Thanks to Erin, The World Wanderer, for tagging me to participate in TravelSupermarket’s Capture The Colour blogging contest! Even if I don’t win an iPad 3 or the £2000 in travel money, this was still a fun post to write and even more fun to look through my heaps of travel photos.
Why do we take pictures when we travel? Most probably say to remember our trips and where we’ve been. I might even supply that answer – but that’s not all there is to it. I try to capture a moment – a feeling, an emotion. I’m not always successful, as I am not a professional photographer, nor do I claim to be; but I do enjoy taking photos and revisiting them long after a trip is complete so I may attempt to relive moments from my travels and, therefore, from my life.
Istanbul is a city that begs to be photographed. There is so much action and so many people that I, at least, wanted to capture it all. At the same time, the crowds and the chaos were a bit overwhelming for me during my first few days in Istanbul. The one place I was able to kind of escape the madness and have a bit of peace was Hagia Sophia. Unbelievable, I know, since it’s probably Istanbul’s most popular attraction. There were not many people there when we visited, and we pretty much had the entire second level to ourselves. That’s how I was able to capture this serene moment, this shot of the sun breaking through the clouds to shine down on Blue Mosque (hence, my use of this photo for the “blue” category). And it was completely accidental. There are small windows lining the wall of Hagia Sophia that faces Blue Mosque. The windows are set a bit higher than your average window; therefore, being vertically challenged, I couldn’t fully appreciate the view. I could see the sky, though, and thought it dramatic: early evening, sun about to set, peeking through perfectly moody clouds. So I adjusted the settings on my camera to what I thought would work, given the lighting conditions. I set the camera on the sill, zoomed in and out a bit (again, complete guesswork), and snapped. This is the result.
Visiting the state of Arizona never really interested me until my father moved there in 2006. I don’t do well in extreme heat and, since Arizona is primarily desert – especially Scottsdale, where Dad lives – why would I want to go there? Not to mention, I don’t care for places that are monochromatic and, therefore, drab. Those turned out to be my initial impressions of Arizona but I kept going back because I wanted to visit my father. One of my chief complaints about what I’d seen of Arizona is that there is no green anywhere: I hadn’t seen any grass on front lawns or in backyards. Green conveys to me a feeling of being alive and of growth. I definitely didn’t get that feeling in Scottsdale or any other place I’d visited up to that point. And then, during one visit, Dad took us for a drive through Tonto National Forest. Desert terrain gave way to deep red bluffs and every shade of green imaginable. I was shocked. Tonto National Forest changed my mind, and how I looked at and felt about, Arizona. (I’m still not crazy about Scottsdale.)
I didn’t want to go to Venice. I was dead set against it because, don’t you know, I was this intrepid, independent world traveler who avoided major tourist areas for fear of losing my backpacker cred. (Can’t you just smell the snark?) But in 2006, my sister and I were planning our first trip to Italy, the country of our heritage. We each had mental itineraries, thoughts of cities and places we wanted to see. My “big one” was Florence; my sister’s was Venice. “No way,” I said, obeying the instructions I’d read on various indie travel websites to avoid Venice at all costs. I held my ground for a good while and then… maybe because she’s my baby sister and I’d do anything for her, I gave in and agreed to add Venice to our itinerary – but I wasn’t happy about it. As the story goes, I ended up falling madly in love with Venice (while completely loathing Florence, but that’s a discussion for another time and place), and this shot of that adorable yellow building is one of my favorite photos from my time there. The photo also serves as a reminder that every place – country, city, town – is worth a chance. You got that? Just hope that, six years later, your younger sister isn’t still gloating and saying, “I told you so.”
I made my first ever visit to Washington, DC when I was 34 years old. Kind of embarrassing for an American, right? But I like to look at it this way: it allowed me plenty of time to learn about the sights I wanted to see the most. At the top of my list was Arlington National Cemetery. I believe it was my duty to pay respect to those who made the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for my country throughout the centuries, and to fallen heroes who survived their respective wars and were later laid to rest at Arlington. Visiting JFK’s gravesite was moving; the changing of the guard at Tomb of the Unknowns was unforgettable. But what struck me the most were the rows upon rows of stark, white marble grave markers for the thousands of veterans buried there. According to the Arlington National Cemetery official website, its intention is to provide “a sense of beauty and peace” to the families of the fallen. I definitely felt it, gazing respectfully upon that sea of white headstones.
Let’s go back to Istanbul for the red category. One of the best things we did while there was go to the top of Galata Tower for unobstructed and unrivaled panoramic views of the city. Our visit coincided with a call to prayer; we were surrounded by the chants and the prayers being broadcast over the loud speakers from the many mosques. I didn’t want to move or breathe because I wanted to take it all in: the sound, the sun, the wind. But then I spotted this giant, red Turkish flag flapping in the breeze, almost in rhythm with the chants, and I knew I had to move so I could capture the moment.
Now it’s my turn to tag some fellow bloggers to participate. I nominate:
Annie – Head In Knots
Pola – Jetting Around
Christina – View from the Middle Seat
Raúl – I Live To Travel
Adam – Visit Flyover Country