On a lazy weekend afternoon when I was 13, I thumbed through my school geography text book, pausing from time to time to admire the amazing photographs of some of the wonders of the world. I was inspired. So began my dream fantasy to visit these wonderful places myself. Today that’s exactly what I do.
My friend had some shocking advice about Thailand: “Spend as little time as you can in Bangkok,” he said. “It is just another dirty big city with nothing to offer but noise, pollution, and endless crowds.” I knew I wouldn’t take his advice because my research had told me otherwise. Bangkok is loaded with fascinating temples, palaces, historical locations and exotic things to see.
On my first two visits to Panama I tried, unsuccessfully, to get to the bizarre “Bahai Egg.” My first attempt, five years ago, (without a GPS) involved trying to navigate with a map given to me by the car rental company and an outdated guide-book. The “Bahai Egg,” also known by its actual name The Bahai Temple, sits on top of a hill with a beautiful view of the city, valley and jungle around it.
Everybody has heard of the Great Wall of China. It was built some 2,000 years ago to protect China from Mongol raiders and at 3,700-miles in length, it’s the longest man-made structure on earth. But while this ancient wonder is familiar to many, most people know little about it.
I’ve photographed in over 40 countries but on a recent trip to China, I found what I believe may be the most picturesque place on earth. I was on an extended trip to Asia with my camera, hoping to photograph some of the Mysterious East’s beauty spots. What I found stands firmly in my mind as one of the most exotic and incredible landscapes I have ever seen.
Vietnam might not be on most people’s list of ultimate travel destinations, but if my trip to the Southeast Asian nation was anything to go by—it should be. Amazingly friendly people…deep, colorful history…tropical climate, great value for your dollar—and there is an endless list of exotic things to see and do. One of my favorite stop-offs was the city of Hue (pronounced Way).
Nobody gets in the way of the Carnival celebrations in Panama. This party is country-wide and a full week long. Businesses close, Panama City is abandoned, and music is everywhere as what sounds like the world’s largest collection of speaker systems comes together to blast pop, reggae, and pop music to the masses.
During a recent stay in Panama, I took a trip to the country’s under-explored Caribbean side in the hope of getting some photos I might sell. My destination was a little town called Portobello. Christopher Columbus landed here back in 1502, naming it “Puerto Bello” or “Beautiful Port.” It later became a key strategic asset of the colonial Spanish, to export gold and silver.
If I stand in my living room and look out over Panama’s Pacific coastline early in the morning, I can see the local boats of the Gorgona fishing fleet heading east toward their favorite fishing spots. Later in the day, I hear the purr of outboard motors as the fleet returns home to Gorgona beach. Some boats travel far out to sea while others stay just off shore.
I love to travel to exotic destinations—like on my last trip to Panama. I trekked in Cerro Azul in the majestic mountains overlooking Panama City and visited Santa Fe—one of the country’s hilly frontiers. The rugged natural beauty of these places begs to have a camera pointed at it. Bring a camera with you, and you can start making money right away.
For me, with my own company doing project management for large Information Technology infrastructure deployments, my job was a means to an end. I worked to earn money to travel and take photos of interesting and exotic places. But I longed for a job I could do from anywhere, which would permit me to travel as I worked.
The afternoon sun beat down on the concrete building radiating heat around the pool, making it mandatory to take a dip in the cool refreshing water and to enjoy the extraordinary view across Mexico’s Zihuatenejo Bay. It provided me with a great opportunity to take some photos from the pool to sell on one of the Micro-Stock agencies I post to.
I’ve been making images since I was a kid and got a camera for Christmas. I never really made a leap into photography—it’s something that has always been a part of my life. When I transitioned from my work life into retirement I looked for ways to develop my photography into an income stream.
The biggest attraction in Pingyao is the Rishengchang Draft Bank museum. The bank operated during the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644 to 1911) and is reputed to be the ﬁrst draft bank in the world.