My 2015 in photos

Welcome to my 2015 in photos. I considered omitting it so that I could get through writing the stories behind the images but there are so many great images, they deserve to be shared sooner than later.

2015 was a “quieter” year for me; I travelled only four countries outside of my home country of Australia. They were: Thailand, America, Canada and Vietnam. None of them were new countries to me, but I got to see a different part of the America and Canada that most of us wouldn’t have normally seen.

The longest that I spent in a country was 101 days in America. I spent that time driving across twenty five states and clocking up over 16,000 km’s in a car that I bought and sold. It was the first time that I took such a huge risk; to buy in New Hampshire and then to sell it again on tight timeline on Craigslist. But in the end it turned out to be just one of the many new experiences that I had during the road trip.

I spent a lot of time both in the company of friends as well as alone on the road. It’s given me plenty of time to assess a lot of things in my personal life, my purpose for travel and my style of travel as they all continue to change. As my passion for photography evolves, it was important to make the necessary adjustments in my travel style in order to get the most of my time in each location, even though I felt like it was still rushing a lot.

A year of connections

If I had to theme 2015, then it would have to be about connections. I spent a total of eight months in Vietnam between 2014 and partly into 2015. The main reason was to establish a connection with the country of my heritage, meet up with relatives who I haven’t seen for a while as well as find answers to few questions that formed over the years from growing up in a “first world” country, with differing cultural values from where my family came from.

Even though I spent half of 2015 in Sydney,  I wanted to experience  a different side of the city while I was there. I visited areas that I was always curious about, but never made an effort to do so on previous years, partly due to complacency and laziness. While at home I also found myself naturally gravitating towards people who were passionate about other things in their lives, other than their careers.

This philosophy also carried on while I was traveling across America. I frequently used  Couch Surfing, and was fortunate to have people of all walks of life greet me with open arms, allowing me to stay under their roof and give me a glimpse into their personal life. From people who rescue food from grocery stores to feed the poor, to a couple who spent three years cycling from the north of Canada to Argentina, there is so much human contact and stories to inspire me for many years ahead.

Thanks for showing interest in what I got up to during 2015. Whether you’ve stumbled upon my images or words through this blog, social media, or even bought prints of my images, it all means the world to me and spurs me to continue on.

You can also stay in touch via Facebook, Instagram and also my newsletter. I hope you enjoy my 2015 in photos and I look forward to showing you more inspiring images and stories in 2016.

ho chi minh city women

New year in Vietnam: I was in Vietnam at the start of 2015 for the Lunar New Year. For the week leading up to the New Year, women dress in the traditional Ao Dai and pose for photos near the many installations with flower blossoms around the city.

phong nha cave vietnam

Phong Nha Cave: Prior to leaving Vietnam, I did a trip through the central region and back to Hanoi. One of my favourite places were the caves in Phong Nha. It is also also home to Hang Song Doong, the world’s largest cave.

bangkok Ratchaprasong junction

Bangkok metropolis: I finished up my stint in Asia with a couple of weeks in Bangkok across February and March.  Like most people who have visited this country with a peaceful population, I was saddened when bombs were detonated at the shrine, left of this image.

sydney harbour

Sydney dreams: As much as I love traveling, there is no better feeling than flying back into Sydney. Sometimes we need to see the world in order to realise how good that we have it and can sometimes, take it for granted.

bondi icebergs sydney

Mornin’ Bondi: I never bothered living or going to the beach while I spent twelve years in Sydney, so I decided to live in Bondi upon my arrival. I certainly missed out didn’t I?

bombo quarry sunrise

Bombo rays: I also wanted to explore the areas outside of Sydney while I was home. Here is Bombo Quarry down on the south coast at sunrise.

painted ladies san francisco

San Francisco Painted Ladies: The first location on the American road trip was San Francisco. In a way, it reminded me of Sydney: A huge bay, bridge, natural attractions, cultural diversity, good food and expensive to live in.

mesquite dunes

Death stare: It was 47 degrees celsius at 5pm when we hiked out to the dunes of Death Valley. Even with nearly two litres of water in my bag, we didn’t get far until I could feel my internal organs cooking away and began vomiting from the heat.

mount assiniboine astro

Astronomy lesson: I decided to invest into experiences and my development as a photographer rather than on photography gear. Here is an image from Mount Assiniboine in Canada during a two week photography tour in the Canadian Rockies.

lake magog sunrise

Lake Magog at Mount Assiniboine: It’s strange that for somebody who loves landscape photography, I had minimal camping experience. This year, I’ve learnt to take risks, to believe in myself and be less dependant on others who aren’t on the same journey as me.

blood moon in nubble lighthouse, york

Blood moon rising: I’ve always been in the wrong place at the wrong time when it came to photographing a full moon. In this case, I had the perfect opportunity in Maine to shoot the blood moon.

fall foliage new hampshire

Hide and seek: I spent a couple of weeks in New Hampshire, where I bought a car and photographed the fall foliage around White Mountains.

kettle pond vermont

Kettle Pond dreaming: I continued the road trip to Vermont, where I used to work at a ski resort. It was great to see the place without snow and where the colours were peaking. I was the only person at this lookout point, with a few squirrels scurrying up and down a nearby tree as the sun set from behind the clouds.

linn cove viaduct asheville

Blue Ridge Parkway streaks: If there’s one thing that I’ve learnt is that persistence pays off. I wasn’t happy with the results from this location on the previous two mornings, so I kept returning. I knew how I wanted it to look and wasn’t going to stop until I got what I needed.

alabama college football

Roll tide: I attended my first American College Football game in Alabama with the parents of a friend who I had met in Argentina. The Crimson Tide were facing off their biggest rivals, The Tennessee Volunteers and the roaring energy from the 100,000+ crowd was something that I’ll never forget.

huntsville space and rocket museum

Take off: This is the shuttle outside of the Space and Rocket Museum in Huntsville, Alabama. The rocket program was run from this location and instrumental in getting man to the moon. Since I went to the Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C, I’ve become a converted space nut.

austin texas capitol building

Capitol Building in Austin: Usually when I arrive in a larger city, I go into hibernation mode in order to catch up on work or just to find great food to eat. Photography rarely becomes a priority, but this image reminds me that you don’t have to venture off into the backcountry in order to find beautiful things.

 

white sands monument new mexico

Desert walking in White Sands Monument, New Mexico: The week prior to taking this image, I found out that a friend had suddenly passed away. For a few days, I felt hopeless and deeply saddened that I could no longer see her again. Being out in beautiful places like national parks has a calming effect on me; they are so vast and gave me enough solitude explore both the park as well as look inward.

grand canyon sunset

Grand ol’ canyon: I’m still kicking myself for not spending more time in the Grand Canyon. The sheer scale is absolutely mind boggling. There’s just not enough time in this lifetime to explore this world.

lower antelope canyon

Curvy: As a photographer, we are drawn towards colours, textures and lines. Within Antelope Canyon, all of this exist and is also capable of giving you goosebumps. As the sun changes direction, the light will bend and change the look and feel of each area within the canyon.

horse shoe bend page arizona moonrise

The big bend: Photos of Horseshoe Bend do not do it any justice – It is THAT BIG. I wasn’t happy with the photos from the sunset session, so I decided to stay back with two other photographers that I met that afternoon and wait until the moon rose a few hours to capture the stars, as the moon lit the valley below. I used to shun the opportunity to meet and network with other photographers, but things changed in America. One of the gentlemen that I met that night, I ran into again the following week in Utah.

monument valley sunset moon rising

Pink archway: The Navajo have a close connection to natural world. Once you spend a few hours here at Monument Valley, it’s clear as to why this place is special to them. I sat in this location for over an hour and watched the light change as it painted the atmosphere with shades of orange and magenta.

mesa arch canyonlands starburst

Another world: Looking through the Mesa Arch in Canyonlands is like peering through a portal and into another world. As the morning rays reach the sandstone cliff below, the golden light is reflected up into the arch below.

landscape arch arches national park

A park for ants: A human element can give something a sense of scale such as here at Landscape Arch at Arches National Park, Utah. The National Parks Service does an incredible job in providing access and facilities at many locations in the country. For $80, one can obtain unlimited access to these beautiful parks.

colorado national monument

Picture perfect: Colorado was the last stop on my American Road trip. After 10,000 of driving, it was time to sell the car and move on. Here at the Colorado National Monument, the first of the winter snow had just fallen. I ended up traveling to ten National Parks and many other state forests. Visiting these places and spendless countless hours hiking had a profound impact on how I felt about man’s impact on the planet, how I could travel responsibly and what positive role can I play in the world.

ho chi minh city

Feels like home: Just has my year started in Vietnam, so it ends here again. What brings me here is the exciting energy, friendliness, friends and food.

If you liked any of my images in this story you can purchase them HERE. Alternatively, contact me to arrange alternative formats and mailing options if there aren’t any suitable on the site.

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