Take me to the Pearl of the Indian Ocean in photos…

Looking back at Sri Lanka, I am still amazed at the variety of experiences you can have on just one small island.

In just about two weeks time I was able to….

  • hike mountain trails
  • sip fresh coconuts on tropical beaches
  • encounter elephants in the wild
  • shop the swarm at chaotic city markets
  • make temple offerings alongside local worshippers
  • go watching for blue whales
  • embark on one of the world’s most scenic train journeys
  • wander in gardens, sip tea in tea estates
  • eat curry on the street.

And that’s just in the southern half of the island!

While an itinerary is still to come, I wanted to share a photographic journey of my time in Sri Lanka.

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I’m not one to typically enter contests.

I am, however, someone who loves to take photos (if you’ve seen my Instagram, you know. I can’t get enough.)

Yet when this themed photography contest came across my desk, I was immediately drawn to the concept. Soon I found myself pouring over the more than 10,000 travel photos in my archive looking for images that best represented earth, water, fire, and air.

The elements surround us at all times, yet for me it’s travel that brings my senses alive and helps me appreciate the softness or hardness of the nature around me. Perhaps it’s the changing of scenery, the exploring of new places, or the acute attention to our surroundings, but I find myself immersed in the rawness of the world when I’m traveling. Certain destinations or experiences bring out a prominent element, which is what drew me to each of the images I’ve selected.

Outside of each individual element, what cemented these choices for me was two-fold: their sense of movement, and their ability to tell the story of the place I was.

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Sometimes getting lost is the best thing that happens to us on any given Saturday.

I wasn’t supposed to be exploring The Presidio, the former military outpost and now sprawling urban park in San Francisco.  But when life (or your friend who is driving) takes a wrong turn, it can be for the better.

Now, we’ve established that San Francisco is a (naturally) beautiful place. You’d think I’d have learned not be surprised to turn a corner and be astonished by a beautiful sight.  Yet days of having bizarre things yelled at you in the Tenderloin or consistently being blinded by the rocks on the hands of Marina women can make you forget that nature exists, in full glory, without even having to leave the city.

When I saw these rays of light shining down, I knew I had to photograph them.  It was so much fun to play with the light and the shadows, and as well as the images came out, it is crazy to think that this sight was even more beautiful in person.

The photos are raw and unedited, just as nature is…

Presidio Forest SF1
Presidio Forest SF2

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“I’ll have a shot of Paris this morning, side of Guatemala.  Perhaps I’ll chase it with a small sip of Bhutan.”

How do you quench your travel thirst with little sips instead of taking a trip and gulping down a glass?

Sometimes we’re out having the adventure, taking the world in with our own two eyes.  Other times, whether we have to or (gasp!) we want to, we are at home.  These days, we’re likely staring at a screen for most of the day.

I know, I know.  You’re itching to go and see that view, that monument, that street food…for yourself.  The world is changing — international travel is cheaper, easier, and faster than ever before.  Your age-old excuses for why you’re not going to see for yourself are starting to lose their legitimacy.

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It’s almost a crime to photograph Istanbul without color…almost.

There’s still something so timeless and effervescent about this glorious city, in all its history and grandeur.  The colors of the Turkish capital are really something, but taking them away allows the eye to focus on what perhaps is even more unique and beautiful about the city.

When it comes to Istanbul, it’s all the details.  See for yourself…

Istanbul Black and White photos

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