An assortment of our photographers' favorite shots from the year. Credit: Troy R. Bennett, Linda Coan O'Kresik and Aislinn Sarnacki

With just days before the new year, we’ve already looked back at how our 2019 political predictions fared, the most inspiring sports stories of the year and more. Now, it’s time to look at how some of the most iconic moments of the year were captured visually.

In 2019, we swore in Maine’s first female governor, explored countless Maine hiking trails and bid adieu to the American Folk Festival, among countless other stories. Luckily, the BDN photographers were there to capture the joyous and solemn events that dotted the year.

BDN photographers Troy R. Bennett, Linda Coan O’Kresik, Aislinn Sarnacki and more were there for it all. Here’s a look at their favorite shots.

Troy R. Bennett, visual journalist

Bennett: “I wasn’t the only one who captured this moment — but it’s still one of my favorites from 2019. The girls had just lit up the room with their incredible song and the governor was hugging them for all of us.”

Bennett: “It was a solemn day, one where I try not to think too hard about the occasion and its sadness. If I did, I wouldn’t be able to make the pictures. I’d be too busy crying.”

Bennett: “I can’t be sure yet, but I think this will turn out to be Pedroia’s last at bat in professional baseball — the end of his career. You can see both the pain and determination on his face. He was thrown out at first and then lifted from the game.”

Bennett: “This was one of those photo gifts the universe gives me from time to time. All I had to do was get on my belly, point, wait for it and shoot. It was right there.

Bennett: “Heading into the Expo on a hot summer day and trying to strike up a conversation with people who just walked to Maine from Brazil was not easy. It was even harder not sharing a common language and feeling the creeping suspicion that we were exploiting them. Somehow, my colleague Nick Schroeder and I — with the help of an interpreter — found a connection. I think you can see it here.”

Linda Coan O’Kresik, visual journalist

Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik
Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik
Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik
Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik
Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

O’Kresik: “So it seems that at the end of each year when I look back through the photos I took, I’m always drawn to the ones that make me smile or show the beautiful scenery of our state. There’s more than enough tragedy and hardship to go around, and although powerful images come from difficult times, my end of year favorites are the ones that capture the joy and make me smile. My hope is that when they are published, our readers smile, too!”

Aislinn Sarnacki, Act Out editor

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

Sarnacki: “I came across this rosy maple moth while hiking on Mount Percival in Northport in early July. It was just resting on a tree beside the trail. I love this photo is because the moth is in its natural habitat, resting, instead of fluttering about a porch light at nighttime. In the middle of the day, it was a very lucky find. I’m also a big fan of the vibrant colors in the photo — the pink and yellow of the moth’s wings against the rough brown bark and the green moss. I took the photo with a macro lens in an effort to capture the texture of the moth’s wings and furry body.”

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

Sarnacki: “This barred owl, with its inky black eyes, landed in a tree beside a trail on Horse Mountain in Baxter State Park. I used a 100-400mm lens to take several photos from a distance. Later, when editing the photos, I selected one that had good clarity and a sharp focus on the eyes of the animal. In addition, I like the composition of the leaves and white birch trunk in this photo. It really gives you the impression that you’re looking through the branches of multiple trees to spy something special — which you are!”

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

Sarnacki: “This poisonous mushroom, known as fly agaric, is common in the forest throughout Maine, but this year, I saw an abundance of them while exploring the woods near Moosehead Lake and in Baxter State Park. They’re such colorful, large interesting mushrooms that I almost always take photos of them, but this one is one of my favorite. The color of this mushroom is particularly rich, and the flowering body of the mushroom is so mature that the cap is very round and textured. To take photos of mushrooms, I almost always get down on the ground for a better angle.”

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

Sarnacki: “When photographing hiking trails for my weekly column, I often find it challenging to capture the steepness of a slope or the vast proportions of a boulder or cliff. Somehow, I managed it in this photo of a ridiculously steep and rocky trail on Bernard Mountain in Acadia National Park. I love how the massive tree roots twist over the rock, the moody lighting and the tall straight trees stretching into the overcast sky. Having my hiking companions (my husband, Derek, and our dog, Oreo) in the photo, in the middle of it all, really helped put everything to scale.”

Credit: Aislinn Sarnacki

Sarnacki: “I think that this type of wildlife photo is rare because it actually captures a bit of the bird’s curious personality. I was walking along a logging road in northern Maine when this Canada jay landed in a tree nearby. As I got out my 100-400mm camera lens, the bird hopped from one branch to the next, getting closer to me. Then it twisted right around on the branch for a closer look. I snapped a few photos — this one included — then held out my hand. To my surprise, the jay jumped, flew to me and perched right on my fingers. It was the first time that a wild bird had ever landed on my hand, so that makes this photo extra special.”

What were your favorite photos of the year? Let us know in the comments below. For more of the BDN’s best photography, follow us on Instagram, @bangordailynews.

Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn Sarnacki is a Maine outdoors writer and the author of three Maine hiking guidebooks including “Family Friendly Hikes in Maine.” Find her on Twitter and Facebook @1minhikegirl. You can also...

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Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.