Seizing Possibilities

Seizing Possibilities
Seizing Possibilities

Sunday, January 1, 2012

11 top Travel Photographs of 2011 #photography #2011BestPhotographs

Today I have finished choosing my top 11 Travel photographs from 2011.  This is not an easy task because I have such fond memories from where I have been which leads me to not only choose the photograph because of the photograph itself but because of the sentimentality that goes with it.  I doubt I have separated it completely anyway!  My year started in Indianapolis, IN USA and had the opportunity to take photographs with my nephew who was working on a Boy Scout badge.  As part of it we went many places and he and I went to the top of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument when I took several photographs I liked but this one was so evocative and spoke so clearly of a the manufacturing base found throughout the Midwest.
Industrialized
 Another opportunity arose on a bright sunny day to visit Crown Hill National Cemetery where we explored and visited many of the special and moving areas of the Cemetery. This photograph was taken at the section devoted to the unnamed children from a local children's home many years ago.  Intensely moving and heart-wrenching.
The Lost Children Remembered
Late in January I traveled to Okinawa, Japan to help my daughter and her  family and to visit at the time of the birth of her second daughter.  It was a joyous time and her and her husband ensured visits to many wonderful places.  The next several photographs are from here.  I happened to be here during Sakura.  This photograph was taken on Mt Yae during the Sakura Festival time.  It was busy with many tourists. Adults, children, dogs, cameras, photographs taken high and low of everyone.  "Sakura On Mt. Yae" gives you a sense of what we saw here.
Sakura On Mt. Yae
 I was also fortunate to visit a beautifully restored castle called Shurijo.  It was a wonderful example of the Ryukyu Kingdom.  I had so many photographs to choose from but decided this one was so moody and is one of my favorites as a monochromatic sense of abandon majesty.
The Reds of Shurijo
On my second visit to Shurijo there were some traditional dancers performing.  It was fascinating watching their measured steps to very methodical and slow traditional music.  Here is a Yostudake Dancer in full traditional dress with yostudake bamboo pieces they use to "click" to the music.
Yostudake Dancer
There on Okinawa is the second largest aquarium tank in the world at Churaumi Aquarium at Ocean's Park Expo.  When I came into the room that housed it, I couldn't help but gasp.  As I watched the fish swim, it was so soothing.  I really could have stayed there for a long afternoon and returned often for the calming affect it had.  This photograph is of the large tank where several sharks swam among the smaller schools of fish and multiple stingrays.
Sharks!!
At Ocean's Park Expo they also have a section called Okinawan World showing original but moved homes of the Okinawan peoples from the past.  It was difficult eliminating some of may favorite photographs from here but while we meandered among the buildings and along the paths there were many flowers and lots of hibiscus on the island.  This photograph was taken at the park looking across the water to the island of Ie which you see faintly in the background.
Twin Peaks
Another area of the island is in the south where the bloodiest battle of the Pacific was fought.  There among the naval tunnels of the war you find the Okinawa Peace Memorial, a tribute to those who lost their lives in the battle.  It truly is a place not to be missed if you visit Okinawa along with the tunnels in the nearby city of Naha.  We had a noodle lunch when we arrived on a quiet yet sunny day and stopped to chat, with very limited understanding of each others language, to two wonderful grandmothers.  I learned one of them had five grandchildren which she was very proud of and I was soon to be a grandmother of four so we had some things in common.  Choosing which photograph to use of the two is not easy, but this one had a hat we saw often on the island and part of the memorial is in view behind her.
Okinawan Grandmother
In my previous top 11 evocative photographs I have a few other Sakura floral photographs.  It is hard to condense ten weeks of travel on a small island and a year spent in several places into just a few favorites!  I ended up back in Tennessee for many months during the Summer and Fall.  I was fortunate to have the opportunity to hike to the apex of Mt LeConte with some former co-workers.  It was a wonderful time and the views when we arrived at the very top viewing point was spectacular.  This is a view of the Fall colors viewed through the haze of the Blue Ridge toward Newfound Gap and its parking area.  The hues to me are magical and what I especially love about it.
Looking Down on Newfound Gap
Finally in Mid-December I made my way over a span of ten days from the Smokies to Mt Ranier using the southern most route.  I was very happy that it not only brought me through an area of the US that I had never been through but gave me so much eye candy that ensures I have to return for another serving!  I spent a few days in southern Arizona near Tucson and Phoenix.  In Tucson I visited San Xavier Mission, the White Dove of the Desert.  It was amazing and beautiful.  Under restoration you can see the progress and beauty of the original design and its genius.  This is just a small portion of the mission's picturesque qualities.
Arches
Near Florence, AZ is a Greek Monastery open to the public during limited hours in the middle of the Sonoran Desert.  Here, when the sun was bright and shining delightfully upon the architecture of the entrance and sanctuary the full breadth of the Greek influence and oasis is seen.
Entrance to St Anthony's Monastery
My travel took me through some amazing country and I haven't had the opportunity to process many of my photographs or seriously even look at them.  I arrived Christmas Eve at my daughter's family home and have been busy getting settled and helping organize things a bit.  I look forward to exploring this area as I make this my home for the next year while my son-in-law deploys and I welcome a new grandbaby into the world.

Happy 2012!  I hope it brings many wonderful things to your table and you are able to take full advantage of what is set before you!  I am very grateful for what 2011 brought to me and hope that in 2012 more goals will be met and life's adventure and path will be more fully realized.  Best of everything in the New Year!