Choose seven photos, they say.
Your best seven shots.
This .. could take awhile.
7. a photo that takes my breath away: Greece, 2011
Greece is a place with deeply rooted history, both true and mythical – so it is no surprise that the country held many breathtaking moments for me. Here, in Epidaurus, sits an ancient ampitheater, largely intact and nestled into a mountainside. What you can’t see is the coin that was dropped by the girl standing in the middle of theater. She is barely the size of an ant from our viewpoint at the top, but I could hear that coin as though she dropped it on the stone next to me. Given perfect acoustics and mathematical genius, any noise made in that exact spot, will echo all the way up to the nosebleed seats. It was a perfectly isolated moment, when the tourist noise died down, and the soul of the place rose to the occasion.
6. a photo that makes me smile: New Jersey, USA, 2007
This may not have the views of the land we flew over, or the sunset vistas, but this makes me smile. I took my mom for a hot air balloon ride as a belated mother’s day gift. Have Balloon Will Travel let us assist in the prep and take down of this glorious contraption, and led us over the rolling hills of New Jersey on a summer evening. I don’t know about you, but when my mom smiles, I smile.
5. a photo that makes me dream: A Coruña, Spain, 2011
One of the best sounds in the world is water. The grandest of these, the ocean. Maybe it’s the tides and the moon and the awesomeness of nature – whatever it is, I like it. On this day in the far north of Spain, Natalie and I watched the ocean for almost an hour. With a storm approaching, the waves were irregular and gigantic. Every strike on the rocks was dramatic, and I took over 200 photos as Mother Nature roared for us. There are also photos of us “conducting” the waves .. if that’s not dreaming, I don’t know what is.
4. a photo that makes me think: Granada, Nicaragua, 2012
Leading a group of 8 students to Nicaragua may sound like a vacation, but it was not all beaches and palm trees. My students and I stayed with generous host families in the city of Granada, and both new and seasoned travelers were dazzled by the differences. One afternoon we went to a local after school project in a rural neighborhood, bringing school supplies and snacks. It was a brief visit but a powerful one. My group was swarmed by students, chattering in high pitched Spanish and throwing their arms around us for hugs. Students between the ages of 5 and 15 crowded the small space and stared at us openly – smiling, laughing, talking. I caught this quiet girl as we were leaving. I called her beautiful and for this, I am awarded a smile. This photo makes me think because I’m wondering: where will she go from here?
3. a photo that makes my mouth water: Philadelphia, PA, USA, 2010
I take a lot of food photographs. So many that you were probably waiting for this question. I have a love affair with food, it’s true. I recently saw the descriptor “people who travel to eat” and that is exactly what I’m into. So why the photo of an empty plate? The empty plate photo is a stamp of satisfaction – my compliments to the chef, as I demolished the dish set before me. In this case, epic brunch at Continental, Midtown in Philly.
2. a photo that tells a story: Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, 2009
On our last morning in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, it’s already hot at 6 a.m., and I can hear the monkeys hooting to each other in the canopy below. I walk out across the deck on bare feet, and place my hands on the already warm railing. Looking over the edge several flights down, I see the bright aqua of the pool, and the surrounding white chaise lounges. And monkeys. There are 4 or 5 white-faced monkeys chasing each other around the pool like something out of a cartoon. I streak back into the room, bark at Thao to wake up, grab my Nikon and rush back outside. The group takes to the trees and a lone monkey takes purposeful strides up the bark of a palm tree like he owns it. He swings toward a lower level balcony just beneath us, and continues to climb – directly toward Thao and I. I lean over to risk this shot, and back up (still shooting) as he levels with us. Without a second glance, he reaches upward and swings out of sight, leaving us wide awake and all giggles at our simian encounter.
1. a photo that I am proud of: Segovia, Spain, 2004
Difficult category. This is one of my favorite photos, taken from the top of the Alcazar in Segovia. Millions of tourists like have the same one. I was learning a lot about photography and composition and captured some really great photos that year. This is one of them.
And now for my nominees ..
Natalie (my ocean side companion) of Crumb Castle
Jeanne of Nomadic Chick, currently roosting in China
Liz en España, representing la patria
Rebecca of Fresh Era, holding it down in France