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Readers’ memorable vacation photos of summer 2015

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Readers, thank you.

Thank you for sharing an array of stunning photographs from your 2015 summer vacations. Whittling down the hundreds of submissions is never easy, but this year's crop was especially challenging.

The proliferation of smartphones — nearly two-thirds of Americans have them, according to the Pew Research Center — means that the ability to capture an image is as close as your pocket or purse. But making a memorable picture is often more than a spur-of-the-moment shot; it takes planning and plotting to ensure the right light, composition and moment.

The photographs in this article and the gallery above show the kinds of results that elevate the craft to an art. Each of these pictures reveals a little bit about the photographer and a lot about his or her destination for summer 2015.

We invite you along for the journey.

— Catharine Hamm

Travel editor

Iceland

Michael Smith, Santa Monica

Smith, who is in sales, travels a lot and likes to shoot pictures with his Samsung Galaxy S5 phone. He and a friend were roaming Iceland in August when they happened upon this canyon near the island's southern coast. Smith used his phone to snap this picture, which he later edited on Instagram. "Everywhere you look is beauty," he said of Iceland.

Pismo Beach, Calif.

Don Lyons, Ladera Ranch

Lyons, who runs a mortgage company, has been going to the Pismo Beach area for years. On a photo workshop in late May led by Larry Vogel, Lyons came across this cave north of Pismo's pier, put his Nikon D810 on a tripod and started snapping. "I've probably got 30 compositions and exposures" of the cave, he said.

Abu Dhabi

Jerry Fer Damian, Abu Dhabi

Damian, a Filipino expat living in the United Arab Emirates, caught this cat staring through a scratched windowpane at Al Ain Zoo on July 17 in Abu Dhabi. He used a Nikon D610. The lions, Damian wrote, seemed to be asking for freedom.

Cannon Beach, Ore.

Tony Wang, Cypress

Wang caught this wayward driftwood on the shore of Ecola State Park at Cannon Beach while on a family vacation in Oregon. He used a Google photo filter on the image he captured with an iPhone 6.

Shanghai, China

Cece Frankhuizen, Valencia

Frankhuisen was traveling with her sister in China on a rainy June day when they spotted these women under a red umbrella in a Shanghai alley. She was carrying a new Nikon Coolpix, but the rain was falling so hard, she kept it covered and shot this with her iPhone 5. Frankhuizen, who perhaps had had enough of drought-stricken Southern California, said: "I was fascinated with the intense rain and vibrant colors."

Kyoto, Japan

Neal Jenkins, Long Beach

Jenkins and his family were on vacation in Japan in August when he caught these women sharing a selfie stick at Kyoto's Kiyomizu Temple. Jenkins raised his Canon Rebel EOS Xsi and got three shots. This one, he said, showed the traditionally dressed women at their most animated.

Lofoten Archipelago, Norway

Susan Goldberg, Studio City

Serendipity often plays a part in capturing a memorable moment, as Goldberg discovered while aboard a ferry in the Lofoten Archipelago. She framed this view of Vaeroy Island on "a cloudy day with the hint of better weather to come." While she was squeezing off a series of pictures, the bird flew into the shot, "and that was it." Goldberg, a retiree, used a Sony a6000 mirrorless camera.

White Salmon River, Wash.

Amy Griffes, Los Angeles

In July, there was enough water flowing in southern Washington's White Salmon River to keep rafting outfitters busy. Before this waterfall near Trout Lake, rafting guides let clients choose whether to risk it or watch from a bridge. Griffes chose the bridge, then shot with her Olympus TG-4 as the raft went vertical. Remarkably, nobody fell out. (Griffes' daughter Jennifer submitted this picture.)

Guanajuato, Mexico

Joe Szopa, Palms, Los Angeles

In late May, Szopa and his fiancée, Valerie Arias, got engaged in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Two days later, in the historic college town of Guanajuato, he took a funicular up to El Pipila Viewpoint and pulled out his Sony a7S camera with a 21mm Zeiss Distagon lens. To Szopa, the city looked like a little slice of Europe.

Niagara Falls, Canada

Freda Sumpena, San Diego

Patience paid off for Sumpena, who was walking on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls in mid-July when she noticed the Maid of the Mist tourist boat and a double rainbow converging. She made her family wait — husband, parents and two kids — for 20 minutes until the shot lined up correctly. Then she captured the scene with her Nikon D800E.

Homosassa, Fla.

Laurie Galvan of Long Beach took this photo that made it into last year's L.A. Times' reader photo edition. She photographed the alligator at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Florida.
Laurie Galvan of Long Beach took this photo that made it into last year’s L.A. Times’ reader photo edition. She photographed the alligator at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Florida.
(Laurie Galvan)

Laurie Galvan, Long Beach

Galvan was on a month-long road trip in her camper through the South when she came across this scene in June at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Florida. Galvan said she'd "been bitten by every bug in Florida" and was hoping to swim. Instead, she clicked this with her Nikon Coolpix S950. The alligator never moved.

Dordogne River Valley, France

Del Dickson of National City, Calif., shot this field of sunflowers while on vacation last year in France's Dordogne River Valley.
Del Dickson of National City, Calif., shot this field of sunflowers while on vacation last year in France’s Dordogne River Valley.
(Del Dickson )

Del Dickson, National City

In July, Del Dickson spent a week in France's Dordogne River Valley. Every day, he'd pedal his bike in a new direction, a Sony RX100 camera tucked into his shirt pocket. When he came across these sunflowers between the towns of Vitrac and Domme, he was ready. "It was early in the morning," Dickson wrote, and "soft light and light rain helped to bring the flowers to life."

Campobello Island, Canada

George B. Stoneman, Los Angeles. Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. Taken with a Panasonic Lumix camera, model DMC-LX100.

George B. Stoneman, Los Angeles. Campobello Island, New Brunswick, Canada. Taken with a Panasonic Lumix camera, model DMC-LX100.

(George B. Stoneman)

George Stoneman, Los Angeles

Stoneman found this dockside scene on the foggy morning of July 15 in the sheltered harbor of Campobello Island, off the coast of the Canadian province of New Brunswick. He shot it with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100

travel@latimes.com


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