These days, a lot of people consider themselves amateur photographers. This is probably because most of us carry around smart phones with high tech cameras in them at all times. The result is that lot more people are trying their hand at the art of photography, and sometimes with stunning results.
A recent thread on the discussion website Quora asked users what the best photo they've ever taken was. The pictures that people responded are actually pretty amazing. Here are some of our favorites along with what the users had to say about each photo.
1.) Rajat Bhargava.
It was a nice breezy shiny Sunday afternoon. We were playing in our community garden. Someone flicked the ball towards the community gardener who was watering plants and the ball got wet. After that it became a monster. The faster the ball was thrown, the more it flew like a rocket leaving trails of water behind; but the magic began when my elder brother started bowling.
His bowling made the ball spin and create a whirlpool of water sprayed in mid air. The moment he delivered the first ball, the closing fielder got a lovely shower because of the spinning wet ball. I looked at the spinning ball and thought to myself that it was a moment worth capturing. I grabbed my camera and asked my brother to spin the ball as fast he could when he bowled. After a few missed shots, I finally snapped that magical moment, where the ball was in sharp focus.
2.) Erik Fanki.
This was taken during a tattoo expo in Falun, Sweden in 2010, and I shot it without a moments notice. I wish I could say I planned for it, but I didn't.
3.) Luiz Pires.
I was living in Munich a couple of years ago and had my mother and sister visiting me for a few days. We decided to brave the winter conditions and icy roads to drive to Neuschwanstein castle a couple of hours away. When we got there, the weather had completely cleared and we were rewarded with amazing 'winter wonderland' scenes everywhere we looked. Not only that, but the town was about as empty as I'd ever seen it - it is typically overrun with tourists.
This particular photo is one of my favorites from that trip as it seemed to capture the 'fairy tale' atmosphere of the place that day.
4.) Rakesh Ranjan.
Actually it's reflection in super-still water. Taken with a point-and-shoot camera.
5.) Jeff Weston.
Whenever I'm flying home into LaGuardia Airport, I request a window seat and willfully disobey the flight crew by keeping my point-and-shoot turned on. On this particular September afternoon, there was high cloud cover with one rogue cloud hovering ominously above Midtown Manhattan. I timed this exposure so that you can see straight down 42nd Street, all the way to the Hudson River. Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens are visible in the foreground, separated by Newtown Creek.
Other than adjusting some levels and adding a bit of a vignette, I didn't manipulate or 'shop the original capture.
6.) Odin Hole Standal.
This is by far the best picture I've taken. I wish I could say it was due to skill and careful planning, but this one is pure luck. Photography is my favourite hobby, but I doubt I'll ever get another picture that comes close to match this one.
7.) Megan Preece.
These 2 dogs were living in a mountain dog shelter in South Korea. We had taken them for a walk to a small lake to give them a chance to experience a bit of freedom! Sadly dogs like these are not uncommon in Korean shelters.
8.) Jeffrey Walker.
I'm going to have to go with this one because it is something I never expected I would see and didn't plan on making a stop at this nature preserve that I didn't know existed until I saw a sign for it while travelling Michigan's Tunnel of Trees. When I saw the how the light and shadow created a magical tunnel along this section (especially that near perfect arch at the end), I just had to capture it.
9.) Dave Larsen.
Petrochemical facility where I worked in northern Alberta. Shot with an iPhone from a rather tall vessel maybe 250 feet up. For scale look at the lower middle extreme right for a couple of bright X-marks. Those are the reflective stripes on a couple of workers.
10.) Matt Roe.
This is my favorite (and possibly the best) photo I've ever shot - taken in the Rhyolite, NV ghost town near Death Valley.
11.) Bill Blevins.
I've probably taken "better" pictures but this is one of my favorites of my border collie Grace flying with bubbles.
12.) Reno Luo.
It's a photo of the Northern Lights I took recently when I was travelling in Oldervik , a remote village in Norway within the Arctic circle. It was 1 AM in the morning with snow up to my knees and a temperature of -13 degrees, but totally worth it!
13.) Chris Charlesworth.
Waited for a long time in freezing conditions to get the sun in the right spot for this shot.
14.) Reuben Politi.
Although taken with a cheap camera, it's still an amazing photo! (Note: This was not altered in any way)
15.) Lucy Varish.
My brother () captured this moment shortly after introducing his new black lab puppy to another family dog. I've said for years that dogs are "human", but this pic just says it all.
These photos are actually incredible. I love that one of the Manhattan skyline. It's amazing the kind of photo opportunities you can get from just requesting a window seat and disobeying the flight crew.