Top 10 Favorite Photos

I set an impossible task for myself. While assembling a collage poster for our home, I thought it would be worthwhile to put together a list of my Top 10 favorite photos from our trip. That I took over 22,000 photos during our travels wasn’t of concern, as I had deleted a large percentage of them. I figured I’d pick out my favorite fifty or so for the poster, knowing already which ones were likely to make the cut, and then narrow those 50 or so down to a Top 10 for the purposes of this blog post. What better bicycle touring inspiration than that?

So I went through my collection of meticulously-organized photos and Alt-C’d the best of the bunch to a new folder in preparation for designing the collage. Wouldn’t you know it, but 261 made that initial cut.

Problem.

Photos from our travels stand out on many levels. Some for the technical quality of the image, others for the people in them, and yet others for the day or moment they remind us of. We wanted the collage to contain the best photos, but also the lighter moments and the group photos and the emotional reminders of the roller coaster journey we were on. But even on a 24×36-inch poster, 261 was far too many if I wanted to be able to enjoy the images sans magnifying glass. I managed to cull the herd to 109 photos.

With the collage poster off to the printer, it was time to narrow those 109 images down to the 10 finalists. Kristin suggested we do multiple categories and, instead of a Top 10 list, do multiple Top 5 lists. It’s a great idea. One we may do in the future, but not today. Today is about picking those 10 best shots.

109 became 37 which became 17 which soon became 13 which eventually got whittled down to the the 10 photos I’m including here. Dedicated readers will no doubt recognize these photos as I’m pretty sure all of them had been featured in blog posts and on Flickr, if not also on Facebook. I arrived at these Top 10 by focusing on the technical quality of the photo and the sheer impact value of the image. For every one of the thousands of photos I returned home with, I asked myself one simple question: Is this one of the most visually stunning photos we took?

And yes, I do mean we. Kristin took two of the photos in the top 10, one a relatively lucky snapshot with her camera and another in which she was serving as my human tripod for a tricky self-photo. On to the photos!

North America

Couldn't stop photographing the beautiful birch forest surrounding the Mesabi Trail (when not winding around the world's largest open-pit iron mines).
Minnesota, USA: I really like the contrast of the blue sky and the white birch along the Mesabi Trail with the bright panniers.

 

A river had flooded the trail and it was only after the water rose above the panniers and I noticed fish swimming past me that I turned around. Kristin took this from dry land after I managed to turn around.
Quebec, Canada: Rather than follow me across the flooded trail, Kristin grabbed her camera and took this photo right after I turned around.

Europe

The view looking down from below the crest of the pass as Kristin climbs the final quarter mile.
United Kingdom: Looking down Kirkstone Pass in the Lake District as Kristin makes her way up the 20% grade.

 

Though we arrived under threatening skies, we left with gorgeous sunshine.
France: The rain stopped and we were able to set the tripod up for a photo as we left Mont St. Michel, the island monastery in northern France.

 

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Italy: It looks wet and cold and not a small bit spooky, but this ride through the mountains of Tuscany was one of my favorite wet-weather days on the bike.

 

The view we encountered on the walk back to our tent after a lovely dinner in picturesque Barrea.
Italy: The view we encountered on the walk back to our tent after a lovely dinner in picturesque Barrea. The last of the major climbing days in the Abruzzo region was finally behind us.

 

Gorgeous riding along the coast on the day we rode to Athens.
Greece: There were plenty of other photos from Greece that might be more impactful because of the colors, but I really like the layers in this photo and how small Kristin appears in the landscape.

Africa

Kristin nearing Erg Chibbi and the mighty dunes east of Merzouga.
Morocco: The end of the pavement in Morocco, on the doorstep to the Sahara Desert. Our final 25 miles in Morocco were through sand and gravel en route to Erg Chibbi and the mighty dunes east of Merzouga.

Asia

Flying east into the sun.
Turkey: Our pre-dawn hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia was one of our favorite off-the-bike moments of our entire trip.
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Japan: The snow had melted, but it didn’t stop the Japanese Macaques from taking to the hot springs at Jigokudani Monkey Park. This particular monkey impressed us with his zen gaze.

I’ve got another blog post coming soon, filled with photos you haven’t seen yet! We’ve been getting a fair bit of early-season hiking in and even got out on our snowshoes this past weekend. And the views have been great! We look forward to sharing some of these outings with you soon. Thanks for reading, as always.

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Doug Walsh

Writer, Traveler

Doug Walsh is a writer, traveler, cyclist, and gamer who spent two years traveling from Seattle to Singapore, the long way around, by bicycle and sea. He's the author of the upcoming novel "Tailwinds Past Florence."

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About Us

We're Doug & Kristin Walsh, a couple of Washingtonians who love to travel, both abroad and in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. We set off to travel the world in 2014, primarily by bicycle. We're back home now, but the travel bug continues to be fed every chance we get.

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