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The Story Behind the Photo

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The Story Behind the Photo


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The Story Behind the Photo

The Story Behind the Photo: An Ongoing Post

Background Information:

After waking up and leaving our hostel at six in the morning, my wife and I went to the top of Sarangkot in Pokhara, Nepal to view the magnificent sunrise. As the sun rises, the Annapurna mountain range lights up a bright orange. It is an incredible view above the clouds. After taking in the sunrise, we went on a short hike towards the Australian Base Camp. We arrived around noon at the camp and sat down for a banana pancake and Nepalese tea brunch. At this moment, I put the Nepalese tea in front of my camera on the rock table, set up my camera, and snapped a shot of the Annapurna mountain range.

Traveling and having Nepalese tea while looking at the Annapurna mountain range.
Having Nepalese tea while looking at the Annapurna mountain range.

Details:

ISO-100, f/22, 1/40 sec., 24mm.

The remainder of the day was spent hiking through small mountain-side villages, having lunch after taking a break at a farm, and enjoying the nature that the mountains had to offer. It was a pleasant day spent in Pokhara, Nepal.

 

Background Information:

My wife and I took a long weekend opportunity at the end of July to escape the busy big city of Seoul, South Korea. We traveled down south to stay in the city of Gwangju. Taking a half day trip out of the city, we hoped on a bus and went to the bamboo forest (Juknokwon) in Damyang. It was a beautiful walk around the forest, though it was busy because it was a long weekend. We escaped the crouds to snap a photograph of a hanok on the outskirts of the forest. This was the result.

Hanok in the Bamboo Forest, Juknokwon, Damyang, South Korea
Hanok in the Bamboo Forest, Juknokwon, Damyang, South Korea

Details:

ISO-100, f/22, 1/40 sec., 24mm.

The stroll through Juknokwon was a welcoming escape from the big city.

 

Background Information:

For my first time back in Canada since I left in 2014, I took my wife to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada to see the majestic Niagara Falls. We rented a car and drove there from Toronto, parking near the Skylon Tower. After purchasing tickets up the tower that overlooks the falls, we were presented with a commanding 360 degree view of Niagara Falls. This allowed us to snap this picture of the falls, and many others of the city while experiencing the crisp autumn breeze of Canada. Enjoy!

A view of the falls from the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
A view of the falls from the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Details:

ISO-100, f/22, 1/40 sec., 24mm.

We finished the day by walking towards Clifton Hill to see more of what Niagara Falls, Ontario has to offer. View more about what you can do in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.

 

Background Information:

My wife and I took a three day trip to Kunming, China. This trip was not a planned one. It was the result of a flight being cancelled, so we decided to take advantage of our time there and take a day to check out the Stone Forest. Though it was an expensive excursion and the sky was not the most attractive, the Stone Forest was full of incredible views and paths to hike around for a few hours. If you ever find yourself in Kunming, take the opportunity to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be prepared to spend lots of money to see it though. Here is one of the pictures from our trip:

The Stone Forest, Kunming, China
The Stone Forest, Kunming, China

Details:

ISO-100, f/22, 1/40 sec., 24mm.

We spent about three hours wandering the Stone Forest. If it wasn’t for the lack of time we had before the last bus was going to leave, we would have spent another hour to take our time walking around.

 

Background Information:

This photo was taken during the Lantern Festival in Seoul, South Korea. This is one of many carefully constructed lanterns along Chyeonggyecheon Stream.

Lantern Festival, Seoul, South Korea

The Lantern Festival in Seoul, South Korea is a great way to spend an evening walking along Cheonggyecheon Stream. The Lantern Festival happens every November for two weeks. It is an hour or two of free entertainment to walk along the stream and see international and local artist’s work. Check it out the next time you are in Seoul!

 

Background Information:

Diamond Head State Monument is a crater just a 30 minute walk from Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. The hike from the trail head to the summit lasts 45 minutes. Though it is a short hike, it is a steep trek that sees lots of steps, uneven ground, and a long tunnel. On a hot day, be prepared with lots of water and your camera for the view at the summit. The view from the top is a beautiful panoramic view of the city below.

The View from Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii

This is a recommendable hike in Honolulu. Not only is it in the vicinity of the beaches, but it also wont take much time from your day at the beach. Plan to go as early as possible to beat the larger crowds later in the day. The park opens at 6 in the morning and closes at 6 in the evening.

 

Background Information:

The less-traveled Yunnan province of China has a lot to offer the nature-loving traveler. One of which is the Stone Forest. This place is filled with amazing photo opportunities from the foot of massive limestone formations to the panoramic views of rolling hills littered with the eroded limestone. Getting there from Kunming takes about 1 to 1.5 hours. You know when you are getting close as you begin to see more and more of these limestone formations on the hills. I saw an opportunity to capture a couple of people climbing while on the bus.

The result was this photo:

The Stone Forest, Yunnan, China

Kunming was a nice city to visit for a few days. Though our trip there was not planned, we were happy with our stay. The highlight was the Stone Forest. It was worth the day trip and it is recommendable if you ever find yourself to be in the Yunnan province of China. Be prepared to spend some money upon arrival on the expensive admission.

 

Background Information:

Hawaii provides a lot of amazing sunset opportunities. Capturing those final seconds while the sun descends towards the horizon is an important time for any photographer. Getting the right composition in those closing seconds, waiting for the right moment, and capturing that moment is all part of the photographing process. On this particular day while I was in Honolulu, Hawaii, I went down to Waikiki Beach to capture the sunset. Unfortunately, Waikiki Beach is an extremely busy area packed with tourists hoping to record or photograph the same moment. Fortunately, I found a good position away from others, prepared for the right moment, and waited. The result was this photo:

Sunset at Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu was a very busy city. Prior to our stay in Honolulu, we visited Kauai for three days. There was a big contrast in how many people crowded the streets and beaches. Driving around Kauai showed us the peaceful island life, with very few people on the beaches and roads. When we arrived in Honolulu, it was the exact opposite of what we had experienced in Kauai. Though we were prepared for this, as Waikiki Beach in Honolulu is a popular travel destination among tourists. Nonetheless, Honolulu is a great city in Hawaii to visit. There are lots of things to do and see while visiting.

 

Background Information:

Kauai, the Garden Isle, is a beautiful green island used for sets during filming of movies like Jurassic Park. Kauai is for the nature-loving traveler. There are great hiking trails, gorgeous beaches, canyons, and several waterfalls scattered throughout the island. Though we did not take advantage of the hiking trails due to health concerns after landing, we did rent a car and drive the roads to see as much of the island we could see. There is no way to drive around the entire island, but we drove from end to end. Along the way are numerous marked viewpoints of scenic areas. Among these was a view of Opeakka Falls. We got out of the car, I set up the camera, and got beautiful pictures of the falls.

The result was this photo:

Kauai Waterfall, Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai is called the Garden Isle for a good reason. It is a great place to go for people who love the natural beauty of the world while traveling. The beaches are exquisite and not packed with people, the hiking trails (though we did not get the opportunity to hike them) are excellent, and the numerous waterfalls make for great photo opportunities.

 

Background Information:

There is something about lighthouses that make for a great picture. Maybe it is the secluded and coastal feeling one gets when thinking of the idea of a lighthouse. While on the hike up Diamond Head State Monument in Honolulu, Hawaii, I was presented with many amazing views of the city. Finally when reaching the summit, I was rewarded with a panoramic view of Honolulu. Down by the ocean rests a lighthouse, which made for a great aerial shot of the lighthouse.

The result was this photo:

The Lighthouse at Diamond Head, Honolulu, Hawaii

The hike up Diamond Head State Monument is a rewarding one. It provides visitors with a nice break away from the nearby crowded beaches. The hike does not last long, which makes for a great early morning activity. The view at the summit, and along the way, is well worth the short journey. Bring a camera and lots of water because on a hot day, the steep hike can make you easily dehydrated.

 

Background Information:

Seoul is an amazing city. It is densely populated with some 14 million people. The city is constantly in a state of rush, the metro system is incredibly efficient and so many people rely on it to get to and from work everyday, the streets are packed with cars during rush hour, and yet there are some peaceful places throughout Seoul that just make you forget you were ever in one of the most populated cities in the world. Olympic Park is one of those places. The park is massive, and it is a great place to go on a long walk. At the south west corner of the park is an impressive Olympic monument that was built for the 1988 Olympics that were held in the city. Resting below the monument is the eternal flame. If you are looking towards the monument, outside of the park, you can see in the background a tower being built. One of my sunny walks through the park, I brought along my camera.

The result was this photo:

1988 Olympic Monument, Olympic Park, Seoul, South Korea

The tower being built is the Lotte World Tower in Jamsil. It will stand 555 meters tall when completed.

 

Background Information:

Pokhara is a beautiful lake-side city in Nepal. It is accessible by airplane or a seven hour bus ride through the mountainous country. The city has a lot to offer visitors including hikes, canoeing, safaris, and paragliding. We chose to take advantage of the paragliding while we were there. The paragliding began at the top of Sarangkot mountain. The thirty minute descent ended in the city of Pokhara, at the side of lake Phewa Tal. There were many amazing aerial photography chances while paragliding, including photos of the Annapurna Mountain Range, Pokhara, Phewa Tal, and the surrounding hillside communities. I took advantage of the situation and brought my camera.

The result was this photo:

Paragliding, Pokhara, Nepal

 

Background Information:

In celebration of Canada Day, we have chosen a photo from our library with the Canadian flag in it. The choice is a photo taken from our trip to Niagara Falls with the Skylon Tower to the right of the photo. On our trip, we went up the Skylon Tower to view the falls from above. The tower provides the best view of the falls that there is to offer. In addition to the Skylon Tower’s view of the falls is the Ferris Wheel in Niagara Falls. Both of these experiences are worth while for their views of the falls from above. Take a look at our trip and more information about traveling to Niagara Falls on our previous post about what we did in Niagara Falls. While walking around the city, I was able to get a good view of a Canadian flag and the Skylon Tower together.

The result was this photo:

Skylon Tower, Niagara Falls, Canada

 

Background Information:

During our trip to Nepal, we made it a priority to get to the lake-side city of Pokhara as we had been told it was a beautiful place to visit and relax. The 7 hour bus ride to get there was an experience in itself, but once we got to the city we were rewarded with endless possibilities to fill our days. One such thing we did was to see the sunrise from the top of Sarangkot Mountain. Everything we had read told us this was a must when in Pokhara, and having done it ourselves we agree. While at the top of the mountain, we had the opportunity to purchase some pashmina products and witness the delicate weaving process. I captured this process in the moment.

The result was this photo:

Travel Photo Weaving Atop Sarangkot, Pokhara, Nepal
Weaving Atop Sarangkot, Pokhara, Nepal

We left with two shawls and a rug. The experience of seeing the sunrise from Sarangkot Mountain is a must when you are in Pokhara. Getting to see the intricate process of weaving pashmina is an added bonus to that experience.

 

Background Information:

Our day hike began early in the morning before the sun was out. We were fortunate enough to make it to the top of Sarangkot Mountain in time for the sunrise, and then to travel to the beginning of our day long trek. Our destination by lunch time was the Australian Base Camp. It was about a three hour trek up sometimes step steps, but it passed through many different small farming homes that scaled the mountain. We passed cows, goats, dogs, and families on our way to the base camp. As the sun ascended into the sky, the time was perfect for pictures of these families waking up or getting their day underway. In the moment, I captured a man staring off into the distance as the sun illuminated his crouching body and casting his shadow into his home.

The result was this photo:

Waking up in Pokhara, Nepal

The day trek provided us with a look into the mornings of these hillside communities near Pokhara, Nepal. It was an interesting day filled with magnificent photo-taking opportunities along the way thanks to the beautiful scenery.

 

Background Information:

We arrived in Pokhara, Nepal and booked a guided hike for the day on our last full day in the lake-side city. We began the hike by seeing the sunrise from Sarangkot Mountain, and continued on to our day full of hiking towards the Australian Base Camp. Following our brunch at the base camp, we began our descent down the hill. On our way we ran into a small party of children dancing to Nepali music in the hills. The kids were dancing in the mountains and enjoying their time above the clouds. Before joining in with the dancing and taking photos with them, we took some photos looking down from above with the clouds surrounding the mountains.

The result was this photo:

Dancing Above the Clouds in Pokhara, Nepal

The day of hiking was an amazing experience, and though we did so many different things while in Pokhara, the hiking was the highlight because of the many aspects of life in the hillside it offered us and the incredible views of the Annapurna Mountain Range. See more from our day hike in Pokhara, Nepal.

 

Background Information:

We have written about our day hike in Pokhara, Nepal at great length, but there is so much to share from our experiences. The day hike was a long day, but it was highlighted with many incredible views of the Annapurna Mountain Range, the city below us, and the clouds surrounding the mountains. When we finally made it to the Australian Base Camp before noon, we were greeted with an incredible view of the mountains. We came across a set of tents with the mountains in the background, making it one of the best places to set up camp. Imagine waking up in the mornings and opening up your tent to see the incredible mountains at sunrise. I grabbed my camera to capture the scene.

The result was this photo:

Australian Base Camp, Pokhara, Nepal

Once we made it to the Australian Base Camp, the view of the Annapurna Mountain Range was amazing. Our guide wanted us to get there sooner than we did to have better lighting of the mountains. Nonetheless, we sat down and relaxed for about an hour just looking at the mountains in awe.

 

Background Information:

Our journey to Pokhara, Nepal from Kathmandu was an interesting one. You can see more from our treacherous bus ride through the mountains from Kathmandu to Pokhara. During this seven hour ride through the mountainous rural areas from city to city, we were able to take a few breaks, get out of the bus, and see the small towns for ourselves, and not through a bus window. Taking full advantage of these times, we shopped at a local market, at a small meal, had Nepali tea, and interacted with the locals. At one of these stops, we took a break near an old gas station. While snapping photos of the community, I saw a group of younger Nepali men walking through the gas station and I took the opportunity to frame an interesting photograph.

The result was this photo:

Travel Photo Nepal Gas Station

The bus ride from Pokhara to Kathmandu provided us with an opportunity to see the country from city to city and it’s rural regions. It was also a chance to get out and taste the food and drink within these small towns, interact with the local populations, and take photos along the way. Though the bus ride is long, seven to eight hours, it was well worth the money spent, less than $8 USD, for the memories we made during it.

 

Background Information:

After our trip to Pokhara, Nepal, we moved from Pokhara back to Kathmandu for one last night in Nepal. We left Pokhara at 7 AM, taking the seven hour bus ride back to the capital of the country. By the time we arrived and checked into our hostel, it was already close to 4 PM. Time was not on our side, but I definitely knew that I wanted to visit Swayambhunath, or the Monkey Temple. We caught a taxi and made our way towards the temple. Upon our arrival, we ventured up the stairs to the top. While ascending the stairs to the lookout, there are several statues and structures to take photos of. I saw this photo opportunity, grabbed my camera, and…

The result was this photo:

Monkey Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal

At the Monkey Temple, we never made it to the top of the temple. It is a short ascent to the top, but it does cost a small entrance fee to see the lookout from the top. Unfortunately, we were short on cash as it was our last night in Kathmandu and we could not afford the fee for the two of us. We did get to see why it was called the Monkey Temple. Monkeys everywhere! Monkeys stealing snacks from people, monkeys jumping and walking around, monkeys doing things you would not want your kids seeing… It was monkey mayhem.

 

Background Information:

In the winter, we found ourselves in Kunming, China for a few days. It was an unplanned visit that came because a change in our flight schedule from South Korea to Nepal. We took advantage of the time we had in the city, beginning in the early morning hours after we landed. The next day, we walked from our hostel to the Green Lake Park. The weather in December was a little bit chilly, but still enjoyable to be outside in. The park was overrun with seagulls that we later learned had migrated from Siberia during the winter. The park was a beautiful place to take a walk around, with multiple gates to enter the park and good eating places around the lake area. As usual, I brought my camera and snapped some pictures of the action at the lake.

The result was this photo:

Green Lake, Kunming, China

Green Lake Park in Kunming is a beautiful place to see during the winter and a great place to walk around. Afterwards, grab a bite to eat or go shopping in the same area. Check it out for something relaxing to do whenever you find yourself in Kunming, China.

 

Background Information:

Our trip to Kunming was short-lived. We did get to do some amazing things while there for a few days, but there still remains many things we wish we could have seen within the city and the surrounding area. One of the best things about traveling is walking around the city and getting a feel for the day-to-day exercises of the people. Our time to walk around Kunming was limited, but we were able to spend a few hours to wander around our hostel area which was located near Green Lake Park. While wandering the streets we saw busy main streets crowded with buses, cars, and motorbikes. We saw crowded sidewalks, traditional Chinese architecture, and many people. During our walk, we saw a man working on painting a long piece of wood. The red wood had Chinese characters carved onto the surface of the board. At the time, the man was working to pain the characters a gold color. I got my camera ready to capture the moment.

The result was this photo:

Painting in Kunming, Yunnan, China

Though we had little time in Kunming, we made the most of our trip to the city. We saw some amazing things and enjoyed the environment of the city while we were there.

 

Background Information:

Our trip to Kunming, though not planned, was an enjoyable one. It is a naturally beautiful place to see, in a place in China that is not as big of a tourist attraction than other cities in China. There are plenty of attractions that will keep you entertained, whether it is a place within the city or a day trip outside of the city. One place we visited was the Yunnan Ethnic Village. Though we did not make it past the admission gate due to time and money restrictions, there is still a lot to see before the entrance gate. The area is filled with Chinese architecture, tea shops, some places to get food, and souvenir shops. It is definitely a place to check out if you are in Kunming. Surrounded by mountains and bodies of water, and filled with traditional Chinese sculptures and architecture, this is a great place to bring your camera. There was one opportunity for a picture with a lion sculpture with a tower in the background, so I snapped the picture.

The result was this photo:
Yunnan Ethnic Village, Kunming, China

 

Background Information:

Kauai is nicknamed “The Garden Isle” for a good reason. The island is covered in lush forest and a variety of landscapes that would please anyone looking to reconnect with nature. Hikers, adventurers, and travelers alike would enjoy a week or more on this island. For our short visit to this island, we rented a car and took a day to see as much as we could of the island. It isn’t possible to drive around the whole island, but we were committed to seeing as much of the island as we could by car. The best part about driving around the island is the numerous scenic viewpoints marked for everyone to come and see. Included in these are waterfalls that are accessible by the road. One such waterfall we saw was Wailua Falls. We were driving down south from our hotel in Wailua when we saw the sign for the falls. After making a sharp right onto the road, we followed it for another 10-15 minutes of beautiful forest and flat land before winding our way towards a dead end. Here there were a few other cars parked and some vendors selling some fruit. Just a few steps from the parking lot is a railing where you can look out to the waterfall and the pool below it. This is where I took out my camera and snapped a picture.

The result was this photo:
Scenic Viewpoint of Wailua Falls, Kauai, Hawaii

Wailua Falls was the closest falls we saw from the road while in Kauai. From the railing, the falls were about 30 feet away from us. Driving around Kauai to see these scenic viewpoints allowed us to see the different landscapes that the island has to offer.

 

Background Information:

Our four hour tour in Narita, Japan was a chance opportunity. What began as a horrible situation, having to sleep in the airport, ended with an incredible opportunity to experience the city. Guided by two volunteer tour guides, we went on a tour just two subway stops from the airport. Our tour took us down a winding road lined with restaurants and shops, and took us to the Naritisan Shinshoji Temple. Here we walked around for thirty minutes, a short amount of time to see the entire grounds of the temple, but we were short for time. Nonetheless, the tour showed us a large amount of the grounds and the rituals involved. As soon as we walked into the entrance gate from the road, we walked up a staircase to Ni-o-mon Gate. From here you can see the Great Main Hall. To the right of this is the Three-storied Pagoda. While others were bathing cleansing themselves with the smoke, I picked up my camera to capture both structures.

The result was this photo:
Naritisan Shinshoji Temple in Narita, Japan

 

Background Information:

Touring Narita, Japan was an interesting and opportunistic time that we had during our short stay in the city. Thanks to the Narita Transit Program, we were able to make light of a bad situation. From sleeping in the airport to going on a three to four hour tour for free. The time we spent in the city was eventful to say the least. During our tour with the Narita Transit Program, we saw the cultural side of the city. From trying on a Japanese kimono to partaking in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, we moved on to the Naritisan Shinshoji Temple. Here we saw more of the cultural, but also the religious and cultural side of the city. The temple provided us with many photo taking opportunities and our tour guides were more than willing to answer all of the questions we had for them about the temple and its surroundings. With my camera out, I snapped as many photos of the temple as I could.

The result was this photo:
So-mon, The Main Gate to Naritisan Shinshoji Temple in Narita, Japan

The temple was the last stop before lunch and saying goodbye to our tour guides to catch our flight out of the city. The time spent in Narita was positive. We would recommend anyone that is in Japan to check out this airport city for free with the Narita Transit Program. They made our trip well worth it.

 

Background Information:

The afternoon we arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii, we set out to capture the perfect sunset shot. After dropping our bags at our hotel and refreshing ourselves after the flight, we left to find the scenic viewpoint we saw on our drive from the airport. From my memory, it served as a great overlook of a bay and the sun would set at a perfect location from the lookout. We arrived just before sunset to an incredible view with no one around. Unfortunately because Kona is on the windward side of the island, it is difficult to set up the tripod and hope it holds in the wind long enough to get a shot that is not shaky, but also hoping that the camera does not fall from the height I had my tripod at. The solution: place my tripod next to the car about 15 feet away from us (the subjects of the shot) so that the car stops the camera from falling over, click the timer, make a mad dash to the wall, and get into position for the shot. It was a success, after multiple attempts and panic over the tripod blowing in the wind.

The result was this photo:
Sunset in Kona, Island of Hawaii, Hawaii

Kona has an interesting volcanic rock landscape. The beauty of the land is undeniable. During sunset, it is immaculate. For photographers, it is a wonderful place to spend countless hours waiting for that moment to capture the perfect photograph.

 

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Happy travels!

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