2015 Image of the Year Poll – Vote Now!

Images and article by Greg W. Gilstrap.  With the New Year just around the corner, it’s once again time for our (fifth) annual Photoremedy Image of the Year contest. We call it an ‘image’ contest because each of the finalists are either 1) a photograph, or 2) a photography-based digital art image. The list if heavily influenced by a few of the areas where I’ve been fortunate enough to visit this year- Louisiana, Arizona’s Verde Valley, and the Seattle area.

2014 Image of the Year Finalists

2014 Image of the Year Finalists

As always, we are offering what we like to refer to–tongue in cheek–as a Chicago-style approach to voting.  This means you can vote early and often. If you love a finalist, follow the poll’s progress and don’t be afraid to share it with your friends. Better yet, don’t hesitate to come back to register extra votes for good measure. Because multiple votes are allowed by individuals, this is more of a passion poll than a scientific sample. Last year’s contest drew more than 3,000 votes – essentially tripling the previous record of around 1,000.

The 2016 poll is featured at the bottom of this post. Click on an individual image below to view images, captions, and locations in slide show mode.

As mentioned above, the 2015 images include traditional photographs and some that feature significant digital art enhancements. Like many, I enjoy both forms of artistic expression. All of these pieces were captured and developed while pursuing photoremedy–or photography-based healing art–as a means of coping with my ongoing chronic pain struggles and failed back issues. For more information about photoremedy, please click on the ‘Background and Initial Post’ tab (near the top of this page) for our working ‘photoremedy’ definition. Our poll follows – please select the image that you feel is worthy of being crowned Photoremedy Image of the Year. The contest closes at midnight MST, New Year’s Eve.

 

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2014 Image of the Year Winner

Photos, digital art, and article by Greg W. Gilstrap. Our 2014 poll is closed, and we have a winner. The “Life is a Splash” image–featuring our oldest grandson’s amusing expression when he stepped onto a colorful splash pad at the Anthem, Arizona Community Park this past summer–ended up walking away with an impressive 41 percent of the vote. Two other photographs also distanced themselves by being the only other images that captured more than 15 percent of the vote. See our December 26, 2014 post to see how all the images fared.

Finalists 1j

Our annual contests have been, to date, essentially passion polls because we let visitors to photoremedy.me register as many votes as they like. The approach proved to be overwhelmingly effective, as our six-day voting period drew 3,024 submissions–virtually tripling the previous record (recorded last year) of 1,099. To all of you who participated in the poll, thank you for making this an unmitigated success and a lot of fun.

Seattle, WA - November 2014

Seattle, Washington – Digital/Fine Art Photography

While the contest is designed primarily for entertainment, it is also aimed at encouraging others–particularly those suffering from chronic pain and other illnesses–to considering turning to photography to help them move their minds away from the pain they are experiencing. Art therapy works, and it is becoming increasingly accepted by respected academic and medical experts. I always encourage our readers to Google “art therapy” to discover all of the related information that is available. The thoughts and photos we post here are designed to demonstrate, “If art therapy can help this knucklehead, perhaps it could work for me as well.”

Seattle, Washington

Pike’s Market Area: Seattle, Washington – Digital/Fine Art Photography

 Important News

1) This is our 99th photoremedy post, so our next one will be a major milestone for photoremedy.me and those that help keep me blogging. Special credit for this help goes to my beautiful wife Mary, our two talented sons Andrew and William, always supportive daughter Amanda Bradner, friends who have traveled with me (or Mary and me), and my excellent team of doctors. Thank you all! Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the baptism of our youngest grandson will be featured in the 100th post. By the way, little Daniel is a keeper!

St. Rose Parish - Anthem, Arizona

St. Rose Parish – Anthem, Arizona

2) Our photoremedy.me blogs are gaining what we used to call “legs” in the marketing and branding business. Of our top five viewed posts in 2015, only two were actually posted in 2014.

Source: WordPress

Source: WordPress

3) Finally, WordPress.com reports indicate our message is “going global.” There is reason to believe that photoremedy.me will be read by individuals in more than 100 countries in 2015.

Source: WordPress

Source: WordPress

Our readers can help us spread the message by becoming email subscribers. Our home page always features an option for our readers to sign up to immediately receive new material as an email. Readers can then forward the photoremedy.me messages to those whom they think can benefit from the information or to those who might enjoy what we are producing.

All the best to all of you in 2015. Please join me in enjoying what promises to be the best year of our lives!

Image of the Year: 2014 Poll

Photos and article by Greg W. Gilstrap. It’s that time of year again: a time when much of the country is covered in varying degrees of white, and when we here in the Arizona Valley of Sun are enjoying glorious sunshine and warm days. At night, we are blessed with the opportunity to squeeze in temperatures that can hover near, or just above, freezing. The cool evening air is a particular blessing for those of us who are from places where more extreme temperature variances are traditionally recorded. A little cold is often embraced, but I have to say it goes a long way for me.

With the promise of a new and even better year rapidly approaching, it’s once again time for our (third) annual Photoremedy Image of the Year contest. As with our previous efforts, we are offering what we like to refer to–tongue in cheek–as a “Chicago-style” approach to voting.  This means you can “vote early and vote often.” If you love a photo, follow the poll’s progress and don’t be afraid to share it with your friends or to come back to register extra votes for good measure. More than 1,000 votes were registered each of the last two years. The poll can be found at the bottom of this post, after all of the photo candidates are offered.

2013 Image of the Year Finalists. Winner: Cannon Beach (top)

2013 Image of the Year Finalists. Winner: Cannon Beach (top)

The 2014 images below include traditional photographs and some that feature significant digital art enhancements. Like many, I enjoy both forms of artistic expression. All of these pieces were captured and developed while pursuing photoremedy. Click on the ‘Background and Initial Post’ tab above for our working ‘photoremedy’ definition. Check out the options, and then select the image that you feel is worthy of being crowned Photoremedy Image of the Year. The contest closes at midnight MST, New Year’s Eve.

1. Stations of the Cross Early in 2014, we visited Denver’s spectacular Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for our good friend Paul Louderman’s ordination as a Catholic Deacon. The Basilica features exquisite stained glass and poignant salvation history art. I was particularly blown away by this image taken of a tiny “stations of the cross” sculpture depicting the moment when Jesus was stripped of his garments.Station Of The Cross -1j

2. Lake Mead Marina Since Las Vegas is so close to our home, Mary and I generally go there for a couple of short visits each year. If you time it right, there are great hotel rates to be found, and there are always awesome culinary options. On the way to Vegas, we’ve sped past Lake Mead turn off dozens of times. This year was different. We are so grateful we slowed down and took the road less traveled. If we hadn’t done so, we would have missed out on incredibly enjoyable photoremedy at the Lake Mead Marina.

Lake Mead Marina

3. This Ain’t a Kiss Our hometown, Anthem, features green parks and walking trails. The “big park” is always full of action, ranging from kids at the big playground and riding the small train to pets on leashes and water fowl on the lakes. It, too, is a great place for photoremedy. While tagging along with my wife and one of our grandchildren in 2014, we came upon this scene near one of the fishing ponds. While it may look like these two are loving on each other, they were not. These aggressive drakes were actually involved in a territorial tussle of sorts when their beaks got stuck together. It took a few minutes for them to break free. After that, they appeared too tired for brawling; each of them then headed in different directions.

At Anthem, AZ Community Park

4. Life is a Splash Our grandkids have blessed our lives with much love, laughter, and hope for the future. As grandparents, it seems Mary and I are a bit more in tune with the young ones’ sense of awe and wonder than we were with our children. This thought was hilariously reinforced during a summer outing when our oldest grandson got a bit of a shock at the Anthem Splash Pad.Emmett Splash 2b (1 of 1) - Copy

5. Z is for Zebra Awe and wonder is also produced when we take the young ones to places where they can closely observe–or interact–with animals. Litchfield Park’s Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium is one of our favorite experiences in the metro Phoenix area. Not only do the kids love it, but so do I. Each time, I seem drawn to the artistic potential that zebras offer. Zebra images are often illustrative of the protective power of coming together.I See You  (1 of 1)

6. Will I See You Tonight? Coming together for dinner is often one of the foundational building blocks of healthy societies. I feel like this digital image beautifully illustrates the warmth that can be produced when people gather together in small and intimate places for good food, a refreshing drink, and neighborly conversation. Cheers!Ingo Final fapj w border

7. Local Character Good food, in interesting places, can often tell you a lot about a local community. What does the Two Hippies Beach House tell you about the emerging eclectic Phoenix restaurant vibe?

Two Hippies Beach House - 501 East Camelback Rd., Phoenix

8. Coming Home This summer, a few of our Arizona family members returned to Kansas for a few days with our families in, and near, where Mary and I have roots. Tiny Aurora, Kansas isn’t a major stop on the tracks these days. But, from here, many of Mary’s relatives (and teachers, if you will) learned a lot about life, love, and community. To me, it is more than “just another small town.” It’s still a remarkably important place that shaped a bright future for Cloud County and beyond.Auroa tracks sunrise 1j

9. Up on Main Street I am as impressed as anyone with Frank Lloyd Wright designs, modern architecture, mater-planned communities, and expensive marble buildings. If you want to know the type of place where I’d most like to enjoy a “nice cold one,” however, this is it–up on Main Street.

Downtown Aurora, Kansas

10. Save St. Joseph The past few times that I’ve been back visiting with Mary’s relatives in Cloud County, Kansas, I feel this extraordinary pull to enjoy a little photoremedy in tiny St. Joseph. I am so impressed with how the community has been devotedly maintained–in particular how the historic local Catholic Church there has been lovingly maintained. There’s even an impressive YouTube video about Guardians of The St. Joseph Church Foundation. Check out their efforts.

St. Joseph Cathedral - St. Joseph, Kansas

11. I Got Your Back Another great Kansas stop is the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead in Overland Park (metro Kansas City area). During our summer trip there, our granddaughter got to meet her second cousin for the first time. They really enjoyed the attraction, and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to capture images like this. They went running into the Nature Trail entrance, and suddenly stopped cold in their tracks. Then, with a gentle touch, I could almost hear him say, “I got your back!” Of course, knowing young boys, he might have been saying, “This looks scary. You first!”I Got Your Back 1fapj (1 of 1)

12. Elliott Bay Sunset Our youngest son is attending school in Seattle, Washington. We have spent the past two Thanksgivings there with him. Mary and I have really grown to love the city–particularly when it offers sunset views like this one from Elliott Bay.Elliott Bay Sunset 1j

Note: Photoremedy.me is published as a labor of love. Please feel free to share the site, or any of our posts, with others. Our Home Page always features an option for our readers to sign up to immediately receive new material as an email. We hope you will become a part of our photoremedy network. Special thanks to Andrew Gilstrap for adding his special touches to this post. In my humble opinion, he is one of the best writers and editors in the Phoenix market.

Photoremedy Photo of the Year: 2013 Poll

Photos and article by Greg W. Gilstrap –With time barrelling towards a new year, it’s once again time for our Photoremedy Photo of the Year contest. As with our previous two efforts, we are offering a Chicago-style approach to voting; that means you can ‘vote early and vote often.’ If you love a photo, follow the poll progress results and don’t be afraid to share it with your friends or to come back to register extra votes for good measure. Over 1,000 votes were registered last year.

Veterans Memorial - Anthem, Arizona

Veterans Memorial – Anthem, Arizona (2012 Photo of the Year)

Our baker’s dozen 2013 list features South Carolina shots, a heart-wrenching procession, a black and white of one of America’s most famous farmers’ markets, and several pictures from a Seattle to Arizona summer tour. All of the pics were taken while pursuing photoremedy. Click on the ‘Background and Initial Post’ tab above for our working ‘photoremedy’ definition.

So, let’s get to it. Check out the options below, and then select the photograph that you feel is worthy of being crowned ‘Photoremedy Photo of the Year.’ The polling mechanism is offered at the bottom of this post. The contest closes at midnight MST, New Year’s Eve.

1. Man and the Birds  My brother-in-law, Chris, spent time teaching me how to feed southern shore birds in early 2013. The only thing he forgot to teach me was how to do it without getting nailed by massive amounts of bird droppings (see May 2013 post). Since I’m the one that got nailed, this more aesthetically-pleasing photo is the shot that made our final list.

Man and the Birds

Man and the Birds

2. Charleston Boardwalk  Charleston, SC’s Waterfront Park is one of the area’s most visited attractions. And, as I discovered in 2013, it offers spectacular sunrise and sunset photoremedy.

View from Charleston's Riverfront Park

Charleston Boardwalk

3. Honoring Our Heroes  In July, thousands of Arizonans flocked to the streets, highways, and overpasses that lined the way home for the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Unit. The 19 perished when a wicked wind suddenly changed directions, and ferociously fanned the flames of a massive wildfire and left the Arizona heroes with no way out. The long line of white hearses begins in the top left hand corner of this photo.

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Honoring Our Heroes

4. Frontage Road  My hometown, Anthem, AZ, is a great place to experience the Old West meeting the New. This photo, taken just a couple of miles down a frontage road that leads to Anthem, demonstrates this entertaining phenomenon.

AZ_Mail_Boxes-1 (1 of 1)

Frontage Road

5. Cold Beer with a View  My bike riding days may be in the past, but I enjoyed tagging along with my buddy Pete this summer when he made the ride up to the Snow Bowl ski area north of Flagstaff. It offered me a lot of photoremedy. I particularly enjoyed this shot as Pete savored a cold beer at the end of the trail while looking out at storms forming between Snow Bowl and the Grand Canyon.

A Cold Beer with a View

Cold Beer with a View

6. Man Outstanding in His Field  Another Anthem friend, Dave, helped me get desert wild flower shots by allowing me to ride shotgun in his very cool Polaris Razor Jagged X. This photo was taken west of Interstate 17, about 10 miles north of Anthem.

A_Man_Outstanding_In_His_Field-1 (1 of 1)

Man Outstanding in his Field

7. Purple Gazanias  Yes, yes I enjoy photographing flowers. I didn’t have to go any further then my side yard to capture this photograph. A little known fact about this patch of flowers? They are planted, and thriving, in a couple of old toilets that I’ve converted into flower ‘pots.’ They are in the side yard because Mary wouldn’t allow me to put them anywhere else!

Purple Gazanias

Purple Gazanias

8. Cat Nap  Our two cats occasionally get banished to the laundry room. It used to drive Stella nuts, but she has learned to cope if we leave the dryer door open.

Cat Nap

Cat Nap

9. Pike Place Market We have spent a bit of time in Seattle this year, as our youngest son–Will–is now there attending the Academy of Interactive Entertainment. Every time I end up in Seattle, I manage to find a way to get to Pike Place Market. Not only is there great fresh produce and seafood featured, it is an awesome place to enjoy a heaping scoop of photoremedy. I felt like black and white photo development accentuates the fact that Pike Place Market is a timeless treasure.

Pike Place Market - Seattle, WA

Pike Place Market – Seattle, WA

10. Lake Union HDR Will lives just a few blocks from picturesque Lake Union. Not only is this another great Seattle attraction, I’ve found it to be an awesome place for capturing sunset photos for HDR imaging.

Lake Union HDR

Lake Union HDR

11. Cannon Beach Mary and I took a very slow, leisurely drive from Seattle back to Arizona. Every time my back was killing me, we got out and stretched our legs. This provided a whole bunch of photoeremedy opportunities. What a blessing! The Oregon Coast proved to be perfect for this type of travel. I captured so many (of what I felt like were) memorable images. One of my favorites was this shot looking south over famous Cannon Beach.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

12. A Walk in the (Ecola State) Park The above photo was taken at Ecola State Park, which is also where I captured the touching image below.

Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park

13. Truckee Wine Wall When we left Oregon, our trip took us through a bit of California and Nevada. We spent two nights in eclectic Truckee. The gloriously historic California destination features small town charm and this memorable wine wall.

Truckee Wine Wall

Truckee Wine Wall

Note: Photoremedy.me is published as a labor of love. Please feel free to share the site, or any of our posts, with others. Our Home Page always features an option for our readers to sign up to immediately receive new material as an email. We hope you will become a part of our photoremedy network. 

A Frontier Metropolis

View from Bainbridge Island Ferry

View from Bainbridge Island Ferry

The American author Tom Robbins once described Seattle by saying, “To some extent,Seattle remains a frontier metropolis, a place where people can experiment with their lives, and change and grow and make things happen.”

Will

Will

That, for the most part, fairly well summarizes why our son Will moved there this summer and started classes at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment. He is looking to change and grow and make things happen in his life. We are very proud of him.

In the process of checking out the school, it gave me a great opportunity to get a little photoremedy. I was very much impressed with all there is to be experienced there.

Mt._Ranier_&_Cargo_Ship-1j (1 of 1)

Port of Seattle and Mount Ranier

Seattle is a major coastal seaport city that features lots of opportunities to explore the surrounding area’s water, mountains, icons (like the Space Needle), and much more.

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View of Downtown From Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

Seattle Space Needle

We’ll be looking to return to Seattle often. It is always great to see Will, and we will of course throw in a few opportunities to shoot more photos.

Pike Market

Pike Place Market

Mary and Will wouldn’t let me drive to Seattle when we moved his items there. They both indicated they were concerned that a long car ride (they were averaging more than 10 hours a day) would put my back in bad shape.

Lake Union From Space Needle

View of Lake Union From Space Needle

So, I flew in and Mary and I took a leisurely (a few hours daily) drive back to Arizona. My back ‘issues’ require that we frequently stop for me to ‘walk it off.’  And, as often as possible, I reload the ice packs I need for both my cervical and lumbar regions. The leisurely approach worked perfectly. There was awesome photoremedy all along the way, and I was able to capture (what I think were) some of the best pictures I have taken to date. I’ll be sharing some of these in upcoming posts.

Near Bandon, Oregon

Near Bandon, Oregon