I may be one of the last travel bloggers to arrive at Hostelbooker’s Seven Super Shots party, but let’s just call it fashionably late, shall we? Thanks to Picture Philly & Go, See, Write for nominating me.
I thought this would be an easy post to compile, but choosing just seven pictures out of years of travel was tricky! Instead of spending minutes picking out some of my best, I perused my photo archives for hours and even enlisted my little sister to make the final calls. As much work as it was, I’m happy to participate because I got to relive some of the best moments of my life.
1. A photo that takes my breath away
Gansbaii, South Africa
As most of you know, I spent my 29th year traveling the world solo with the ultimate goal of celebrating the big 3-0 in a shark cage in South Africa. I’d been cage diving a few times before on Oahu’s North Shore, but was disappointed by the lack of shark aggression. I was raised on Shark Week; I wanted a shark to try to eat my face off!
I took the photo above from inside the cage off the coast of Gansbaii, South Africa. I’d been positioning my Canon G12 just outside the cage’s bars, I guess; the Great White Shark in the photo came up VERY quickly and surprised me, making a beeline for my face, just like I wanted. Milliseconds after I snapped this shot, that shark’s bloody teeth were clamped onto the cage and I was staring down his throat. It was INCREDIBLE.
Click here to watch the video of the whole thing going down!
2. A photo that makes me laugh or smile
Ngong Hills, Kenya
After searching for volunteer opportunities around the world and coming up empty for a variety of reasons that I’ll get into in a post next week, I was thrilled to spend two weeks working with the kids at Compassion Center No. 755 in Ngong Hills, Kenya. When I flip through the hundreds of shots I took of their sweet faces, I can’t help but smile. What precious hopefulness they have in the throes of such extreme poverty. Kids are kids no matter where they live.
3. A photo that makes me dream
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
If I look back on 2011, I can pinpoint the very day I took the best pictures of the year. It’s also the same day I fabulously crashed my bicycle and broke my first Canon G12 by smashing it (and myself) into the ground. (I don’t belong on a bicycle.) The pain was worth it though to capture the moments I did because when I look back on that day, I forget about the bruises and remember the dark ride to the volcano at 4 a.m., the invigorating sunrise yoga and the unforgettable bike ride through the surrounding villages.
4. A photo that makes me think
I don’t think you have to be Christian, Jewish or Muslim to appreciate the gravity of Jerusalem, but I certainly think my strong beliefs helped me to think about the conflict and history on a different level. It’s a heavy place with a near palpable intensity in the air. Generations of powerful history will do that to a place, I guess. Looking around at the sworn enemies passing one another on the street, just going about their business, made it tough to imagine that at any moment the tentative peace could evaporate and war could break out among neighbors. Certainly one of the most thought-provoking places I’ve ever visited.
I chose the shot above because the crosses atop the churches and the mosques and minarets are a peculiar juxtaposition with the satellite dishes and antennas. I like to think the warring religious groups are all watching the same TV show, maybe Friends, inside their homes. How you doin’?
5. A photo that makes my mouth water
Some of the best food pictures I’ve taken have come not from gourmet restaurants, but instead from fresh, bustling weekend markets. I love wandering around a new town with a bag full of cherries or strawberries or anything local and fresh, exploring side streets and absorbing a new culture.
6. A photo that tells a story
Ngong Hills, Kenya
This photo tells a heartwrenching story of a mom who lives in a slum outside Nairobi. Every day she goes to the dump flanking her home to rummage through the trash for bits of food that she collects and sells to farmers to feed their pigs. She may make $1 a day if she’s lucky and if the other slum residents don’t steal what she’s collected before she can sell it. Her children don’t have shoes, decent clothing or adequate food and her home isn’t much more than a couple of ragged sheets of metal and some wire. Diseases are easily caught here, as clean running water is replaced instead with a stream of raw sewage running past the dump and through the residential part of the slum.
The situation isn’t hopeless. I’ve got a plan to help. Please stay tuned!
7. A photo that I am most proud of
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Yes, out of the thousands of photos I took in my travels, two from this list of seven come from the very same day. I’m telling you – I was ON FIRE!
The moment I snapped this shot, I knew it was special. I just love the colors and the smiles and the story and of course, the pig. I submitted it to National Geographic and it was chosen for the online Daily Dozen. Pretty exciting!
So what’s your favorite out of my 7 Super Shots? I’d love your feedback!
I think most folks who want to participate probably already have, but here are two more tags to keep the fun going.