I love photography. It’s one of the things that captures my full attention. There is something special when time comes to a complete stop and an image is captured to tell the story. You don’t always get the whole context, but the colors, objects, mysteries of it grabs you.

I’m by no means a “professional” photographer. By that, I mean that I don’t make a living from the art. I do consider myself a photographer, if only for the simple fact that I capture moments with a camera and obsess over the small details of lighting and color.

In 2019 I captured a total of 2,205 photos. Most of these photos were taken by my iPhone instead of my nice and expensive Micro Four Thirds camera. Mostly, because the most important camera is the one you have on you (yes, we’ve all heard this). I carry my iPhone everywhere because it’s pocketable, but also because it’s a damn fine camera.

OK, now that we got that out of the way, I looked over some photos for 2019 and narrowed down my favorite 3 photos of the year (plus an honorable mention). Here we go:

Honorable Mention: The Kayak

The Kayak

I took this photo in August during a family vacation in Fort Walton, Florida. We had spent a full day at the beach under the sun and we were exhausted. Just as the sun was getting sleepy and the water was calm and smooth, I noticed this lonely kayaker(s) enjoying what was left of the day. I looked at them for longer than I should have, but realized this would make a great photo. I ran to my bag, got my iPhone X and composed the shot while focusing on the kayak. When I thought the moment was right, I hit the shutter (who am I kidding, I pressed the software button on the screen 🤷🏽‍♂️) and the photo was birthed.

I put the phone away and carried on with my day. Only a few days later did I realize how nice of a photo this was. I saved it to my Flickr account and set it as a favorite.

3rd Place: Under The Bridge

Under The Bridge

I love cycling! It’s what I do for fitness and I love to explore the city in two wheels. I remember it was a Sunday morning in which I had 2 hours of cycling to kill, so I made it a quick ride to “The Red Lighthouse”. It’s a very small lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge. I didn’t take a photo of the lighthouse (I’ve done that many times), but I took this photo since I thought the lighting and the moment was perfect. I Took my iPhone out of my cycling jersey pocket and took the photo. I love the colors and how “grand” the bridge looks.

2nd Place: Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

I took the family out of the country for a weekend getaway. Yes, it’s only Canada, but it is technically another country. We visited Toronto and before heading home, Niagara Falls. I took a lot of photos in Toronto, a lovely city. However, none of those were my favorites.

When we got to Niagara Falls, I was enamored by the look of the grandiose falls. Though the Canadian horseshoe falls are always the best, I felt that the US falls were better captured during the moment. I used my iPhone X to compose and take the photos. I used iOS’s long exposure feature to make the water look nice and “milky”. I love this photo.

1st Place: NYC in the shadows

The Shadows

I took a nice walk to Long Island City to clear my head and enjoy some fresh air. They have this nice park which I hadn’t visited in quite some time. The views of midtown Manhattan are lovely and I knew I was going to get a nice shot. However, as I was taking some photos, I noticed this seaplane that was taking off from the East River. With midtown in the background, I thought it would make a great photo. It did! Thought the color version is a good photo, the black and white just felt right. The sun was setting and the the seaplane and city look like shadows.

The views of midtown Manhattan are lovely and I knew I was going to get a nice shot.

Only after writing this post, did I realize that every single photo was captured with my iPhone. Would my Olympus have captured better images? That’s up for debate, but you can’t argue that what matters most is capturing a moment and using the tool that allows you to tell a story while freezing time. After all, it’s the person behind the camera that matters most in capturing an image.

I hope to take more than 3,000 photos in 2020. We’ll see what that looks like at the end of the year.