Nat Geo… Did that really happen?
2011 was quite a year for me. Like any other year, it had its ups and downs, twists and turns and a few unexpected surprises along the way. The most pleasant of these surprises was having a photograph of mine grace the cover of National Geographic magazine. I have to equate this to an actor winning an Oscar and this is an honour that I’ll always treasure.
A New Year
I rang in the new year in 2011 with friends who were renting a beach house in St Augustine, Florida. Thinking I’d be in a warmer place than Montreal, I happily accepted their invitation to spend the holidays with them. I drove down to Florida and on the way down made stops in Washington DC, Atlanta, St Augustine, Savannah, Charleston, and New York City. The only place it actually got warm to any degree that I would have expected was Charleston. Next time I try to escape the cold, I’m heading to Tahiti, and I’m hoping to make that happen this winter!
Savannah is Sweet!
I fell in love with the city of Savannah and the people that call this stunning place home. The view from my hotel room was wonderful, the food in the restaurants was exceptional, the Historic District was a photographer’s dream and it felt like a place that I could feel comfortable calling home. I took this photo while on a photowalk with my new friend Kinte who teaches photography at one of the High Schools in Savannah. Once again, it’s the people that make the place. My thanks to Kinte and his wife Sony for making Savannah even more special for me.
Everywhere I went this year, I was able to meet people from all walks of life. People that inspired me, people that touched my heart, people that I’ll never forget. In Charleston I was shown the true meaning of Southern hospitality by my new friend Randall. I felt an immediate bond with him from the moment we met and we shared some good times over the next few days while he showed me some of the best of Charleston, introduced me to his friends and family, and treated me to a delicious meal at his restaurant Fish. I didn’t get the chance to spend enough time in Charleston and I know that I’ll be back to this charming city sometime soon to make up for that.
A Hell of a Town
There’s never a bad time to visit New York City. This time however, was perhaps one of the rare exceptions to that statement. I arrived just in time for a severe cold snap and the day after I arrived New York experienced the worst snow storm of the year. No matter the temperature or or weather conditions, New York City is and always will be one of my favourite places on earth. This applies to taking photos and to the amazing experiences that only NYC can provide. This was the last stop on my way home after 31 days on the road. While there is no place like home, this is also true about the Big Apple.
A Trip of a Lifetime
Visiting Jordan this April was a highlight, not only of my year but of all my travels. I saw so much in my two weeks there that it all seemed to be a blurry dream when I returned home, but what a dream it was! From the natural beauty of the Dead Sea, Wadi Rum, and the Dana Nature Preserve, to the historic treasures of the desert castles, Jerash and Petra, Jordan was a revelation at every turn. I’m grateful to my hosts at the Jordan Tourism Board for making my visit so special and I’m already planning to visit again.
In June it was back to Florida for a stay at a unique cattle ranch this time. I had never been to Central Florida before, and was amazed at the wide variety of flora and fauna that I was able to see all within a few acres. Airboat rides, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, food fit for a king, wildlife spotting, and great photo ops. All of these things made the trip special but once again it was the people that made the place. The Black family are the most gracious of hosts and I was treated like a long lost friend throughout my stay at Creek Ranch. It’s the perfect location if you’re looking for a unique place to get away from it all.
The Centre of the Universe
I was in Toronto for a few perfect summer days in July. On this trip I was able to spend some time with my friends Dave and Deb who write the awesome adventure travel blog “the Palnet .D.” I had the pleasure of meeting them earlier in the year in Jordan while I was on my way out and they were just arriving. Canadians often sarcastically call Toronto “the Centre of the Universe” but with each new visit, I’m enjoying the city more and more. I’ll be back in January for some not so perfect winter weather.
Innsbruck is Awesome
It was then time to head to Europe for the Travel Bloggers Unite conference in beautiful Innsbruck. This was my first time visiting central Europe and I was in for a treat. The conference was a huge success and I’m looking forward to the next TBU conference in Umbria, Italy this April, where I’ll be giving a workshop and photo tour.
Next stop Vienna! I could literally spend months photographing this magnificent city’s incredible historic sights. I was able to photograph the Cathedral, the Spanish Riding School, Imperial Palaces, historic hotels, and so much more. They make a mean coffee and chocolate cake here too ;)
Hungry for more
Budapest was another first for me as I had never been to an ex-Soviet block country. Hungary has one of the most unique languages in the world so for someone with no knowledge of the language, it was even more special to have been given a full time guide by the Hungarian Tourism Board. I was once again treated to spectacular sights, day and night. I photographed Parliament, the opera house, museums, concert halls, castles, churches, the world famous spas and more. Without my fearless guide Vivien I would have not have been able to get half of the photos I took. I think I’m going to tell her boss to give her a raise ;)
Champagne and Chocolates
I had fun times in Salzburg, as I had the opportunity to visit the world’s oldest restaurant, listen to some wonderful opera, visit the cathedral, eat some of the mouth watering Mozartkugeln chocolates, and even get treated to champagne at the craziest piano bar I’ve ever been to. This was a very short stay and I was disappointed to not get the chance to take more photos, but travel is not just about photos and that’s a lesson I need to keep reminding myself of. While it’s nice to look back at the photos from all my trips, many of the best memories are of things you can’t photograph. Sounds, tastes, smells, and feelings all make for wonderful memories as well.
Munich was my last stop in Europe and here too it was the people that made the place so special for me. On my first day I had the pleasure of being shown around by a friend of a friend. There is no better way to see a city than through the eyes of someone who lives there. Sure it’s nice to discover things on my own, but I do that a lot anyway. Some things just can’t be found in city guides, like that little ice cream shop that had the most delicious flavours that I’m still salivating over. Thanks Susanne! The things that you do find in the tour guides can be quite amazing too, one of my favourites was the Bavarian State Opera House. After three weeks on the road, I was exhausted in a good kind of way and it was good to know that I’d be going home soon. I tend to push myself while on these trips, to get up before dawn in order to catch that magical light, to stay up late so that all my photos from the day’s shoot are downloaded and backed up.
One day I’ll hopefully be able to stay longer in the the locations I visit, in order to take the time to really absorb more of the culture, meet more people, and once in a while get more than four hours sleep. I’m not complaining, I’m just being greedy because I seem to love each new place I visit so much, that it pains me to say farewell.
In September I visited the beautiful state of Chiapas in Mexico. I had worked in Mexico many times before and I love the people, the culture, the food, the history, and the music of this great country. This was the first time that I had been so far south in Mexico and unfortunately I was only able to stay for a couple of days.
From Chiapas I headed on to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta to meet up with my awesome friend Gaby. It was time for a couple of days of beach time relaxation, something I have not done for a long time. In fact I didn’t even take my camera out for those days and it felt good. Weird, but good.
All’s Well that Ends Well
The last trip of the year brought me back to New York City for Photo Plus East (PPE) to do some video testimonials for the gang at Agency Access. I’ve been working with them this year on the continuing series “My Marketing Adventure” and it’s been a very rewarding experience to work with so many nice people who are dedicated to helping photographers with their marketing.
It’s always fun to get on the convention centre floor at PPE, to drool over the new gear and software that make photography so much fun. I got the chance to meet up with tons of cool people that I had only met over the interwebs. Alaskan adventure photographer and bush pilot Dan Baily, HDR photographer extraordinaire & OnOne Software guru Brian Matiash, Photoshelter’s VP of marketing Andrew Fingerman, Twitter master and awesome photographer Jack Hollingsworth and so many more.
Spending some time with my friend Ron Egatz who writes the blogs for the MAC group was icing on the cake and a great way to end my travels in 2011.
I can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2012. I have many trips already in the planning stages and some exciting announcements to make soon. So thanks to all of my readers for making it a pleasure to share my photos and stories with you on the blog in 2011. 2012 will see this blog evolve and grow and I hope that you’ll continue checking out the photos and new features I’ll be adding soon. If you don’t want to miss anything, why not subscribe to the RSS feed?
Can’t wait to see how you top this year in 2012! Keep up the amazing work!
Carlos Garcia says
Dear Ken, Congratulations to you on your hard work and success! May 2012 prove to be a continuation of your inspiriing artistry and beautiful captures of the world! Carlos
your friend Gaby sure is awesome! And very glad you took some days off and managed to stay away from a camera ;)
2012 is going to be a great year Kenneth! so much better than this one, you’ll see … but congratulations for all the amazing things you achieved!
Anne McKinnell says
What an amazing year you have had Ken! It was a great pleasure to follow your adventures this year and I have learned a great deal from you both from your blog posts and our skype call. Thank you again for sharing your knowledge and insights with me. Can’t wait to see what is coming for you in 2012! Peace and good light!
Mitch Kloorfain says
Great series of images and how do you top a NatGeo cover?! Can’t wait to find out!! Congrats on it all.
What a year for you Ken!
Happy Holidays amigo ;-)
Jeremy Branham says
Awesome photos Ken! My favorites are Notre Dame (congrats again on the National Geographic cover) and Lake Hatchineha! Beautifully done!
Karen Johnson says
I’m so glad I met you on the NYC photowalk so I could enjoy all of your beautiful work. Congratulations on the National Geographic cover, you deserve it! Have a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year.
What a fantastic collection of photos! An incredible achievement this year with the Nat Geo cover! Congrats!
Spent nine years in Florida but never saw it like that!
Lisa Wood says
I love looking at all of your photos! You have the most amazing photos of where you have been – thank you for sharing your year in photos!
Wow. Your photos are always amazing!
Kris Koeller says
Not a bad year at all. Congrats!
Edith Levy says
What an amazing body of work Ken. Congratulations on the NG cover although any of these could have graced the cover.
Soooo these are awesome.
Onwards and upwards in 2012!
Ken Kaminesky says
Sue, Thanks for the encouraging words. 2-12 is already looking like a good one!
Carlos! Thanks for being such a positive voice for me in 2011. Hope 2012 lets us catch up in person :D
Gaby, You are awesome indeed! Wishing you and your family a wonderful new year full of happiness :D
Anne, Looking forward to hearing all about your trip. Skype me anytime and keep up the great work!
Mitch, thanks! I can’t wait either.
Cam, Jeremy, Rebecca, Lisa, Kris, Edith & Candice… Thank you all! Hope that 2012 will be a great year for you.
Karen, it was a treat to meet you as well. See you next year?
Abby, Florida in 2012 was quite a revelation for me. So many beautiful surprises. Hope to see you in Vegas in 2012
Abi, you bet! Looking forward to an amazing 2012, how could it not be? Especially since I’ll see you in April ;)
art lover says
An astronomical amount of work! All brilliant. And of course, you aren’t showing us all that you have accomplished in 2011. You don’t need to top it. Stay true to yourself. Compete with yourself only. You are by far the winner already.
Mindboggling. Spectacular. Accomplished. ………where is my thesaurus?
Nice roundup Ken…all the best for 2012.
Nat Geo cover has to be a highlight for sure. Congratulations on 2011…looking forward to seeing what images 2012 will bring.
Happy New Year!!
Your photos are irreverent and it is always such a treat to soak in your journey. I hope 2012 brings even more magic!
jason @ corfu villa says
I can seriously say that I have never ever seen such stunning photography as yours! Absolutely beautiful. Lake Hatchineha looks like a painting!
Bohemian Trails says
These photos are beyond amazing! I’m eager to start learning how to use my new camera.
Clare Appleyard says
Ken, it has been a pleasure to get to know you and your work this year. I have yet to see a photograph of yours that is not amazing in some or other way :-) It was great fun chatting to you and I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll get that trip to South Africa soon!
Thank you for sharing all the images and for inspiring the rest of us to learn more.
Ken Kaminesky says
Art, thanks again for the incredibly kind words. 2012 will be a good year, just wait to see what I come with this year!
Murphyz, All the best to you too!
Sandy & Roxannae, thanks & Happy New Year.
Jason, Cheers, Lake Hatchineha is awesome, hope you get a chance to visit one day.
BT, Thanks and good luck with your new camera!
Clare! We need to catch up on skype soon. While there are no firm plans for a SA trip right now, it remains high on my wish list. Hope 2012 is the year that brings me to your beautiful country.
I find your photos really touching, expressing something unreal and phéerique. Creativity in its purest form. Thank you for stimulating me as well. Merci !
I became devoted to the delicious chocolate Mozart balls “mozartkugeln” years ago on a trip to Austria and am always on a quest to find them on European trips. I love your photo featuring them! In fact, for Xmas someone gave me a box of the well-known Reber, the brand you photographed. Fantastic shots!
Rita Rebetim says
Your photos are different! Beautiful! Unique! Congratulations!
Gary Crallé says
Great stuff, Ken, thanks! I looked at your site as part of my search for ideas on a new website, as I’ve ignored mine for so long that it screams “dinosaur!”.
Yu Li says
Beautiful work! Very good eye! Keep up the good work!
The Redhead Riter says
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! That is awesome, but I’m not surprised because your photography is GORGEOUS!! I am so glad that I found you on Twitter!!!
Jose Morgado says
Thomas Torkelson says
Cragratulations, Ken. Really an impressive sampler of a single year’s body of work!
I’m proud to be your newest follower…
Gigi Gaillot says
What beautiful work, so breath taking, for us who don’t have the opportunity to travel, you have given us your gift of photography to be able to do so, thank you.
Ken Kaminesky says
Gigi, thank you for such kind words.
Jose, I feel like a general now ;)
Red, thanks so much!
I’ve neglected replying to the comments for some time now since i’ve been on the road so much in 2012. Thank you all for so many cool messages here! I really appreciate it :)
I’m looking forward to you 2012 blog and photo’s! Happy and safe travels!
Gezi Rehberi says
Beautiful work! Nice roundup Ken.
What a fantastic collection of photos! Awesome all.
These photos are beyond amazing! I find your photos really touching, expressing something unreal.
Thank you for the great photos! Fantastic.
Gezi Rehberi says
It’s great! I wish the continuation of your success.
Gezi Rehberin says
I hope you will continue such great works!