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Originally published December 20, 2013 at 6:00 AM | Page modified December 20, 2013 at 12:55 PM

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Reader Photos of the Year, 2013

We've chosen 10 favorites to be our Seattle Times Reader Photos of the Year, including a top winner capturing a sailor's perspective of our maritime-and-mountains landscape.


Grand-Prize Winning Photo: Times reader Dale Johnson shot this photo Oct. 5 from his sailboat. He shot with a Nikon D800E camera and a Nikon 24-70 f2.8 lens at 66mm, with settings at 1/200 second, f7.1 and ISO 100. Read our profile of Dale here.

What we like about the photo

“This photo is an arresting image that captures the feel of our Pacific Northwest surroundings in a beautiful way from an unexpected angle. As photo editors we see plenty of pictures shot from the water. Rarely do we see a tanker looming in the foreground from point-blank range. The photographer did an excellent job of framing the anchored ship with Mount Rainier in the background. The lines of the clouds, the mountain, the cranes and the ship all work together to form an image that is rich in color, texture and depth. While we see each of these elements regularly in Seattle, the photographer has skillfully captured them in a way that gives us a fresh glimpse from his low viewpoint right on the water.”

— Angela Gottschalk, Seattle Times photo editor

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These days, when you don’t have to be a spy to have a camera built into your eyeglasses — think Google Glass — it seems you have to try hard not to be a photographer. Cameras are everywhere.

But as with jet-fighter pilots, how you point the thing can make all the difference (along with knowing when to shoot).

This year was another strong one for photography by Seattle Times readers, who submitted hundreds of entries throughout the year to our Reader’s Lens feature. At year’s end, we’ve chosen 10 favorites to be our Seattle Times Reader Photos of the Year.

The grand prize — a $250 gift card from Glazer’s Camera — goes to Dale Johnson, of Seattle, for his photo of Mount Rainier and Elliott Bay as framed by the bow of an anchored ship.

Judging was by Angela Gottschalk, Seattle Times photo editor; photo specialist Katie Greene, who critiques the weekly choices; and Brian J. Cantwell, Seattle Times Outdoors editor.

Thanks to all who sent in so many memorable images reflecting the places to see and things to do around the Northwest. Please keep sharing your best recent photos of our region (see and maybe you’ll be our winner next year.

— Brian J. Cantwell

Honorable Mentions: Northwest scenics


Lanterns on Green Lake

Photographer: Meg Wakeman, Seattle

Photo taken: Aug. 6, Green Lake

Photographer's description: “The 48th annual ‘Hope to Hiroshima,’ commemorating all victims of violence, was a lantern-floating ceremony held at Green Lake. Taken with Canon 5D Mark III, f/2.8, 200mm, ISO 12800, 1/160th second.”

Judge's comment: “The shallow depth of field makes it appear the lanterns go on forever. I love how the lanterns in focus are kind of separated from the bunch and are reflected on the black-glasslike lake.”

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Moon over Snoqualmie

Photographer: Jeff Abel, Seattle

Photo taken: Oct. 20, Snoqualmie Pass

Photographer's description: “This shot was taken from the parking lot of the ski area at Summit West, as the moon rose above a ridge. Taken with a Nikon D800 and Nikon 600mm lens at f/8, ISO 200, 1/500 sec.”

Judge's comment: “The detail in this shot is wonderfully crisp. A colleague walked by, saw this photo on my screen and exclaimed, ‘It’s the ‘E.T.’ moon!’ An extra-long lens basically compresses the distance to allow the moon to be huge, which is the goal for most moon shots. Instead of a boy on a bike, the trees add a layer to make this eerie yet beautiful.”

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Snow geese of the Skagit

Photographer: Yoshiki Nakamura, Seattle

Photo taken: March 3, Fir Island, Skagit County

Photographer's description: “I went to Fir Island and found a large flock of snow geese. I set up a tripod around 2:30 p.m. and waited for their dynamic, massive takeoff. The sun was almost set and ... I almost gave up, (but) a small window of sun showed up again around 5:30 p.m., (just as) a couple of eagles came by and threatened the flock. The sun shed very warm light from a low angle, turning (the birds’) bodies and lower wings gold.”

Judge's comment: “The light in this photograph is stunning! Patience by the photographer definitely paid off. The blues, pinks and yellows make this a colorful sight in what could be a chaotic takeoff, turned elegant.”

Honorable Mentions: Flora and Fauna


Young buck in the snow

Photographer: Tim Nicol, Republic, Ferry County

Photo taken: Dec. 17, 2012 (published January 2013)

Photographer's description: “Photographed this whitetail spike in my yard in Republic, with a Nikon D200 with AF 18-270 Tamron lens at ISO 200, 270 mm, f/6.3, 1/250 of a second.”

Judge's comment: “Great moment, clean background, beautiful subject. I immediately smiled when I saw this serene photo. The photographer well-utilized his unique zoom lens to go in tight on the whitetail’s head. Having the deer staring straight at the camera creates an immediate connection with viewers.”

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Hop in hands

Photographer: Kay Knox, Seattle

Photo taken: Oct. 5, at a hop farm in Prosser, Benton County

Photographer's description: “We were on a family day trip to take in harvest activity with our friend Jim, owner of Willard Farms, as our guide and teacher. We saw apples, grapes and hops being harvested. I took this photo on my Panasonic Lumix FZ35.”

Judge's comment: “Detail shots are one of my favorite ways to tell stories. Look at the story in this photo! You can learn so much about a person from their hands. And the pops of green and yellow of this new hop flower contrast so nicely against them. Great job by the photographer to get in close.”

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Frog in a flower

Photographer: Pamela Madigan, Bainbridge Island

Photo taken: Aug. 24, in her home garden

Photographer's description: “I went out to look at my dahlias and found a tree frog perched in the middle of one. Shot with a Canon G15.”

Judge's comment: “Awesome photo! I love how the dahlia fills the frame and creates a clean and nondistracting background. The frog pops against the yellow and he looks so cozy on that petal — a great contrast in textures.”

Honorable Mentions: Northwest fun and adventure


Kid up a tree

Photographer: Dan Victor, Seattle

Photo taken: March 29, University of Washington Quadrangle

Photographer's description: “This unposed photo was taken as we strolled through the UW Quad. The cherry trees were in full bloom and students were lounging on the lawn. To our surprise, one was in a tree. Taken with a Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS.”

Judge's comment: “I love how the young man is framed by the trunk and limbs of the tree, staying true to the rule of thirds.”

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Camping with the stars

Photographer: Paul Weeks, Seattle

Photo taken: Aug. 10, Middle Fork of the Salmon River, Idaho

Photographer's description: “This is a photo from my rafting trip in the Frank Church Wilderness. After the sun set, I had around an hour to capture the Milky Way before the moon rose over the horizon. This is a 30-second exposure taken at ISO 3200. The light inside my tent came from a small LED flashlight that I hung from the top.”

Judge's comment: “This photo makes me want to be in the great outdoors without a large city for miles; it’s a splendid shot. I love that the photographer was able to balance the light from the tent, which gives off a great pinkish glow onto the surrounding brush, with the starlight.”

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Whirl of light

Photographer: Prabhakaran Ramanathan, Renton

Photo taken: Sept. 14, Washington State Fair, Puyallup

Photographer's description: “Captured this photo with Canon T2i with 18-55mm Canon lens.”

Judge's comment: “I love the use of the slow shutter speed (10 seconds) and how the photographer was able to capture the bright, swirling colors but left some static objects, such as the stars, so we are grounded.”

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See all the 2013 Reader's Lens photos here. Learn how to submit your own photo.

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