- How to Switch Careers with an Easy, Profitable Skill
Posted on September 26, 2013 by Efraín M. Padró
My former attorney colleagues and I used to joke that there were three kinds of closing arguments you could make to a jury: the one you carefully prepared, the one you actually delivered, and the one you wish you had given. Few things ever happen as planned. Nevertheless my “life” plan (the one I carefully prepared) was to practice law until I retired at 65; then I would pursue photography and maybe make a little money on the side.
In 1971, I spent seven months traveling around Latin America…from Mexico to Argentina and Brazil. At some point, pressed among a crowd of Indians at the back of a dilapidated bus, I was traveling from Ayacucho to Cuzco, in the Peruvian Andes…an endless two-day ride. Holes and stones in the dirt road shook the bus…
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.
- Taking Photos of the Great Wall of China…Away from the Tourist Hoards
Posted on January 25, 2013 by J. Keith Howie
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.
Formed 5,000 feet above sea level in the western highlands of Guatemala, the 11-mile long Lago de Atitlán is the deepest lake in Central America. It plunges to depths of over 1,000 feet. Three volcanoes dominate its southern fringe—Atitlán, Tolimán, and San Pedro; the latter two emerging from the lakeside. The lake itself changes as wistful breezes or surly gales whip up its sleek, glassy surface. The ever-shifting light reflecting off its belly…
Puerto Rico at Christmas time also gives me an opportunity to photograph beach scenes, rainforest landscapes and holiday decorations all in one trip. As an extra bonus, the weather is warm and I get to enjoy some of the best seafood found anywhere.
As soon as the mercury heads south, most photographers head inside. After all, who wants to photograph in cold, snowy conditions when you could be enjoying a hot drink in front of a roaring fire? Successful photographers who know the money-making tricks, that’s who.
In the part of Tuscany, Italy, known as the Val de Cecina, (“Valley of The Sea”), an hour’s drive southeast of Florence, there’s a privately owned Villa where I’ve taken some of my best and most saleable photographs of Tuscany. The early spring light held me captive there, for five days, one April a few years back.
The ancient Romans painstakingly carved out some 250,000 miles of road across Europe, every inch of which led to their home city. So the phrase, “All roads lead to Rome” was actually true. These days, though, you’ll probably arrive in the “Eternal City” via the airport.
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.
I’ve visited a bunch of times but I can’t remember ever being in Mexico on a rainy day. On my last visit, the sun was shining on the busy mercado (market) while women made tortillas. Brightly-colored parrots chattered with each other from cage to cage like a women’s coffee hour.
- Visiting the Rice Terraces of China’s Yunnan Province
Posted on October 11, 2012 by Caroline Maryan
“It will just take me a moment,” I say quietly, as I inch past my fellow photographers poised at the edge of the cliff. Their cameras and tripods are already set up. My equipment is still on my back. When I signed up for this trip to see the Yuan Yang Rice Terraces, I envisioned the rice paddies of Bali, built on gentle rolling hills. Now, I’m edging toward a drop-off that freezes me in my tracks.
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).
With a train ticket and a point-and-shoot camera, I left the gloom of a late summer storm in Paris, France. When I arrived at my destination, I emerged from the depths of the train station into the colors of a brilliant sun just going down on the turquoise Mediterranean waters off Marseille. I was enchanted. I set my suitcase down right there, took out my camera and started snapping away.
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.
The travel bug runs rampant in my family. That’s why, when I was headed to France for work, my mom and I decided to turn it into a girls’ getaway adventure. My mom flew into Paris the day after my work ended and our adventure began.
On the morning of my birthday this year, I woke up to the view of the Caribbean Sea. It wasn’t just a pretty view from an average resort – I was looking at the Belize Barrier Reef. If I got out of bed, walked downstairs and stood on the beach, the Reef would be a stone’s throw away.
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.
Pucón is wedged between a beautiful lake and a spectacular volcano. Its extreme location combined with its stable weather, have helped make it Chile’s adventure tourism capital. Water skiing…snow skiing…backpacking…white water rafting…kayaking…horseback riding…zip line rides…natural hot springs…if it involves excitement and the outdoors, it happens in Pucón.
Taking a trip is wonderful in-and-of-itself, but it becomes even more satisfying when you can turn that trip into a lucrative adventure. I make money from my trips by taking photos and selling them online. What is really special about my job is that I can take pictures from anywhere in the world I like and still make money. I can shoot anything that strikes my interest, whether it’s a luxurious spa…