The Beaches of Inishbofin

Inishbofin is a small island off the coast of County Galway, Ireland. With a population of 170 and accessible only by ferry, it’s a quiet retreat away from the mainland. My favorite part about visiting was renting a bicycle and exploring the beaches…and having them all to myself! _dsc8453_dsc8502_dsc8462_dsc8584_dsc8472_dsc8603_dsc8635_dsc8505_dsc8623


Leaving Las Vegas


Are you into gambling or bachelor(ette) party escapades, Cirque du Solis or drunken wedding ceremonies performed by Elvis impersonators? Yeah, me neither. But, there are still plenty of reasons to fly into Las Vegas. Some of the most remarkable landscapes in the United States are just a short drive from Sin City.

Red Rock Canyon (above), for example, is just 15 minutes away. I’d love to go back and visit Valley of Fire and a number of other locations. The Southwest is a photographer’s dream!

The Moment You’re Given

Arches National Park, Utah

I hit Moab, Utah after an exhausting day on the road. Torrential downpours followed by blinding sunlight, back aches, and eye fatigue were among the things that made the drive from Buena Vista, Colorado difficult. What kept me going was the hope of seeing Utah’s Delicate Arch for the first time at the end of the day.

Unfortunately, I arrived too late in the evening. I parked in the designated lot for the iconic rock and began walking, but soon found out I’d be hiking for 30 minutes over rocky terrain to see it. Perhaps if I’d been with someone or had eaten recently or had better shoes, I’d have gone on anyway in the dark. But I was tired, hungry, and all alone – so it wasn’t meant to be. I turned around and faced west to watch the sunset instead. It wasn’t the moment I had been hoping for, but it was the moment I was given.

Delicate Arch will always be there. I’ll capture it next time.

Sand Dune Sunset

_DSC9838Death Valley, California

After looking at routes out of Las Vegas back to Washington State, I decided to drive through Death Valley. I’d never been there before, and I wanted to visit – very briefly – the hottest place on earth.

Stepping out of my car to take pictures was like stepping into a furnace. Even at 7 p.m., the temperature gauge in my car reported 115 degrees! That’s just a little too hot for my Pacific Northwest blood!

Even so, it was worth seeing. This picture belies the deadly heat that oppresses the valley, and shows how beauty and life can still exist in the most inhospitable places.

Lost and Found


My dad used to drive this tractor around his own father’s farm in the mid-1950’s. During the Reagan years it was auctioned off as he, along with so many other Minnesota farmers, lost land that had been in the family for generations.

Several months ago, my dad happened upon it again at another auction. That boyhood nostalgia bit him, and he decided to buy it back. He now uses it for odd projects that have nothing to do with farming, but it did my heart good to see that youthful glint in his eye, hauling dirt around his property like he was still a kid on his dad’s dairy farm.

Dubrovnik Panorama


It’s not that scary riding in a tiny cable car packed with 30 strangers, elbowing you as they vie for the best cabin position. So what if the cable car didn’t operate earlier in the day because the winds were too strong? It’s only 2,500 feet above Dubrovnik. You’ll be totally fine!




Corfu Morning

Corfu Morning

One of the things I enjoyed about taking a Mediterranean cruise was falling asleep at sea and waking up at a new port. The best part was throwing back the curtains in the morning and laying eyes on ancient cities like Corfu, Greece, its Venetian buildings and forts huddled along the shore. I would hurry outside to capture the sunrise while the light was still perfect. The quiet moments spent bathing in sea air after that were some of my favorites.

Pulling into Corfu

The Melissani Cave

Argostoli Underground Lake

I wanted to like Melissani Cave, located on the Greek island of Kefalonia. The  Costa Cruise excursion brochure said that our guide would lead a select few down a tunnel and into a subterranean world, where a wooden boat would be waiting on the shore of an underground lake. It sounded like some secret adventure far away from the majority of Costa’s passengers, and it was paired with a winery tour, so I booked it.

One of the cons of taking a cruise is that you are at the mercy of the cruise line’s schedule. You can’t beat the crowds at your destination by avoiding peak hours. There’s no hope of capturing the coveted morning or sunset light (which is a big deal for photographers). You explore when you’re in port, and there are only a few hours to do it. Still, I hoped for a good photo opportunity.

An hour after disembarking from the ship in Argostoli, my bus kicked up gravel in the Melissani Cave parking lot. A line of other tourists, maybe 100 deep, already snaked around souvenir shops.


The Costa Cruise tour guide gave each of its passengers a playing card. This was our admission ticket into the cave. So I grabbed my card and got in line, inching forward under the hot Kefalonia sun as sweat trickled down my neck and back.

Eventually, I made it to the entrance of a dark tunnel, and at the end of it was the proverbial light. Standing on tip-toe, I caught a glimpse of the underground lake over the shoulders of other tourists. Its teal blue waters reflected light from a hole in the cave’s partially collapsed ceiling (done in by a 1953 earthquake).

I arrived at the dock, immediately  overtaken by the unobstructed view, but there was no time for pictures. An singing oarsman took my hand and hurried me aboard along with 10 others. Soon, we’d be rowing over those clear waters and on our way to stalactites and hidden caverns. Great! Lots of photo opportunities! That sense of mystery and excitement returned for a moment…

And only a moment.

Smashed against the oarlock, each rotation of the paddle hit me in the head. Not that I had to endure if for long. The whole boat ride was over 10 minutes – if I’m being generous. It wasn’t enough time to enjoy the cave or even really document it on camera. The oarsman passed around a tip bucket and shooed us away and back up the dark tunnel to buy souvenirs.

I’m not sure it was worth the hour drive from Argostoli.

If I were to return to Kefalonia, it wouldn’t be on a cruise line. And I wouldn’t waste time at tourist traps in the middle of the afternoon. I’d fly in and rent a car. From ancient city walls, fortresses, monasteries, and wineries, there seems to be plenty to do on that island if a traveler has the time to enjoy it. Seems like it’s worth a second chance (especially if a trip to Robola vineyards is included).


A winery tour of Robola vineyards helped ease my disappointment