I know, I know, it's completely unique to do a "year in review" post, right? Well, indulge me for a couple of minutes as I give this a try. This was a big travel year for me. I was fortunate enough to fit in an amazing trip to Africa, a week in Mexico, and a trip to Indonesia. Not too shabby.
On the way to Africa, I stopped for a a little time in Dubai, which always seems to me to be like a giant Rodeo Drive crossed with Las Vegas. A nutty and ostentatious place, with lots of over-the-top architecture to photograph.
The trip to Africa included my first visit to Namibia and I can't wait to get back there. I was there for 10 days, and it was hardly an introduction. I hit a few of the highlights: the dunes of Sossusvlei, rhino tracking in the Ongava Reserve, and the deserts of Kaokoland along the border with Angola. I think you could spend months in Namibia and still feel like you haven't started to get a handle on the place. It's beautiful, with amazing landscapes, wildlife, and people. Meeting the primitive Himba tribes in Kaokoland was definitely one of the more amazing experiences. After days of working on landscape photos, it was great to visit with these tribes. We found mostly groups of women and children living in the desert, while the men of the "villages" were out grazing their cattle for months at a time. Not an easy life, but they were really happy people.
The second part of the trip was to Olare Orok Conservancy in Kenya. It's a great private reserve adjacent to the Masai Mara. I was there once before, and it was just as amazing this time, with lots of big cats, big herds of impala, buffalo and wildebeest.
Here's a short aerial video I did while in Namibia & Kenya.
In August, I dived with whale sharks off the coast of Isla Mujeres in Mexico. This is a great little island not far from Cancun. It's a relatively quite resort island, which just happens to have one of the largest congregations of whale sharks in world showing up in the summer.
The last trip of the year was to Indonesia to dive in West Papua and Raja Ampat, combined with stops in Singapore and Bali. I love Singapore, another nutty place with crazy architecture and great food. The food may be my main reason for making sure I spend a couple of days there while on my way through Asia.
It was my third time diving in Raja Ampat, and there's a reason divers endure the long trip to get there. (once you get to either Jakarta or Bali, it's at least an extra day's worth of domestic flights on fairly questionable airlines to even more questionable airports.) But it's simply the best diving on the planet with the healthiest, most colorful, most plentiful reefs anywhere. The variety of life is astounding. And there are some of the fishiest dive sites I've ever been on - and I've seen some fish. Diving there is a real treat, and for a photographer - a great opportunity.