The 365 days that made up the tumultuous year of 2022 have slipped from the calendar. Like the first steps on a long journey, a new month and year have arrived. Before all the collected pixels making up the 1,609 digital photographs I submitted for publication last year are sent to storage on a backup hard drive, a look back at the numbers and images seen in 2022.
Not surprisingly, the number one photographed subject was the beach. As an old photojournalism teacher said, “Always go where the people are.” So off to the beach it was, 41 photos in the beach category, not all sunbathers and beach umbrellas, however. There was erosion from the Jan. 29 nor’easter’s aftermath, Vineyard Wind work on Covell Beach along with sunrise and sunset.
Second place was a tie between flowers and kids, both coming in with 29 images each. From the Nutcracker ballet to sledding to Easter egg hunts; it is always fun to look at the world through a child’s eyes. On a hectic news day, when the world seems to be crumbling, a few minutes of photographing flowers, often accompanied by a bug or butterfly, can be a quiet meditation away from the day’s noise.
Birds arrived at number three, with 25. Always a favorite, they seem to introduce themselves on slow news days, a gift from Mother Nature. Following up in the fourth spot, at 21 photographs, this category of image-making wasn’t even on the list five years ago. The drone camera has become a great way of visual storytelling for many news stories, bringing an aerial perspective that used to require a trip to the airport and a chartered plane flight. It is also fun to take a new look at everyday scenery from a bird’s eye view, be it pickleball players or a snow-covered ancient cemetery on a sunny winter day.
Lighthouses rounded out the top five list with 11 images, edging out dogs and cats with 10 images, sorry cat people, dogs were a 7-3 favorite in this grouping. The most photographed lighthouse of that portfolio was Nobska Light in Woods Hole.
Filling the rest of these numbers to get to 1,609, day in and out photojournalism. Portraits of politicians, candidates, happy people and sad, young and old, added together with spot news and simple mug shots of building to make up the majority of the 2022 portfolio. Social distancing, masks and virus-testing photos were greatly diminished since 2021. The St. Patrick’s Day parade in Yarmouth was back to its March date and the world did seem more “normal” as COVID-19 was still in the rearview mirror but hopefully farther in the distance.
The past is indeed prologue, so as a new year begins the future is always hard to predict, safe to say if it is a nor’easter or a sunny July afternoon, there is a better-than-average chance I will spend a lot of time at the beach in 2023.
This article originally appeared on Cape Cod Times: A look back at a year’s worth of Steve Heaslip’s photos on Cape Cod