Posts Tagged ‘photo essay’

Exploring Norway’s Lofoten Islands: Utakleiv Beach


Gorgeous scenery at Utakleiv Beach

Of all of beaches I saw in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, Utakleiv had the most diversity. It’s a photographer’s dream with it’s creamy white sand, green grass, jewel toned tidal pools and rocky coastline.


Tidal pools and emerald seas in Norway

Utakleiv Beach is also easy to reach by car and doesn’t require a hike, making it one of the most photographed spots in the Lofoten Islands.


Portrait of Ana at Utakleiv Beach 

While Ana and I explored Utakleiv Beach during the day, it’s also a popular spot to watch (and photograph) the northern lights.


We had Utakleiv Beach all to ourselves

While we heard that the beach was popular during the summer months, one of the benefits of traveling during shoulder season is that we had the place entirely to ourselves.


Ana on a grassy knoll at Utakleiv beach 

The clouds were moody, adding to the dramatic and craggy scenery.


Clouds, water, rocks, and sand 

The light was soft and flattering during our visit so I used the opportunity to shoot a few portraits of Ana using the depth mode (aka portrait mode) feature on my iPhone 7 plus. I love the results.


Ana at Utakleiv beach (portrait mode)

The beach is also a favorite spot for photographers in winter when the rocks along the coastline are covered in snow.


Portrait of Ana among the rocks (iPhone 7 plus)

There were a few picnic tables on Utakleiv, and it’s a popular spot for camping when the weather is suitable.


Jewel toned tidal pool at Utakleiv Beach 


From Leknes, it is about 20 minutes out. Follow the E10 out of Leknes and turn right onto Vikveien. Then take the Fv826 to Uttakleivveien. At the intersection, take a left to stay on Uttakleivveien until you see a parking area on the right and the beach right next to it.

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Safari Photo Essay: Lions of the Serengeti, Tanzania


Playful young lion in the Serengeti

My recent trip to Tanzania’s Serengeti was pretty much Lionpalooza. The big cats were so beautiful and impressive I thought they deserved their own photo essay.


Pink tongue on a young lion

Visiting Serengeti National Park in Tanzania during the great migration, I knew I was going to see wildebeest. The quantity of lions was amazing.


African male lion in Serengeti National Park

Also known as Panthera leo, lions are giant cats. The males can weigh up to 420 lbs. Adult females can grow to 280 lbs.


Left: Date night for African lions Right: a young lion in the Serengeti

Lions are very big, roaring cats. Everyone knows cats rule the internet.


Playful pair of young African lions

During the great migration, when millions of wildebeest and other animals are moving through the Serengeti, lions are plentiful and seem well fed.

Lion lounging on a rock in Serengeti National Park


Mama lion keeping her cub in line with swats of giant paws


Lions lying around


Love the pink tongue on this lion

Photos in this essay were taken when I was on safari with  & Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas and The Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti.


Scene from a safari in the central Serengeti

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Exploring the Pacific Northwest: The Palouse in Black and White


 Dramatic clouds above an abandoned house in Pullman, Washington

The Palouse Region of Southeast Washington is best known for it’s vibrant colors and vivid landscapes, but some of my favorite images from my recent trip to Southeast Washington work better in black and white.

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France photographing her favorite tree near Steptoe Butte

The rolling agricultural landscape of the area can be striking in black and white when it plays up the graphic lines, dramatic clouds, and light of the area.

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Treads on a tractor and striped fields

I like how the treads on this tractor mimic the striped fields in the background.


Vintage Truck in Garfield, WA

Editing in black in white can also help when skies are a bit flat, like in the shot below of the crumbling grainery just off the Palouse Scenic Byway.


Crumbling grainery in Pullman


Photo above by France Freeman

My black and white edits were inspired by this shot my friend, photographer France Freeman, took of me in Pullman. Who knew Pullman had street art?

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Exploring Stockholm, Sweden: a Photo Essay

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The view from Södermalm

I recently returned from an Arctic Adventure to Swedish and Finnish Lapland with Photo Enrichment Adventures. My first stop was Stockholm, Sweden, where I spent a few days getting over jet lag and exploring the “Capital of Scandinavia.”

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Love locks- they’re not just for Paris

Some of my favorite things about Stockholm were exploring the Nobel Museum in Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town. I enjoyed the charming cafes and interesting old streets in the area.
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Swedish still life in Södermalm

Södermalm was my favorite area of Stockholm, with it’s trendy restaurants, cafes and creative vibe.

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Taking a boat tour is a classic way to see Stockholm

If you’re into boats, don’t miss the Vasa Museum, one of the best experiences you’ll ever have with a sunken ship. I did not get to visit the Abba Museum, but I’m big on saving something for the next trip.

Swedish Zen at the Miss Clara Hotel

I stayed at the Miss Clara Hotel the first few nights. Located in a gorgeous 1910 Art Nouveau building that used to house a girls school, the vibe was modern and quiet, and had a lovely sauna in the basement.

Window shopping in Gamla Stan (old town)

Stockholm is chilly in the spring, with it’s waterfront location bringing winds off the Baltic sea.

A cute Stockholm native

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a Swedish Frenchie in old town

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Salmon, salmon and more salmon

I got to try a traditional Swedish smörgåsbord with all the trimmings at the Grand Hotel. Lingonberry jam, smoked fish, and the house 1874 Grand Aquavit to wash it down.

Skål! I’m a fan of the Aquavit

Flavored with caraway, anise and fennel, the aquavit reminded me of the Brennivín I tasted in Iceland.


Stockholm at night

I did some night shooting in Stockholm in preparation for heading to Lapland and chasing the Aurora Borealis. I was colder during the night shoot in Stockholm than anytime during the lapland part of my trip, due to winds. But I do like I the images I got of the city at night.

I couldn’t resist taking a selfie in gorgeous Stockholm window light

The light in Stockholm was beautiful at times and flat at others. But the window light was so delicious I couldn’t resist taking a selfie on my iPhone 6s.

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Gasura Village Tour in Musanze District, Rwanda


The village children were out of school and very friendly

Last month I went to Rwanda for the first time. The trip was planned around mountain gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park. The gorilla treks took place in the mornings, leaving the days free after returning to the hotel, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, between 11:30 and 2 pm.


I love how women in Rwanda boldly mix prints

The lodge’s managers, Kenya natives Thor Karstad & Alisa Bowen, thought we might enjoy going on a village tour with Theodore Nzabonimpa, a local guide from the Volcanoes Opportunity Association. It sounded very interesting so we asked them to set the two hour walking tour for the next afternoon.


Two of the local village women I met during my walking tour

Gasura village is a short walk from the Sabyinyo Silverback lodge, where Theodore met us. I liked that the hotel has a connection with the local community. The Volcanoes Opportunity Association is a charity organization that was created to support local people through community tourism activities, like these village tours.

Theodore lead us along the roads and through fields to nearby Gasura village. He told us a bit about Rwanda en route. One of the first things you notice about Rwanda is how clean it is. Theodore explained that the country has monthly clean up day, Umuganda, where 80% of the population takes part of community service.

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One of the village’s elder women

We walked about 15 minutes from the lodge to village streets where Theodore started being followed by the local village children, who were not in school due to the December holidays. Theodore is a real Pied Piper and knew all the kids. The smiles of the village children were infectious.

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Left: Crafty women making baskets Right: baskets made by the village women

Some of the tour highlights included stopping at the homes of village women who make these incredible baskets by hand. These baskets came in a variety of colors and patterns, and take the women 1-2 weeks to make. We wanted to purchase a few and the women who made them charged us US $5 to $10 per basket.

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The kitchen of a village house in Gasura, Rwanda

We made stops along the walk to families that Theodore works with through the Volcanoes Opportunity Association, who welcomed us into their homes and showed us what real village life is. It was eye opening experience.

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The Volcanoes Opportunities Association provides a mattress to each family it works with

We got to peek inside the houses of local villagers. The simple structures were usually divided into a bedroom and living area, with a separate kitchen. The homes were sparsely furnished, and hangers in the bedroom served as a makeshift closet. There was usually a second set of clothes, but not much more than that.


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One of well dressed village children

The village children were as curious about us as we were about them. They were absolutely fascinated when I would show them photos I shot with my iPhone, especially the moving live photos on my iPhone 6s.

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Local women peeling potatoes in Gasura Village, Rwanda

My husband and I quickly realized none of these kids has ever seen a printed photo. We decided to take as many photographs as possible so we could have them printed and send them back to Theodore so he could to give them to the children.

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This little lady was all kinds of fierce

The children very much enjoyed having their photos taken, and my camera became a way to connect and interact with them that transcended language barriers. We all had fun interacting, and I got to understand the everyday lives of the villagers I met.

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Theodore gave a few items of clothing to local village children

Theodore knows what he is doing. He distributed a few items of clothing to the local children and I was struck by how polite the kids were. They seemed excited for each other, even if they were not the recipient of the item. This is a stark contrast to some of the more hands out, baksheesh-driven places I’ve visited.

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This girl carried the baskets we purchased on her head very gracefully


Theodore balancing baskets and talking with the local villagers

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Waves are universal

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Kids playing ball on one of the village roads

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Portrait of a Rwandan boy

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Some kids were wearing their school uniforms, despite being on holiday


Two gorgeous smiles on girls in Gasura village

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The local children were out of school for the holidays

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Kids were often giving piggy back rides to children not much smaller than they were

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My husband, Jeff, showing the kids live photos on his iPhone

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Left: Photographing the village women Right: the picture I shot

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Theodore took this photo of us with the group of village children

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The villagers enjoyed seeing the images I just shot

I loved geeking out over new technology with the local villagers.


Theodore with a group of children in Gasura village

Going on a gorilla trekking safari was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So was meeting the local villagers in Rwanda and getting a feel for their lives. I think it made my trip more meaningful. I’d highly recommend taking a tour with Theodore if you’re planning a trip to Rwanda. It’s an unforgettable experience and a great example of how a small, focused charity really can help people.

Guide name: Theodore Nzabonimpa
Contact phone : +250 788 495 604
Name of the tour :Village walk
Village : Gasura village

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