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My year through the lens of a really smart phone

By Tyson Wheatley, Senior Editor for Asia/Pacific

I never thought of myself as a photographer until this year. Perhaps, after looking at these images, you'll think I'm still not. I'm probably something else, part of growing number of slightly obsessive devotees to an emerging art form in the mobile space - what some have dubbed "iPhoneography."

There's something liberating and extremely addictive about having a camera, a dark room, and virtual publishing tool in your pocket. In 2011, I used it to document my new life in Hong Kong.

I first moved to Hong Kong in January. It was my first time setting foot in Asia. I didn't know the place or anyone in it. I started sharing my adventures on Instagram, a photo-sharing app and social media platform for the iPhone that excels at making your mobile pics look cooler than they probably are. Not only could I share my photos with the friends and family I'd left behind, but I quickly connected with Instagram’s incredibly supportive community, and made real, lasting friendships with local Instagramers.

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My fellow Hong Kong Instagramers opened their hearts and shared their incredible city with me. Together, we've discovered parts of Hong Kong I'm sure I would not have thought - or had the courage - to explore on my own. As a result, my first year here has been a far richer experience and I've been introduced to a culture and city I find equal parts fascinating and beautiful.

Everything you see here has been taken and edited with an iPhone4. Yes, these images have been modified, some heavily, using a host of editing apps and tools, the most key being Instagram.

One of my favorite images was taken during a hike above the skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island. Menacing storm clouds were looming over the harbor and skyline, but rays of sunlight were bursting through. I used two apps, Filterstorm and Snapseed, to enhance and flush out the colors. The end result looked something I imagine Armageddon might resemble. Not quite real, but stunning, to me at least. A place where magic and reality meet.

A year later, I think that's what's changed in me. I'm looking at the world in a new way, and experiencing Hong Kong's people, architecture, nature - whatever catches my eye - through filters, and the lens of a really smart phone.

What stories have you told through iPhone photography? Submit your photos through CNN iReport.