Category: culture

The Old and the New: Top 11 of 2011 – Viewer’s choice

Last year, I posted the Top 20 + 10 Viewer’s Choice of 2010 from the Mira Terra Images archive. The popularity of some of those has continued throughout this year, while many new images made their way into the rankings, based on views by YOU, the internet public. As I noted last year, what’s interesting about this list is that it doesn’t reflect the most licensed, sold, or published images; and perhaps it more accurately reflects a list of images which ranked highest in Google search results. Only one of these Viewer’s Choices was actually taken in 2011, and it hit and held the #1 spot for most of the year. Here are the TOP 11 Most Viewed Images in 2011 – 10 of your choice, and 1 of mine:

10 – Young Peruvian Boy, PERU

9 – London Eye Capsule, UNITED KINGDOM

8 – Architecture of Brasilia, BRAZIL

7 – Maasai Beadwork & Crafts, KENYA

6 – Estonian Teens, ESTONIA

5 – Guatemalan Textiles, GUATEMALA

4- Chinese Girl in Traditional Dress, CHINA

3 – Ladies & Llamas, PERU

2 – Moroccan Mosaic Detail, MOROCCO


1 – Monk at Wangdu Phodrang Dzong, BHUTAN

Here’s where I get to tie it all together with my end-of-year mantra “Out with the Old, in with the New“, and share how images speak to me. Look again at the #1 most popular image by viewer’s choice – pictured is a monk walking through a gate, wrapping up his robe and heading away from the camera. What I see in this image is the end of a year, the work accomplished, and the wisdom gained. Reflecting upon the challenges met and lessons learned of 2011, it’s time to wrap it up and move on. Thus, Out with the old.

Enter, MY #1 PHOTOGRAPHER’S CHOICE (personal favorite) IMAGE OF 2011:

 Young Monk of BHUTAN

Pictured is a young monk, skipping innocently through a gate, and heading toward the camera. What I see in this image is the beginning of a year, embracing a new path ahead, and a readiness to engage with circumstances yet unknown. Thus, In with the new

THANK YOU all for your interest and support of Mira Terra Images – 2011 was a record year of image sales and licenses that began with this AAA Magazine Cover of Machu Picchu, and continued with my debut as Photo Editor for Travcoa’s 2012 World Traveler’s Dream Book, right through to a recent appearance of this image of a Terra Cotta Warrior Horse which adorned a booth and print literature at WTM Travel Mart in London. Moving in to the new year, 2012 kicks off with this image of Talinn by Sea published in Jan/Feb issue of AFAR magazine. And there’s still more coming to print out there so keep reading those tiny photo credits – you may spot them before I do!

THANK YOU also for your engagement with my travel blog – your TOP 10 FAVORITE BLOG POSTS are listed in the sidebar to the right ->.  My personal favorite post of 2011, while we’re at it, should come as no surprise. It’s the one titled: Travel Photography Nirvana (illustrated with images from Bhutan).  Check it out, you’ll find there another of my favorite images –  a young monk blissfully skipping in a field of prayer flags. I imagine that boy is still skipping his way into the New Year, and that’s the vision I choose to carry forward with me for 2012.


Peace and Pleasant Journeys,


Love travel photos? Be sure to check out Budget Travelers Sandbox every Thursday, and Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday.

It’s A Small and Festive World

“Dear Santa,
What I want for Christmas is a doll from It’s A Small World.  No, make that ALL the dolls from It’s a Small World. Or just one doll with all the costumes from It’s A Small World. Whatever works, I think you get the picture.”

Oh the big dreams we have as little kids.  That was one of mine, and though I never did get any of the dolls from It’s A Small World, I still enjoy visiting them at Disneyland every year for the holidays.

“It’s a Small World” is to credit for being an early inspiration for me,  fueling my desire to travel the world and discover the many different peoples and cultures represented with the colorful costumes and brightly painted scenes of far away places. As an adult having traveled to many of these places, I now appreciate it all the more.

So, in honor of Disney’s power to inspire, and the “Festive” theme of today’s #Frifotos on twitter, I present, in photos,

The far away places….

The costumes of culture…

And….the magic of SNOW and Sleeping Beauty’s Castle….


For more festive photos of Disney Holiday Magic, check out:

The 12 Lights of Christmas


The Top 20 + 10 Viewer’s Choice of 2010

Thanks to all who have visited Mira Terra Images this year! In this post I present the Top 20 and 10 (Top 30) images of 2010, based on visits and views by YOU, the internet public! What’s interesting about this list is that it doesn’t reflect the most licensed, sold, or published images; and perhaps it more accurately reflects a list of images which ranked highest in Google search results. Regardless, however it was viewers got here, these were the favorites of 2010, starting at #30:

30 -Husky Kiss

29 – Brazilian Dance Performers – Rio de Janiero, BRAZIL

28 – Roxy Surf Girls – San Diego, California USA

27 – Penguin Kiss – Simons Town, SOUTH AFRICA

26 – Girl with Hat – Bathsheba, BARBADOS

25 – Portofino Coast – Portofino, ITALY

24 – Misty Machu Picchu – PERU

23 – Native American Pueblo – Santa Fe, New Mexico USA

22 – Home on the Amazon – BRAZIL

21 – Dia de los Muertos Skeleton Party – MEXICO

20 – Kinkajou – Golfo Dulce, COSTA RICA

19 – Maasai Boys – Ngorongoro, TANZANIA

18 – Ecuadorian Dolls – Otavalo, ECUADOR

17 – Architectural Detail – Brasilia, BRAZIL

16 – Cheetah Mealtime – Kwandwe, SOUTH AFRICA

15 – Samba Dancer – Rio de Janiero, BRAZIL

14 – Adobe Home – Santa Fe, New Mexico USA

13 – Daily Life on the Amazon – BRAZIL

12 – Mayan Calendar – Antigua, GUATEMALA

11 – Cathedral – Brasilia, BRAZIL


10 – Namaste – Kitipur, NEPAL

9 – Itamaraty Palace Interior – Brasilia, BRAZIL

8 – Snow Bicycle – Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS

7 – Peruvian Textiles – Pisaq, PERU

6 – Samba Carnival Dancer – Rio de Janiero, BRAZIL

5 – Fu Dog, Forbidden City – Beijing, CHINA

4 – Lucky Bamboo Christmas Tree – Chonqing, CHINA
(this soared into the Top 10 just this past month – apparently Google’s search term “Bamboo Christmas Tree” didn’t get many image results)

3 – Itamaraty Palace Staircase – Brasilia BRAZIL

2 – Fu Dog at Forbidden Palace – Beijing, CHINA


1 – Mexican Gray Wolves Mating – Sonora, Arizona USA

Which is your favorite? Please share and comment below! Thanks and have a Happy New Year!

Tea & Geishas

I love my job. No really, I love my jobs! When I’m not behind the camera, I am in front of some pretty fantastic people. And I make a living traveling the world with them. And doing it in grand style. And staying in the best hotels. And dining out in the very best restaurants. And meeting the local people. And having cultural encounters that only a lucky few ever experience in their travels. Yep, you guessed it, I’m a Travcoa Travel Director.

In Japan, that means a lot of things. I get to stay at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. I get to ride the First Class Bullet Trains. And I get invited into a Japanese home for a traditional Tea Ceremony.

And what of Geishas, you ask? While others pound the pavements of Kyoto frantically hoping to catch a glimpse of the elusive Geishas, I managed to place myself and my travel companions in the exclusive company of not one, but three Geishas for an entire evening.

They served, we ate.

They danced, we applauded.

They entertained us in traditional drinking games, and we obliged.

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