Top 10

I finally had a breakthrough


Okinawa, Japan
Okinawa, Japan

The year 2015 was my year.

With two pressing, stressful, passionate years behind me, I finally started to gain noticeable traction with my work. I traveled to Dallas, Hawaii, Florida, Japan, and New Mexico. Not only did I grow as a photographer, but I am starting to fulfill my dream as a traveling photojournalist.

Here is a look at my top 10 shots of the year.


 

#10: Life is messy.

Somewhere in Hawaii, waves smash into rocks.
North Shore’s Turtle Bay in Hawaii, waves smash into rocks at sunset.
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#10 metadata

Discomfort and patience.

I captured this image near the North Shore in Hawaii. I remember the sun setting quickly. I walked to the end of the point and laid on this formation. It was sharp and uncomfortable, hole-ey like swiss cheese, tough like splintered iron—imagine the big rock/asteroid thing on Armageddon.

 

#9: The wild wild dust storm.

Dust storm shot
A Horseback Heroes participant lets the rope y as she attempts to rope a practice steer during the 4th Annual Oklahoma National Guard Adjutant General’s Horseback Heroes event at Covey Creek Cattle Company in Oklahoma City, Oct. 17, 2015. The event was open for all Oklahoma National Guard dependents and included activities such as riding horses, playing with farm animals, dressing mini horses, providing general grooming and care, and learning how feed is made. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Tyler K. Woodward)
#9 metadata
#9 metadata

OK. It’s not the greatest thing compositionally.

But, it was my first time to shoot with the dirt in the air like this. I have been told, ALWAYS SHOOT IN ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS. Well, this wasn’t necessarily adverse. But I’ll take it. If you would like read more about this day CLICK HERE!

#8: My first real story—Mr. Miller.

Former 1947-49 RUF/NEKS president Bob Miller poses for photographs with fellow RUF/NEKS members at Gaylord Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Miller celebrated the RUF/NEKS 100th Anniversary before the game against Tulsa.
Former 1947-49 RUF/NEKS president Bob Miller poses for photographs with fellow RUF/NEKS members at Gaylord Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. Miller celebrated the RUF/NEKS 100th Anniversary before the game against Tulsa.
Data Unknown
Data Unknown

Moments are more powerful than composition.

This was my first “big time” feature story. Before a football game, I found Mr. Miller preparing for a celebration at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. This shot tells a story. And, it will always have a special place in my heart. Read more HERE.

#7: A night mission. And the last shot of the night.

A 137th Security Forces Airman, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City, checks his night vision equipment at a fire training center in Edmond, Oklahoma during a Special Weapons and Tactics school held by Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office, Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, 2015. Will Rogers Air National Guard Airmen and six other state agencies executed precise joint operations and procedures that will later be used to save lives in real-world situations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)
A 137th Security Forces Airman, Will Rogers Air National Guard Base in Oklahoma City, checks his night vision equipment at a fire training center in Edmond, Oklahoma during a Special Weapons and Tactics school held by Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, 2015. Will Rogers Air National Guard Airmen and six other state agencies executed precise joint operations and procedures that will later be used to save lives in real-world situations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Tyler Woodward)

At the end of the night, don’t stop shooting.

#7 metadata
#7 metadata

During a SWAT night mission, I was shooting long exposures of trainees breaching a room and rescuing hostages. These scenarios were challenging. As the night closed, I saw this moment when they packed their gear. Never stop shooting. Check out my images HERE.

#6: My first encounter with OU Football, Baker Mayfield.

Junior quarterback Baker Mayfield walks towards Oklahoma Memorial Stadium after interviewing with media at Everest Training Center, Monday, August 24, 2015. Mayfield was named the starting quarterback for the 2015 season. He will make his first appearance Saturday, September 5, against Akron.
Junior quarterback Baker Mayfield walks towards Oklahoma Memorial Stadium after interviewing with media at Everest Training Center, Monday, August 24, 2015. Mayfield was named the starting quarterback for the 2015 season. He will make his first appearance Saturday, September 5, against Akron.
Data Unknown
Data Unknown

 We all have to walk out of our own shadows.

After a practice before the 2015 season began, I captured this moment of Baker Mayfield. For me it was a precursor of what was to come. A season filled with new opportunities and tons of growth.

#5: I missed a moment in Japan.

I took this photo in Okinawa, Japan.
I took this photo in Okinawa, Japan.
Near Cape Hedo
#5 Metadata

Sometimes the right place and right time just isn’t enough. 

As shared in a recent blog post, this moment was devastating to me. BUT, I am stronger. I will get that moment again.

Read the blog post here.

#4 New Mexico sunset. I still hear the calling.

After dinner I captured this summer sunset of mountains near Taos, New Mexico. July, 2015.
After dinner I captured this summer sunset of mountains near Taos, New Mexico. July, 2015.
#4 Metadata
#4 Metadata

Ever since I was a teenager the mountains have been speaking to me. 

There is nothing about this image that I did to make it more or less. A camera can only work with what it is given. In moments like this. I feel the camera can’t fully represent the beauty of the moment — but it let’s me remember.

#3 OU vs Texas — what in the hell was I doing?

All images were made public via The Oklahoma Daily
All images were made public via The Oklahoma Daily
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Data Unknown

First time to travel, shoot a nationally televised game. 

In the world of sports, I have learned — a lot — this year. The pace of the game, the positioning, the risks, the anticipation; it’s all here. The OU/Texas game was intense. I missed deadlines. It took me hours to upload my imagery. I was all over the place. But, I’ve learned from it.  Although OU lost, I had the biggest growth from this game than any of the others thus far.

#2 Real world scenarios. No faces.

A Joint Terminal Attack Controller from the 137th Operations Training Group, Oklahoma City, communicates with an MC-12W during a training exercise at Razorback Range Detachment 1 located at Fort Chaffee Manuever Training Center, Ark., Aug. 25, 2015. This was the first integrated training exercise with the MC-12 as part of the 137 Air Refueling Wings transition to a Special Operations Wing. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Tyler Woodward/Released)
A members of the Will Rogers Air National Guard Base 137th Operations Training Group communcates with an overhead MC-12W Liberty during a training exercise at Razorback Range Det. 1, Tuesday, August 25, 2015. The MC-12W returned flying operations to WRANGB for for the first time since 2007. Razorback Range Det. 1 located at Fort Chaffee Manuever Training Center, Ark. provided distinct intergrated training capabilities for the 137 OTG and newly arrived MC-12W. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Tyler Woodward/Released)
#2 Metadata
#2 Metadata

I could’t shoot faces. So, I did the best I could.

During a training scenario I focused on silhouettes. I loved the challenge of this shoot. This was the first time I’ve had to shoot with these limitations. But, it was completely worthwhile.

#1 Look mom, I’m on TV.

Students gather for a prayer vigil in response to an alleged racist fraternity video on the North Oval Sunday night, March 9, 2015. The video sparked a nation-wide social media reaction.
Students gather for a prayer vigil in response to an alleged racist fraternity video on the North Oval Sunday night, March 9, 2015. The video sparked a nation-wide social media reaction. (Tyler Woodward/The Daily)
#1 Metadata
#1 Metadata

 

It was my first semester back in school and all hell broke loose.

I had just started working for The Daily. The night SAE broke I grabbed my camera and arrived at the scene around 12:00 a.m. (ish). After the prayer vigil, national media started calling from all over. My photo ran on news outlets across the country. See my work on ABC here. More than 15 agencies picked up my work. And, no I didn’t get paid for it… But at least I was doing something worthwhile.

I have a long ways to go. I’m reaching, I’m dreaming, I’m patient. 2016, I’m ready. 

“The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

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