Giulia over at Travel Reportage likes to keep me busy and forwarded me another challenge. Thanks to her I am taking part in the HostetBookers 7 Super Shots and that meant I had to pick out seven of my best photos in response to seven different questions. It wasn’t an easy task, but for those of you new to An Out of the Way Place it’s a chance to see some of my best photos in one place and get an idea of some of the places I’ve been. Enjoy!
1 – A photo that takes my breath away
This is the oldest of the photos I have chosen. So old, in fact, that it was taken with a film camera! All kidding aside, I took this photo soon after I began to take photography more seriously and was working with film in the hope that the more contemplative nature of film photography could help me develop. During that time I took a road trip through the Great Smokey Mountain, which is where I captured this shot.
The weather had been rough with snow testing my driving skills much of the time. The wind and cold were ferocious and as is so often the case my own laziness was proving the biggest obstacles to my success. I simply didn’t want to get out of the car and freeze my fingers off trying to take a photo. Still, when I finally developed the pictures a week or two later I was glad I did. Speaking of laziness, I actually still have some large format film that I haven’t developed from the same trip. Looking at this photo now makes me thinks perhaps it’s time to finally get it developed.
2 – A photo that makes me laugh or smile
After having spent nearly a month hiking 800 kilometers across Spain, my friends and I finally caught sight of Santiago de Compostela, the goal of our pilgrimage. Although it was an amazing trip, we’d had enough of walking, a feeling that linked us through time with countless other pilgrims who, over the last millennium, have celebrated their first view of the cathedral spires and the fact that they’ll get to spend a day sitting down. In our delirium we took turns posing for photos by the statue and even my stoic German friend couldn’t help but show some emotion. I was lucky enough to catch him celebrating in this photo, which came out better than the photo he took of me doing an even more impressive one finger handstand. 😉
3 – A photo that makes me dream
I think all of my better photos make me dream, which made choosing for this particular question the hardest. I captured the above photo on the Dune du Pyla – Europe’s largest sand dune – early in the morning. The many visitors make it hard to capture good photos of the sand, but as we had camped illegally on the dune the night before, we were the first ones on it in the morning. As we walked through the blowing sand I took in one of the more spectacular sights that nature has been kind enough to show me.
Although I had looked forward to catching patterns in the undisturbed sand – one of my favorite photo subjects – I found the pattern of my own footprints to be more even more moving; perhaps because I was in the middle of such a long journey myself. I always dream of new journeys when I look at this photo, and if I’m not on one at the moment, it almost hurts me to look at it for too long. Maybe that’s because of the wild desire to travel it fills me with or maybe, more simply, it’s because footsteps in the sand weren’t meant to last.
4 – A photo that makes me think
I captured this photo at the magnificent Samos monastery in Spain. During a tour a little earlier, we had been shown a series of famous murals that were painted onto the walls of the monastery early in the 20th century. The guide said that one of the monks pictured was actually still alive and that even though he was 90 years old he could still be seen from time to time performing his various duties around the monastery. I was blessed to capture a photo of that same monk some time later as he very slowly pushed his mop over the floors.
I can’t help but think about what his life may have been like, living through one of the most tumultuous centuries in history while in the relative seclusion of his monastic home. How much had the world changed since his arrival? Had his world changed too? What thoughts occupied him as he cleaned and gardened much as he had for over 70 years? He had been excused from his work responsibilities years earlier due to his age, but chose to continue performing them even now. I feel privileged to have seen him working there although it would be hard for me to explain why. Perhaps the photo captures the moment better than my words can.
5 – A photo that makes my mouth water
This is easily the newest photo among those I’ve chosen and my regular readers will recognize it from a recent post. I’m chose it in part because I don’t take photos of food often (I can’t handle the temptation) and in part because case full of Viennese sweets is simply irresistible. In fact, Vienna has always been famous for its deserts. I’ll never forget the time I asked my friend’s German mother if she’d made any desert to go with the amazing dinner she’d made. She apologized with a smile, “Sorry, we’re not in Austria.”
Upon my recent return to Vienna I made a serious effort to fix up my puny post-Ironman physique by stuffing my face with a vast selection of deserts; I figure its extra food for my trip to Nepal. On one particular day, after an exhausting three course lunch, I tracked down these wild deserts in the famous Domayer Café whose customers have included the famous Johann Strauss and now me!
6 – A photo that tells a story
Midway through the journey of life, I found myself lost in a dark wood, for the way was lost to me… It was at that moment that I was comforted by a strangely familiar sight: Little Red Riding Hood?
I’ve always had an interest in cinematography, an interest that I hope I’ll have the opportunity to explore further one day. Until then I’ll take comfort in this photo, which – for me at least – tells a story that needs no words.
7 – A photo that I’m most proud of AKA my Nat Geo photo
This shot, which you may recognize from my banner, remains one of my all-time favorites. I was driving at reckless speeds in order to try and make it to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado before the sun set. Even so I had to pull over and catch a photo of the sand dunes in the distance and they began to glow in the evening sun. As there was no one else around I simply walked out into the middle of the road to capture this shot, which I have to say, is one of the only shots I’ve ever been completely satisfied with. It works even better as a large print which makes the otherwise small sand dunes much more visible. Definitely click on the photo to enlarge it if you don’t do so normally!
Thanks for staying with me through this longer than usual post. Sorry to those bloggers I’m hitting up with another task, but I don’t know that many other bloggers! The five I pass this onto are:
Michelle at Whirlwind Travel
April at Wellness & Fulfillment
Tracy at The HeSo Project
C., A., L. and M. at The Background Story
incognitiously at The Storytelling Trade