I am blessed to have traveled a fair portion of this year in pursuit of the unique photographs which I provide my clients and the stock photo libraries that market them for me.  I have decided this year to do a condensed travelogue for the first time, and see just how many days of the year I was away from home

I started 2009 by freezing my tail off at Times Square in New York City.  After braving seven hours of sub-zero temperatures, I realized this was the wrong year to watch the ball drop! I actually carried a step ladder and a heavy tripod through the masses, to help raise myself and my camera above the crowds.  I visited some old and dear friends in New Jersey, and  had a great time riding subways, trains, and driving around lovely towns like Morristown and Denville with my gracious hosts, Hal Crosthwaite and his wonderful girlfriend, Carolyn.  The weather was below zero for much of my visit and considering I had less than 12 hours at home after flying from the Philippines and spending most of December ’09 in warm tropical weather it is a miracle I did not get sick.  Highlights besides Times Square was the rooftop view at Rockefeller Center, Toys r’ Us Superstore, and buying gas for the rental car at 1.29 a gallon!!!

New York City, stock photography, Times Square, celebration, New Years Eve

Time Square New Year's Eve Crowd

Toys R Us, New York City, New York City stock photography

Toys R' Us Superstore in Time Square

Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, stock photography

"Top of the Rock" Rooftop view at Rockefeller Center

One of my most thrilling trips of 2009 and the decade, was organized by my great friend and marine photographer Brandon Cole.   From mid January to early February, we spent 10 days aboard a Sports Fishing charter boat at Isla Mejueres, a small island off the Yucatan Peninsula near Cancun, Mexico.  We had an incredible time observing and swimming with large groups of sailfish feeding on herring schools.  The concept seems insane at best; jumping in the open ocean and swimming near the fastest predator in the sea as it hunts and feeds on large herring groups.  They would swarm behind us, trying to use us as a shield against the predating sailfish!  We also had to play dodge ball with the fleets of fishing boats that set their fast moving lures in the same areas we where swimming.  I expected to get a few token images of these amazing trophy fish at best, but never expected to swim within inches of these incredible animals, flashing their lightening fast bills in aggressive feeding behavior.  After some initial fear we quickly realized how amazing their vision and awareness of our presence around them. There were times when a sailfish speared herring inches away from me with the bill sticking out of the water over my head.  Isla Mejeures, is an idyllic small island with fabulous boutique hotels, superb restaurants and such a refreshing change from nearby Cancun.

Mexico Stock Photography, Isla Mujeres, near Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Sunset at Isla Mujeres near Cancun, Yucatan, Mexico

sportsfishing, sportsfish stock photography, Isla Mujeres, near Cancun, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Sailfish jumping, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

marine stock photographer, Sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, Brazilian Sardines, Sardinella brasiliensis, Isla Mujeres, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Sailfish (Istiophorus albicans) feeding on Brazilian Sardines

marine stock photographer, Sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, Brazilian Sardines, Sardinella brasiliensis, Isla Mujeres, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Snorkeling in Open Water with Sailfish near Cancun

marine stock photographer, Sailfish, Istiophorus albicans, Brazilian Sardines, Sardinella brasiliensis, Isla Mujeres, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Sailfish with Bill out of water, Bonito water trail

After spending only 2 days at home in early February, I spent the rest of the month in Argentina and Uruguay where the seasons are reverse to ours and the weather was warm and balmy. Much of the time was enjoyed near Buenos Aires – a city I highly recommend. Like much of South America, your money goes far and red wine and red meat fans are in heaven! A superb bottle of red wine and a killer steak dinner can be had for less than fifteen dollars in a quaint restaurant.  I traveled with my photographer friend, Tom Haseltine, and besides visiting areas near Buenos Aires we took part in several Carnival celebrations.  South America really knows how to cut loose and have fun at Carnival time.  Celebrations take place almost every weekend in February!  Thanks to my dear friend, Jasmine Rossi who publishes books, photographs, and lives in Buenos Aires, we got an insiders’ view of Tango Clubs and Polo Matches.  We went with Jasmine to see the third largest Carnival Celebration in the world at a small town several hours drive from Buenos Aires.  Some of my favorite images and HD video were of a street artist’s splatter painting on a large canvas with Amy Winehouse’, “Rehab” playing loudly in the background.

Buenos Aires stock photography, tower, Palacio Barolo, Avenue de Mayo, Microcentro, Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America

Aerial view of Buenos Aires, from Palacio Barolo

Congreso, opened in 1906, Greco-roman style building, Microcentro, Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America stock photography

Early morning, Congreso Buildings, 1906, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires stock photographer, Caminito, Le Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America

MR Street Artist, Caminito, Le Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America

Argentina stock photography, Caminito, Le Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America

MR Street Artist, Caminito, Le Boca

South America stock photographer, Caminito, Le Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America

Model Released Tango Dancers, Birthplace of Tango

Polo stock photography,  Polo Field,  Buenos Aires, Lujan area, Argentina, South America

Polo Players, Open Door Field, near Buenos Aires

Uruguay stock photography, East Point Lighthouse, Punta Del Este, Uruguay, South America

East Point Lighthouse, Punta Del Este, Uruguay, South America

Uruguay stock photographer, Hand on the Beach by Chiliean sculptor Mario Irarrazabal, Playa El Emir, Punta Del Este, Uruguay, South America

Hand on the Beach by Chiliean sculptor Mario Irarrazabal, Playa El Emir, Punta Del Este, Uruguay, South America

Montevideo stock photography, Plaza Independencia, Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo, Uruguay, South America

Plaza Independencia, Ciudad Vieja, Montevideo, Uruguay, South America

Carnival stock photography, Carnival Celebration-3rd largest in World, Gualeguaychu, Buenos Aires, Argentina,  South America

Carnival Celebration-3rd largest in World, Gualeguaychu, 2hours drive North of Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America

festival stock photography, Carnival Celebration-3rd largest in World, Gualeguaychu, Buenos Aires, Argentina,  South America

Carnival Celebration-3rd largest in World, Gualeguaychu, 2hours drive North of Buenos Aires

Argentina stock photographer, Carnival Celebration-3rd largest in World, Gualeguaychu,  Buenos Aires, Argentina,  South America

Carnival Celebration-3rd largest in World, Gualeguaychu, North of Buenos Aires, Argentina

From March 17 to 22nd, , I shot my first Destination Wedding an extravagant and “over the top” wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California.  This included a Sunset Cruise and a party at the Barometro Bar at the Marina for guests, several days before the wedding. The ceremony was a lovely seaside wedding and celebration with a 5-course sit down meal for several hundred people. Butterflies were released after the vows, a live band after dinner, and fireworks made for a spectacular start to a life together.

Destination Wedding Photographer, MR Couple, pre-Wedding, Cabo San Lucas, tip of Baja California, Mexico

MR Couple, pre-Wedding, Cabo San Lucas, tip of Baja California, Mexico

Seattle's Best Wedding Photographer, pre-Wedding Cocktail Party, Barometro, Marina area, Cabo San Lucas,   Baja California, Mexico

pre-Wedding Cocktail Party, Barometro, Marina area, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico

Destination Wedding Photography, The Beach Club, San Jose Del Cabo,   Baja California, Mexico

Groom & Groomsmen getting ready, San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California, Mexico

Washington state wedding photographer, San Jose Del Cabo,   Baja California, Mexico

Model Released Bride and her Father, San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California, Mexico

Wedding Stock Photography, San Jose Del Cabo,   Baja California, Mexico

Model Released Bride & Groom, San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California, Mexico

Destination Wedding Specialist, Fireworks, San Jose Del Cabo,   Baja California, Mexico

Fireworks at Wedding Party, San Jose Del Cabo, Baja California

I rounded out the month of March with  ski trip to Idaho and Montana with Brandon & Melissa Cole.  Early April had me shooting some Eye Surgery images in Victoria, B.C.  April 7-22 I was invited to join a group of divers in the Southern Red Sea and enjoyed visits to the Great Pyramids near Cairo, a 5 day Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan, and then a quick visit to the superb temples at Abu Simbel near the border of Sudan.  This was my third trip to The Red Sea and first one on a liveaboard dive boat that did not have mechanical problems.  The Emperor fleet is highly recommended with highlights of superb visibility, great encounters with Oceanic White tip sharks at Deadelus Reef, and consistent sunshine and mostly calm water.  Within days of returning home I was presenting several travel workshops in Tacoma, Washington at the Pacific Northwest Dive & Travel Expo and was a featured presenter at the Film Festival.

Medical stock photography, Opthalmologist and Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery office in Oak Bay, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Opthalmologist and Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery office in Oak Bay, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Cairo stock photography, Khan El Khalili Bazaar,  Cairo, Egypt, Middle East, Africa

Khan El Khalili Bazaar, famous area dating back to the mid century, Cairo, Egypt, Middle East, Africa

Egypt stock photography, Cairo, Egypt, Middle East, Africa

Camel and Rider, Pyramid of Giza, Cairo, Egypt, Middle East, Africa

Egypt stock photographer, night lighting, Sound & Light show, Cairo, Egypt, Middle East, Africa

Sound & Light Show, Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt

Egypt stock photographer, Hot Air Balloon ride along West Bank of Luxor, Thebes, Egypt's  ancient New Kingdom capital, Middle East, Africa

Hot Air Balloon ride along West Bank of Luxor, Thebes, Egypt's ancient New Kingdom capital, Middle East, Africa

Nile Cruise stock photography, Hot Air Balloon ride along West Bank of Luxor, Thebes, Egypt's  ancient New Kingdom capital, Middle East, Africa

Temple of Horus at Edfu, Egypt's best preserved cult temple, Nile Cruise,

marine stock photography, Port Ghalib, Southern Coast town on the Red Sea, Egypt, Middle East, Africa

Port Ghalib, Southern Coast town on the Red Sea, Egypt, Middle East, Africa

underwater stock photography, Lionfish (Pterios volitans) & Soft Corals (Dendronepthya hemprichi), , Big Brother Island, marine preserve, Southern Red Sea,  Egypt, Middle East, Africa

Lionfish (Pterios volitans) & Soft Corals (Dendronepthya hemprichi), , Big Brother Island, marine preserve, Southern Red Sea, Egypt, Middle East, Africa

underwater stock photographer, Lionfish (Pterios volitans) & Soft Corals (Dendronepthya hemprichi), , Big Brother Island, marine preserve, Southern Red Sea,  Egypt, Middle East, Africa

Saber Squirelfish (Sargocentron spiniferum), Big Brother Island, marine preserve, Southern Red Sea

Red Sea stock photography, Napoleonfish (Chelinus undulatus), Little Brother Island, marine preserve, Southern Red Sea,  Egypt, Middle East, Africa

Napoleonfish (Chelinus undulatus), Little Brother Island, marine preserve, Southern Red Sea, Egypt, Middle East, Africa

marine stock photographer, MR divers, Napoleonfish (Chelinus undulatus), Little Brother Island, marine preserve, Southern Red Sea,  Egypt, Middle East, Africa

MR divers, Napoleonfish (Chelinus undulatus), Little Brother Island, marine preserve, Southern Red Sea

shark stock photography, Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhunus longimanus), Daedalus Reef, marine preserve, Southern Red Sea,  Egypt, Middle East, Africa

close encounter with Oceanic Whitetip Shark (Carcharhunus longimanus), Daedalus Reef, marine preserve, Southern Red Sea

Nile Cruise stock photography, Aswan, Southern Egypt, Middle East, Africa

native Feluca sailing crafts, Aswan, Southern Egypt

Egypt stock photographer, Abu Simbel, Southern Egypt, Middle East, Africa

view inside entrance of Abu Simbel temple , Southern Egypt, Middle East, Africa

From May 6-16, I led a group of photographers to Roatan, in the Honduran Bay Islands for Joe Van Os Photo Safaris.  We photographed bottlenose dolphins, macaws, parrots, alligators, and many other exotic animals at the well managed preserves and research facilities on the island.  Anthonys Key Resort hosted me for three days prior to my group arrival, and I shot some dive magazine images around the lovely resort. Click on the following link to view my video clip.

tropical stock photography, MR Danish Girls (age 20) with Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Roatan, Honduras

MR Danish Girls (age 20) with Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) Roatan, Honduras

tropical resort stock photography, MR mixed race girl (age 20) on sit-on-top kayak, Anthony's Key Resort,  Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

MR mixed race girl (age 20) on sit-on-top kayak, Anthony's Key Resort, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

dolphin stock photography, Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus),  Caribbean Sea,  Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), Caribbean Sea, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

dolphin stock photographer, Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus),  Caribbean Sea,  Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

Bottlenose Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), Caribbean Sea

bird stock photography, Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) in flight, forest preserve, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, Central America

Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) in flight, forest preserve, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, Central America

endangered species stock photography, endangered species-Jaguar (Panthera onca), rehab center & forest preserve on Mango Key across from Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, Central America

endangered species-Jaguar (Panthera onca), rehab center & forest preserve on Mango Key across from Coxen Hole, Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, Central America

May 20 to June 5th, I photographed some spectacular topside travel sites in Vietnam for a travel agency.   I then embarked on a whirlwind tour of North Vietnam that included sites all around Hanoi and HaLong Bay, a drive to Hue and Hoian in Central Vietnam, then a flight to Saigon in Southern Vietnam – Whew!

Vietnam stock photography, unique cultural art form-Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, Hanoi, largest city in Vietnam, North Vietnam, S.E. Asia

unique cultural art form-Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre, Hanoi, largest city in Vietnam, North Vietnam, S.E. Asia

Hanoi stock photography, View from rooftop at Sofitel Plaza Hotel, of West Lake, True Bach Lake and Hanoi, largest city in Vietnam, North Vietnam, S.E. Asia

View from rooftop at Sofitel Plaza Hotel, of West Lake, True Bach Lake and Hanoi, largest city in Vietnam, North Vietnam

travel photographer specialist, Sung Sot Cave (Cave of Surprises), Halong Bay, UNESCO World Heritage Site, North Vietnam, S.E. Asia

Sung Sot Cave (Cave of Surprises), Halong Bay, UNESCO World Heritage Site, North Vietnam

Vietnam stock photography, Halong Bay, UNESCO World Heritage Site, North Vietnam, S.E. Asia

atop the mast, Halong Bay, UNESCO World Heritage Site, North Vietnam

Hue stock photography, Old Imperial City, Hue, Central Vietnam, S.E. Asia

MR Asian girl, Old Imperial City, Hue, Central Vietnam, S.E. Asia

Hoian stock photography, Scenic quaint town of Hoian, Nha Trung Bay, Central  Vietnam, S.E. Asia

Scenic quaint town of Hoian, Nha Trung Bay, Central Vietnam, S.E. Asia

model released stock photography, Scenic quaint town of Hoian, Nha Trung Bay, Central  Vietnam, S.E. Asia

Model Released Asian, Scenic quaint town of Hoian, Nha Trung Bay, Central Vietnam

Saigon stock photography, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), the former capital of South Vietnam, S.E. Asia

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), the former capital of South Vietnam, S.E. Asia

I was home for less than a week before I departed for Canada for a trip aboard the Liveaboard Dive Vessel,  Nautilus Explorer from June 13-23rd for a story that will appear in an upcoming issue of Scuba Diving Magazine.  We departed Vancouver, B.C. and traveled the Inside Passage, diving and sightseeing reefs and islands throughout Southeast Alaska.  I flew home from Sitka 10 days later having seen great Humpback Whale activity, and mind boggling colorful diving in the cold, dark, and swift moving water of the Pacific Northwest.  There were large groups of Stellar Sea Lions that played tag with our dive groups.  The large males were quite intimidating when they came near and blew bubbles in your face!  The mountain scenery, bald eagles, and marine life make Alaska a must visit for anyone wanting the ultimate American wilderness experience.

Alaska stock photography, Le Conte Glacier area, Southernmost Tidewater glacier in United States, near Petersburg, South East Alaska, Inside Passage

Le Conte Glacier area, Southernmost Tidewater glacier in United States, near Petersburg, South East Alaska, Inside Passage

Bald Eagle stock photography, Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Wrangell Narrows, Mitkof Island, near Petersburg, South East Alaska, Inside Passage

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Wrangell Narrows, Mitkof Island, near Petersburg, South East Alaska, Inside Passage

cold water stock photography, Hairy Hermit Crab (Pagurus hirsutiusculus), Admiralty Island, South East Alaska, Inside Passage

Hairy Hermit Crab (Pagurus hirsutiusculus), Admiralty Island, South East Alaska, Inside Passage

underwater stock photographer, prolific soft corals, Red Soft Coral (Gersemia rubiformis) and new species of pink and orange soft corals,  South East Alaska, Inside Passage

prolific soft corals, Red Soft Coral (Gersemia rubiformis) and new species of pink and orange soft corals, South East Alaska, Inside Passage

endangered species stock photography, endangered species, Stellar Sea Lions, very curious, near Inian Island, Icy Strait,  South East Alaska, Inside Passage

endangered species, Stellar Sea Lions, very curious, near Inian Island, Icy Strait, South East Alaska, Inside Passage

I managed to enjoy some spectacular Summer weather for nearly a month before departing for Dublin, Ireland, leaving behind perfect Seattle Summer weather for the typical cool, mostly cloudy and damp weather That gives Ireland their lush green hills, flowers and trees.   My longtime friend and U2 music enthusiast Ed Weber and I plotted and devised a way to see our favorite band in their hometown of Dublin.  This is the “holy grail” of concerts for U2 fans! We only had tickets for the first show, but ended up seeing all three U2 concerts at Croke Park in Dublin.   This current “360 Tour”, showcases the world’s largest stage and special effects show ever put together for a Rock Concert.  All three shows had a different playlist and different warm up bands.  The first show we got in line at 8am for the grueling ultra fan experience.  We were herded inside the stadium after 2 hours and had to give up our folding chairs.  There were almost no food vendors and almost no restroom facilities so it was quite the endurance test – As Mick Jagger said, “It’s only Rock & Roll!”  We got lucky and made it right to the front stage in the Inner Circle for the concert!  I was allowed to bring in a small point and shoot camera and was blown away with the quality of still images and video that I shot with the Canon G10 Powershot camera.  Serendipity had me meeting on my Sailfish trip in January a great guy from Dublin who invited Ed and I to stay with him and his family.  He gave us an insider’s tour of the city including U2’s recording studio, the band members mansions, and some impressive castles in the countryside.  We visited Slane Castle several hours North of Dublin and were fortunate to meet Lord  Henry, one of Ireland’s greatest Aristocrats, who’s family has  owned the castle for the past few centuries.  He regaled us with stories about U2 recording the “Unforgettable Fire” album at the castle and the memorable concert movie filmed there a few years later.

Ireland stock photography, Knowth, the passage tomb complex at the western end of Bru Na Boinne, 127 massive kerbstones, North of Dublin, Ireland

Knowth, the passage tomb complex at the western end of Bru Na Boinne, 127 massive kerbstones, North of Dublin, Ireland

Dublin stock photography, O' Connell Street, Dublin, Ireland

O' Connell Street, Dublin, Ireland

Ireland stock photographer, Killiney Beach, near Dublin, Ireland

Pattern of Rocks in front of Bono's seaside mansion, Killiney Beach, near Dublin, Ireland

castle stock photography, Model Released Father & Daughter (age 8 & 43), Trim Castle, largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, site of Hollywood blockbuster film "Brave Heart", North of Dublin, Ireland

Model Released Father & Daughter (age 8 & 43), Trim Castle, largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, site of Hollywood blockbuster film "Brave Heart", North of Dublin, Ireland

Ireland stock photographer, Slane Castle, Village of Slane, 25 minutes from Dublin, Ireland

Lord Henry signing a bottle of Slane Castle Whiskey, Village of Slane, Ireland

concert stock photography, Dublin, Ireland

Croke Park, U2 360 tour, Dublin, Ireland

U2 concert photographer, Dublin, Ireland

Bono singing, 360 Tour, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland

lifestyle stock photography, U2 360 tour, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland

stageside, U2 360 Tour, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland

I enjoyed the rest of the Summer at home for a record 33 days in a row before departing with Ed Weber in his motor-home to Moab, Utah from September 2-9th. Ed owns this amazing off-road Jeep Rubican  that is all tricked out for climbing and descending hills and slopes that look way beyond sanity.  We toured with like-minded Jeep owners for some club sponsored trips around Moab.  This area is a mecca for mountain biker, hikers, and a real treat for photographers.  It was my first visit to Arches National Park and all I can say is “WOW”.  It makes me realize how much I have neglected seeing wonderful sites in my own country.  I gained new appreciation for truck and motor-home drivers after taking turns driving Ed’s big Bluebird Bus.

Utah stock photography, MR driver, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Ed Weber driving Jeep at Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

adventure stock photography, MR driver & PR 2003 Rubicon Jeep, "Fins & Things" Jeep Trail, Sand Flats Road, BLM land, near Slickrock Bike Trail, Moab, Utah

MR driver & PR 2003 Rubicon Jeep, "Fins & Things" Jeep Trail, Sand Flats Road, BLM land, near Slickrock Bike Trail, Moab, Utah

panoramic stock photography, MR driver, PR Jeep, Gold Bar Rim trail near Moab, Utah

Panoramic image of MR driver, PR Jeep, Gold Bar Rim trail near Moab, Utah

National Park stock photography, MR tourist, Summer sunset, View near Balanced Rock, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Ed Weber hiking, Summer sunset, View near Balanced Rock, Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Less than 2 weeks later, I was flying to Jacksonville, Florida and driving to visit a dear family in Hilton Head, South Carolina for some family Lifestyle Stock Photography images.  I adored the stately homes and large cypress and Oak trees that typify this part of the south.  I also spent a day in Savannah, Georgia and fell in love with this elegant, cosmopolitan, and scenic historic town.  I walked for miles in Old Town and marveled at the historic parks, trees, statues, and friendly Southern hospitality.

lifestyle stock photography, MR age 6  girl using iPhone near Dad Daytrading with Investment charts on multiple=

lifestyle stock photographer, MR age 6 & 4 girls with Mom on Hammock using Laptop (new late 2009 model Pro Macbook), Hilton Head home, South Carolina, USA

MR age 6 & 4 girls with Mom on Hammock using Laptop (new late 2009 model Pro Macbook), Hilton Head home, South Carolina

South Carolina stock photography, MR Family in front of PR Home, Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA

MR Family in front of PR Home, Hilton Head, South Carolina

model released people stock photography, MR Family eating ice cream cones, Harbour Town, Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA

MR Family eating ice cream cones, Harbour Town, Hilton Head

model relased family stock photographer, MR Family at, Tower Beach in evening,  Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA

MR Family at, Tower Beach in evening, Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA

health and beauty stock photography, MR woman doing Handstand at Tower Beach in evening,  Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA

MR woman doing Handstand at Tower Beach in evening, Hilton Head, South Carolina, USA

Savannah stock photography, Madison Square, Historic District, Savannah, Georgia, Southern USA

Madison Square, Historic District, Savannah, Georgia

October 11th , I departed for my longest trip of my life – nearly two months long.  I flew to Bali and joined a group of divers for an epic 3 week scuba diving adventure from Alor to Ambon in the Banda Sea area of Indonesia.  God bless Ken Howard for gifting me his space on the trip.  The highlights started right on the first full day of diving – camped right next to a live erupting volcano that showered us with ash every fifteen minutes. The diving was great but having dinner several hundred yards away from a belching volcano with glowing magma spewing down a hillside was euphoric!!! I was bumped by a curious hammerhead at 100 feet on an exploratory dive at Kadola Island in the Lucipara Group. The most toxic, yet mostly mild mannered creature on the planet was in great abundance at Gunung Api Island.  These were the largest and fattest sea snakes (and most curious) I had yet seen with colorful sea fans and pristine healthy coral reefs as a backdrop.   The small and colorful sea creatures at the end of the trip near Ambon were delightful as I was able to shoot mating cuttlefish, vibrant Coleman Shrimp on glowing Fire Urchins, and all kinds of colorful nudibranchs, and unusual fishes.  The Seven Seas is a terrific classic wooden sailing liveaboard that operates all over Indonesia.  The diving, food, and terrific hard working crew made this trip a real treat.  My dive trips are normally limited to 7 to 10 days of diving. I was amazed how quickly 3 weeks disappeared in our exploration of the Banda Sea including a dozen pioneering dives in untouched and virgin dive sites.

scuba diving stock photography, model released asian woman, Kadola Island, Lucipara Group, Banda Sea, Indonesia

Kadola Island, Lucipara Group, Banda Sea, Indonesia

marine  stock photography, Seven Seas Liveaboard Dive Boat, Illi Api Island, Selat Boleng Strait, Indonesia

Seven Seas Liveaboard Dive Boat, Illi Api Island, Selat Boleng Strait, Indonesia

volcano stock photography, active live volcano erupting every few minutes, Komba Island, Flores Sea, Indonesia

active live volcano erupting every few minutes, Komba Island, Flores Sea, Indonesia

science stock photography, active live volcano erupting every few minutes, Komba Island, Flores Sea, Indonesia

Sunset, active live volcano erupting every few minutes, Komba Island, Flores Sea

underwater specialist, Kadola Island, Lucipara Group, Banda Sea, Indonesia

Above & Below view of Kadola Island, Lucipara Group, Banda Sea, Indonesia

Indo Pacific stock photography, brilliant red sea fans (Melithaea sp.), Komba Island, Flores Sea, Indonesia

brilliant red sea fans (Melithaea sp.), Komba Island, Flores Sea, Indonesia

underwater invertebrate stock photographer, Banded Sea Krait (Laticauda sp.), Gunung Api Island, Banda Sea, Indonesia

Banded Sea Krait (Laticauda sp.), Gunung Api Island, Banda Sea, Indonesia

shark stock photography, hammerhead shark, Kadola Island, Lucipara Group, Banda Sea, Indonesia

Hammerhead that bumped me, fisheye 15mm lens, Kadola Island, Lucipara Group, Banda Sea

Fluorescence stock photography, science, fluorescing corals, glowing,

Corallimorpharia photographed at night with special filters to show natural Fluorescence

tropical fish stock photography, Weedy Scorpionish (Rhonopius aphanes), Lembata Island waterway between Timor Sea &  Flores Sea, Indonesia

Weedy Scorpionish (Rhonopius aphanes), Lembata Island waterway between Timor Sea & Flores Sea, Indonesia

cuttlefish stock photography, Ambon Island,  Banda Sea, Indonesia

mating cuttlefish, Ambon Island, Banda Sea, Indonesia

fish stock photography, Mandarinfish (Synchipus spendidus) near airport and Laha Village, Ambon Island,  Banda Sea, Indonesia

Mandarinfish (Synchipus spendidus) near airport and Laha Village, Ambon Island, Banda Sea, Indonesia

marine life stock photographer, Coleman shrimp, fire urchin, Mandarinfish (Synchipus spendidus) near airport and Laha Village, Ambon Island,  Banda Sea, Indonesia

Pair of Coleman Shrimp on a Fire Urchin, Mandarinfish (Synchipus spendidus) near airport and Laha Village, Ambon Island, Banda Sea, Indonesia

After returning to Bali on Halloween I flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a few days and then on to Bangkok, Thailand for the entire month of November.  I photographed an assignment that appeared in Asian Geographic Passport Magazine on Best Dining Spots of Asia.

food photography, Chef with Signature Dishes, Breeze, award-winning restaurant atop Lebua at State Tower, Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand, S.E. Asia

Chef with Signature Dishes, Breeze, award-winning restaurant atop Lebua at State Tower, Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand, S.E. Asia

Bangkok stock photography, MR Thai couple, Sky Bar rooftop, Lebua at State Tower, Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand, S.E. Asia

MR Thai couple, Sky Bar rooftop, Lebua at State Tower, Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand, S.E. Asia

Thailand stock photography, MR Thai couple, Sky Bar rooftop, Lebua at State Tower, Silom Road, Bangkok, Thailand, S.E. Asia

MR Thai couple, Sky Bar rooftop, Lebua at State Tower, Silom Road, Bangkok

Using my new Mac book Pro laptop, I tried operating my business from a remote location for a month and enjoyed it immensely.  I rented a Spartan furnished apartment in a non-touristy part of Bangkok, yet very close to a subway, shopping mall and gym.  As close to a vacation as I ever get, this month was pretty relaxed for me enjoying 2 hour massages every other day.  Even with a gym membership, massages, and several short trips my cost of living in Thailand was the cost of heating my home in the winter for a month!!!  My Thai friend Nick drove me all the way to the Cambodia border for a century old 3 day celebration with hundred of elephants in Surin.  There were century old battle re-enactments, special fruit buffets set up all over the town for the elephants, and days of elephantine activities.  I was invited by a group of Thai nature photographers to join them in a remote National Park that is off limits to most people. I enjoyed seeing all kinds of exotic birds and wildlife with the long range spotting scopes and enjoyed the terrific camaraderie, food, and drink with dear families and friends.  The generous and kind spirits of the Thai people is unforgettable and infectious.  It is what brings me back to this country time and time again.

Thailand National Park stock photography, Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife SanctuaryThailand National Park, Thailand, S.E. Asia

Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, Thailand National Park, Thailand, S.E. Asia

festival stock photography, Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin,  Thailand, S.E. Asia

Surin Beauty Queens, Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin, Thailand, S.E. Asia

Thailand stock photography, Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin,  Thailand, S.E. Asia

Thai Traditional Dancers, Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin, Thailand

celebration stock photography, Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin,  Thailand, S.E. Asia

Temple Sound & Light Show, Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin, Thailand

lifestyle stock photographer, Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin,  Thailand, S.E. Asia

pre Elephant Round Up activities, Surin

Surin stock photography, Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin,  Thailand, S.E. Asia

Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin, Thailand, S.E. Asia

festival stock photographer, Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin,  Thailand, S.E. Asia

Battle Re-enactment, Surin Elephant Round Up, Surin, Thailand, S.E. Asia

For a second year in a row I did not decorate my house for Christmas, as I was gone for most of the month.  This year I visited my 19 year old son in San Diego and brothers’ family in Chula Vista. I helped Jordan clean and pack up his apartment furniture for his return to Seattle.  He has decided to attend a local College and then go back to San Diego with his best friend in the Fall of 2010.  I think I might have a disease called “travelitis”, as I was gone from my lovely home in Mill Creek for a whopping 239 days!!!!  For those of you I did not get to see in 2009, please visit me in Washington as I am going to attempt to chain myself home for much more of the coming year.  A very Happy New Year with blessings of good health to you all.  I am blessed and fortunate to call all of you “friends”, and I will try not to take my own excellent health for granted.  At age 51, I received my second yearly comprehensive medical check up at a world class hospital in Bangkok and amazed my eye doctor with 20/20 vision.  I aced all my tests which included chest x ray, comprehensive blood tests, kidney function, heart monitor and stress test, cholesterol, etc.  I have so much to be thankful for and trust you all do as well.

Stuart Westmorland Dec 31, 2009

29 Responses to “2009 Travel Blog”


  1. 1 Chris Crumley January 1, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Stuart,

    Great story of 2009. Thank goodness you were single with that kind of schedule. Best wishes for a prosperous, enjoyable and healthy 2010.

    Chris

  2. 2 Jeremy Davis January 2, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Outstanding pictures and story. You had an amazing year! Looking forward to seeing you this year! Take care.

    Jeremy

  3. 3 David Barnes January 2, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Stuart,

    What a year you had. May it go on forever. Thank you for sharing it with me, and I believe many others.

    David

  4. 4 Vicki Irvine January 2, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Hi Stuart,

    !Way to Go! A million thanks for letting us all enjoy your travels….the photos are truly beyond belief….! You have the eye and the skill to bring the world into focus, as it should be seen…..:-)

    Big Hugs,
    Vicki

  5. 5 Dana January 2, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Beautiful pix and lovely to hear about your travels!! Happy New Year!

  6. 6 Robyn January 2, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Fantastic!!!

  7. 7 jeffry w myers January 2, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Darn impressive!!!! How long will it take us to read it and view all the pix? jeffry

  8. 8 Kelly January 2, 2010 at 5:29 am

    Amazing shots! I am extremely jealous, and captivated!
    I’m holed up and hibernating in Northern Alberta. Just waiting for the thaw! Batteries don’t last long in -40C to -50C.
    Good luck in your 2010 adventures!

  9. 9 Glen Allison January 2, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Hey Stuart

    Hello from Nepal. What a thrilling, jam-packed year you had. Don’t park yourself in Seattle. Go for another “travelitus” year in 2010 and give us more killer photos.

  10. 10 Colin & Yanti January 2, 2010 at 11:50 am

    You should really try and get out more…

    Ridiculous amount of travel. I think you are really a CIA Special Ops agent.

    Keep practicing those pull-ups.

  11. 11 Chuck Guthrie January 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Stuart,

    A terrible year! You need to get out more.. 😉

    Loved the pictures and the stories.

    Thanks for all the effort you put in the blog

    Chuck

  12. 12 Gavriel January 2, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    No wander we could get together this past year, See you sometime in 2010
    Gavriel

  13. 13 Tracy January 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    WOW Stuart! Those are the most beautiful photos I’ve ever experience! Thank you so much for sharing. : ) You’ve captured all of my Dream travels in one unforgettable compilation! May the New Year bring many, many more photos. Hope to chat with you soon. You are truely blessed, Tracy

  14. 14 Nigel Motyer January 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Amazing year Stu, it was really great to have yourself and Ed join us in Dublin. Looking forward to catching up again in July. Have a great new year and a spectacular 2010. All the best from snowy Dublin.

  15. 15 Andrew January 2, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Stuart-

    Epic photos (as always) I look forward to the opportunity to travel and work with you again. I lived for a year in Uruguay and traveled in Argentina, they are magical places- thanks for reminding me of that.
    Andrew

  16. 16 Shawna Davis January 3, 2010 at 1:08 am

    WoW! You have had an amazing 2009 journey. Thanks so much for sharing, I loved the stories with the amazing photos.

    Hope to see you in 2010, maybe Pig Roast?

    Hugs & Love
    Shawna

  17. 17 Mark Munson January 3, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Great shots and great stories Stuart! This year I was home more than usual. Your travel stories made me miss the road! Hopefully 2010 will give us all more opportunities for travel!

    Have a great new year!

    Mark

  18. 18 Pamela Love January 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    This was a wonderful slice of the life and times of Stuart Westmorland in 2009! Many of your images captured moments in time with color and light that had those viewing there with you experiencing these priceless moments …. thank you! I also now know the origin of the name of the Boeing yacht, the Daedalus … the reef in the Red Sea. Here’s to continued health and success to you in 2010!

  19. 19 Saffron Owens January 3, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Stuart~Those adventures and pictures are truly amazing. I am sorry I missed you at DEMA this year! We have lots of wonderful trips planned for 2010! Tell Ed I said Hi and please take care of yourselves. Maybe I will see you guys in another foreign country! ~Saffron

  20. 20 Christian Kirnbauer January 4, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Stuart, i wish you a Happy New Year 2010!
    Great pictures on your travel blog!
    Christian

  21. 21 Angelina January 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Stuart:

    Thank you for capturing and sharing your fab-u-lous adventures.
    I think of you often and wish you much love and prosperity in 2010. Make it a win-win.
    I am thrilled you are in perfect health, I too an in gratitude for my health. It’s all good darlin . . . take care!

  22. 22 Dave Herbig January 5, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Stuart,

    Whgat a wonderful year. You make me feel like traveling, despite my longing to stay put for a while after a busy 2009. Hope to see you soon!

    Dave

  23. 23 internationalphototours January 5, 2010 at 3:58 am

    You manage to stay very bussy despite the economy my dear friend, I hope 2010 will be as bussy for you or even more if you can handel.
    Gavriel

  24. 24 Tim Novotny January 5, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Super pictures and travels, thanks for sharing them!

  25. 25 Wendy Harvey January 5, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Oh Stuart! I could look at your images all day long. I love the sailfish set and underwater Indo. How spectacular. Hopefully 2010 will bring you back to Maui;)

  26. 26 Pornrapee Abhakorn January 11, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Great adventure and pictures!!!

  27. 27 Cristobal January 20, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    Hey Stu!!

    Very cool blog!!! The pictures are incredible, as always! You know you could probably make a very decent living as a travel agent… hahahahahaaaa.

    Congrats and I look forward to reading more of your stories!

    Have a good one!

    Cris

  28. 28 LYNN June 18, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Stuart,
    I and Tiff ( very cool blog) . This was a wonderful pictures you took . They are amazing , i saw few pictures that you took from Hoi An Vietnam, incredible.
    I and Tiff just kidding ( DOPHIN PICTURES) , SPRING ROLLS SOUND GOOD WHEN I COME BACK.


  1. 1 BLOGS « Stuart's Blog Trackback on January 11, 2010 at 1:41 am

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