Category Archive: Photo Essay

2014 Travel Photographer of the Year!

Posted by on November 2, 2013

Several days ago I came out of the Namib Desert to find out that I had been named the 2014 SATW Travel Photographer of the Year! This is a huge honor and something that I was rather surprised to have won.

The list of people who have won in the past 32 years is a who’s who of some of the best travel photographers in the world. These are normally men and women who photograph for the likes of National Geographic. I am conspicuously different from every other previous winner of the award in several ways:

  • I am the first full time blogger to win the award.
  • My work has never appeared in print. I have never had it featured in any magazine or newspaper.
  • I have never even so much as been approached by any print publication to have my work displayed.
  • I am completely self taught. I’ve never taken a course, read a book or had a mentor in the subject of photography.
  • All of my images are available for the public to view for free.

This isn’t just a triumph for me, but for everyone in the world of new media. I might have been the first such person to have won, but I will not be the last.

I also won my second Lowell Thomas Award for my photo essay of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia.

To celebrate, I’ve decided to publish a special photo essay of the images which got me the win. The following 20 images were taken around the world over the last 2 years and compromised the portfolio I submitted. I don’t necessarily think they are my best 20 photos, but they do represent a diversity of scenes and places.

As always, I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I did taking them!

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Photographing Vietnam’s Rainy Season

Posted by on September 20, 2013

My friend and two-continent club member Sherry Ott is a prolific travel photographer and blogger. She recently visited visited Vietnam during the rainy season. While that might be a deterrent for most people traveling, Sherry managed to find inspiration and beauty in the rain. Here is Sherry…


I often get people who tell me they are skipping a country in Southeast Asia because it’s rainy season, monsoon season, or it’s ‘just too hot’ at that time of year. Little do they know that traveling in rainy season is one of my best kept travel secrets and I always wonder if I should tell them what they are missing when they skip countries or locations due to a less than desirable weather season.

From a cultural experience and photography standpoint, inclement weather seasons are wonderful opportunity to see how the locals really live in situations that we would deem less desirable. You get a true feel for the country and local culture and traditions through the ‘tough’ times. On top of it you get introduced to a number of new products that are used in that inclement weather season that you probably never even dreamed of. In Vietnam you’ll see surprising products such as the double headed ponchos or ponchos with a headlight window.

On my recent trip to Saigon during rainy season, I was lucky enough to have the skies open up and pour down their wrath on city streets. I was on a motorbike myself, so I had a great perspective for photography and luckily I had proper rain gear for my camera. I watched as the streets flooded rapidly and the Vietnamese locals didn’t skip a beat. Rain doesn’t stop them – and it shouldn’t stop you.
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Photo Essay – Andorra

Posted by on May 30, 2013

Andorra might be one of the smallest countries in the world, but it is certainly high on the list of the most picturesque. Located high in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain, Andorra is one of the world’s oldest democracies and the world’s only co-principality (the co-heads of state are the President of France and the Bishop of Urgell in Spain). It is also the only country in the world which uses Catalan as the official language.

Andorra is difficult to get to, but it is worth the trip. It is one of the few countries in the world that lacks both a train station or an airport. To get there you have to come by car or bus from Spain or France. The most common route is to fly to Barcelona and take a 3 hour drive through the Pyrenees.

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Photo Essay : Italy

Posted by on February 14, 2013

This May 11-24 I’ll be leading a travel photography tour through Italy with G Adventures. We will be traveling from Venice to Rome visiting many of the highlights of Italy along the way: Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Sienna, Vatican City, Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. I’ve previously visited most of the locations on the tour and have had the pleasure to photograph them already. Here is a taste of some of the photos you will be able to come back with if you join me on the tour.

I selected Italy for the 2013 tour because it is a travel photography gold mine. Almost every village and train station has some photogenic quality about it. Not only will you walk away with great image, but I’ll also be working with you one-on-one to help improve your technique.

Sales pitch over. Enjoy the photos!
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Photo Essay : The Art of Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Posted by on January 12, 2013

As amazing as the landscape and wildlife of Haida Gwaii are, the artwork created by the talented Haida artists is just as impressive. For decades the Haida art was surpressed by the Canadian government. In the 1960’s however, the government loosened controls on Haida culture and the result of the Haida Renaissance. Artists such has Bill Reid became world renowned and his work can be seen today at the Vancouver Airport and on the Canadian $20 bill.

Today Haida artists have continued their work promoting Haida culture around the world. While in Haida Gwaii I had the pleasure of meeting Haida artist Christian White, who’s work is featured in this photo essay. As one of the top Haida artists in the world, his work can command into the 6-figures.

I found Haida artwork to be come of the most beautiful and compelling creations I’ve seen in North America. During my travels I seldom buy artwork, but I would seriously consider adding a Haida piece to my home (if I had one).
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2012: A Year in Photography

Posted by on December 28, 2012

2012 was a busy travel year for me. I visited all seven continents, 18 countries and flew over 150,000 miles. I was exhausted for much of the year, but on the upside I came away with some amazing photos. I made some great strides as a photographer in 2012. I improved my mastery of Lightroom and have have worked on going out of my way to get better shots. My gear didn’t change much during the year. I purchased a new carbon fiber tripod in March and replaced the 18-200mm lens I had been using since 2007. I also celebrated my 5-year anniversary of publishing my daily photo and released my iPhone Travel Photography app.

It was a good year for photography and I plan on making 2013 even better!


Ushuaia, Argentina


Stanley, Falkland Islands


Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island


Paradise Bay, Antarctica


Half Moon Island, Antarctica


Caye Caulker, Belize


Sydney, Australia


Lord Howe Island, Australia


Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Bryson City, North Carolina


Yosemite National Park, California


Monument Valley, Utah


Antelope Canyon, Arizona


Horseshoe Bend at Lake Powell, Arizona


Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah


Fjallbacka, Sweden


Tetouan, Morocco


Elche, Spain


Granada, Spain


Girona, Spain


Gibraltar


Churchill, Manitoba


Riviera Maya, Mexico


Stonehenge, England


Bath, England


Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Photo Essay : Egypt

Posted by on December 5, 2012

I visited Egypt in early 2009. It was a place I had been anxious to visit during my previous two years of traveling. They pyramids and the other Egyptian ruins are some of the most ancient remnants of human civilization. Egypt didn’t disappoint. Despite a rather negative experience at the pyramids, my experience in Egypt overall was a positive one. I went SCUBA diving in Alexandria to see the ruins of the ancient lighthouse, traveled all the way to Abu Simbel, sailed down the Nile from Aswan to Luxur, crossed the Sinai Peninsula and visited the world’s oldest monastery: St. Catherine’s.

I know that the recent turmoil in Egypt has soured many people on visiting, but I would return again in a heartbeat.
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Photo Essay – Prague, Czech Republic

Posted by on November 14, 2012

I visited Prague in 2011 as part of a trip I took through Central Europe. Having been spared much of the worst of WWII and put in a state of arrested development during the Cold War, Prague has one of the best preserved old cities in all of Europe. It has served as the backdrop for many period films such as Amadeus and Immortal Beloved. While no longer the low cost destination it was after the fall of communism, it is still one of my favorite cities and one of the most visited cities in Europe.


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Photo Essay : Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Posted by on October 25, 2012

This summer I had the pleasure of visiting Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. Previously known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, Haida Gwaii is an archapelego of islands off the northern coast of British Columbia and south of the Alaskan Panhandle. Haida Gwaii means “islands of the people” in the native Haida language.

The premier attraction in Haida Gwaii is Gwaii Haanas National Park. It is a very remote and difficult to access are with few overland options for entering the park available. I explored the park on a 4-day zodiac trip with local tour operator, Morseby Explorers.

Haida Gwaii is one of the most wonderful, yet least known places in North America. If you are ever exploring Northern British Columbia, you should be a part of your itinerary.


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Photo Essay : Yosemite National Park, California

Posted by on October 4, 2012

Yosemite National Park is one of the crown jewels in the United States National Park System. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Yosemite twice; once in 2009 and in 2012 with my G Adventures Travel Photography tour. It is on my short list of the most photogenic places in the world. It is almost impossible to visit and come away with bad photos.

Those of you who have visited Yosemite know just how beautiful it is. Those who haven’t owe it to themselves to visit at least once in their life.


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