117 Days Abroad – My Travel Photography Journey 2016

Welcome to my photographic travel adventure through North- and Central America. I spent 117 days abroad, just with my bagpack and my photography equipment. The main reason for this trip consisted of the idea to build my first travel portfolio. It was my personal goal to capture all the outstanding cities and the natural richness of nature on my way through the western hemisphere.

Besides the photography aspect, I wanted to break free from the everyday life, enjoying the moment without any pressure of time and getting to know new cultures and people. Due to that, I did not book any accomodations in advance. No boundaries, just me and my camera around the world


The Surprise: Colorful Toronto

My first destination was not even on my bucket list, I just booked the flight to Toronto because it was the cheapest available. Nevertheless, the layover was totally worth it. I stayed at a great airbnb cabin for five days, which was perfect to explore the city, enjoy the view from the CN Tower and spend a day at Niagra Falls.

My highlight were the Toronto Islands with its beautiful nature. The location is a must see attraction for photographers. You can reach the islands only by a small ferry which is not really expensive. The view from the isle is mindblowing. You have a clear shot on the skyline of Toronto with the CN tower and all the colorful skyscrapers. Don’t miss it!

 

Cityscape: The colorful Skyline of Toronto.


The Big Apple: New York City

A dream came true: New York City, a paradise for every photographer. I always wanted to visit this vibrant city with its famous buildings and unique architecture. Five days were not nearly enough to experience the diversity of the Big Apple, so I stayed only in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

New York is full of great attractions and photo locations, to many to mention them all. Still, there is one attraction I want to emphasize: The Top of the Rock. The observation deck on top of the Rockefeller Center is quite famous, but not as crowded as the Empire State Building. It offers a clear view over the skyline of Manhattan with all the beautiful skyscrapers. Perfect for the sunset!

Discover further locations in New York: click

 

Top of the Rock: Sunset over downtown Manhattan.


Sunny California: San Francisco

Time for the west coast. My flight from New York City took me straight to San Francisco. The Fog City is based in California and has plenty to offer. Besides the Golden Gate Bridge, I was impressed by the former prison Alcatraz, which is a tourist attraction nowadays. If you are interested in bird photography, take a look at this island.

My personal goal in San Francisco was simple, I wanted to take some unique shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. The problem: you have to be lucky to get a clear view over the bridge. On my last day I got a sunny day without any fog, perfect conditons to do some blue hour shots. Take a look at my favorite picture of the Golden Gate Bridge in my City & Architecture Portfolio.

 

Impressive Architecture: Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.


Roadtrip: Westcoast USA

After several city trips, it was time to explore the beautiful nature of the United States. My roadtrip lead me from San Francisco, to Yosemite National Park, back to the coast and then all the way up to Portland and Seattle. I couldn’t imagine, that the north-west is so beautiful. The scenic Highway 1 offers a great variety of lonely beaches, national forests and exciting wildlife.

The Yosemite National Park was a „must see“ destination on my travel list. I heard a lot of great things about the park and its famous waterfalls, lakes and mountains. To be honest, the area couldn’t satisfy my high expectations. The nature in Yosemite is really beautiful, but the park itself is full of people and touristic roads. I would still recommend it, but it’s not the typical nature experience.

 

Landscape: The Mirror Lake in Yosemite National Park.


„My life is shaped by the urgent need to wander and observe, and my camera is my passport.“

Steve McCurry


The perfect City: Vancouver

Let me take a breath. Otherwise I can’t stop raving about this magnificent city. It’s full of open minded people, offers a great food culture and awesome photo spots. The sea is closeby and the Rocky Mountains are next door. Even my Airbnb host was so pleasent, that he showed me the whole area with all its must see attractions.

My personal favorite location in Vancouver is False Creek. Especially at night, it offers a panorama view over the BC Stadium, the Science World and the beautiful cityscape. If you will ever get a chance, visit this oustanding city and be surrounded by great people! Personal tip: Take a look at the market at Granville Island, the food is great.

 

Glowing Cityscape: False Creek in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Canada: The National Parks

My next roadtrip led me through the canadian Rockies. I never experienced nature like in the canadian national parks. Obviously, I have to mention Banff and Jasper, which are connected with the world famous Icefields Parkway. You can’t describe the beauty of nature in this part of Canada, you have to experience it.

Moraine Lake and Lake Luise are full of tourists. Nevertheless, you can enjoy the power of nature at these turquoise lakes and get a brief look at some animals. Take one of the marked hikes around the lakes or up to the ten peaks and after several minutes you will barly meet any people. It’s a paradise for nature enthusiasts, travellers and of course landscape photographers.

 

Beautiful Landscape: Moraine Lake and the Ten Peaks.


The dirty South: Miami

During my trip I visited only one city, which I didn’t like at all: Miami. It is a paragon for the contrast between rich and poor. On the one hand, you can enjoy Miami Beach with all its bars, clubs and a high class lifestyle, but on the other hand you will discover a dirty city with a lot of poor people, dirty streets and a bad public transport system.

Still, I tried to get some panorama shots of the skyline, which was harder than I thought it would be. The perfect spot was blocked by a parking lot of a company. I asked the security if they would allow me to take some pictures for my private portfolio, but they refused. I got rejected by several companies in the area and had to shoot from a public bridge with a bad angle. Miami? Goodbye, I don’t need to visit you again.

 

Illuminated Skyline: Downtown Miami at Night.


Backpacking: Central America

Last stop: Central America. After a lot of road- and citytrips I wanted to do some real backpacking. I started in Costa Rica and took some local Chicken Buses, passing Nicaragua, Honduras and El Selvador, to get to Guatemala. My route led me to Maya Ruins, active Vulcanos and stunning National Parks.

The region itself is quite dangerous, therefore I decided to spend my last two weeks in Antigua, an international city, perfectly located for some daytrips. One of my highlights was the exhausting hike to the top of the Acatenango Vulcano which welcomed me with a magical sunrise over the clouds. A perfect end of my four month journey.

Next trip? Coming soon!

 

Cerro de la Cruz: Sunset over Antigua, Guatemala.


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