Your Best Shot Finalist Gallery December 2014

The world shot a lot of photos in 2014. In fact, trillions of photos came into being last year. But, we’re not concerned with all of them. Rather, we concentrate on the outstanding and excellent photos created by our talented readers.

Despite its December time frame, this month’s contest isn’t packed with images of snow and ice. Instead, it runs the photographic gamut, including portraits, landscapes, nature shots, and even some great architectural detail shots.

Check out the full gallery, then head over to our Contests Page for a chance to show off your work and win great prizes. The winners even get published in the pages of Popular Photography.

Click Here to Launch the Gallery


Cottage Window

By Molly Miskell Inside a cottage at Bunratty Folk Park. CAMERA: Canon EOS Rebel T3 LENS: Canon 18-55mm


By Reva May Photographed in Toledo, OH. Winter 2014.


By Zachary Hillman A woman walks amongst pigeons and their shadows CAMERA: Nikon D7000 FOCAL LENGTH: 50mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/800 LENS: 50mm ISO: 400 APERTURE (F-STOP): 4

Urban Tunnel

By Diego Granath CAMERA: Kiev 88cm FOCAL LENGTH: 65mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125 LENS: Mir 38b ISO: 400 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/3.5


By Ivan Galic Yellow leaves and thorns. CAMERA: Canon EOS 60D FOCAL LENGTH: 50mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200 sec LENS: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): 2

Lake of Fog

By Sophie Knight The borders of a Lake, surrounded in trees and covered in thick fog. CAMERA: Canon EOS 5D Mark II FOCAL LENGTH: 42mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/400 LENS: 24-70mm ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/9

Marilyn Monroe Towers

By Michael Yalamas One of the Marilyn Monroe Towers, named so for it’s curved architecture. Its twin nearby can be seen reflected in the glass. CAMERA: Nikon D7000 FOCAL LENGTH: 20mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200 LENS: 20mm ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/6.3

Floral Fall

By Krista Carpenetti This photo involved two elements: gravity and water. My assistant dropped a bouquet of flowers in colored water onto a 30-cent brick from the hardware store, and this is what happened. CAMERA: Canon 5D II FOCAL LENGTH: 70mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/250 LENS: 50 1.4 ISO: 250 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/9

Gone with the storm

By Annik Dhooghe While a big storm comes up, this little boat tries to survive! CAMERA: 5d mark iii FOCAL LENGTH: 50mm SHUTTER SPEED: 3.2 sec LENS: 24-105 ISO: 50 APERTURE (F-STOP): F/22

Heads Up

By Lorenzo Cassina After polishing these brass old screws they looked great for a macro shot. CAMERA: Nikon D80

‘Cause a sky full of Stars

By Jeslani Reyes I’ve seen many, many gorgeous photos of mount Kirkjufell on many online sites, so I was very excited to actually have the opportunity to photograph there, specially shooting “Aurora Borealis” during the first day of our trip. We really have spent hours here, photographing from many viewpoints in the middle of the night ‘til dawn. But it’s all worth the effort in one awesome night experienced to be able to witness and shoot the northern light for the first time. CAMERA: Canon 5D MarkIII FOCAL LENGTH: 16mm SHUTTER SPEED: 15sec. LENS: Canon EF 16-35 MII ISO: 2000 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/2.8

Center of Truth

By Jonathan O’Reilly I snapped this shot during the freezing winter of Santa Fe. Walking from the Railyard District to my car, I passed under an ordinarily looking tower. I looked up, found an interesting geometric display to shoot, and ran on to the warmth of my vehicle.

My Pet Fish

By Tanawat Likitkererat There is only place in the Philippines where whale shark encounter is guaranteed. It’s Oslob on Cebu island. These kind giant fish gather near the beach for their breakfast. The community here fed the shark with krill. The shark got to eat. The local got money. The tourist got to see the shark. Is it win-win-win situation? I don’t really know. CAMERA: Nikon D300 FOCAL LENGTH: 15 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125 LENS: Sigma 15mm ISO: 400 APERTURE (F-STOP): 9

Fighting for the Sky

By Alex Knudson It had been years since I had seen this bald eagle in this area. Not wanting to miss up this opportunity, I began to carefully watch her and wait for the right moment to make my photograph. CAMERA: Sony a7 FOCAL LENGTH: 230mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/1000 LENS: Olympus OM 90-230mm f/4.5 ISO: 640 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/8

Through the window

By Mark Levitin A girl viewed from the window of a haveli – old merchant’s mansion. CAMERA: Canon EOS 5D FOCAL LENGTH: 28 mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200 s LENS: Canon EF 24-105 mm ISO: 400 APERTURE (F-STOP): F/4

water and sand

By mariusz solka Took this image on vacation in Turks and Caicos. CAMERA: canon FOCAL LENGTH: 145mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/1600 LENS: canon ISO: 200 APERTURE (F-STOP): F11

Waterall Swirl

By Scott W Gonzalez While camping/hiking in Zion I came across one of the many waterfalls there. This one had an eddy that was circulating quite a few leaves and some debris. CAMERA: Sony A57 FOCAL LENGTH: 18mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1.3 seconds LENS: Sony DT18-70mm f3.5-5.6 ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): f11

Dragon’s Breathe

By Kent McAleese Leon, Flask Mob’s fire breather, reigns terror on this unsuspecting statue.

Tide Pool Sunset

By Nicholas Paoni I love it when a negative tide coincides with a colorful sunset, because that’s when the light, colors and textures of the tide pools turn magical. CAMERA: Nikon Df FOCAL LENGTH: 20mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/50 seconds LENS: Nikon 20mm f/1.8 G AF-S ISO: 800 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/10


By Jonathan Ross Berchtesgaden, Germany, Looking out on my hotel in 2014 during the sunset. CAMERA: Canon 1d Mark 4 FOCAL LENGTH: 24 SHUTTER SPEED: 20 LENS: Canon 24-105L f4 ISO: 200 APERTURE (F-STOP): 13


By Lauren McCall Alice’s view in wonderland

Autumn and duck

By Ivan Mankevich Duck near a river.


By Matt Barr I like how you can see the inner workings of these type of bulbs, and I think they create a certain ambiance that speaks to deep emotion. CAMERA: Nikon D600 FOCAL LENGTH: 35mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200 LENS: Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM “Art” ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): 8

Western Boots

By Octavio Garcia Taken during a morning drive, the day was pretty cloudy. CAMERA: Nikon D70 FOCAL LENGTH: 40mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/320 LENS: Sigma 25-80 ISO: 200 APERTURE (F-STOP): 4.2

Oil Rig Milkway

By Stephanie DeFranco My friend invited me out to shoot the stars for the first time. This is what I ended up producing. CAMERA: Nikon D800 FOCAL LENGTH: 18mm LENS: 18-250mm

Turtle in the pond

By Cort Jensen Swimming turtle CAMERA: Nikon D800 FOCAL LENGTH: 420mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/250 LENS: Sigma 50-500mm ISO: 800 APERTURE (F-STOP): 6.3

Old Faithful Dipper

By Michael Contos Since I was a young boy I’ve always wanted to visit Yellowstone, the beginning of our countries paradigm shift toward a better connection with our magnificent landscapes. I was so lucky to witness the timeless beauty and power of Old Faithful under a stunningly clear starry night. Beyond that raw beauty I sculpted a vision that manifested in the moment – the stars of the Big Dipper seeming to release this immense supply precisely into the majestic Old Faithful. CAMERA: Sony ILCE-7 FOCAL LENGTH: 28mm SHUTTER SPEED: 10s LENS: FE 28-70mm F3.5-5.6 ISO: 2500 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/4.0

Reflected face

By Bruce Thiel I like to take walks after rain showers and shoot reflections. This one had the image of a somber face hidden in it.


By Alex Leedy This gal was going to her senior homecoming, and she wanted to take photos at our local, famous, hand-carved carousel. CAMERA: 5D Mark II LENS: 50mm 1.4

Midnight Rush

By Antonio Jaggie This photo was taken on top of the Trump International Hotel & Tower. High above Columbus circle in the freezing cold. CAMERA: Canon 5DMKII FOCAL LENGTH: 17mm SHUTTER SPEED: 6.0 LENS: 17-40mm ISO: 320 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/13

Essence of the Cascades

By Andrew Beaudoin The clouds, light, and location came together just right for this photo of the Mt Baker Volcano and its surrounding “foothills”.

barque en thailande

By Constance Brown This photo is from my trip to Thailand, where we stayed on a boat for a week, and lived upon the blue waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Sometimes we would encounter boats, such as fishermen boats or other travelers like us, sharing the horizon with us.

Into Focus: Twins

By Ian Fong Twins are very intriguing. Putting them side by side is even more interesting. Sometimes, we know each twin by their individual self because we can tell them apart by their personalities. Though, when you only have a picture, you begin to realize how closely alike they are. This picture represents just that. CAMERA: Nikon D7000

New Leaves

By Dev Raj Agarwal These fresh, transparent leaves on a tree caught my attention, as I was roaming around in the garden with my camera , looking for birds, with a 400 mm lens. I clicked this picture with the 400mm lens, early in the day when the low, winter Sun was still behind the leaves. I often click leaves and flowers with long focal length lenses. CAMERA: Canon 60D FOCAL LENGTH: 400 mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/3200 Sec LENS: Canon 400mm f/5.6 L ISO: 400 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/9

La alegría de vivir

By Manuel Alejandro Venegas Bonilla Niños juegan en una pileta publica en Santiago de Chile. CAMERA: a290 FOCAL LENGTH: 18-55mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/4000 LENS: 35mm ISO: 400 APERTURE (F-STOP): 13


By Phil Varney I was thankful to be in he park (Great Smoky Mountains) the first weekend in November, when a large and early snow storm struck all elevations while fall colors were still present. Perfect scenario to show a juxtaposition between the seasons! CAMERA: Canon EOS 6D FOCAL LENGTH: 17 SHUTTER SPEED: 2.5s LENS: EF 17 – 40mm f4L USM ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): f14

colour explosion

By karen shivas bags of colour powder being thrown at a holi colour festival CAMERA: Canon EOS 6D FOCAL LENGTH: 35.0 Mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/320 ISO: 400 APERTURE (F-STOP): F/10

End of the Day

By SIRSENDU GAYEN Image taken at Digha CAMERA: NikonD80 FOCAL LENGTH: 31mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200 sec LENS: AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED ISO: 125 APERTURE (F-STOP): F/7.1


By Paola Nazario This nude photo is one of my Nude NYC series where it showcases real people in New York. The form and emotion that is expressed is mainly about struggles and persistence into reaching your goals in life. CAMERA: fuji x-e1 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/125 LENS: 18-55 ISO: 200 APERTURE (F-STOP): 7

Enchanted Forest

By Sabin Uivarosan Silhouette in the foggy forest. CAMERA: D600 FOCAL LENGTH: 24mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/160 LENS: Nikon ISO: 200 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/7.1

No noise now

By Stephanie MacGillivray Photograph was taken in the basement studio at the New Brunswick College of Craft & Design. I used a beauty dish to light from the top. Post processed in LR and CS6 – I did use a free trial from Radlab to process this photograph. CAMERA: Canon 60D FOCAL LENGTH: 70mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200 LENS: 55-250mm F4-5.6 EFS IS STM ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): 18

With enough time you can get used to allmost anything

By Marko Visacki One night i was shooting streets of my hometown using long exposures, when one cat entered the frame and sat. She was motionless looking at the water passing below the bridge, while the cars were passing by. I reframed and clicked once again. CAMERA: Canon FOCAL LENGTH: 7mm SHUTTER SPEED: 5s ISO: 80 APERTURE (F-STOP): 3.2


By Chaco Cruz Watching the lightning from the other side of the cove in Batangas City. CAMERA: canon 70d FOCAL LENGTH: 16 SHUTTER SPEED: 30sec LENS: 11-16 ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): 9

Snow Geese Display

By Lynn Roxanne Quesnel We were packing it in for the day and this happened! A flock of snow geese just lifting off, it was beautiful. CAMERA: D610 FOCAL LENGTH: 200mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/1250 LENS: Nikkor 80-400mm ISO: 1600 APERTURE (F-STOP): F-9


By Roman Sedlak A mysterious runner emerges from the fog at a railway bridge… CAMERA: Nikon D3200 FOCAL LENGTH: 18mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/50s LENS: Nikor 18-55mm ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/11

Woman Breathing

By Natalie Shocklee Long exposure light image. CAMERA: Mark ii FOCAL LENGTH: 28-135


By Brandi Mueller A jellyfish was right at the surface looking as if it wanted to escape its ocean home for the sunshine on the other side. CAMERA: Nikon D7100 FOCAL LENGTH: 10.5 SHUTTER SPEED: 1/250 LENS: 10.5mm ISO: 320 APERTURE (F-STOP): f22

The Wrestling Match

By Roark Nelson A referee yells at the two wrestlers on the ground before he pulls them apart. CAMERA: 5D Mark II FOCAL LENGTH: 50 mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/200 LENS: 50 mm ISO: 2000 APERTURE (F-STOP): f/2.5

Self Portrait

By Matt Barr Self portraiture is my way of looking into the mirror. With no immediate feedback of my own reflection, I can get a more realistic peek at myself. On this day, I wanted to see what I look like mad. CAMERA: Nikon D600 FOCAL LENGTH: 35mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/500 LENS: Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM “Art” ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): 1.4

The Brush of God

By Paolo Lazzarotti On Dec. 10 I’ve enjoyed the most amazing sunset over all 2014! Colors were so vivid and intense that I had to desaturate to avoid an headache! What an amazing vista! CAMERA: Canon 500D FOCAL LENGTH: 14mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1sec LENS: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF ISO: 100 APERTURE (F-STOP): 16


By Craig Bill Fresh snow on the edge of sand dunes in The Great Sand Dunes, Colorado, USA

Shades of Pink

By Kristina Matson Lovely dainty flowers in pretty shades of pink.


By Laura Chiesa A wooden bridge at Lake Hula, Northern Israel. Lake Hula is the first national park established by the State of Israel. The bridge is used for birdwatching. CAMERA: Nikon d7100 FOCAL LENGTH: 75,0 mm SHUTTER SPEED: 1/800 sec LENS: AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED ISO: 500 APERTURE (F-STOP): f6.3

Barreled face

By Marcus Bloss This is one of my favorite surf images I’ve taken recently. CAMERA: Canon T3i FOCAL LENGTH: 13mm SHUTTER SPEED: 4000 LENS: Tokina fisheye ISO: 400 APERTURE (F-STOP): F 8

High Falls

When hiking up to the falls the weather was so miserable I contemplated turning around but I persisted and when I finally saw the vista that opened up before me I had to try capturing it no matter what the conditions. This certainly was not an easy photo to take; long exposure in drizzling rain and mist coming off the falls and having to clean the front element and the ND filter while lying in mud proved challenging. CAMERA: Canon EOS 6D FOCAL LENGTH: 17mm SHUTTER SPEED: 44 seconds LENS: Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM ISO: 200 APERTURE (F-STOP): 13

Two Lights

By Paul Higgins A walkway at a museum outside Granada, Spain.

Skies Above Marshall Point

By Stephen Ippolito I took this image in August of 2014 on a trip up to Maine for a private photography workshop. The skies over The lighthouse were spectacular with shooting stars and Milky Way Galaxy rising overhead. The light and shadows coming out of the top of the lighthouse was so picture perfect and surreal. CAMERA: Canon 5D Mark III FOCAL LENGTH: 16mm SHUTTER SPEED: 30 seconds LENS: canon 16-35mm L f/2.8 ISO: 3200 APERTURE (F-STOP): F/2.8

Flowers makes me Happy.

By Nithin Narayan Kid Smiles after he gets lotus flower from the pond. CAMERA: Canon 5D mark III