Around the World With the ArvaMonts

Looking Back

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Looking Back

(my Post Trip Musings)


One whole year on the road:  we left on June 9, 2007 and returned home on May 31, 2008 (ok, it was actually 9 days short of a year - but it was a Leap year, and we did have the night of April 10th twice due to the International Date Line, so that counts for something, doesn't it?  :-) ).


Now, 45 days after returning, it almost feels like I was never gone.  I guess that's not too surprising as we get back into our routine here, but it is funny to think that a year-long experience can seem so far away so quickly.  What we do have, though, are the many memories and images of a truly wonderful experience and the realization of how very fortunate we were to have been able to make such a trip.  Now that we're almost unpacked (from the trip and restoring our household) the real fun can begin - sorting through the thousands of photos we took and trying to distill our trip down to a manageable "handful."  In case you are not familiar with our trip and our website: we captured our whole trip on our web log as we traveled.  It has our itinerary, personal journals and musings, our "world schooling" plan for the girls and narrative photo albums of each of our stops (narrated by Newenka and photo illustrated by yours truly - click here if you would like to learn more about our trip.


As we traveled, Newenka and I each tried to keep a folder of our favorite photos from each destination - we figured that it would help create a final summary and help us identify pictures we'd like to print and hang on our walls.   We have recently found that going through the complete set of photos long after having been to a place results in some new images being selected as well as more being deleted.  So, we're going to make a complete pass one more time.  But in the meantime, I wanted to share some of my truly favorite photos and start the process of figuring out how to organize the few hundred images that will summarize our year of traveling around the world.


Below are 26 of my favorite photos.  Descriptions and links to more background (and/or photos) are provided after each one.  I hope you enjoy them, and, as always, all feedback is welcome.




Red Crested Pochard - Saints Maries de la Mer, Parc Ornithologique du Pont-du-Gau, France

I just loved this guy's colors and the water reflections.
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/2500 at f/6.3.  ISO 400


"Crazy guy and his bull" :-) - Saints-Maries-de-la-Mer, France.

Wonder what this guy is doing with his hand on the head of a charging bull?  (Don't worry, neither was hurt.)

We spent an interesting afternoon watching the "bull games" in Saint-Maries-de-la-Mer.

For additional information on these "bull games" and more photos, click here
Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/3200 at f/6.3.  ISO 400



Eiffel Tower at night - Paris, France.

In the evenings, this city was one of the prettiest that we visited.  As we select more city scenes, we'll link to them from here.

(Newenka and I really like this image so we enlarged it to 20" x 30" for hanging somewhere in the house.)  
Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II tripod mounted - 0.5 sec at f/8.  ISO 800.




Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

We had the opportunity to watch a pride of lions chase 4 buffalo and bring down 2 of them.  The experience was absolutely amazing and we managed to get a few ok images to hang on our wall as a souvenir.  Click here if you'd like to see the whole sequence of events from how it  came about to how it played out.
Canon 300mm f/2.8 with 2X TC II on Canon 1Ds Mark II handheld - 1/1600 at f/5.6.  ISO 640.  Manual Focus




Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

What really captivated me in Vietnam was the sheer number of motorcycles.  As we crossed this street, I just had to try and capture this image.  I converted it to black & white to try and reduce the digital noise - but I kind of like it this way.  More Vietnam motorcycle photos can be found by clicking here.
Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II handheld overhead - 1/50 at f/4.  "Pushed" to approx. ISO 4000 in Photoshop and converted to HDR image.



Bayon Temple, Angkor Thom, Siem Reap, Cambodia

This large complex is impressive.  (A day of touring in the heat of the jungle doesn't quite do it justice.)
Canon 24-105mm on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/320 at f/4.  ISO 200

Barbary Macaques - Gibraltar

I thought it was very nice of this mother and child to pose for a portrait on the stone wall along the path :-)
Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/250 at f/4.  ISO 200

Blonay, Geneve Area, Switzerland

As luck would have it, it was Steam Train weekend while we were there.  Converting to black and white made the image feel (to me at least) more appropriate for the era.
Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/640 at f/8.  ISO 400.

The Flamingoes of southern France (Provence).

Saints Maries de la Mer, Parc Ornithologique du Pont-du-Gau, France

This was one of the few places in Europe that you could find Flamingos in the wild.  It was fun spending a couple of days with them (though a little frustrating driving around trying to figure out where they hung out and getting to a good lighting angle on them).    The image above was taken well after sunset while waiting for a group to finally take off and head "home."  Fortunately, I was able to pan with them and get an interesting shot.
Canon 300mm f/2.8 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/20 at f/2.8.  ISO 1250.

Saints Maries de la Mer, France
Canon 300mm f/2.8 with 2X TC II on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/3200 at f/6.3.  ISO 400.

While I have really come to enjoy photographing animals, most of our travels revolved around cities.  Fortunately,  zoos were also a great place to check out the locals, so we regularly visited the city zoos.  Some were more productive than others, but they were all fun and culturally interesting.

Grey Crowned Crane - Hamburg Zoo, Germany

Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/160 at f/4.  ISO 200.


Ostrich - Dusit Zoo; Bangkok, Thailand

100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/800 at f/6.3.  ISO 640.


Popular Panda with "fans" - Beijing Zoo; Beijing, China

It was interesting to see how popular the pandas were in Beijing.  Even when a panda was at the other end of its enclosure with its back turned, there was a small crowd looking at it and taking photos of its backside.

Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/13 at f/4.  ISO 1000.


Elephant Feeding (You can feed the elephants in Hamburg) - Hamburg Zoo, Germany

I thought this was kind of a fun angle on the whole thing :-)

Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/1000 at f/4.  ISO 200.

Botanic Gardens; Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/100 at f/20.  ISO 200

"Bird's eye view" - Gull near le Mont Saint Michele, Normandy, France

I was trying to capture what it might look like if we were flying in formation with this gull - he's our "wingman." 

(The photo was taken from on top of le Mont Saint Michele.)
Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/8000 at f/4.  ISO 400.

Moai watching a horse eat - Ahu Tongariki, Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Chile

Our only nice day on Rapa Nui - fortunately we rented a car and checked out some of the main Moai.  It then rained on and off for the next 3 days that we were there :-)
Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/1600 at f/8.  ISO 400.

Kyoto Central Train Station; Kyoto, Japan

Coming up the escalator, this silhouetted scene caught my eye.
Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/400 at f/4.  ISO 400.



"Dancing Eyeballs" - Hong Kong

We were walking to the subway when we ran across this interesting ad campaign.  A bunch of dancing "eyeballs" - and that pink guy in the back is a tongue.  :-)  So I just had to get into the middle of the action to take some photos.

Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/160 at f/10.  ISO 640.




Machu Picchu Llama - Machu Picchu, Peru

Kind of a "stereotypical" shot, but fun nonetheless - the setting for Machu Picchu is simply stunning.
Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/200 at f/8.  ISO 400.




Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia

You have to love the unpredictability of nature.  Here we are in the middle of the desert in Australia.  The moon is to be completely full in 48 hours and I'm hoping that it might be pretty rising next to the rock.  So, I scout the area and plan where I'll need to be in a couple of nights.  I noted driving distances and landmarks - and even took a panoramic sequence (above) just for fun.  Of course on the "big night," the sky was completely overcast!  So much for the best laid plans...maybe next time ;-)  At least I have a panoramic image that I can enlarge to 5 feet x 1 foot.  Now if I can only find a place to hang it :-)
4 frame panoramic - Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II.  Manual exposure and focusing - 1/800 at f/7.1.  ISO 400




Firewood and flowers - Murren, Switzerland

We did a lot of hiking in Switzerland and noticed many firewood piles (it obviously gets a little chilly in the winter there).  In typical Swiss fashion, however, all the wood piles were orderly and decent looking.  Some were downright beautiful.
Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/80 at f/6.3.  ISO 200.


Female Jabiru (Black necked Stork); Kakadu National Park; Northern Territory, Australia

As we were driving from our hotel to the boat dock for our boat ride, we almost hit a low flying Jabiru that flew right across the road at about rooftop level.  It startled us, but also piqued my desire to capture one of these birds in flight.  So, I went out the next morning looking for Jabiru to photograph (for those of you unfamiliar with Kakadu, it's a rather large park).  After driving around for a while I was starting to wonder if I was going to see any Jabiru at all.  In the road ahead was a juvenile crocodile so I stopped.  It ran off into the bushes along the road before I could get any photos of it.  But while I was stopped (and now out of the car) I saw this Jabiru over a field and flying my way - and she wasn't backlit...hurray!  (Special thanks, also, to my little crocodile friend who came out to stop me :-) )
Canon 300mm f/2.8 with 2X TC II on Canon 1Ds Mark II handheld - 1/3200 at f/6.3.  ISO 400.


Pacific Baza; Territory Wildlife Park; Berry Springs, Northern Territory, Australia

An injured bird that is now retired and helping educate visitors to this park.  I thought its expression was interesting - almost thoughtful.
Canon 100-400mm on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/640 at f/6.3.  ISO 640.




Blue-footed Booby, Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

I had some trepidations about visiting the Galapagos...let's see: Equatorial heat and living on a boat when I am susceptible to seasickness - yeah, that should be fun!  But I had an absolutely wonderful time and would love to go back again.  The islands, the plants and the animals are just magical.  Of all the animals we saw, I think I was most captivated by the blue-footed Boobies (though I really fell in love with pretty much all of the unique wildlife there).  Their courtship ritual is fun, their fishing is amazing, and their landings are so cute.  The Galapagos Gallery can be found here.

Canon 300mm f/2.8 on Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II - 1/1250 sec f/4.5. ISO 200





"That's enough pictures, daddy" - Xi'an (Xian), China.

A common refrain :-).  Nevertheless, my favorite family travel pictures coming soon....

Canon 24-105mm f/4 on Canon 1Ds Mark II - 1/400 at f/4.  ISO 400.



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