The 2019 is around corner so it is time to look behind to achievements made this year, summarize where I’ve been to, what places are gone from the list or marked as “need second visit”. For me 2018 was kinda busy in terms of traveling as well as other big changes in my life like a job change, switching from PC to Mac while changing the workflow and SW I use for editing now. There will be sole article about this change as the system is far different from Windows and some SW is not available on Mac. I can say that in the final, Mac is more intuitive and I found SW which works for me well.
So let’s start with travel recap of 2018. I took 28 flights this year, mostly long-haul, spending roughly a week in the sky to see such remote destinations as Cook Islands. Whole year was in way of discovering new places I’ve never been to before.
There is no better place than going to frozen Iceland in January! This was my third visit of the beautiful country but first time in winter. Almost two weeks under the snow and believing in northern lights to show on the sky. We didn’t see it even we did almost everything to catch it. Anyway it was a great road trip. We saw all the Iceland’s landmarks in the winter coat in around -10 Celsius (which is far colder than it’s used to be here in this time period), spent a lot of time relaxing in hot outdoor pools and baths while freezing around, driving in big snow storms in icy roads and I took some nice pictures as well.
I visited Dubai for 5th time for a conference related to my job and even there was some space during evenings I still have zero pictures from there. I have never found Dubai so interesting for photography if you do not have access to the roofs. On the other side it is great place to enjoy some time in world class bars and restaurants, take a ride in 4×4 in the desert or try famous ski piste in the Dubai Mall.
My 6th work related visit to Dubai for couple days but right after arrival we headed to Abu Dhabi for a weekend to see Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and walk around the city a bit. Beside the mosque you can visit Louvre Abu Dhabi or Ferrari World. The city is smaller than Dubai and had couple skyscrapers in downtown by the beach, some fancy hotels and nice beachfront. Overall it is cheaper here with the same quality of gods and services.
Everyone should make own dreams come true so we visited Seychelles, pure paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean. After staying at La Digue and Praslin I would advice you to go directly to La Digue. It is a small tropical island with almost no traffic. People are going around by foot or bicycle you can rent everywhere. There are the most beautiful beaches some of them remote so you stay almost alone. Book a bed and breakfast to be closer to locals and enjoy delicious fresh fruit and fishes.
Longer visit of the Czech Republic capital Prague. In recent years Prague is crowded in every season but from the photography point of view June is one of the best months as the day is the longest so you can wake up early before the crowds hit the streets.
I visited Shangai for the first time. It was a really short business related visit so I was able to take just couple pictures from Shanghai World Financial Center Observatory. The best available place to take aerial pictures of Shanghai. Now, when even higher skyscraper called Shanghai Tower is open, another place worth of visit should be on your list.
I do not like busy summer holiday season so I skipped that time and plan the longest and biggest trip of 2018 for November. First weekend in the month we headed to Paris. I like that place when you stay in the city center and plan ahead what places to visit when less tourist are around.
After Paris we stopped by in San Francisco for a day to visit friends and continue to Wellington, New Zealand. Another dream came true, always windy Wellington was rainy also and after two days we drove to Tongariro NP where we did the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. Nice hike through heart of the park on a sunny day we didn’t believe in at all.
After all that traveling it was time to relax so we flew to Cook Island for a one week holiday. I never believed I will visit this place I know about from childhood while reading luxury travel agencies catalogues, hopefully dreams come true. If you have a chance, visit that place at least once in your life, no tourists, just relaxed stay in the coral reef lagoon together with great food, what more to wish for.
After relaxing on the tropical island we moved back to New Zealand to travel more around North island. We visited Auckland, it’s a business city worth of walking around, taste some food and coffee and visit local aquarium, nothing more. After Auckland we went down to Waitomo Caves, the main anchor of this place are glow worms you can find in New Zealand only. Geothermal area of Rotorua was longer stop for three days. We picked Wai-O-Tapu geothermal park where you can find famous Lady Knox geyser and colorful and boiling hot Champagne pool. Having more time in the area I would visit Waimangu Volcanic Valley a well. Beside couple geothermal parks, You can find here second place with Redwood trees on the planet. First and better known one is in California, US.
Long drive took us to the Coromandel peninsula to visit Cathedral Cove and couple beaches in the area. The best experience was visiting hot water beach near Hahei. When there is a low tide you can dig a hole in the lower parts of the beach so you access local hot water source. Mixing hot water near boiling point together with cold water from the ocean in your own pool creates a spot you can relax till the tide rise up again. Shovels are for rent at 10 NZD.
In the evening of the last day we experienced Hobitton Movie Set, nice to see this place from movies so put it on your list. And then we took long journey back to Europe.
Last month was in the name of photo editing, getting know Mac system as well as new SW. As I was using Zoner Photo Studio on the Windows long time for all the photography editing, even for the HDR, this is the biggest change so far. As you might know there is no Zoner for Mac so I get in touch with Skylum and now testing their Luminar as a standard editing tool together with Aurora HDR for my HDR shots. This SW is additional for Lightroom I use as a photo library and Photoshop when needed to make some changes as erasing ads from the pictures. I will write couple articles about these changes in the near future.
Last and important question was where to go in 2019 and I think I will be bringing pictures and tips from Europe mostly, but you never know when plans can change.
All the best to 2019, new experiences, new travels and new discovered places that’s the wish to you all.
Tags: 2018, abu dhabi, fire, ice, iceland, mac, macbook, new zealand, paris, prague, recap, skylum