Year in Review: My Best Photos of 2015

It's that time of year again; time to go through the previous year's photos and pick out favorites.  I always wait until the new year to announce my best photos, because what if I take a great photo on December 31?  This year brought me many magnificent photo opportunities, from walking around Magic Kingdom at dawn, to sunrise with a double rainbow at Moraine Lake, to endless sun stars with my beloved 16-35mm lens.  It was hard to pick just 25, but after careful thought, I was able to whittle it down.  Without further ado, here are my best photos of 2015:

Columbian Spring in the Snow

Columbian Spring in the Snow, January 29 - My friend Barb and I had a great time walking around Congress Park in Saratoga one evening after a photo club meeting.  It was great to get some night shots of our lovely city.  I shared a lot of my winter photos in this post about the Canon 16-35mm.

Golden Light at the Saratoga Spa State Park

Golden Light at the Saratoga Spa State Park, January 30 - I remember this sunset quite vividly.  It was just below freezing, but the wind chill made it feel a lot colder.  I couldn't resist capturing the fiery sunset over the fresh coat of snow.

Glens Falls at Night

Glens Falls at Night, February 18 - My friend Jason and I took some photos around Glens Falls on this evening.  I couldn't resist a shot with the cars zooming by.  This ended up being one of my most popular photos of the year.


1871, March 2 - I took a walk around Saratoga one evening as the sun was setting.  I took lots of photos of cars zooming by, but since I didn't have my tripod with me, I had to use the "spray and pray" method (take a bunch of shots in burst mode and hope for the best).

Gotta Love That View Down Hollywood Boulevard

Gotta Love That View Down Hollywood Boulevard, April 7 - For anyone who loves Walt Disney World, you're probably aware that the big Mickey Sorcerer Hat that had been sitting at the end of Hollywood Boulevard for the last decade finally came down this year.  Now I love Mickey, but being able to see the Chinese Theater from the front of Hollywood Boulevard is just so much more pleasing and authentic looking!  I set up my tripod in the middle of the street to take this long exposure, which led to a lot of people thinking I was a PhotoPass photographer.  I shared my photos of Disney's Hollywood Studios in this post.

Monorail Passes by the Imagination Pavilion at EPCOT

Monorail Passes by the Imagination Pavilion at EPCOT, April 9 - After photographing IllumiNations fireworks at EPCOT with Ben, I wanted to get this shot of a monorail passing in front of the Imagination Pavilion.  Unfortunately, this was not as quick a task as I had conceived.  I got some exposures of the pavilion easily enough, but when the monorail came by, my exposure time was too long to be able to make it out in the photo.  So I adjusted my settings.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Finally, just as I was about to pack up, another monorail came by and I got the shot.  This final composition is a manual blend of three shots:  one for the bulk of the scene, one for the reflections in the water and the fountain, and one for the monorail.  I shared my photos of EPCOT in this post.

Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth!

Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth!, April 10 - The rope drop at Magic Kingdom is my favorite thing about Walt Disney World.  It's so quintessentially Disney and draws on the nostalgia of the early twentieth century with the costumes and the musical references.  Seeing Mickey and the gang show up on the train and shooting off fireworks before sunrise to usher in the day is just the cherry on top.  I shared my photos of Magic Kingdom in this post.

Wishes from Tomorrowland Bridge

Wishes from Tomorrowland Bridge, April 10 - This was a great spot to shoot the fireworks, since no one can get in front of you (try as they might).  I used a 3 stop neutral density filter to allow me to capture longer bursts.

Self Portrait:  Congress Park

Self Portrait:  Congress Park, May 3 - I'm not really a big fan of selfies, but I do find that sometimes the presence of a person adds to the character of a photo.  Plus, it's fun to take a selfie that doesn't look like a selfie.  I took this with the EOS Remote app in my phone, which allows me to trigger my 6D wirelessly.  I shared more of my springtime photos in this post.

Congress Park at Night

Congress Park at Night, May 3 - Taken later in the evening after the previous photo, my friend Barb and I were just about to call it a night after photographing all over downtown Saratoga when we decided to snap a few photos in the park.

Birds of a Feather

Birds of a Feather, May 5 - A couple of birds took up residence in my yard this past spring.  They even built a nest on the wreath hanging on the front door and the female laid five eggs that hatched a few days after I took this photo.

Zooming in on New York

Zooming in on New York, May 9 - I visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for the first time in May.  leaving and coming back on the ferry allowed for some shots of the New York City skyline that I've never been able to get before.  I shared more photos from my trip in this post.

It's a Long Way Down

It's A Long Way Down, July 12 - Going-to-the-Sun Road at Glacier National Park is not for the faint of heart.  Luckily, I don't have much of a fear of heights and I thoroughly enjoyed the view.  I shared more photos of Glacier National Park in this post.

Bar U Ranch's Resident Saddle Maker

Bar U Ranch's Resident Saddle Maker, July 13 - I had the opportunity to take this portrait of Lewis Pederson, the saddle repairman and leather maker at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site in Alberta.  This incredibly interesting ranch is located on the Cowboy Trail near Calgary.  I highly recommend a visit if you're in the area.  I shared my photos of the Cowboy Trail in this post.

A Rainbow Over Moraine Lake

A Rainbow Over Moraine Lake, July 14 - Moraine Lake is the reason I first became intrigued with going to Banff National Park, and it didn't disappoint when I went to visit.  Shortly after arriving, a rainbow decided to shine over the mountains.  I'll take it!  This may be my favorite photo that I took in 2015.  I shared more photos from the Village of Lake Louise (where Moraine Lake is located) in this post.

Walking Over Emerald Lake

Walking Over Emerald Lake, July 14 - Emerald Lake would be an apt name for many of the lakes in the Canadian Rockies, but this beautiful bluish-green lake in Yoho National Park takes the title.  The bridge to the Emerald Lake Lodge in the background makes for a nice photo.  I shared more photos of Yoho National Park in this post.

Lake Louise at Sunrise

Lake Louise at Sunrise, July 15 - I am lucky enough to say that this was the view from my hotel window at the Fairmont Ch√Ęteau Lake Louise.  I took several dozen photos from this vantage point, but this sunrise one has to beat them all.  I shared more photos of Lake Louise in this post.

What's He Thinking About?

What's He Thinking About?, July 16 - I finally got a nice, crisp shot of a bear just outside the town of Banff.  This isn't the first bear I've photographed, but it's my favorite.  Be advised:  I took this with a 600mm lens!  Do not approach wildlife, because it is just that.

School Sweet School

School Sweet School, August 9 - Seeing the school where I teach from a helicopter was nothing short of thrilling!  I shared more of my helicopter photos in this post.

Downtown Saratoga From Above

Downtown Saratoga from Above, August 9 - I photographed almost everything Saratoga has to offer on ground level, so the next logical step was to get up higher!  I really love this photo of downtown, being able to get Broadway, Congress Park, and the mountains off in the distance all in one shot.

Summer Flowers by Hathorn Spring

Summer Flowers by Hathorn Spring, August 14 - After a sunrise at the Oklahoma Track, my friends Terry, Barb, and I headed downtown for a few more photos.  This shot of Hathorn Spring with the summer flowers was a favorite.  I shared more of my Saratoga summer photos in this post.

Breakfast with Pharoah

Breakfast with Pharoah, August 28 - He may not have won the Travers as so many had hoped, but Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah was Saratoga's sweetheart when he came to town.  Barb, Terry, and I went to photograph him running around the track the day before the race.  I shared my photos of the Saratoga Race Course in this post.

Water Tower and Apartment Building in Syracuse, NY

Water Tower and Apartment Building in Syracuse, NY, October 11 - A water tower rising above residential buildings in Syracuse, NY, is a reminder of this neighborhood's industrial past.  I couldn't resist framing it with the window.

Highland Light in Truro, MA

Highland Light in Truro, MA, November 27 - This was my first time visiting Highland Light, and the lighting was just beautiful for a photo.  I shared more photos from my Thanksgiving trip to Cape Cod in this post.

Glorious Cape Cod Sunset

Glorious Cape Cod Sunset, December 26 - I witnessed a stunning sunset at Thumpertown Beach in Eastham while I was in Cape Cod for Christmas.  What a great note to end the year on!  I shared my photos from Christmas on Cape Cod in this post.

So, those are my favorite photos that I took in 2015.  Which one is your favorite?

All photos in this post are © Samantha Decker and may not be used without permission.


  1. I can't pick a favorite - they're all spectacular!

  2. Those are all great! But my favorite is the double rainbow - spectacular! And a nice self-portrait, too!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts