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Throughout history, travelers have used images to share the wonders that lie just beyond the horizon. Paintings, illustrations, films and photographs have an inherent ability to captivate the imagination — inspiring future explorers to set off to discover their own exotic vistas. Though technology has made travel photos easier to take and share, it has not diminished the sheer power of these images to capture the adventure of travel.
The advisors who are featured on the following pages understand the value of photography as a way to convey an experience. They are dedicated to “getting the shot,” whether that means waking up before sunrise, enduring a freezing snowstorm or returning again and again until the conditions are perfect. Because not only can photos help these agents share experiences with their clients; they are a way to capture moments for themselves and relive them for years to come.
At the very least, through our Eighth Annual Reader Photo Contest, we hope to inspire advisors to continue to send clients to the far ends of the Earth — where they can make their own discoveries, come back with a few favorite photos and create a lifetime of memories.
FIRST PLACE: Marcia Dillon of Caprice Travel, Scottsdale, Ariz.
“I traveled to Varanasi, India, and spent five days wandering around from sunrise to late at night trying to capture the essence of this wonderful place. It is the holiest of the seven sacred cities of India and sits on the bank of the Ganges River. I was at the river before the sun rose, and some holy men were carrying the body of one of their own down to the water. They tied his body to the front of a boat and took him out to bury him in the river. This holy man had just started to walk up the bank as the boat sailed away. To me, this represents why I travel: To feel a connection with people and their daily lives. Photography and travel are the perfect combination for me. Being able to capture these special moments is a blessing.”
SECOND PLACE: Jerry Chinn of ROX Travel, Prescott, Ariz.
“Botswana’s San People (Kalahari Bushman), whose DNA has been traced back 25,000 years, are thought to be the living ancestors of modern humans. Here, a San couple demonstrate some of the food-gathering wisdom and skill, passed down for generations, that allows them to survive in one of the world’s harshest environments. Observing the San People’s ability to reveal a water- and nutrient-laden tuber growing under the desert sand was truly a humbling and awe-inspiring experience. At the same time, I felt a sadness about how quickly we are losing indigenous cultures and wisdom. Travel is how I indulge my desire to explore and find the common bonds in diverse cultures.”
THIRD PLACE: Lisa Marmon of Flying Giraffe Travel, Armonk, N.Y.
“On a recent trip to Meru National Park in Kenya, we came across this herd of Cape buffalo that seemed as interested in us as we were in them. I was particularly drawn to this grouping because they seemed so content all standing together. It reminded me of the New York City subway, but with much mellower personalities (and no pushing or shoving). And the bird hitching a ride as I was taking the shot was a real bonus.”
HONORABLE MENTIONSJerry Chinn of ROX Travel, Prescott, Ariz.
Whenever I travel and wherever I go, I try to connect with and learn about the local people. What I’m most struck by isn’t how different we are, but instead how much we share the same dreams and desires — a roof over our heads, food on the table and a future for our children. So, I couldn’t help but smile and identify with the grandmother showing off her sleeping grandson as I visited a Chinese village along the Yangtze River.”
Marcia Dillon of Caprice Travel, Scottsdale, Ariz.
“Last December, we traveled to Easter Island to explore this magical and mystical place. It did not disappoint, as we spent five days exploring the island and marveling at the magnificent sculptures. Ahu Tongariki is the largest ahu (shrine) on Easter Island, and this moai was the first one we saw when we walked up. He looked magnificent set against the sunrise as he looked out across the water. Travel offers us such magical moments.”
Christy Campbell of Direct Travel, San Francisco
“I originally saw a photo of Norway’s Lofoten Islands on the cover of National Geographic Traveler magazine, and it made me want to go there, so I planned a visit. I took this shot super early in the morning during a snowstorm. We were standing on a bridge, freezing. But since this was the moment I came for, I wasn’t really concerned about the cold. I believe pictures have a way of transporting you to a place even if you cannot go. Travel to me means freedom, learning and adventure.”
Sue Alstedt of The Travel Counselor, New York City
“They say that if you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, you do it from the Tanzania side. But, if you want to see it, the best place is from Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. Still, visitors can spend days in the area while the mountain remains hidden in the clouds, and it wasn’t until my third trip to East Africa that I caught the mountain clearly — with an elephant family crossing the plains in front of it.”
“The baobab is the largest tree in Africa, and this one in bloom harbored not one, but two African elephants, the largest land mammal on the planet. The elephants are dwarfed and shaded by this old beauty. Tarangire National Park in Tanzania is famous for both its elephant population and its baobabs, so it was exciting to catch the two giants together while traveling through the park.”
Paul Svedersky of Now Voyager Travel, San Francisco
“I took this photo in November at Norovank Monastery in Armenia. What struck me when visiting here is the fact that Norovank means ‘new monastery’ even though it is from the 13th century. Armenia is a very old country, and you get that sense at every turn. Travel brings old and new together in mysterious ways.”