As a little girl I remember rummaging through the closet space my mother and father shared and discovering a tripod leaning against the wall. It appeared like a menacing contraption and my young mind didn’t know what to make of it. My father explained the significance of the tripod and showed me his prized camera, a Minolta. I first learned about the art of photography from him and when I was older I questioned him about terms I didn’t understand – shutter speed, ISO and the flash.

I share this vignette today because after these initial conversations with my father, for most of my life, I wasn’t enamored with photography or absorbed in studying the composition of pictures. I’d admire a snapshot in passing, but nothing more. However, in the last seven years, I’ve learned what appealed to my father about photography and taking photos is a part of my everyday life. It’s a way to pay attention and to remember. With the instant nature of iPhone cameras, filters and Instagram, the days of the tripod are antiquated. But the sentiments still carry over.

Here are my 2016 favorite photographs:

I took this photograph while I walked through my neighborhood. I adore the various textures and colors. Everyday beauty coaxes us to pay attention. 

This is a memory of the summer. I had the opportunity to stroll in a meditation garden in Encinitas, California. It is one of my favorite places to reflect, to view the coast and to have a conversation with quiet and peace. 

This year I focused on my word of the year, pause. During a mid-morning run, I looked up and saw this bridge of flowers dotting the sky. 

I caught quite a few sunsets in 2016. I love the backdrop of the mountain, the tree branches extending their arms and the unmissable gloaming in the sky. 

Chicago at night in the water is a surreal sight. I adore the way the clouds illuminate the landscape and create an otherworldly scene of this beautiful city. 

I am not a big selfie fan, but this is one of my favorite pictures at a wedding reception we attended over the summer. 

My adorable mom is sandwiched between her two daughters. We are at local restaurant we adore, reveling in an early birthday celebration for me.

This picture will likely be a forever favorite. My daughter looks forward and she isn’t turning around. I wrote a piece lamenting her growing older and knowing that in this moment I felt the tilt of letting go.

This picture was a consequence of luck. I call this photograph – intersections. I’ve always adored that word and love how this snapshot amplifies its meaning.