January 2015: Best of Southern California Moments

The new year calls for new adventures and, sometimes, new perspectives.

Part of the thrill of making photographs is taking the familiar or the expected and transforming the frame into something new, something surprising. January's standout reader photos have done that.

Matt McKown turned ocean waves into a cloud of smoke. Justin Woolley made dreaded 405 traffic into beautiful rays of light. Ari Fararooy reinvented the selfie (if we can even still call it that) with the help of a quadcopter.

Sometimes, all you need to do is revisit a place. You might find green fields have replaced the once dusty, desolate Central Valley, as Patrick Dirden did. One of Sandrine Biziaux-Scherson's favored haunts --  the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine -- took on new enchantment in the fog.

And for Ryan DeForeest, who is attending school out of state, the In-N-Out logo proved to be a sight for sore eyes. But isn't it always?

Feel there's a photo I left out, or one that doesn't belong in the set? Let us know in the comments. And, as always, thank you for sharing.

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Each week, we're featuring photos of Southern California and California submitted by readers. Share your photos on our Flickr page or tag your photos with #socalmoments or #californiamoments on Instagram and Twitter. Follow us on Twitter or visit latimes.com/socalmoments for more on this photo series.