I’m about a month late publishing this post I had ready in December. Life seems to always get in the way and there was no further example of that than 2022 as a whole. I can’t say there was a year where I learned more about myself and my camera than this past one. With that being said, I hope I don’t have to mature as much in 2023 all at once 🙂
Anyway I figured I would publish this post sooner rather than later in hopes that it might inspire some of you during your 2023 travels. Let me know if it has because I’m always happy to hear the stories. Without further ado, here are my top ten favorite images from my travels in 2022. I realize that a lot of my readers are Indian movie buffs so I included some music videos featuring these locations that I photographed 🙂
No. 10: “Searching the Beyond”
Location: Ennis, Texas
It’s debatable whether this is among by best shots of the year, however there would be no 2022 for me if not for this night out. I promise this story is the longest you will read out of the bunch!
Back in April, I was frankly in a rut. I had not shot a single image in the first three months of the year and had not touched my camera once throughout the first three months of 2022. I just had not been in the mood to snap pictures after my grandfather passed away. It’s a weird kind of laziness that overtook me at the time. It’s not exactly procrastination or grief but more like an odd limbo or void. I’ve come to the realization now that I think I had been avoiding photography to avoid reflecting more than anything. I’m not an emotional person, but perhaps my mind subconsciously had made me avoid this rabbit hole.
Well one fine spring evening, while I was out alone photographing the stars, I couldn’t help but reflect on the last year and (perhaps illogically) wonder if my grandfather was out there somewhere. The void finally seemed to lift, and maybe I was close to shedding a tear. Well it wasn’t to be because a dog barking in a field nearby rather abruptly shifted my response to a more of a fight or flight one. I could’ve sworn it was right next to me when I heard it!
Packing up I rather slowly trudged to the car with my tripod in front of me. Ok I am lying, I jogged. Along the way I also heard a rattle which freaked me out (this ended up being my tripod head).
I hopped in the car and started driving only to find that the dog was actually behind a fence. I guess it was still smart of me to leave because the dog was intent on waking up some poor old farmer and every soul in the near vicinity (not that there seemed to be any). I’m sure my grandfather would’ve enjoyed the story behind this image more so than the image itself. He wasn’t a person to compliment people left and right about anything, but he always made the effort to say how he loved my images. I always thought it was just him going soft on me 😂. I guess I’ll never know for sure…..
Anyway I didn’t know it at the time, but that small bit of contemplation really refreshed my morale. My camera has sort of become my companion through all the rough times and the time I have spent with it has helped me pull through more stuff than I can remember. Oh yeah North Texas isn’t exactly the best place for photography year round, but once a year it truly becomes a special place to witness the beauty of the wildflowers.
No. 9: “The Microchip”
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Trip Report: DFW-Toronto a Pictorial Journey
Back in October, I visited my family in Toronto and photographed some spectacular fall colors up in Quebec once more. However, I most unexpectedly came upon one of my best images from 25,000 feet in the air as we were making our way over the US-Canada border. The city looked like the inner workings of a computer from that height with all its lines and lights. I hate bragging, but this image even made of City of Detroit’s list of “Top 10 Images of the Year.” While I admit that Detroit isn’t exactly the most bucket list worthy place on this list (except maybe in the fall?), looking out that plane window is something everyone should appreciate as much as possible.
No. 8: “Autumnal Bliss”
Location: Quebec, Canada
Trip Report: Autumn in Quebec
You haven’t witnessed fall until you have visited Quebec in October. The beautiful red maples with the Laurentian Mountains silhouetted as a backdrop are a sight to behold. And then there is Quebec City of course, which is no doubt the finest city in all of North America. We were just driving through the countryside on our way back from Haute-Gorges National Park when I came upon this scene on a random road. I think it encapsulates fall in Quebec experience quite well.
No. 7: “Bird Invasion”
Location: Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, TN, India
Trip Report: My Fourth Around the World Trip
Built around the year 1200, the Meenakshi Sundaraswarar Temple is one of the finest examples of Dravidian architecture in India. The temple lies at the center of the town of Madurai (aka “The Temple City”) in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The colors, figurines, and attention to detail exihibited by the temple are truely legendary. I was walking around the temple one fine evening just before sunset when I witnessed a whole flock of birds fly in to perch on the temple’s gopuram or tower. Unfortunately cameras are not allowed inside the temple grounds, but the Hall of Thousand Pillars (Ayiramkal Mandapam) is also a sight to behold atleast once. I’m not the religious type so I just hung out and appreciated the architecture. They definitely do not build places like this anymore.
No. 6: “Tulip Dreams”
Location: Keukenhof, Lisse, Netherlands
Trip Report: The Tulips of Holland & Heat of India
Featured in these Popular Tollywood/Bollywood Songs: “Kotta Kottaga Unnadi”, “Dekha Ek Khwab”
While I expected my trip to the “Garden of Europe” (Keukenhof) to be a thoroughly disappointing tourist trap, nothing could’ve been farther from the truth. With its vast assortment of tulip arrangements and cherry blossoms in April, it truly is a spectacle to witness with one’s own eyes. I captured this field in the late afternoon as every tourist was making his or her way out of the park. The leading lines of yellow and red tulips to the trees and sunlight made the scene better than in my dreams. Add wandering the tulip fields of Holland to your bucket list. Remember it only happens around mid-April.
No. 5: “Photographer’s Bane”
Location: Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
This image comes from perhaps the most infamous spot for photography in the whole United States, “Mesa Arch”. Anticipating the crazy crowds that the Arch always sees at sunrise, @wildsman (Sasidhar) and I went for some photography at Dead Horse Point before we made our way back to Canyonlands to check this bucket list item off our list. Thinking that I wouldn’t take much of a photo at all, I didn’t even bring my camera bag or tripod on this short 0.5 mile excursion to this lookout. In my hand as I walked up to this scene were just my Sony A7RIV and the 24-70 F2.8. Well not bringing my wide angle lens was an absolute mistake because there wasn’t a soul in sight at Mesa Arch that time of morning and the light was fairly decent. My images of photographers fighting over a small space, trying to capture “the image of the year”, dissipated and was replaced by this pleasant scene with the warm glow of the sun still hitting the arch. Don’t be scared away by the bad reputation this view gets. It is most certainly a must see place in the U.S (especially in the early morning light).
No. 4: “Ominous”
Location: Dingle Peninsula, Ireland
While most folks flock to Northern Ireland for its breathtaking natural beauty, I decided to drive the other way to Southern Ireland. This ended up being absolutely the right choice as I now consider the Irish coastal area known as the “Dingle Peninsula” to be one of the most beautiful seascapes anywhere in the world. We were out and about on a day trip from our hotel in Killarney National Park, when the sun suddenly decided to reveal itself through the fog. This backlit the islands off the coast, making for a magical moment. I actually didn’t even notice the couple walking down the shoreline in the distance until I saw it on my computer. Make sure that Dublin, Galway, and the entire bar/pub scene aren’t the only places you visit on the Emerald Isle. Just drive out to the Dunquin Pier on the Dingle Peninsula, even if you do nothing else.
No. 3: “Mirror of Autumn”
Location: Jacques Cartier National Park, Canada
Trip Report: Autumn in Quebec
I had quite the fright one morning while making my way to this lake one morning. I slid down the short, steep wooden ramp to the lake, and found my camera bag just inches away from the water. Despite the danger of my fall, I couldn’t help but marvel at this scene with a beautiful reflection and Canadian maples unraveling before me. I was slowly catching my breath ( I landed on my back and was quite winded from the fall) when a wall of mist flowed through the Jacques-Cartier River valley. This national park (just 30 minutes from Quebec City) has sort of become my “old faithful” for fall images. It never disappoints. I can go back here time and time again.
No. 2: “Field of Dreams”
Location: Munnar, Kerala, India
Kerala has been on my bucket list for a very long time and I’ve been utterly disappointed multiple times that I’ve had to cancel my trip. “God’s own country” cannot be an understatement for what the western ghats and the area around Munnar are. It’s truly where man meets nature at its finest. I captured this shot while entering the town of Munnar on my way from Madurai. The light decided to collude with the unraveling of the fog, making for the perfect scene of the tea gardens. The magic of this place lies in the transient mist frequently rolling over the green hills and shrouding the layers upon layers of mountains. It’s absolutely heavenly.
No. 1: “Rain or Shine”
Location: Lavaux Region, Switzerland
Trip Report: My Solo Trip to the World’s Most Beautiful Wine Region
Featured in this Tollywood Song: “Inka Edho”
There are two trips which have served as sort of my “system reboot” this year. I already talked about the first one in Image #10. The second one was my solo trip to Switzerland back in June. It’s only appropriate that my favorite image of the year comes from this beautiful country where I pretty much first picked up my camera. I’ve been yearning for one of these images for the longest time with the Alps, vineyards, castles, and rays of light. And I was on a mission to capture this “rain or shine” on this stormy day. Well it turns out Switzerland really doesn’t look bad in any weather and the sun again decided to shine through at the very last second. I travel the world and always end up here for some of my best images. And to think I was here alone, taking it all in (including the rain showers). I still smile to this very day every time I think about the ridiculous scenes I witnessed on this adventure.
Oh yeah as far as you guys are concerned, please add the Lavaux Region of Switzerland to your bucket list. The vineyards and stone walls in this area, adjacent to Lake Geneva, date back to the 12th century when a few monks decided to build themselves some beautiful gardens along the mountainside.
Honorable Mention: “S for Switzerland”
Location: Bern, Switzerland
Trip Report: My Solo Trip to the World’s Most Beautiful Wine Region
Featured in this Bollywood Song: “Main Koi Aisa Geet Gaon”
Believe it or not I had been to Switzerland no less than a dozen times, but had never visited Bern, the capital of the country. Well I made sure to change that this time around. Though I spent a matter of an hour there, I probably found one of my favorite compositions of a town anywhere. It’s ironic that the shape or pattern I found here was a “S” which in my mind stands for Switzerland. I’m pretty sure this country doesn’t need my praise anymore now that its got Roger Federer onboard their marketing train :).
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Were there any images in particular you liked more than others in this post? Where are you planning on going in 2023? I would always appreciate a like, follow, or comment down below 🙂
Beautiful images! Interesting capture of the city Bern.
Nice photos. Surprisingly, I liked your honorable mention the best.
Great images! Looking forward to exploring canada!