800th Episode and Martin’s 2022 Top Ten Selection (Podcast 800)

by | Dec 30, 2022 | Musings, Podcast, Tutorial | 11 comments

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I’d like to start this week by giving myself a quick pat on the back, as this is the 800th episode of the Martin Bailey Photography Podcast! This was the third photography podcast in iTunes when I started it back in September 2005, with Chris Marquardt’s Tips from the Top Floor as the second oldest and Brooks Jensen’s Lenswork Podcast being the oldest, having started Podcasting in February 2004, before the word Podcast had even been coined. Although I’ve dropped back a little to three episodes per month, I’ve been pretty consistent in releasing episodes over the years, and I’m proud to be here still, releasing my 800th episode. I would, of course, like to thank all of you that continue to listen, as there would be no point to any of this if I were simply a tree falling in the forest.

So, I’ll consider my back patted, but before we jump into the topic for this week, I apologize if you can hear the clunking of hard disks in my Drobo 5D3, which I am currently restoring from a backup due to a problem. I’ve been using Drobos for many years now and never had any problems that I could not overcome, but despite the Drobo providing fault tolerance as the main aspect of their value proposition, ironically, I always maintain two Drobos so that I can keep a local backup of all my data, in case anything happens to the first, and a number of times, I’ve been saved by my backup.

Well, three days ago when I came to my iMac Pro there was a message on the screen telling me that there was a problem with my six-month-old Drobo 5D3 and it was in Read-Only mode. I tried everything and ended up having to completely reset the unit, wiping all of my data. Before I did so, I synched my data with my second Drobo, so no data was lost, but the restoration of the data from my backup to the Drobo 5D3 is still in progress. I’ve waited a few days to record, hoping it would finish, but it’s now December 30, and I have to get this recorded and posted today, so here goes, with the Drobo turned on and clunking away.

As Drobo filed for bankruptcy straight after I bought my 5D3 this summer, and due to these problems, I’ve decided to try and move away from Drobo over time. This problem also caused my Backblaze cloud backup of over 20 Terabytes of data to be pretty much wiped clean, so I’m going to make some major changes to my data backup strategy that I’ll report on in early January. It will involve a Synology NAS system, and I’ll follow up with information on my new offsite backup strategy, as it would take years to get my Backblaze backup synched again if I left it running.

Anyway, let’s move on to the main topic for this week, which is my 2022 Top Ten image selection process. In this month’s Question Time event that I hold with my Patreon Supporters, we discussed why this exercise is so important, and I’d like to reiterate a few of my points before we start.

Whether you are a professional photographer, providing selections of images to a client, or a passionate hobbyist, sharing a selection of images with friends or camera club members, it’s vitally important that you present as few images as possible to avoid overwhelming your viewers. People don’t want to sit through hordes of images. The more you include, the more you risk losing your audience’s attention.

In addition to this, people will generally judge your level as a photographer based on your worst images, not your best, so we must endeavor to remove anything that is even slightly lower quality than the rest of the images in your set. I’ll talk more about how I whittle down my selection as we work through this, but in short, as you try to reach your target number of images, or simply as few as possible, throw them up onto your computer screen or TV and allow the images to cycle through in a slideshow. If you feel a slight sag in your mood as an image comes onto the screen, remove it. If something makes you feel better as it appears, it strongly indicates that it should stay in your selection.

The yearly exercise of selecting your top ten images is a great way to learn these editing skills. It also enables you to build an archive of selected top tens that you can revisit over the years to gauge your progress as a photographer. We should always strive to get better. Otherwise, we gradually stagnate, will start and fail to satisfy our creative appetites, and eventually will probably fall out of love with photography altogether.

As usual, I started this year’s selection process by creating an album in Capture One Pro, and I went through my year of final select images, which I already have copied to my Finals catalog in the 2022 folder. I was able to run my first Namibia Tour in three years back in May, and these shots dominated my year, but I have had a few other trips that I also made some selections from, and I ended up with the 34 that you can see in this screenshot to start my whittling down process with.

First Pass 34 Images
First Pass 34 Images

My next task was to look at the groups which naturally form in my selection, and I started with the four waterfall vertical panning shots, as I was obviously only going to need one of them. I tried to use the new Cull feature in Capture One Pro version 23, and turned on Groups, but the fact that images are displayed without any processing makes it very difficult to decide how much I like my images, as they all have a certain amount of processing that needs to be visible to appreciate the images. Instead, I reverted to my old method of selecting each similar image which displays them all in the Viewer, and then gradually removed the ones I found less pleasing.

It was pretty easy to remove a few other images, like the middle shot of the three from the Five Color Lakes in Fukushima, as it was simply not as appealing as the other two, but I did find it difficult to remove one more, so I’m stuck with two similar shots for the time being. I also removed the Microscope shot of the crystals, as if I’m honest with myself, it’s only in the selection to show my gratitude to the type of photography that saved my sanity in 2021, but it’s just not good enough for this year’s top ten.

I was also able to reduce the Kolmanskop room shots to just the one with the bathtub in the sand, as I find this the most appealing, and I have shared shots similar to the others in many of my previous year selections. I removed the dune shot with the sky in favor of the one with just the dune extending up to the top right corner, as I find that more appealing too. There’s more of a twist than the straight shot of the dune with the sky. I also removed two of the three flamingo shots because the one with the sun on the horizon still feels so much better to me. Also, as cute as the young zebra are, I think the shot of the adult zebra getting smashed by the two other bullies is more dramatic and in a twisted kind of way, more humorous.

At this point, I was down to 20, which you can see in the following screenshot, and it is now getting challenging. We’re starting to get into the phase where each tap of the delete key is agonizing, and it’s important to note that this is precisely what we want when doing this exercise. If we can get to ten images quickly, it might be a good indication that we’ve had a light year, and maybe need to work a little harder on our photography.

Second Pass 20 Images
Second Pass 20 Images

If I’m honest with myself, and I have to be, I should admit that the flower shot isn’t as good as my previous similar shots in this area of work, so let’s remove that. Also, as much as I like the shot of the Milky Way with the Quiver Trees, it’s generally a difficult shot to appreciate on the web, so that’s gone too. I removed the Giant’s Playground shot, too, as it is very similar to a shot from a previous year. Whether I should take that into account is up for debate, but I tend to try and keep it in mind.

The shot of the beautiful greens from our local park had to go, too, although I do like the mood of that shot. Of the two remaining Five Color Lake shots, I decided to remove the one with the tree on the left third line because the other shot feels warmer and inviting to me. My Tatsusawa Fudo Falls shot is also very similar to last year’s, so I’ll remove that as well.

Now, based on my feeling as shots come onto my screen in a slideshow, I’m going to remove the Kegon Falls shot as well, as I got a slightly sinking feeling as I saw it, compared to the previous image. The same goes for the Himba Goat Herding shot, as much as I hate to see this go. Struggling now, I think I’m going to have to remove the Intensional Camera Movement shot of the bamboo grove, and now it’s time to use my secret weapon and ask my wife which one of the remaining eleven images she would remove.

It’s been three days since I prepared to ask my wife’s advice, and still in the middle of my Drobo backup crisis, I finally got around to asking her this morning. As I showed my final eleven images, the shot of the Autumnal trees on the mountain side fell completely flat on my MacBook Pro screen, so it was a shared decision to remove that shot, and I now have my 2022 Top Ten final selection.

I’ll put a gallery of the images below and may have time later to walk you through each image, but I have already talked about each of these as I shot these photos through the year, so a follow-up Podcast will be low priority, as I do want to update you on my new data management strategy next week before I set off for my first Hokkaido Landscape Tour since the pandemic hit, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to think of getting on the road soon with the group.

Martin’s 2022 Top Ten

As usual, I would love to see your Top Ten selection for 2022, and if you post anything about the process, please drop a link into the comments for this post so that I can check them out, but also others that are following this process will be able to check out your work as well. I hope you had a great 2022, and I hope that 2023 is even better. I wish with all my heart that the people of Ukraine will see an end to their unjust conflict soon, and I sincerely hope for peace the world over in 2023 and beyond.

Show Notes

Check out previous year’s Top Tens here: https://martinbaileyphotography.com/tag/top-ten/

Music by Martin Bailey


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  1. Murray Foote

    Hello Martin

    Great images from great locations!

    My somewhat ancient Drobo died this year. I tried a cheaper Chinese option which didn’t work and ate disks. So I sent that back and since I also have a cloud backup, simply backed up to disks in some of the many available locations in my PC. My cloud backup is CrashPlan for Small Business. Perhaps you might check that out. It has unlimited space, unlimited versions, and is less limited than BackBlaze for external disks.

    • Martin Bailey

      Hi Murray,

      Thanks for the kind words.

      My problem now with the cloud backup, is that I have over 20TB of data, and my Internet connection is limited to around 20GB upload each day, and if I go over that, my connection gets severely choked automatically making it almost unusable. In recent years I have constantly had a backlog of data that was not getting into the cloud, and since this recent episode caused Backblaze to remove most of my 20TB, yesterday I deleted my account and backup.

      I’m currently looking at iDrive (https://www.idrive.com/) as they will ship drives to you to store your data on and then put it into your account backup, and you then continue to synch your data over the Internet. This is an ideal solution if I don’t find any problems that prevent me from moving forward.

      For storage, my plan now is to implement a Synology DS923+ NAS, which should be fast enough to run my previous year Capture One Catalogs from, and if it is not fast enough, I have the option to add a 10Gigabit Ethernet card, and a new switch, and that will definitely be fast enough. I’ll use my Drobos for local backups, but will probably gradually stop using the older Drobo 5D as it’s not Thunderbolt 3.

      All the best for the New Year Murray.


      • Murray Foote

        Hi Martin

        Ah, that’s different to my situation. I have unlimited uploads so when I set up CrashPlan I just set it going in the background to back up my 6TB of data.

        IDrive has increased their capacities since I last looked. IDrive personal still seems to have a limit of 20TB though.

        Yes, those Synology NASs do look impressive.

        Likewise, all the best for the New Year, Martin.



  2. David

    Martin – I enjoyed your annual Top 10 post this year as I do every year. As usual beautiful photographs. Have a wonderful New Year my friend.


    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks, David!

      Thanks too for stopping by, as always.

      You have a wonderful year too.


  3. Libby

    Hi Martin

    This is the first year I’ve actually got my top 10 photos together, though I do mean to do it each year.
    What an interesting exercise that is…it really questioned what I consider to be a good photograph.
    It also made me start to wonder if I was picking photos that I liked or whether I was choosing what I thought other people might like. I suspect a bit of both, but hope I will trust my own instincts more in the future.

    Thanks for your podcasts, I enjoy reading/listening to them and love seeing the photos you left out of your top ten as much as the final ten.
    Happy New Year

    • Martin Bailey

      Thanks Libby!

      I love your shots, especially the stunning kangaroo portrait.

      It seems the link is applied to your name, so I’ll repost it here for others:


      I know what you mean about considering what others’ will want to see as well. I think it has to be a bit of both, especially if you are going to share your top ten. That’s fine too though, I think. It’s all part of the learning process. Trusting your instincts is important too though. We have to be true to ourselves first, before we can be true to anyone else.

      Thanks for listening, and all the best to you too, for 2023 and beyond.


  4. Christian Meermann

    Great collection, Martin, but I have come to expect that. My favorite is, of course, the waterfall. You probably know why. 😉
    I also like Quiver Tree Sunset, Dune to Heaven, and the two portraits. I think the portraits would look exceptionally well in black&white.

    While I will post the link to my top ten here, you don’t have to feel obliged to look at them, as you will see them anyway in the next QT: https://www.chm-photography.com/blog/momentary-lapses-of-reason/

    All the best to you and your wife in 2023. Cheers!

    • Martin Bailey

      Hi Christian,

      Thanks for the kind words, and for your ideas. I really like the color in the portraits, but I agree that they’d look good in black and white too.

      Trying to find favorites from your set is impossible. They are all absolutely stunning. I thought the Meerkat was amazing, then you doubled the amazing factor with the wolf shot. The architecture is all whackily good too, and the abstract patterns are simply beautiful.

      I also found it nice to scroll down on the first shot and see the increase in detail as the bottom sand came into view. Various levels of interest really appeal to me.

      Thanks for your support and for keeping me thinking through the year, and all the best for 2023 and beyond.


  5. Fred Kotler

    Great photos as always, I particularly like the portraits of the Himba girls; the black background and the light on their faces make them striking. My vear of photography was again limited to nearby wildlife sanctuaries but I was able to capture a number of interesting birds. My
    top ten can be found at

    • Martin Bailey

      Hi Fred,

      Thanks for the comment and kind words.

      Great set! I particularly like the orange bird with the green background. I’d love to see what the shadows slider does to that.

      All the best for 2023 and beyond.



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