Second Place: Tamara Hathaway, Cox & Kings, The Americas, Charlotte, N.C. // © 2013 Tamara Hathaway
In this day and age, when nearly every citizen carries a smartphone with a digital camera at all times, images have become the common language we use to describe our best moments. Even as photographs themselves have become more common, their preciousness has increased — and nowhere is this more apparent than in travel. As the amateur photographers on the following pages prove, travel simply lends itself to the visual age.
After hours of debate, the judges — a panel of TAW editors and designers — chose these photographs out of the nearly 100 entries. While some photos we received might have demonstrated more technical skill than others, all the photos revealed our readers’ passion for seeing new places and people, seeking out new experiences and sharing the thrill of discovery with others.
Here are the top photos and the photographers’ own words.
Kari C. Thomas, Will Travel, Inc.
“As part of an Avalon River cruise from Budapest to Nuremburg, we stopped in Vienna and toured the majestic Schoenbrunn Palace. Although we saw beautiful foliage all along the Danube, I was struck by how pretty the gardens at Schoenbrunn were, with the vibrant autumn leaves against the classical statues and blue sky. You felt drawn in to explore further to see what other colors waited down the path. So often people want to see Europe in the summer and, while I am sure the flowers would have been stunning then as well, I feel very fortunate to have seen the gardens at this special time. It was a reminder that you can find beauty when you travel any time of year.”
Tamara Hathaway, Cox & Kings, The Americas
“After a very difficult hike through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, this gorilla was the first one we found. I couldn’t believe how close we were to him and how relaxed he was when we were surrounding him. The gorilla had this beautiful calm look on his face that I fortunately was able to snap a shot of right before he disappeared into the forest behind him. It was an incredible moment.”
Sue Neukirch, West University Travel
“It was such a beautiful day in Antarctica. I took this photo from just outside the door of the bridge of the Clipper Adventurer. I thought that the majesty of La Maire Channel, along with the ship and some of our fellow passengers, was a great shot. There’s such a delicate balance there, between the rugged, pristine beauty, the remoteness, the surprising abundance of life and the harsh unforgiving elements, that it makes Antarctica even more unique.”
Here are the rest of our top 10 photos in this year’s reader photo contest:
1. Diana Brooks, Your Travel Agent, Belton, Texas
“April in Paris — what destination could be more romantic? This shot was taken on my first trip to Paris. My husband and I were immediately in love with the city and its incredible architecture, art, history and, let’s not forget, cuisine. Dinner with a view from Eiffel Tower was the piece de resistance.”
2. Steve Orens, Plaza Travel, Encino, Calif.
“This was taken in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The people of Thailand are so wonderful — I felt this beautiful girl’s eyes and expression were so heartwarming and genuine. I loved the way she smiled at us and made us feel welcome in her village.”
3. Craig Headman, Supreme Travel, San Francisco, Calif.
“This photo is of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom mountain in Wadi Rum, Jordan. We visited Wadi Rum the day after Petra. After an amazing day in Petra, I didn’t know what else we could see that could compare. But the desert scenery and the multi-colored rock formations were great. It reminded me of the beautiful deserts of the Southwest U.S.”
4. Kari C. Thomas, Will Travel, Inc., Langhorne, Penn.
“This photo was taken at the Seaside Heights Boardwalk, in New Jersey. The boardwalk is an iconic American experience: All over the U.S. people flock to the beaches to cool off in the summer heat, and what better way to finish your day than with a stroll along the boardwalk for food and fun. Young and old enjoy the swings and they are as much an attraction today as they were years ago. This picture was taken before Hurricane Sandy ravaged the Seaside Heights Boardwalk. It is a tribute to the wonderful memories made — and those that will continue to be made — ‘down the shore.’”
5. Craig Headman, Supreme Travel, San Francisco, Calif.
“This photo is of the Shuzheng Waterfall in Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan Province, China. We happened upon this beautiful spot at the end of the day. It was drizzling and I was concerned for the cameras, but I couldn’t stop taking pictures. If you go to Chengdu to see pandas, allow a few extra days to see Jiuzhaigou National Park. I hear it is even more amazing in the fall, with more water and lots of fall colors, too.”
6. Ron Field, Park City Travel, Park City, Utah
“We were on a 17-day cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore with Holland America Line on the MV Volendam. Nha Trang, Vietnam, was our third stop. Our guide had us walk across this bridge to see an exceptional city view. This is when I came upon the fisherman taking a break from his routine.”
7. Judy Baker, San Carlos, Calif.
“I love taking photos in Africa. I want to remember every moment after I return home. Even if I go to the same places, it’s always different because of the wildlife. They are always photo-worthy — whether playing, sleeping or getting amorous. These giraffes were playing in the afternoon sun in Samburu, Kenya. I’ve been going to Africa since 1993, and I have never tired of the people, scenery, animals and wonderful lodges and camps.”