My Best Photos of 2012

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Happy New Year, everyone!  As you read this, I’m participating in Blogmanay up in Edinburgh.  I wanted to close out the year with a bang, so I decided to share my favorite photos from the year.

You know your photography skills are improving when you regularly cringe at shots you took six months ago.  That said, I’m really happy with my photos from this year — they cover 14 countries, 9 of them new.

When putting together my favorite photos of the past year, I narrowed it down to 28 that I REALLY loved.  Maybe you can even see a stylistic evolution!

Here are my favorite photos from this year, in chronological order:

Royal Mile, Edinburgh

One of my favorite cities in the world — and I love how the cobblestones turn blue here.

Double Beach, Shetland

This double beach was one of my favorite natural wonders of the year.  If you ever get up to Shetland, try to time it when the tide is coming in — it’s incredible.

Dunnotar Castle, Scotland

Simply the most beautifully situated castle in Scotland.  I gave my dad a framed print of this for Christmas.

Flying into Lisbon

We can all go home now!  I’m sure that I will never take a better photo from a plane than this shot I took as we landed in Lisbon.  Talk about perfect timing.

Sunny Lisbon

This is one of the first shots that I took in Lisbon — and it perfectly exemplifies the sunny, warm nature of the city.


Visiting the Alhambra in Granada blew me away — but my favorite shot was taken at the Generalife, the residence for visitors.  Not a bad holiday home.

All the Wine in Umbria

Ah, this shot once again — this is what lunch for travel bloggers looks like.  There are few pleasures like drinking (lots of) wine in the Italian countryside.

Icelandic Waterfall and Double Rainbow

All my readers who have been to Iceland had the same reaction: “HOW DID YOU HAVE WEATHER THAT GOOD?!”  I really lucked out.  Skogafoss Waterfall gave me a double rainbow that day.

Perfect Croatian Beach, Pučišća

We were only here for an hour, but it made such an impression on me.  This is my idea of the perfect Croatian village.

Flowers in Korčula

It was the details that captivated me on Marco Polo’s island, from the architecture to the flowers.

Never Forgotten in Mostar

It’s astounding to see what a beautiful place Mostar’s Old Town is these days, considering how recently it was a pile of rubble.  Never forget what they went through.

The Montenegrin Island

A tiny island in the Bay of Kotor, nothing but a church.  One of the many delights of Montenegro, my pick for the most naturally beautiful country in Europe.

Welcome to Jurassic Park

My first stop in the Faroe Islands was the village of Gasadalur — and I couldn’t get the Jurassic Park theme out of my head.  The islands, ensconced in clouds, were downright mystical!


And then there was this photo.  “This is the best photo I’ve ever taken,” I thought as soon as the image appeared on my screen.  People agreed — it is the most popular photo I’ve ever shared on Instagram.

On my first day at Gasadalur, I looked but couldn’t figure out where the waterfall was.  Two days later, I took a ferry that went past the village and pinpointed exactly where the waterfall was, then returned to photograph it.  This was the one photo I wanted to get in the Faroe Islands.

And then, of course, I promptly drove my car into a ditch.

SoHo Life

The perks of working in downtown Manhattan!  I took this on the roof deck of my sister’s office.  She and her coworkers hang out there with drinks on summer nights.

Chester on a Sunny Day

Chester is such a beautiful Tudor town, and I think this is the best shot that I’ve ever taken of it.

Harry Potter’s Bookstore

J.K. Rowling spent years living in Porto, Portugal, home of the fantastic Lello Bookstore.  The design served as inspiration for Hogwarts.  (Good luck taking pictures in here — they’re technically not permitted, but I got this one just in time.)

Porto Tonic O’Clock

One of the great joys of visiting northern Portugal was indulging in port tonics — my new favorite cocktail.  Believe it or not, it’s a delicious cocktail.

The World’s Prettiest Sugars

Stopping for coffee in Costa Brava, I marveled at how pretty all the little sugars looked in their dishes — and then the Camera+ HDR filter brought them to the next level.

Dramatic Costa Brava Sunset

WHAT a SUNSET!  It was the kind of moment that travel bloggers dream of.  As we strolled through the spa town of Caldes de Malavella, the sky lit up with perfect pink and purple clouds.

Yellow Gamla Stan

Stockholm is home to one of the prettiest Old Towns I’ve seen in Europe, and the Gamla Stan is characterized by its bright yellow buildings, perfect against a bright blue sky.

Rainy Walks in Edinburgh

I just love this photo.  My bud Kash and I went for a walk through rainy Edinburgh, exploring the Water of Leith.  I love the colors, the mud-splattered shoes, the wet ground.  We had fun that day.

Township Life

Now, THIS is South Africa.  The jacaranda, the concrete walls, the man with the jaunty hat — if ever it were possible to boil Alexandra Township down to one image, this would be that image.

Table Mountain Flowers

Bright blue and bright yellow is one of my favorite color combinations, and I loved these flowers against the blue sky on top of Cape Town.

Cape Town Waterfront

Cape Town — not to mention the surrounding Cape Peninsula — is a photographer’s dream.  It’s impossible to find a bad angle in this town.

The Gondolas of Grenoble

A picture-perfect winter day in the French Alps — it couldn’t be a better opportunity to jump in the famous “bubbles” of Grenoble and head to the top of the Bastille for mountain views in every direction!

Vivid Paris Sunset

There are sunsets, and then there are neon Paris sunsets.  The world’s most beautiful city.

Christmas in Montmartre

And finally, every color of the rainbow is featured in this shot of Place du Tertre in Montmartre, just before Christmas.  Christmas in Paris was so magical.

Thank you, as always, for taking the time to read and comment on this site.  I appreciate it greatly and hope to see you in 2013!

Which photo is the best of 2012?

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35 thoughts on “My Best Photos of 2012”

  1. I am so kicking myself every time I see your photo for not going to the Place Du Tertre when I went to Montmarte! I went to Sacre Couer, the Moulin Rouge, and perused all the adorable shops, but I can’t believe I missed that spot, I love that Van Gogh painting!

    There is always next time! Great photos!

    Happy New Year! : )

  2. Wow this is an amazing collection of photos! I especially love that picture of Lisbon from above! You can see Jardim da Estrela in the center – I used to live right there! Oh I miss the gorgeous light of Lisbon during golden hour 🙂
    Happy New Year! Have a great time in Edinburgh!

  3. I love that Montenagran Island and Jurassic Park. Really Spectacular! You really went all over the place this past year. Happy New Year, Leif

  4. I’m crazy impressed. I kept picking a favourite before it got cancelled out by the next one, and the next one. I’m looking at my iPhone in disgust as we speak.

  5. Great photos Kate! I really like the one from Shetland, but the one of the township in South Africa is the most powerful one. I love the contrast of the beautiful tree in bloom next to the old crumbling wall.

  6. It is very hard to choose from all these lovely images, but if I had to choose one, I would choose Gasadalur, Scotland. Harry Potter bookstore is a close second and of course, those photos of Paris are superb! Time for another calendar Kate – mix it up with all of these images. DHM

  7. Amazing photographs! I only hope 2013 can see me improve my own photography skills! It’s hard to choose a favourite, but I do love your shot of Chester. It’s not far from me and I always think it’s a stunning place.

  8. Love the photos 🙂 I’m a recent follower of yours and I simply love getting your newsletters in my box.

    All the best and happy travelling – I hope to follow in your footsteps one day 🙂

  9. Greetings , I’m a avid reader of your Blog! What camera do you use now? 2014 and where do you get your blue short comfortable looking clingy dresses ? I love your look! Thanks, eb

    1. Ellen Bak – I’ve been trying to find you You took pictures of my two children from the time they were 6 months and 2 1/2 to about 13/11. They are both in college now, coming home for 1 week in December and I would so love to have you do a current mom and kids photo shoot! Dad’s out of the picture now, no pun intended.

      please please contact me!

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