The 36 Best Photos of 2023 (by the PhotoPills tribe)

By Antoni Cladera

What's up PhotoPiller!

We made PhotoPills for you all to bring your photo ideas to life. That's our goal.

We know you put a lot of hard work into your photos, and we want to celebrate them.

In this article, we're showcasing the top 36 photos from the PhotoPills community in 2023. These are photos that you guys have thought up, planned, and taken.

If you're dreaming of being on this list next year, remember to enter your photos in the PhotoPills Awards. Not only could you win some cash, but you'll also inspire other photographers in our community to create amazing images.

Each year, our team at PhotoPills picks the best photo from all the entries. The winner gets named PhotoPiller of the Year and wins $3,000! Isn't that awesome?

And guess what? We're announcing the 2023 winner right here in this article!

Plus, you can check out all 365 featured photos in the PhotoPills Awards book. It's a great source of inspiration for your 2024 photography projects.

Make sure you download it for free below!

PhotoPills Awards 2023

¡Consigue gratis este ebook!

And if you want to learn how to take these amazing photos, study thoroughly the following guides:

There you'll find everything you need to succeed!

If you're looking for more ideas on what to photograph during 2024, have a look at this video:

And without further ado, these are the best photos of 2023 and the stories behind them...

Enjoy!

"One doesn't stop seeing. One doesn't stop framing. It doesn't turn off and turn on. It's on all the time." - Annie Leibovitz

Content

  1. The 2023 PhotoPiller of the Year
  2. The 36 best photos of 2023
  3. Join the quest and become a legend!

1.The 2023 PhotoPiller of the Year

Canon EOS R6 | 500mm | f/7.1 | 1/1000s | ISO 100
Photo by Ignacio Senis (aka Chechu)

Photography is about telling a story

When you look at the best photos of 2023 in this article, you'll find yourself inspired to create similar stunning images.

But remember, it's important to do this with purpose and intention.

You might wonder, "How can I take photos with intention?"

It's a journey that takes time...

Photography is a field that constantly challenges you. To handle these challenges, gradually master your equipment and your creative ideas. With time and experience, you'll become comfortable and intuitive in using your tools to bring your visions to life.

Next, stop comparing your work to other photographers. Embrace your unique style and be true to yourself.

Also, take your time learning. Don't try to grasp everything all at once.

Focus on one technique at a time. Practice it repeatedly.

Embrace both success and failure as learning opportunities.

Aim for steady, gradual progress.

This is the path to becoming a master photographer.

This is exactly what Ignacio Senis (also known as Chechu), our 2023 PhotoPiller of the Year, did.

Congratulations, Chechu!

You've earned acclaim and the $3,000 prize!

The story behind Chechu's shot

Let me tell you all the details (and secrets!) about this amazing adventure...

As it usually happens with this type of shots, it all started with a crazy idea!

Chechu shared his dream with his friend Jaime Ollero on a conversation:

"– Jaime, I want to shoot a plane with a huge Moon behind. But not just any plane. One of those cool and old ones that you usually photograph.

– But Chechu... These planes cannot fly at night...

– Hold my beer..."

So now that Chechu had the idea, he needed to have a plan:

PhotoPills Planner - On Panel 3 you can see that the Moon is almost full (95.7% phase) and it has an elevation of 13.68º.
PhotoPills Planner with Panel 2 displayed
PhotoPills Planner - On Panel 2 you can see that the photographers were some 300 m (984 ft) away from the Moon. From there, the Moon had a size of 11.3 m (37 ft).

Unfortunately, the photo shoot was canceled several times: too cloudy, too much haze, one of the photographers was not available, the pilot could not make it at the last minute...

But, at some point, the planets somehow aligned and the perfect shooting date was set – May 3rd, 2023.

Everything was ready for D-Day: "There will be clouds but the pilot is available!"

So the whole team, including Rafael the Bard, went to a small airfield located in Casarrubios del Monte, a small town some 45 km (28 mi) to the southwest of Madrid (Spain).

Why there precisely?

Well, there's an association called Jacob52 where a small team of incredibly skilled pilots perform amazon aerobatic stunt flights. To do so, they use a beautiful Russian plane – the Yakolev-52 or Yak-52.

You could feel the stress in the team's mood. But everyone was hoping that everything went right.

It was time. Chechu briefed David, the pilot, and gave him precise instructions: he would need to fly over their heads and then accelerate to fly vertically while managing somehow to have the big Moon behind the plane. At the same time, Rafael and the photographers would be near the shooting spot, moving around to capture the shoot while communicating with David through the radio.

Fingers crossed!

As David took off and flew to his position, the rest of the team went to the shooting spot.

David passed over them and flew vertically once, twice, three times... And then a fourth one... While Chechu and the rest of the photographers were running around the shooting spot trying to compose the shot in fractions of a second to position the Yak-42 and the Moon within the frame.

The adrenaline was high! :D

After a few attempts, all of them had the shot. And it was amazing as you've seen for yourself.

Isn't it awesome?

You've seen the final result.

You've read about the idea behind the shot.

You've seen the plan.

And now it's time for you to see how this great adventure happened on a windy day...

I truly suggest that you watch the video below. You're going to freak out!

And now, I'm sure you're curious to know what the best photos of 2023 are.

Let's have a look at them! :)

2.The 36 best photos of 2023

In this article, we're showcasing the best photos of 2023, all thanks to 36 talented PhotoPillers. They've truly created wonders with a bit of help from PhotoPills!

We're excited to feature these amazing works in the PhotoPills Awards. The photos fall into several stunning categories:

  • Night Photography. Show off your skills by capturing breathtaking scenes of the night sky, including the Milky Way, Star Trails, Meteor Showers, planet conjunctions, northern lights, and light painting.
  • Moon Photography. This category is all about our lunar neighbor! We're looking for all types of Moon shots – Full Moons, crescent Moons, Supermoons, Moon silhouettes, Moonrises, Moonsets, and lunar eclipses.
  • Sun Photography. If your photo doesn't feature the night sky or the Moon, it probably fits here. We love to see Sunrises, Sunsets, the golden and blue hours, twilights, solar eclipses, and sun silhouettes.

Whether you're into landscape, astrophotography, night, travel, architectural, wedding, lifestyle, or fashion photography, we'd love to see your work!

If you want to have a quick look at the best photos of 2023, Rafael has gathered them all in the following video.

And if you want to have a close look at the images, get to know their EXIF data and the story behind them, keep reading...

Are you ready to check out the legendary photos from PhotoPillers in 2023?

Let's dive in!

Full moon over the church of Santa María del Castillo in Campo Real (Spain)
Canon EOS M50 | 500mm | f/11 | 1/80s | ISO 100
Photo by Alejandro Arnanz

"Full moon over the church of Santa María del Castillo in Campo Real (Madrid)."

Milky Way arching over the Pinnacles National Park in Cervantes, (Australia)
Canon R5 | 15mm | f/4 | 120s | ISO 1200 | Multi-row tracked panorama
Photo by Jose Cantabrana

"| Interstellar | • I had dreamed of visiting this location ever since I saw the breathtaking images captured by the legendary Michael Goh, aka astrophotobear. 'Interstellar' not only captures the epic beauty of this desertic location and the night sky, but also the personal sense of wonder and accomplishment that comes from ticking a long-awaited destination off my list. These timeless guardians stand tall and proud, reaching towards the starry sky above. As the Summer Milky Way stretches across the night sky, these ancient sentinels seem to connect the terrestrial world with the interstellar beyond. Mars can be seen close to the constellation Orion, over a colorful airglow that enhances the beauty of the scene."

Sun setting at the coast along the Vía Verde between Oropesa and Benicasim (Spain)
Canon EOS R | 15mm | f/11 | 15s | ISO 100 | ND 1.8 (6 stops) and soft reverse GND 0.9 (3 stops) filters
Photo by José Miguel Ros

"Planning the Sun."

crescent moon over a mountain in Ariège (France)
Sony a7 III | 560mm | f/9 | 1/2s | ISO 640
Photo by Philippe Roques

"The last crescent moon is rising over the mountain."

two illuminated tents with Milky Way behind the Vignemale mountain in the French Pyrenees (France)
Sony a7 III | 16mm | f/2.8 | 20s | ISO 3200
Photo by Carlos González

"Vignemale, the highest mountain in the French Pyrenees. A point on the wall showed us a rope trying to reach the top."

Sun setting behind a natural hole in the Monserrat mountain chain with the villages of Castellbell i el Vilar in the foreground (Spain)
Pentax K1 | 150mm | f/16 | 1/640s | ISO 100
Photo by Jaume Morera Barreda

"Time of sunset, at the right moment that can be seen between the Foradada de Montserrat."

woman and full moon reflected in the salt flats of Uyuni (Bolivia)
Canon EOS R5 | 400mm | f/5.6 | 1/800s | ISO 1600
Photo by Eric Paré & Kim Henry

"Moonset over the Salt flats of Uyuni in Bolivia. Taken at 6:25am after a long night of shooting long-exposure images on the largest mirror on Earth. With Kim Henry."

train running towards a sun setting between two buildings in Chicago (USA)
Nikon D750 | 300mm | f/6.3 | 3200s | ISO 100
Photo by Ramandeep Singh

"Chicago henge season is on! Happens two times in a years and it draws a lot of attention from the photographers community. It's an event on the street and chance to meet n greet to fellow photographers you have admired or met digitally."

human figure lit by a torch at the sea shore with the milky way rises in the sky of Arachania (Uruguay)
Nikon D810 | 16mm | f/2.8 | 25s | ISO 3200
Photo by Antonio Baüer

"The milky way rising from the ocean."

Overcast sunset behind the Urros de Arnía, Liencres (Spain)
Sony a7r IV | 14mm | f/14 | 1/5s (water), 360s (sky) | ISO 50 | ND 3.0 (10 stops) filter
Photo by Aitor Pla

"Falling sunset over the Urros of Arnía."

silhouette of a backpacker with the full moon rising behind him in Yecla (Spain)
Canon EOS 6D Mark II | 600mm | f/6.3 | 1/30s | ISO 640
Photo by Álvaro Díaz

"With the backpack full of memories and the stick that has helped him to continue walking in the hard times, we went out into the mountains to photograph the full moon rising. The model is passionate about the Camino de Santiago. He has been doing it for a few years and he bears many kms on his legs. With this photo we recreate the moments of solitude and see the goal in the distance, but have the feeling that you are not going to get there. Hard moments in which with a cool head and a lot of will, you achieve that goal."

Milky way rising behind an abandoned cargo ship in Cabo San Pablo (Argentina)
Sony a7 III | 20mm | f/1.8 | 20s | ISO 3200
Photo by Alexis Coliqueo

"Cargo ship Desdemona stranded in 1985 at Cabo San Pablo. Ambient temperature of 1ºC. Low tide."

A Yak-42 plane flies vertically with a full moon behind in Casarrubios del Monte (Spain)
Canon EOS R6 | 500mm | f/7.1 | 1/1000s | ISO 100
Photo by Chechu Fotografía

"Conversation in a very distant time: <<Chechu: Jaime, I want to put a plane on the Moon. But not just any plane. One of those that are so cool. Jaime: But Chechu, at night they cannot fly. Chechu: Hold my "cocktail" for a moment>>... And after several cancellations due to clouds, haze... Finally the day arrived. Message to the group the day before D-Day: Taraos, Habemus pilot! Morning of D-day, there are clouds but the whole team went on an excursion there. Beer for nerves, briefing in the hangar with David, our pilot. While Rafa and Jouni recording our crazy things. With the radio, to give instructions to the pilot while he passed over us ruffling even the bald, Juan Luis. This is, without a doubt, the photo that we all wanted. Shooting with me: Jaime Ollero, Jaime Marín, Kike and José Luis. Best of all, teamwork. The rest is history."

human figure staring at the Javalambre Astrophysical Observatory under a circumpolar in Arcos de las Salinas (Spain)
Canon 6D Mark II | 15mm | f/2.8 | 25s (334 shoots for the circumpolar, 1 for the blue hour) | ISO 800
Photo by Juan Carlos Leguey

"334 photos of 25s for the circumpolar and another photo during the blue hour. A marvelous location, the Javalambre Astrophysical Observatory. A place to enjoy one thousand and one nights."

Sunset inside Arc of Triomphe in Paris (France)
Canon EOS 60D | 235mm | f/11 | 1/500s | ISO 100
Photo by Jean Christophe

"Sunset inside Arc of Triomphe in Paris."

Manhattanhenge in New York City (USA)
Canon EOS R5 | 500mm | f/11 | 1/400s | ISO 400
Photo by Albert Tan

"Manhattanhenge, when the sun at sunset lines up with 299 azimuth that is the same as the street grid of NYC, has become popular on Instagram. While the museum announces an official day, this sight happens for weeks that draws our crowds."

three storks working on their nest at the top of a house's chimney with a full moon behind in Diespeck (Germany)
Nikon D780 | 600mm | f/7.1 | 1/40ss | ISO 1000
Photo by Mirko Fryska

"Storks in the full moon light."

human figure with the milky way rising behind at the Bridge of Aziz Ag in Grevena (Macedonia)
Canon EOS RP | 20mm | f/2.8 | 10s (10 shots for the sky) | ISO 6400 | Mirfak Lumen Cube to light the foreground
Photo by Kostas Katsalis

"It's been a year since I planned this photo using Photopills. Although the night was crystal clear and the location is so dark, I had to fight with the humidity from the river under the bridge. On top of that, there was no chance to polar align as my North side was blocked. Still, by stacking I would get the image I planned and waited so long for... Like I said, it takes a few seconds for the viewer to look at an astrophotographer's picture but it takes months of planning and waiting to get this result! All you have to do is respect that and use your lights as less as possible!"

human figure leaning on a hay bale while staring at a circumpolar in Otranto (Italy)
Nikon Z6 II a | 14mm | ƒ/3.5 | 60s | ISO 640
Photo by Pierandrea Folle

"Finally I was able to realize this photo, planned and in my mind since years. Every time the bales were moved some days before my planned shot. This year I've done this amazing 4 hours long startrail while I stargazing. I try to relate thee circles shapes of the srars caused by Earth moving and the same shape of bale. A game of shape in the frame, completed by the vertical Foreground lines, leading our eye to Polar, the startrail's center. If circles and lines seems to dance together, times aspect is the opposite. The Universe and sky are in continuous movement and expansion while the bales are synonym of a static object, stopped here waiting patiently to be used by the farmers. When I realize this kind of image, like many people noticed, I inspire to Van Gogh. The starry sky, the use of colors and composition attention recall alway his works. "I like the night very much, I feel much better at night than during the day, just like the madmen and artists who prefer the night." (Letter to Theo van Gogh, October 23, 1889)."

Tajinaste flowers illuminated by a rising sun in Tenerife (Spain)
Nikon D850 | 15mm | f/22 | 1/30s | ISO 200
Photo by Stefano Pellegrini

"A must have shoot in Teide was a good one of the Tajinaste, the incredible flowers of the Island. I wandered a lot trying to find the perfect place. I found a good spot for the sunset, but was not exactly what I had in mind: I wanted a super close-up with the sun-star. To do so I needed an interesting group of flowers, close together, big, beautiful, and oriented in the right direction. Finally, I found this glorious spot full of flowers on the side of a hill. I tried to shoot them at sunset but the volcano casted its shadow covering the sun, so I decided to go back for the sunrise. It was an excellent choice: I was able to make exactly the composition that I had in mind, and checking with @photopills, I found that was also possible to make the sun-star: it was just a matter of waiting the right moment. I spent all the bluehour composing the shoot and deciding the framing, then I waited. The final imagine is an HDR of 3 shoots. I love the layering of the shoot, made by the different flowers, and how the one in the front stands so big framing the photo. As soon as I saw it in the live view, I fell in love with it."

Crescent Moon in Arc du Triomphe in Paris (France)
Sony A7 IV | 364mm | f/11 | 1.3s | ISO 320
Photo by Philippe Roques

"First crescent moon is setting in the middle of the Arc de Triomphe."

boat and the sun setting behind the Mumbai's Sea Link bridge in Mumbai (India)
Nikon D5600 | 72mm | f/11 | 1/1000s | ISO 200
Photo by Krutik Thakur

"This Mumbai's Sea Link bridge is 150+ kms far from my home so it was photopills which helped me to plan the date to be there. On the planned day I took a 3.20pm train to go to Mumbai to capture sunset with this gorgeous bridge. Reached at 6.20pm and 30 mins where left for sunset. The sun was too harsh so I waited for a few minutes and then magic happened the sun was in the centre and a boat came at the right moment to add extra flavour to the image."

Perseids meteor shower captured behind an abandoned church in Villacreces (Spain)
Canon R6 | 14mm | f/2 | 15s | ISO 800
Photo by Yan López

"Perseids 2023 captured for almost 4 hours on the night of the peak in the abandoned town of Villacreces, Castilla y León, Spain. Multiple shots blended."

Moonset behind William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall (USA)
Sony A7r III | 717mm | f/9 | 1/2s | ISO 800
Photo by Mira Delva

"Moonset behind William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall."

full moon over the cement factory in Morata de Tajuña (Spain)
Canon EOS M50 | 500mm | f/7.1 | 1/40ss | ISO 1000
Photo by Alejandro Arnanz

"August 31, 2023, 99% Full Moon over the Morata cement factory. Shooting distance: 7.5 km."

circumpolar behind an endemic tree in the north coast of New South Wales (Australia)
Canon EOS R | 16mm | f/4 | 80s | ISO 640
Photo by Peter Humphreys

"It never ceases to amaze me how the landscape is changing constantly.This image was taken at a beach near where I live , the sand had built up creating a small lake behind the beach my plan was to do a star trail and hopefully get same reflections on the lake.ALL the planing was done useing photo pills."

Sun setting behind the Spirit of Freedom, the statue at the top of the July column in Place de la Bastille in Paris (France)
Canon EOS 60D | 260mm | f/5,6 | 1/5000s | ISO 100
Photo by Jean Christophe

"Sunset above Paris."

Supermooon rising between the two towers of the Church of St. James the Apostle in Alanta (Lithuania)
Nikon Z7 | 850mm | f/11 | 0.4s | ISO 800
Photo by Vitalis Vasylius

"Taken on 30 September 2023."

High line walker behind an eclipsed sun in Moab, Utah (USA)
Canon EOS R5 | 472mm | f/8 | 1s | ISO 2000 | ND 4.8 (16 stops) filter
Photo by Amy Osness

"High line walker during annular eclipse."

milky way over the Baobab Alley (Madagascar)
Nikon Z7 II | 14mm | f/1.8 | 15s | ISO 1600
Photo by Ulrich Wrabetz

"The amazing Baobab trees grow up to 35m and showed a magnificent foreground for the Milkyway on Madagascar."

milky way behind a rock that looks like a mushroom in Wadi Rum (Jordan)
Nikon Z6 II a | 14mm | f/5.6 | 240s | ISO 1250
Photo by Pierandrea Folle

"Do you know that mushroom grows up in desert?? Yes but, made of rocks!! My first photo in a desert, an incredible experience! After we settled in our tents in Wadi Rum, we had a typical bedouin dinner and after drinking their breakfast hot tea near the fire in the camp and decided our spots, we started moving in the desert on our 4x4 and I, obviously, was in the uncovered back. We travel among the rocks canyon shaped by atmospheric environments and every rocks leaves us breathless, since we finally arrived to our mushroom. Among the cats that moved our gear and some first difficulties, we shot our first image in Wadi Rum desert. An incredible emotion! After that, we soon start moving to another spot!!"

full moon rising behind the Santuari de la Mare de Déu de Montserrat de Montferri (Spain)
Olympus E-M1 Mark III | 723mm | f/9 | 1/4s | ISO 200
Photo by David de la Cruz

"Full moon at the Montferri Sanctuary, a unique place, located on a hill surrounded by vineyards. A little-known modernist building but truly astonishing as it is dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat."

Sun between the two towers of the Köhlbrand Bridge in Hamburg (Germany)
Sony A7 III | 400mm | f/11 | 1/3200s | ISO 200
Photo by Oliver Preuss

"Only on two days during the year, the sun is perfectly positioned between the famous „Köhlbrandbrücke" bridge."

crescent moon setting over the dunes, where a local bedouin and his camel are perched in Wadi Rum (Jordan)
Olympus OM-1 | 140mm | f/2.8 | 1/5s | ISO 3200
Photo by Florian Kriechbaumer

"The crescent moon setting over the dunes, where a local bedouin and his camel are perched."

silhouette of a taekwondo fighter with the sun behind in Yecla (Spain)
Canon 6D Mark II | 600mm | f/18 | 1/2500s | ISO 100
Photo by Álvaro Díaz

"It's incredible to see an athlete's agility. In this case, a black belt in taekwondo. I almost didn't have time to shoot with the intervalometer, I had to shoot in high-speed burst mode to capture the kick with perfect technique. Without a doubt, it was a fun and very beautiful moment when the sun passed behind. Hope you like it."

human figure with an umbrella looking for protection against the Geminids meteor shower in Montseny (Spain)
Canon 1200D | 24mm | f/2.8 | 10s | ISO 1600
Photo by David Laín

"What a beautiful reward this Geminids meteor shower has given me. Just when I turned off my headlamp and saw this spectacle, it was a non-stop display of meteors. As the radiant point in Gemini rose higher, the meteors appeared larger and more colorful. We couldn't stop shouting and dancing every time we saw them streak across the sky from left to right; it was quite a show. I didn't hesitate to set up my camera and start taking photos all night long."

3.Join the quest and become a legend!

I'm a strong supporter of looking at the work of other photographers for inspiration. This is one reason why I think the PhotoPills Awards is such a useful resource.

But remember, creativity and originality are key.

It's good to learn from what others have done, but when it comes to your own photography, listening to your inner voice might be the best approach. Develop your skills and be innovative, not just a copycat. Transform what you see into something that reflects who you are, what you feel, and the stories you want to share.

As a photographer, you're a storyteller. Embark on the journey to discover your unique style.

Once you've honed your art, share it with the PhotoPills community. Use your work to motivate others. Just like you can use one of the best photos of 2023 as an inspiration.

And who knows?

You might just create your best photo ever and become a legend in the process!

PhotoPills Awards 2023

¡Consigue gratis este ebook!

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