Reader photos: Best of Southern California moments for December 2014

Come December, our natural tendency is to make resolutions for the new year. We're quick to jump forward and look for new opportunities. But what's the rush? Who says we didn't catch our stride those last few weeks of 2014?

A new start is great, but there is something to be said about being present, patient and following through. Coincidentally, as I sorted through Decembers' Southern California moments, I remembered the same can be applied to creating quality imagery.

How and when do we get our best shots? As I scoured the reader submissions I noticed a common theme in the photographers' stories. More often than not, the most provocative takes were the least expected; made by living in the moment or waiting for an opportunity rather than chasing the next one.

At the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Tony Scott met up with a group of Instagrammers for a holiday-inspired "photo walk." In the midst of the season's chaos, he discovered a peaceful, nostalgic scene of a lone Christmas tree. "I just happened to look into this particular porthole and was mesmerized by this unexpected moment," he said.

At first, photographers Andres Tardio and Michael Kriskovic both saw their desired backgrounds without subjects, a symmetrically placed art exhibit and golden sunset respectively. So, they waited. And after "several minutes" and "many attempts," they got what they wanted.

Perhaps the best example is Nicola Buck's shot in Malibu of silhouettes against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset. The photo shoot had actually wrapped but she took out her camera one more time. "I captured this image, which turned out to be one of the better ones," she said. "Always wait for that last shot."

So as you go out and look for those photo-worthy moments, remember patience is indeed a virtue. Reflect on what's right in front of you. The next frame-grabbing opportunity will always be there.

Happy hunting! Feel like there's a photo I left out, or one that doesnt belong in the set? Sound off in the comments. See you next month.

Follow Trishna Patel on Instagram and Twitter.

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.

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