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10 photos from the 10s: our favorite photographs of the decade

by Jan 6, 2020Essays

Can we really and truly list our favorite 10 photos from the 10s? It’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite child.

Every single photo each of us has taken is special for many reasons – not necessarily because it gets the most “likes” on Instagram or makes people who look at it say, WOW. Perhaps it’s because the scene represents a special moment to us, reminds us of a memorable destination or event, or maybe brings a smile to our face for a reason we can’t even explain.

Many of these photos come from just the last few years. Not as if we don’t have many decades of travel between us – with many photos going back so many years from around the globe. HI Travel Tales as it exists today, however, has really only been around the last few years so we are sticking to picking 10 photos from the 2010s published in HI Travel Tales.

By the way, thanks for making HI Travel Tales what it is today. And, without further ado, here are Michael and Therese’s picks for 10 photos from the 10s covering a decade of globe-gallivanting good times. Enjoy! And here’s to many more years of photos and travels!

Therese’s 5 picks for our 10 photos from the 10s

Sahara Camel Silhouette

Only shot in 2019, this rose to the top of my list of favorite photos. We were on a sunset ride across the Sahara to our camp and Mustafa, our camel herder, stopped to let us enjoy the sunset, made all the more spectacular by a small dust storm that day. Mustafa was a young nomad boy who truly seemed to adore his camels. As the sun sank below the horizon, another group appeared, and I danced around with my camera to get just the right angle and silhouette at just the right time. Everybody and everything cooperated! Read more about our travels in Morocco here.

Oak Alley Plantation at Night

Oak Alley is one of the more popular plantations just outside of New Orleans along the historic Mississippi River. You can see why: The parade of grand oaks leading up to the villa are glorious. Thing is, during the day, the walkway is thronged with tourists, all jostling to get the same shot. We were staying on site so, after returning from a long day touring, we trekked out to the front of the plantation to see what it looked like. I set up a tripod, grabbed a couple of shots, and crossed my fingers since I was just too tired to stay any longer. But the starbursts and the stars peeking between the Oaks made it a special treat. Read more about visiting the New Orleans area here.

Redwoods and Me

I look at this shot and just sink into it, remembering the week I spent at a night photography workshop in the Redwoods of Northern California. I was pushed to grow in ways I could not have imagined when I signed up for what would be my first real serious attempt at night photography. It was all new – and all so frightening in many ways when you are in the dark, trying to adjust a camera and don’t really know what you are doing. The week ended up being a transformative week for me, and I wrote about my experience in a very personal essay about learning while traveling. And that is why this photo is so special, especially since I (that is my silhouette I “light-painted” into the photo seems to be contemplative. Read my essay about transformative travel learning here.

Old Guy with Cig

I love street markets. I love what a street market says about a country and its culture. How people interact and what they buy and sell all tell a story about life there. On our drive from Dali to Lijiang in China’s Yunnan province – very few Westerns out there! – we stopped for a walk through the bustling country market in the Xizou village. A swirl of activity with vegetables, fruit, meat, and anything else you might eat or need being sold. This old guy’s face struck me so hard with his face lined with decades of hard work – and a cigarette that likely kept him company wherever he went. Read more about our travels in China and the Yunnan Province here.

Curious Little Girl

On a trip to Fiji, we went in search of the Nakabuta Pottery Village outside of a small village called Sigatoka on the southwestern coast. Turns out the road into this little enclave had been flooded out so there hadn’t been any visitors or tour groups lately, but we ran into some schoolgirls walking back, waded a river to get to the village, and were royally entertained and toured about, with the entire village taking part in showing its heritage, how the pottery was made and entertaining us with music. This little one was drawn to me – and me to her. Her friendly curiosity and piercing eyes were a delight. Find out more about our travels in the South Pacific here.

Michael’s 5 picks for our 10 photos from the 10s

Niagara Falls Illuminated

This is one of my favorite photographs of all time and shows Niagara Falls from the United States side, looking across to the Canadian side. There really is nothing quite like this spectacle anywhere in the world. I stood at Prospect Point in Niagara Falls State Park for over two hours, completely bedazzled by the show of lights playing on the water and mist as the falls thundered and roared. The lights of the Canadian side added to the magic. Read about Michael’s trip to Niagara Falls here.

Little Girls in a Fountain

Celebrating summer. On a hot evening at the Georgetown Waterfront Park in Washington, D.C., children (and adults) laugh and play in the public fountain seeking a cool retreat in summer heat. And for me, these two little girls expressing complete, unbridled joy stole the show. We could have sat for hours watching the fun. Read more about things to do in Washington D.C. here.

Therese in the Sahara

I love this photo for so many reasons. We were on an early morning photo shoot in the Sahara in Morocco. Habib of Open Doors Morocco wore his traditional Bedouin garb and posed obligingly for Therese as she worked to capture the mood and colors of the Sahara. While I watched Therese shoot, I became entranced with the shadows, clouds, and colors of the scene in front of me and realized I needed to try to capture it. While it became a popular image for various companies showcasing us using their products — Therese is using a Sony a6500 camera and wearing a Macabi Skirt and an ExOfficio top, and the camera bag is the MindShift PhotoCross 10 from Think Tank Photo – for me it just spoke to the moment and reminds me how lucky we are to be able to travel and take photos in such beautiful places around the world. Read more about our travels in Morocco here.

Houmas House Reflection

Plantation country around New Orleans offers a peek into a period in American history that was both glamorous (rich plantations and massive estates) and reprehensible (slavery). We had an opportunity to spend the night at one very beautiful plantation, the Houmas House Historic Plantation. Walking around the estate grounds at night, we came across this amazing reflection of the mansion. The seats from a wedding earlier in the afternoon sat empty and the grounds were quiet. Not even a light breeze stirred the trees or water. Read more about visiting the New Orleans area here.

Die Welt Balloon at Sunset in Berlin

The Die Welt balloon rises above Berlin at sunset. The view from the top of the Berliner Dom is spectacular and well worth the few euros spent. On this evening, right before the Dom closed to visitors, I was able to catch the Die Welt balloon rising into the night, illuminated against a colorful sky. The Die Welt balloon is operated by Air Service Berlin and is secured to the ground by a steel cable; Die Welt is a popular daily newspaper. This is just one of many reasons Berlin is one of my favorite cities in the world. Read more about Berlin here.

Bonus photo to round out 10 photos from the 10s

Sparklers Esztergom Therese Michael Celebration bonus 10 photos from the 10's

We have one more special photo to call out. This was taken of the two of us in Esztergom, Hungary, on the last night of a two-week bike trip along the Danube River. It was taken by a woman on the trip who had become a special friend, Cheryl Gaddie, an avid cyclist with a huge passion for life. Although we stayed in touch, it was not frequent, so when we tried to track her down late in 2019, and there was no answer, we did an Internet search. That’s when we found out she had passed away in April 2019, barely 18 months after our glorious adventure down the Danube with Experience Plus! bicycle tours. Thanks, Cheryl, for your contagious energy, and we are so glad we had the chance to get to know you.

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10 Photos From The 10s Our Favorite Photographs Of The Decade