I was recently approached by the site Hostelbookers.com to participate in a round robin style blog post. Yes, another one, but this one is fun. They assembled seven bloggers, including myself, and asked us to contribute one photo and story for seven categories. You can see the post here with my entry and the entries of the other participating bloggers.
To kick off the merry-go-round of photographic awesomeness, here are my submissions for each of the seven categories, and at the end of the post I’ve asked five other bloggers to contribute their own 7 Super Shots. I hope you enjoy a stroll through some of my favorite photos and experiences.
1. Photo that takes my breath away – I took this photo while flying over the Franz Josef glacier in a helicopter, on the way to an icy landing. New Zealand made a huge impact on me, due in large part to scenes of natural brilliance like this one. Every time I see this photo, I smile and think back to that marvelous experience.
2. Photo that makes me laugh/smile – I’m smiling as I write this, so I guess this photo was the best choice for the category. I snapped this shot of a baby Rhino snacking while visiting the Singapore Zoo, one of the best zoos in the world. This big/little guy was so ridiculous, he had all the visitors smiling and laughing. Even though he was intimidating, he was as playful as any baby, head butting the adults and annoying his mom until she let him participate in the snack session.
3. Photo that makes me dream – If I didn’t live in DC, I would without a doubt live in Paris. Since my first visit there nearly 20 years ago, it has been a constant feature in my travel dreams. Some cities just grab you and don’t let go, which is what Paris did to me. Looking at this photo makes me wistful and happy, reflective on what a great city Paris really is.
4. Photo that makes me think – The Western Wall, or Kotel, in Jerusalem is one of the great religious sites of the world. Millions have journeyed there to pray and to seek solace. I was struck in particular by the many people who go to the wall every day, wondering what they think as they commune with God.
5. Photo that makes my mouth water – I found myself in the middle of the main tourist zone in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, and desperately wanted to escape. The city was lovely, but the souvenir hawkers were getting on my last nerve. I wandered down a few side streets closer to the malecon, the new boardwalk in town. Gulls soared overhead and the sound of the sea crashing captivated my senses, except that instead of salt spray I smelled the unmistakable aroma of grilled meats wafting by. It was lunchtime, I was hungry and I followed the smell of meaty goodness until I found Maria.
Maria owns a small taqueria not far from the tourist zone, but just far enough to lure locales along with curious tourists. She was preparing for the lunch rush when I plopped down on one of the stools facing the street and, through a somewhat confusing mix of Spanglish and effusive pointing, managed to assemble the perfect taco. The carne asada was grilled before my eyes, combined with a sharp Mexican cheese and all placed expertly onto a fresh tortilla and served up with great flourish. The meat was succulent and I struggled to make sure not a drop of the juicy goodness escaped the tortilla. The delectable treat didn’t last long, but I walked away happy and content, not just for the taco but for my luck at finding Maria and a little bit of real Mexico amidst all the tourist chaos.
6. Photo that tells a story – I found this cute guy seeking shade amongst the ruins at the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. He looked tired and haggard, and was missing an eye from a past accident. But he had strength, and in that strength beauty, both of which I admired. I think he has a story to tell, but this picture is likely to be all we’ll ever know of it.
7. Photo that I am most proud of (aka my National Geographic photo) – Maybe it’s because I just took this photo recently, but I am extraordinarily proud of it. We were dogsledding in the back woods of Alberta, when suddenly the dog pack erupted into this field of pristine snow. This photo not only captures the natural beauty of the moment, but it captures our feeling of being in a very special place at just the right time.
I hope you enjoyed these photos, but now I want to see these travel bloggers complete the same challenge: