2015: A Year In Photography

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2015 was a different year for me.

In 2014, I made the decision to cut back on my travels. In the two previous years, I had set foot in over 40 countries each year. I was getting burned out. 2015 was the year I instituted that change. The year I only set foot in 13 countries on 4 continents, the lowest number since I started traveling. I visited only 9 new UNESCO World Heritage Sites, leaving me stranded at 299 for most of the year.

Nonetheless, in terms of photography, it was a pretty good year. I won a Gold Medal in the annual SATW Muster Competition in the People category. I also won 8 awards in the annual NATJA competition, 6 of which were for photography.

I continue to improve and get better as a photographer. Even though I visited fewer places in 2015, I feel that I took more quality images this year than I have in past years.

You can also check out my year-end photo essays for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.


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1I began my year in the Catalonian Province of Girona where I stayed for 3 months. I took this photo while visiting the Garrotxa Volcano. The clouds parted just enough for this village to appear.


2015: A Year In Photography
2While up in the Pyrenees we came across a farmhouse. The owners weren’t around, but this dog was inside the house and really wanted to come out and see us.


2015: A Year In Photography
3I started taking more abstract shots this year. I went visiting some local farms in the region and I took this one on a morning when it was foggy.


2015: A Year In Photography
4 I tried to do more this year to capture smaller moments, not just big dramatic landscapes. This was taken during a sheep herding competition. The sheep were in a pen waiting for the next round of the event, staring at me.


2015: A Year In Photography
5While in Girona I took a side trip to Finland for a conference. While I was there I visited the Aland Islands, a Swedish speaking archipelago which is part of Finland.


2015: A Year In Photography
6 In late January I left Girona and flew to Alberta. My goal was to photograph the frozen bubbles in Lake Abraham. The conditions weren’t perfect, but I did manage to get some shots.


2015: A Year In Photography

7 I had been to the parks in Alberta several times before, but always in the summer. Seeing them in the winter put the parks in a whole new light and allowed me to see things in the park I had never seen before.


2015: A Year In Photography
8 Winter in Alberta isn’t just stunning, frozen landscapes. There is also a great deal of winter activity going on. This father was teaching his daughter how to ice skate on Lake Louise.


2015: A Year In Photography
9 During my time in Banff, Callum Snape took me to a spot which few people know about and even fewer have seen. The cabin of The Hermit of Inglismaldie. The cabin was built in 1910 by Billy Carver who moved to Banff from England. He lived in the cabin for 27 years until he was taken to an old age home. The cabin has been abandoned since 1937. Today you can still see remains of his stove and some pots outside of the cabin.


2015: A Year In Photography
10 In February I finally got a chance to visit the Kennedy Space Center in Flordia. I was on my way to Haiti and I took the opportunity to fly to Florida early to go exploring.


2015: A Year In Photography
11 In February I was on the inaugural trip to Haiti with G Adventures. It was an incredible experience being able to see a country which is right next door to the US, but few people bother to visit. This photo was taken in front of the Palace of Sans Souci and won me a Gold Medal in this year’s Muster Travel Photography competition.


2015: A Year In Photography
12 There is so much to see in Haiti. This photo of a hillside in Port-au-Prince was my most liked photo on Instagram in 2015.


2015: A Year In Photography
13 I took this photo in a hotel bar in Jacmel, Haiti. I don’t think anything in here had been updated in several decades. It was the type of bar you’d read about in a novel.


2015: A Year In Photography
14 This Citadel in Haiti is one of the most impressive, and least known attractions in the Americas. It is the largest military fortress in the Western Hemisphere and, by far, has the largest collection of cannons and cannon balls I’ve ever seen. They have over 100 Spanish, French and British cannons. Most military fortifications you visit from the 18th or 19th century might be lucky to have a handful.


2015: A Year In Photography
15 I left Haiti by land and went to the oldest city in the Western Hemisphere: Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. I only spent 4 days there and didn’t leave the old part of town, but it was an interesting place to experience.


2015: A Year In Photography
16 In April I took a short trip with my assistant Amy and her family to visit Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas and Poverty Point, Louisiana, one of the America’s newest world heritage sites.


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17Later in April I returned to Girona to attend a conference. Afterwards, I drove to Paris to shoot video for my upcoming travel photography training course. Along the way, we stopped in Bourges to photograph their World Heritage cathedral.


2015: A Year In Photography
18 Paris is such a photogenic city. Almost every street has something to photography. I took this photo outside the Louvre as museum goers prepare to enter.


2015: A Year In Photography
19I’ve often said the most interesting thing about seeing the Mona Lisa isn’t the painting itself, it is the crowds of people surrounding it. I’d happily spend an hour in the room photographing the people who are photographing the painting.


2015: A Year In Photography
20It is hard to take an original photo of the Eiffel Tower. I don’t know if my photos are original, but I had a blast photographing it at night, which was something I hadn’t done before.


2015: A Year In Photography
21For one of the videos, I did a photo walk from the Louvre to the Luxembourg Gardens, just shooting vignettes of life I saw along the way. One of them was this bookseller along the banks of the Seine, near Notre Dame.


2015: A Year In Photography
22These young girls were engjoying their day in the Luxembourg Gardens blowing bubbles and playing.


2015: A Year In Photography
23On the way back from Paris to Barcelona, we stopped at two places I had always wanted to visit. The first of which is the famous Mont St. Michele.


2015: A Year In Photography
24The other placed we stopped was in Normandy. We visited one of the American cemeteries in the region where the American dead from WWII are buried.


2015: A Year In Photography
25In June I had a once in a lifetime opportunity open up to me. I was invited to land and stay overnight, on a nuclear aircraft carrier. I drove to Norfolk, VA and along the way, I visited two unvisited national parks in the east: Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio, and Shenandoah National Park in Virgina. This image is of a covered bridge in Cuyahoga Valley.


2015: A Year In Photography
26Being on the deck of an aircraft carrier is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. To see how everyone operates in synch, and to experience the raw power of jet fighters, is simply incredible.


2015: A Year In Photography
27They were doing certification during our visit in preparation for heading out to the Middle East. We were able to witness dozens of take-offs and landings. They were able to turn the planes around in a matter of minutes.


2015: A Year In Photography
28Other than the deck of an aircraft carrier, the only place I know of on Earth where you can viscerally experience the power of a jet engine is Maho Beach on the island of St. Martin.


2015: A Year In Photography
29In July I had several conferences across the United States. As always, I try to mix in some adventure with the business. My first trip in July was back to the Florida Keys, which I visited in February. Weather nixed my visit to Dry Tortugas National Park then, but I managed to finally get there in July.


2015: A Year In Photography
30While in the Keys we visited Robbie’s on Islamorada where they have tarpon feeding. You buy a bucket of fish and get to feed the tarpon which have learned to feed there. Here is my friend Justin taking one for the team as his hand is engulfed by one of the fish.


2015: A Year In Photography
31After attending a conference in Austin, I drove down to San Antonio to visit the United State’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Missions of San Antonio.


2015: A Year In Photography
32In August I headed to the Atlantic provinces of Canada to visit some national parks. Hopewell Rocks, although not a national park, is one of the best palces to observe just how big the tides in the Bay of Fundy are.


2015: A Year In Photography
33Fundy National Park in New Brunswick was a pleasant surprise. There is a lot of photograph in a very small space. This image is of Dickson Falls inside the park.


2015: A Year In Photography
34Prince Edward Island National Park is one of the smallest in the Canadian park system, but it is also heavily visited by locals going on getaways.


2015: A Year In Photography
35Without question, the highlight of my year was my visit to Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador. A little-visited park, it had Inuit culture, wildlife, and fantastic visits like this one. This photo is of the North Arm of the Saglek Fjord at sunset.


2015: A Year In Photography
36The village of Hebron was the scene of one of the biggest tragedies in the Inuit community. In the 1950’s the Newfoundland and Labrador government forcibly removed all the residents of the community. You can still see the ruins of the buildings today and it has been declared a Canadian heritage site.


2015: A Year In Photography
37During one of our excursions we had a shore lunch with fresh arctic char caught right on the spot. This is David, an Inuit elder, who caught a good number of the fish we ate.


2015: A Year In Photography
38Even in late August, you could find icebergs off the coast of Labrador. The water that far north is so cold, that it doesn’t give icebergs much opportunity to melt.


2015: A Year In Photography
39During our visit to Hebron, one of the women working at base camp had a grandmother who lived in Hebron. She brought her son to lay flowers on her grandmother’s grave.


2015: A Year In Photography
40In September I had my annual photography tour. This year the tour was in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador. The tour started in Quito where I took this photo outside the Quito Cathedral.


2015: A Year In Photography
Flamingos are a species which you can see around the world. I saw these two sparring on the island of Isabela in the Galapagos.


2015: A Year In Photography
42You can see sea lions all over the Galapagos. We managed to see a group playing on the beach at sunset and I ran around to position myself to get the silhouette of one against the sun.


2015: A Year In Photography
43This photo was a total accident. I was taking photos of the marine iguanas and didn’t even notice that there was a shark passing in the background!


2015: A Year In Photography
44We rare sighting of two Galapagos hawks during our trip. They were feeding on a placenta from a newborn sea lion. They weren’t that far from us but acted as if we weren’t even there.


2015: A Year In Photography
45Tortises in the Galapagos have been hunted since Europeans arrived. As an extremely old species, they don’t breed quickly. This photo of juvenile tortoises was taken at a breeding center on the island of Isabella.


2015: A Year In Photography
46After the Galagapos I literally traveled around the world in October, going from Toronto to Chile, to Thailand to Florida to California. However, I didn’t take many photos as it was all for conferences. I did, however, manage to take this photo one morning in Puerto Varas, Chile.


2015: A Year In Photography

I didn’t snap a single photo in November or December this year. I made a big changed by moving into an apartment in Minneapolis. Having a base will actually allow me to travel more in 2016 and create more photos for you to enjoy.

16 thoughts on “2015: A Year In Photography”

  1. I especially loved your pictures of frozen landscapes in Labrador.
    Your shots in Paris illustrates a great juxtaposition of the old and new.
    And I can’t believe I missed out on the Galapagos when I was in Ecuador.
    Stunning spontaneous shots of people.
    I can’t wait to see more of your photographs, Gary. I’m excited for what this new year has to offer for you!

  2. The opening content to your post captivated me before I even began the journey of exploring your images. The images are stunning. However, images often cannot stand alone, or at least not have the same impact without the written word.
    “In the two previous years, I had set foot in over 40 countries each year. I was getting burned out. 2015 was the year I instituted that change. The year I only set foot in 13 countries on 4 continents, the lowest number since I started traveling.”
    This seemingly innocuous confession provides a springboard of curiosity and intrigue to your work.

  3. I am in awe! Thank you for sharing your gift of travel and how you see these beautiful places through your lens!

  4. Glad I saw your fb ad. Stunning! I hope your marketing efforts have excellent results for you. You are very talented!

  5. Beautiful Gary! I love the Haiti photos and especially the accidental shark photo. So perfect! Hoping to jump on your annual photography tour this year. Cheers!

  6. These are some gorgeous photographs. I really enjoyed your work – very inspirational. And you definitely caught my interest for a few new parts of the world so I thank you for sharing!
    Katie

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