Now, I'm not sharing these #ShotOniPhone Challenge winners just to give them attention, though certainly they're rad and they deserve it. But, they're already getting compensated and they're already going to appear on billboards and in stores. And, that's going to give them a ton of attention.

No, I'm sharing these #ShotOniPhone Challenge winners, and some quick thoughts on them, for inspiration. Not just for you but for me. Seeing great work is a hell of a motivator to do great work. To do better work. And that's what I want to do. Every damn day.

Rather watch than read? Hit play on the video above!

Alex Jiang from the US, Shot on iPhone XS Max

What I love about this is the layers. You're looking through the basketball court, through the perfectly, symmetrically framed white hoop, at the rainbow colors of the apartments beyond, stacked like multi-hued lego bricks, but real and full of all these different people living their different lives. It looks simple and tranquil at first glance but that just hides all the bustle that really going on around and inside.

Judge Chen Man, a Chinese contemporary visual artist and entrepreneur, says: "This is a photo filled with lovely color and sense of story in the composition. Zooming in, you can see details of each family and their unique touch. The basketball hoop is placed right in the middle of the photo, adding more stories behind the image."

Judge Annet de Graaf, a travel photographer and author from the Netherlands says: "The narrative in architecture. There is actually life behind the surface of an average apartment building in an unknown city. Vivid colors and a perfect composition with the basketball board right in the middle! Great eye."

Blake Marvin, from the US, Shot iPhone XS Max

This one is black and white, fur and bark, and all shades of black in between. And it's captured at the perfect moment too, like you and the raccoon have just come face to face, but neither of you have decided what to do about it yet. Back away, fight? That's for the next moment to decide. And the high dynamic range, swirls it all together like yin & yang, and really ratchets up the drama and tension, especially that look in Rocket's eyes. Yeah, it's on.

Judge Austin Mann, a U.S. iPhone photographer, filmmaker and creative says: "This image took a lot of patience and great timing … with the iPhone's zero shutter lag and Smart HDR, we're able to see both the raccoon's eyes and the deep shadows inside the log … something that would have previously been nearly impossible with natural light."

Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior VP of product marketing, says: "The stolen glance between this raccoon/thief and photographer is priceless, we can imagine that it is saying 'if you back away slowly no one has to get hurt.' A nice use of black and white, the focus on the raccoon and the inside of the hollow log provides an organic movement frozen in time."

Darren Soh from Singapore, Shot on iPhone XS Max

This is so great. You think you take it all in on the first glance but then you look again. And again, trying to reconcile just what exactly it is you're seeing… and how. You have the warm yellows and oranges of the building, along with the purples and browns, just cut off at the knees by the cooler blues and grays. But it's the different realities that make it. The precise, geometric order of the modern, all squared off, lined up, reflected in the bubbly chaos of the puddle.

Phil Schiller says: "A reflection that looks like a painting, two worlds have collided. You are compelled to think about where and how this photo was taken, the bird flying in the corner provides the single sign of life in an otherwise surreal composition."

Chen Man says: "Distortion and reflection at a strange angle — this photo creates a fantastic feeling."

Nikita Yarosh of Belarus, Shot on iPhone 7

This could have been a very boring, very straight forward, very level and symmetrical shot, but by tilting down and angling in, it cuts out the world, eliminates all the context and color, and forces you to focus on the geometry rather than the scene. But that's exactly what makes it much more interesting and dynamic.

Austin Mann says: "I love how accessible this image is: You don't have to travel to Iceland to capture something beautiful, it's right under your nose. The way the lines intersect, the vibrant color, the sense of old and new … this is just a great image."

Luísa Dörr, Brazilian Photographer who shot Time's FIRST issue on iPhone, says: "I like the simplicity of this image, the composition, light, details, everything looks good. Then you see one small line that looks wrong and makes me think what happened, where is this place, who was there. For me a good image is not only one that is strong or beautiful, but makes you think about it — and keep thinking."

Dina Alfasi from Israel, Shot on iPhone X

This is an amazing shot. You've have the bleak, discarded loneliness of the road, the perfectly framed puddle blue heart in its center, and the perfectly framed silhouette of a person just walking across it in the center of that, only a glimpse of the world beyond behind them. It starts off feeling cut off an lonely, but then makes you feel like, if you hurry up and follow, there's hope waiting. Oh, wow, I just got way too corny there.

Sebastien Marineau-Mes, VP of software at Apple, says: "Love how the heart shaped water puddle frames the subject, capturing a glimpse of the world as the subject hurriedly walks past."

Brooks Kraft says: "A unique perspective and a new take on the popular subject of shooting reflections. I like that the subject is evident, but you are not really sure how the photo was taken. The puddle is the shape of a heart, with nice symmetry of the subject. The depth of field that iPhone has in regular mode made this image possible, a DSLR would have had a difficult time keeping everything in focus."

Elizabeth Scarrott from the US, Shot on iPhone 8 Plus

This one is picturesque in a way that almost looks like classic period painting, a piece of frontier Americana preserved like, I don't know, as much in spirit as in image and time. Neither the grass nor mountain are bokeh'd out, so obviously they're not hated like Jacob. But the colors from the blue sky and snow capped mountains to the sunnier, warmer field are still captured in a way that amplifies rather than distracts from the subject. Lesson learned: Walk until they're framed by the pine trees.

Brooks Kraft says: "A portrait that captures the wonderment of childhood in a beautiful setting. Great composition that shows both the personality of the child and the experience in the surroundings."

Pete Souza says: "Nice portrait and use of background to provide context. The placement of the child's face is in an optimal place — lining her up so the background directly behind her is clean and not distracting. The setting is a familiar — I've probably stood in this exact spot. But the picture is not like any I've seen from this location."

Andrew Griswold from the US, Shot On iPhone XS

I don't know. This one is all blade runner to me. Bright neon, cold backgrounds, all seen through the infinite lenses of rain. No idea how the artist captured it so perfectly, every pattern reflected in every drop, but it makes you experience the image as a whole first, and then almost tickles your brain stem as you realize all the depth. Great color, great contrast, great layers, great framing.

Jon McCormak says: "This image is very well thought through and executed. The background pattern holds the image together and the repeated smaller versions of that pattern in the water droplets create a lot of visual interest. The creative use of depth of field here is excellent."

Sebastien Marineau-Mes, says: "A unique composition and color palette, playing to the strengths of iPhone XS. What I find most interesting is the background pattern, uniquely magnified and distorted in every one of the water droplets. I'm drawn to studying and trying to elucidate what that pattern is."

Bernard Antolin from the US, shot on iPhone XS Max

By all rights, this should be a simple landscape… er… portrait. But, both the choice to use both portrait and black and white, make it less of a static shot and more of a dramatic experience. You have the brooding, almost oppressive clouds on top and dark hills on the bottom, but with the hope of brighter, more sliver clouds on the horizon… rolling up, almost cut across like a window shade.

Kaiann Drance, senior director of iPhone product marketing, says: "Looks like a simple scene but a good choice of using black and white to elevate it with a different mood. Helps to bring out the dramatic contrast in the clouds and the surrounding landscape."

LieAdi Darmawan (US), iPhone XS

What really sells this for me is the scale. Yeah, the sky is on fire. The mountains look like something out of Mordor. But, by going portrait rather than landscape, it encourage you to glance down see all the tiny little elements in the foreground, all captured so perfectly and distinctly, that you start to realize how truly massive everything else is. And then you look back up, and… whoa.

Luísa Dörr says: "I feel like this landscape was treated like an old portrait. The texture of the mountains evokes an old wrinkled face. Portraits and landscapes are the oldest way of creative representation by humans. There's something about it that belongs to the realms of the subconscious mind, and this is mainly what appeals me of this picture; the part that I'm not able to explain."

Robert Glaser of Germany, shot on iPhone 7

There's so much acceleration in this shot, almost like you're superman or woman, flying across the fields, then turning and just lookin back, the wind racing around you, the clouds and plains stretched out. And it's the color and the framing, tree cut off, later after layer of clouds, that make it so visceral.

Kaiann Drance says: "Gorgeous dynamic range.  There's detail throughout the photo in the meadow, trees, and clouds. Beautiful deep sky and pleasing color overall."

Your shot

So those are the winners. But, and hold onto your cheesiness alarms, really, we all are.

We live in a time where so many of us can capture images like this, not with some giant rig, but with the phone in our pocket. We can go from photon to packet — seeing a moment that inspires us, to capturing it, literally in as much time as it takes to reach, lift, frame, and tap.

And sure, you can do so much more with settings and apps, but increasingly, right out of the box, these smart cameras can capture tack sharp, crisply detailed, perfectly textured, smoothly graded, widely exposed, completely color managed, and make them immediately available to share with anyone or everyone, from anywhere to anywhere.

What's interesting this year is that there aren't any portraits included, no pets, not many people in place, not many still lifes, and not a single brunch or burger. Thank Odin. Not a lot of traditional heart stoppers or breath takers at all. But is that a sign of the times or an opportunity of next year?

So, that means it's your turn next. Get out and shoot!

VECTOR | Rene Ritchie

Main