On the photography front, I was named Photographer of the Year for a fourth time by the Central States chapter of the Society of American Travel Writers, won seven NATJA Awards, and was named Best Travel Photography Blog at the TBCAsia Awards in Sri Lanka.
2017 was an odd year for me. It was the least amount I have traveled since I started traveling full time in 2007. I “only” stepped foot in 14 countries this year. I did make the most of it as I visited 27 new UNESCO World Heritage Sites this year (plus 1 that was added this year which I previously visited). I also managed to visit over a dozen National Park Service sites in the US on various domestic trips I took.
Photography wise, I launched the Travel Photography Academy, which is my online travel photography training course. I also won 11 awards in the annual North American Travel Journalists competition and took home a bronze prize in the Single Subject Portfolio category of the annual Society of American Travel Writers photography competition.
Nestled in the upper north east corner of Spain and Catalonia, sandwiched between Barcelona and the French border, is the city and region of Girona.
I spent the winter of 2014-15 living in Girona for three months. I had the pleasure to see much of the province as well as experience Christmas, Three Kings Day, and attend several local festivals.
Girona is one of my favorite places in Europe and I continually tell people about it, as it is often overshadowed by its larger neighbor to the south, Barcelona.
If you want to know why I love Girona, you can probably best understand by seeing it for yourself.
The image of the buildings along the River Onyar is probably the most iconic views of the City of Girona. The Basilica, seen in the background of the photo, was my north star for navigating the city. My apartment was nearby, so if I could see the Basilica, I knew how to get back.
The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is one of the lowest, hottest places on Earth. Geographically, it is part of the African Rift which extends from the African rift lakes of Malawi and Tanganyika, up through the Red Sea and into the Dead Sea of Jordan and Israel.
Politically, it is part of the Afar region, which has suffered from separatist violence in the past.
Ecologically, it is an extreme desert located below sea level, with temperatures which reach 50°C (122°F) on a regular basis.
To top it all off, it is also home to a volcano with one of the largest, open pits of exposed magma in the world.
Despite all of this, however, people live in the Danakil Depression and manage to eek out of living in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet Earth.
Every year, the polar bears of the western Hudson Bay region congregate in the area around Churchill, Manitoba as they wait for the sea ice to form. Given circulation of water in Hudson Bay, and the location of river systems which flow into Hudson Bay, the ice near Churchill is the first to freeze in …
2016 was a year of changes for me. It was the first year I haven’t been living on the road since I started traveling full-time in 2007. I got an apartment in December 2015 which meant I had a place to go in between trips this year. It has radically changed how I travel and how I get work done. Oddly enough, I traveled more in 2016 than in did in 2015 even though I wasn’t on the road full-time.
This year I also made the big switch from Nikon to Sony. I had some minor issues with the change, but overall I was quite pleased with the quality of the results this year. All of the images I took in 2016 were taken with my Sony a7rii or a6000.
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.
Every so often I showcase the work of other travel photographers on my site. Today I’d like to introduce you to Laurence Norah. He has been traveling around the world since 2009 and blogging and photographing his travels since 2010. He is well known for his stunning landscape images which has garnered him a large online following.
I’ve met Laurence several times at conferences in Europe and I’ve always been a fan of his work. He is one of a select group of online travel photographers who have had great success with his work.