the Red Crowned Cranes at Otawa-Bashi Bridge with the mist and the hoar frost, it has to be very cold to see this and you do have the knack of picking the coldest mornings of the year. Then the snow laden trees at the foot of Mount Asahi and Stellar’s Sea Eagle. Those enormous birds that hitch a ride to Hokkaido on Siberian ice flows then a reverse breech from a northern Humpback and the Icelandic High Country and you did all that this with your tours this year! That’s impressive mate. I do like the humpback shot for the patient and great hand held catch that it is but Umbrella Man at Skógafoss really is quite brilliant and unique when you consider how many times that vista has been shot and to come up with something so different to what everyone else has done showcases your imagination and ingenuity. Well done m’learned.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 21:41h, 08 January Reply

      Wow! Coming from you Graham, that means so much to me. Thanks!

      I got lucky with the umbrella man. If he’d have done it a minute later we’d have been gone. I’m pleased I was able to drop the tripod back down though, as that is certainly one of my favorites from the year.

      Thanks again, and a very Happy New Year to you mate!

  • Joshua Kuhn
    Posted at 19:39h, 10 January Reply

    Martin, your photos are a pleasure to view. They feel like you really capture the scene, which is what I like about nature photography. The photo of the whale really shows the animal’s strength and beauty.

    Here is my 2016 top ten. This was my first year taking photography seriously, and I made major improvements as the year went on. I had never even post processed a photo before this year, and half of the year I was still shooting jpeg. Your podcasts helped me along, and your portfolio of photos were inspirational, as I think you will notice directly in my shot with the snow and trees.
    Feel free to critique.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:02h, 25 January Reply

      Hi Josh,

      Just catching up here…

      Thanks for sharing your 2016 top ten. It’s a lovely set. The trees in snow shot is beautiful. They’re all very nice.

      On the shot of the blue jay, try increasing the Shadows slider in Lightroom (if you are using Lightroom) to lighten the bird. In this sort of situation, with a light background and dark bird, also consider allowing the background to get much brighter, to get a brighter bird. Whether you allow it to over-expose (blow out) is up to you, but a little higher exposure would work well. But, with what you have, Shadows increase should bring out a lot of beautiful detail.

      Have a great 2017!


      • Joshua Kuhn
        Posted at 20:33h, 27 January Reply

        thank you for having a look and taking the time to comment. I will bring up the blue jay photo in Capture one and give it a go.

  • Mauricio Duque Arrubla
    Posted at 22:08h, 11 January Reply

    This is the link to my album with the ten favorites of 2016, As I told before, I selected the favorites every month and from a pool of more than three hundred selected these ones through several runs os selecting/discarding

    If you are interested in something more than 10 (you don’t have to) a couple more links
    Those ten come from this wider selection (40, posted on Instagram)

    The ten selected for 2015 are here

    Have a great and productive rest of Japan tour

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:07h, 25 January Reply

      Hi Mauricio,

      Great set! Thanks for sharing! The trees with hoar frost are beautiful. Such a lovely soft feel to that image.

      Have a great 2017!


      • Mauricio Duque Arrubla
        Posted at 20:29h, 25 January Reply

        Many thanks, Martin. It is quite comforting to see all those beautiful sets from your readers. All the best during 2017

  • Nick Nieto
    Posted at 04:01h, 12 January Reply

    Martin – Wonderful images as usual. I always enjoy listening to your thought process. I think my favorites from the set are the Umbrella Man at Skógafoss (what a wonderful story within the image), the Steller’s Sea Eagle Making a Fist, and Mount Asahi Trees.

    Congratulations on a wonderful year. I wish you the best in 2017 and hope it is full of Safe travels and wonderful images.

    Here are my favorite images in 2016 if you want to give it a peak.

    Cheers, Nick

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:11h, 25 January Reply

      Thanks for sharing your set Nick! Beautiful work!

      I particularly like the Antelope Canyon shot. It’s a lovely abstract of the larger scene and great tonal qualities.

      The Ferrari is really well shot too. Perfect lighting!

      It’s nice to see your Skogafoss shot too.

      All the best for 2017!


  • Bryan Hudson
    Posted at 05:19h, 13 January Reply

    Magnificent work! The image with the waterfall and person with umbrella is one of the favorites. Couldn’t help but think how useless the umbrella would be if the person were close to the water!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:13h, 25 January Reply

      Thanks Bryan!

      That’s the ironic thing about that shot. We were being drenched even back where we were. 🙂

      Have a great 2017!


  • John Kimura
    Posted at 12:13h, 13 January Reply

    Happy New Year Martin! Another great way to start the new year off with your top 10 favorite photos Podcast 556. Thank you again for the great time I had on last year’s Winter Wildlife Workshop!

    I have been doing my top 10 favorite photos since 2013. The photos are not in order but here are 2015 and 2016 best of.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:16h, 25 January Reply

      Hi John,

      It’s great to hear from you! You’re very welcome. Thanks for joining last year’s tour!

      Great top ten from 2016 too. I love the shot of the hawk with prey, and the crane’s in the warm colored mist is very special. Nicely done!

      Have a great 2017!


  • Fred Kotler
    Posted at 02:54h, 16 January Reply

    Great photos Martin. This is my fourth year doing top tens and it is a very interesting exercise in narrowing down a year’s work. This year’s top ten are at
    I had been doing post processing in Aperture with heavy use of Nik’s Color Effects Pro and was considering migrating to Lightroom but based on your recommendation switched to CaptureOne Pro. I’m still finding my way around the app but all of these images were processed with it. I like the results and very much appreciate your on-going podcasts on using it.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:22h, 25 January Reply

      Hi Fred,

      Thanks for posting your top ten. Beautiful work!

      I particularly like the Kazakh Man shot. The shallow depth-of-field is just enough to separate the man from the group in conversation in the background.

      That’s great that you are using Capture One Pro now. The images look beautiful.

      All the best for 2017!


  • Eric Vogt
    Posted at 13:53h, 17 January Reply

    This annual podcast subject has always been a favorite listen, and this year’s was no different Martin! I especially loved your “Distant Dance” photo of the red crowned cranes. What a beautiful piece of art!!!

    I kept a LR collection in 2016 of potential images for my favorite 10, so making the final choices only took a few minutes. Here is favorite 10 for 2016:

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 09:24h, 25 January Reply

      Hi Eric,

      Thanks for the kind words about my work, and I’m always happy to see that you are still enjoying these podcasts.

      Thanks for sharing your top ten too. That’s one quality set of images.

      My favorite is Magnificent Glance. What a stunning shot! You totally nailed the focus, and the clear white background is almost studio-like. Very nice indeed!

      Have a great 2017!


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