My top 10 photographs of 2013

We are well into 2014 now but I decided to look through photographs I've take in the last year and pick my Top 10. Looking into Lightroom catalog I realised that 2013 was rather quiet year for me photographically. I spend good half of the year working on "Catching Fire", the second instalment of Hunger Games franchise. Second half of the year was marked badly by my back injury that also prevented me to cancel some of my planned trips as I was immobile for a while. The only major trip I had in 2013 was the one in Bhutan. I also noticed a more prominent shift from DSLR to smaller mirrorless cameras last year. I own Fuji X100s and Fuji X-E1  coupled with 35mm Fujinon lens. As mane users state their experiences, these small cameras reignited the passion for photography. My spine is also complaining lot less about the weight I have to carry.

I wish somebody could pick the Top 10 of 2013 for me as for photographer, it is arguably very though to edit and select their best photos. I am emotionally attached to my photographs as I clearly remember the circumstances they were taken at. Somebody else might have picked different set but here is mine. Maybe I should call this top 10 pictures that evoke best memories from 2013.

This photograph was taken in one traditional Vietnamese coffee house located near Da Nang's riverside. I was enjoying my (very tasty) coffee when this man came in and sat down right behind me. I looked around and observed him for a while. As I was the only "white dude" there I waited till he gets used to my presence.  I had my Fuji X100s with me at the time and I pointed the camera towards his direction without turning. I snapped few pictures and this one came out best right in the moment when he is sucking the smoke into his lungs.

I travelled from Da Nang to Hue by train sitting with lovely family with two young kids. During 2 hours I spend photographing them they never noticed I am taking photographs. (Thank you Fuji X100s for non existent shutter noise). I loved the eyes of this little girl. Shooting from the hip or little folding table that are on trains I was lucky enough to catch her dreamy look.

Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam has a beautiful riverside with a night market that offers tons of photographic opportunities. I came across this little girl sitting on hammock. She was initially looking ahead and I wanted to capture a detail of her hand holding onto hammock. I got very close to her and took about 4-5 shots when she noticed me and turned her head towards me. In that moment I quickly recomposed the shot and took this photograph.

Two generations, mother and daughter are captured on this image from inside traditional Bhutanese house. Although Bhutan has opened to the world recently and spoils of modern technology are just starting to flow it, it is not uncommon to see people with mobile phones even in remote villages. Here the younger woman is making a phone call while the older is quietly mumbling prayer chants. Shot was taken at ISO 6400 at 2.8 thus focus is only on one of the women.

This image is also from Bhutan. We overnight near one of the small villages scattered on the hill side. All of the kids were naturally curious about big white stranger who came to visit their village. They were very nice and playful, genuinely interested in conversation and especially my camera.  This brief moment lasted only second or two when this young girl leaned and hugged the boy in front of her. To me it feels like act of friendship or love with the innocent child feel to it.

This man is from the same village as the kids on previous photo. He just came to us where I was engaged with children, sat down leaning onto tree trunk and observed us. There is something very peaceful about his face. I wanted to take photo but I hesitated. Then my guide came along and he was able to translate my request to the old man.

This is a very special photo for me. This is Srey Vy, little Cambodian girl that I am sponsoring through Cambodian Children Fund. This was taken on the day we met in person first time. After a day on playground, restaurant and shopping I can see a spark of happiness in her eyes. Finally she had chance to do things that she was denied due to poor background she came from. She looks more quite mature on this photo considering her age. It was also one of the best days of my life for me too.

In this photograph everything came together. Two little boys sleeping in one of the Phnom Penh's market in late afternoon. Sun was slowly going down and at one point narrow beam of barely visible light kissed the boys. Moment that lasted only a fraction of the second as the place was quite crowded. I quickly had to keep moving. This picture represents the childhood innocence for me.

I was probably the first white person this little Javanese girl saw in real life. The village I took this photo in was not visited by tourist before. All people were very kind and children especially very curious. I can see in her eyes the struggle between curiosity and shyness. I asked her mother for permition to take the photograph. When I lifted the camera she became more shy I guess but I think it adds to the picture rather than takes from it.

Dochula Pass is the place all cars and truck have to pass on the way between Thimphu and Punakha in Bhutan. At the time I was there the weather was gloomy and real winter-ish with frost and snowfall. That caused the trucks and cars ended up stuck in traffic jam as the road was very slippery.  As I was walking between the trucks I noticed this guy waving at me. I talked to him for a while and then wished him safe journey on rather dangerous road ahead. The moment he greeted me back and made this gesture with hand I quickly snapped this shot.

As you can see most of the photographs are of people and I guess that's where my passion is, those are the photographs I tend to like from other people's work. There are more that I really liked but I wanted to limit it to 10 pieces. Really hard to pick the winners but these are it. Let me know what you think.