2012 was a fantastic year for travel and photography. In a nutshell we travelled through 16 countries, over 50 cities and flew over 104000 miles. Instead of giving the traditional photographers rundown of their favorite images of 2012 I am going to give you 13 images (lucky 13 for 2013 starting next week) that represent memorable moments for me. So here we go in chronological order.
Times Square Panoramic
It seems like every time I visit NYC there is tons of rain. I was in NYC for work and spent one evening in a massive downpour using my raincoat (and a special raincoat for my camera) and was able to with some serious effort capture this panoramic shot of Times Square.
I try to take a spring trip every year and this years trip brought me to Rome, Budapest, Slovakia and Czech Republic.
River of Gold
For beginners Veronica and I spent a few wonderful days exploring Rome. One evening while walking with Augusto we came upon this famous scene of the Vatican looking back a couple bridges over the Tiber River. I have never seen a river with this many golds, silver and copper colors.
The Most Expensive Photo I Have Ever Taken
The next most memorable moment was this one in Budapest where we met up with our good friend Steve (Grumpy Badger). I call this image ‘The Most Expensive Photopgraph I Have Ever Taken’. This is an image of the famous Chain Bridge and Parliament in Budapest. It deserves the title since the night before I had about $10K ($20k if you throw in Steve’s gear too) in photo gear stolen out of the trunk of a car. Spent 5 hours in a police station trying to get a 3 page report for insurance. And the next day went out camera shopping in Budapest. Licking my wounds and honestly not wanting to even ‘shoot’ I forced myself to go out and try. This is the 1st picture taken with my ‘NEW’ camera. A very painful experience that I hope to never repeat.
Apple Tree and Canola Field
After leaving Budapest with our new gear in tow we met up with our guide and friend Milos who introduced us to Slovakia. Traditionally, Slovakians don’t care very much for Hungarians. After our horrific experience in Budapest it was quite funny to hear Milos, as he was driving back towards the Slovakian border, mumble the words ‘f^&*#g Hungarians’ in reference to their driving. This phrase seemed to become the mantra for the trip after that point. We visited many places in Slovakia. This image is of an apple tree and one of the many canola fields in full bloom that we found while exploring. Steve, Milos and I had a phenomenal day shooting here and it was one of my memorable moments from 2012.
In Slovakia Steve and I were taking photos of the interior of a church located near my Grandfather’s birthplace. A family was prepping the church for a wedding and gave us permission to take photos while they worked,. They wanted to give us a gift and gave us a few prayer missals and a plastic rosary in a little snap-case. Skip forward a week and Steve and I are entering the Bone Ossuary in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. The skeletal remains of 30000+ people (who died 500 years ago in the plagues and Hussite wars) reside here. As I went to pull my camera out of its bag the rosary not only came flying out but unsnapped itself from the case and fell out onto the floor (in full length). So many weird creations in this church. This is a candle tower creation I found while wandering around this strange place. The rosary now remains (for good luck) on my work desk and is next to me right now.
I would like to personally thank Dave Manley (Czech part of the trip) at www.gorealeurope.com and Lenka, Milos http://www.fotomarcinek.sk/ and Martin from http://www.travelslovakia.sk/, Kristen at RandInsurance (you saved my tail) , Silvio Rugolo and of course Veronica for their help in making this trip fabulous!
Green Wall and Tree Shadow
In addition to having my 1st ever photographic show in July (thank you Andrew Clark). I had the opportunity to visit Argentina and Uruguay. Managing a couple days to get out and shoot I spent one fantastic day with Paloma visiting Sacramento de Colonia in Uruguay. Paloma is a fantastic photographer in her own right and we had a special day exploring the area together. What I remember most about Uruguay (and remember this is wintertime there) was just how beautiful, crisp and clean the air felt when we were there. I actually said to Paloma ‘ This is one of those moments when you are just happy to be alive and be right here’ I call this image ‘Green Wall and Tree Shadow’ (Yeah – I know – real original) and I loved the shadows and light on the wall in this image.
Wall and Red Jacket
The next couple days I spent with my friend (and another photographer – surprise) Pato. I wasn’t entirely sure what we would be doing when he met me at my hotel in Buenos Aires but we quickly became friends and started on our 25+ mile (on foot) journey across the city of Buenos Aires. Pato and I walked and walked and walked some more. I think we were both shocked when we eventually had to get a taxi to bring us back at how far we had walked. The following day one of my colleagues (Jorge Xifra) joined us in exploring and taking photos (do you remember the nutcase woman we ran into at Chicarita?). This image is one of my favorites that I made with Pato on that first fantastic day. Pato and I were wandering through Barracas in Buenos Aires and I found this marvelous wall. I started to build up the composition which was great as a standalone. By accident I captured someone in the image and liked the result. We then waited til we could get a person staged in the right part of the image and here is the result.
I would like to thank the entire Latin American BMC Software team, Pato Guillamon http://www.patricioguillamon.com/ , Paloma Herb http://www.palomaherb.com.ar/ and most importantly Frank Lamprea for making this an awesome trip. I cannot forget you either Taylor Moore and Amelia McGoldrick. Thank you all!
August /September 2012
Veronica and I spent our annual trip together visiting Poland/ Lithuania/ Latvia/ Estonia and Russia. Before I get going let me just say that this was one of the most aggresive trips we have ever planned. It had so many moving parts to make it successful and there are lots of people to thank. But let me first show you a few moments.
Town Hall through Arch
In Gdansk we worked with Agnes as our guide and translator. Earlier in the year we uncovered some relatives of ours living in Torun and with Agnes help we spent time getting to know them and explored the fantastic medieval town they call home. Meeting them was one of the highlights of the year for Veronica and me.
The restored old town of Gdansk is very impressive. As the sun was going down and Veronica and I were looking for some pierogis for dinner I stumbled upon this image framing the town hall with the last evidence of the days light fading away.
Zaporo and Building Ruin
In Latvia we worked with Artis and Marcus who work for a company called eatriga.lv . They are known for providing tours that are different and out of the ‘norm’ (which was perfect for V & me). On our second day together we met with Artis and he said Marcus was bringing the car around. Expecting a modern car, we were very surprised when they picked us up in a 1988 Ukrainian made Zaporozhet. It was really a riot to drive around in this piece of history. People driving next to us on the highway would cheer us on. All throughout this trip I sought out anything old and Soviet even if it was abandoned and in ruins. I thought the building was a perfect backdrop for this car.
Fireworks at Peterhof
In St Petersburg we met with one of the most awesome people I know. Julia (and her family) own the company Dancing Bear tours http://dancing-bear-tours.com/ . From the 1st moment V & I were stepped foot into St Petersburg we were impressed with the depth and seemingly never ending stuff to see and photograph. And everything is grand, precise and ‘over the top’. Being with Julia is like being with a PhD in Art History and we really clicked (literally) together as she instinctively worked with me to find the right locations and things to shoot. I picked this image of the fireworks at the closing of the fountains at Peterhof only because I can vividly remember the crowds (and cold) waiting for the fireworks to go off. Our guide Julia told us that we would be visiting these famous fountains on one of the two nights yearly when they mark the closing of the fountains with fireworks. We waited with thousands of people until about 9:30P when they finally triggered the finale. (on a personal note – Julia – I cannot wait to work with you again!)
There are many more images from this trip on my website galleries. I would like to thank though Agnes Syroka http://www.tourguidegdansk.com/ , Justina Petruskaite (the Zeppelins were awesome!), Marcus and Artis at www.eatriga.lv , Nelli Kerde, Andrew Meek www.estadventures.ee , my family - the Karepins and of course Julia at Dancing Bear Tours http://dancing-bear-tours.com/ .
Fremont Bridge Panoramic
My good friend Jude Seth wanted to learn photography and boy did he ever dive in head first. We met in Portland Oregon for a quick weekend of photography. I took him through the Coloumbia River Gorge and we crossed into Washington (giving him two new states in his collection). Coming back into Portland we crossed the Fremont Bridge and I said to him ‘ you know I think we should get off this exit. I have a feeling that we might be able to find another shot’. I could tell from his expression that he thought I was nutz. So we got off the exit and without knowing where we were heading or what we would be shooting we stumbled onto the location in this shot when we took this panoramic of the Fremont Bridge.
Later that same month Jude, Veronica and I went to Spain for Thanksgiving. On the morning traditionally reserved for shopping in USA on Black Friday we found ourselves in the ancient city of Girona and that is where I captured this image at sunrise. The trip was fantastic and we explored, took photos and enjoyed our time in this part of Spain.
I would like to thank Laurie Cohen from Barcelona Photography Tours http://www.barcelonatoursonline.es/ and Beatriz from barcelonaphotographer.com for their help. I can wholeheartedly recommend both Beatriz and Laurie if you ever want to take photos in Barcelona.
I still had one more photo trip and it was a quick visit with my good friends Eric and Sarah in NYC. I stayed at their apt near Chinatown and spent two terrific days exploring NYC on bicycle and in the rain. On the way home after biking through what must have been 100000 people in the Rockefeller Plaza/ Times Square (all checking out the Xmas tree) area we made one last stop at the Williamsburg Bridge when I captured this shot. Right afterwards we metup with another friend Jerimiah and Laura for dinner. It was an awesome weekend.
Thoughts towards 2013
If you would like to see the entire collection of images that I took in 2012 (and for the past few years) check my galleries page.
2012 was really an unbelievably productive year not only for photography but in all of the memories and great friends I have met along the way in my journey through it. Looking towards 2013 I have a few ideas rolling around on some upcoming trips and hope my same post next year will yield similiar photos, great new friends and memories.