2016 was a year of travel for me. I visited New York for my birthday, Australia over the summer, and spent the last three months
traveling around the U.K. studying abroad in London. I started this blog, figured out how to take photos, and went on my first solo trip ever. I’m so grateful for all that I’ve seen, and all that I’ve yet to see.
Here are my top 10 photos from 2016.
1. This was the photo that made me feel like a photographer. I had traded my iPhone 5s camera for a hand-me-down Nikon D3200 from my sister and when I imported this photo into iPhoto it made me realize how much of a difference a good camera can make. I took this at the Fairy Pools on my first day at Isle of Skye, Scotland.
2. I visited Greenwich wanting to go inside the Old Royal Naval College’s Painted Halls, and was incredibly disappointed to find out they were under renovation. It was hard to stay disappointed, though, because of this photo I got to take of the Old Royal Naval College just as the sun was setting. Greenwich was hands down one of the best, underrated day trips I took from London.
3. I woke up around 5 a.m. to watch the sun rise at Isle of Skye. I’m a sucker for sunrises and sunsets, and Skye was the place for them (when it wasn’t raining, that is).
4. This photo was taken my second day studying abroad in London. My new friends and I wanted to get the touristy stuff out of the way during orientation, and the sun was out and shining (it had been out the whole week and we were naive to think it would stay that way forever). Being the over eager study abroad students that we were, we hit up Big Ben the first chance we got.
5. This photo of the Scottish Highlands wasn’t originally in my top 10 list, but something keeps drawing me to it. I took my first solo trip ever on Heart of Scotland’s 3-day Isle of Skye tour, and on the way back to Edinburgh we stopped by Glen Coe, by the three sisters mountain and were offered this incredible view (fun fact: Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding is based on the Glen Coe massacre).
5. This photo was particularly memorable because I was rushing to catch the sunset at Primrose Hill and sprinted across the road only to sprint back and stop in the middle because the sun was already setting. The golden hues alone the stretch of trees and white townhouses felt so quintessentially London.
7. Although this is literally a photo of nothing but a a huge rock, this was the photo that made me realize how powerful a tool Lightroom was. I opened the program for the first time during winter break, and somehow I managed to transform even the shittiest of photos into something pretty incredible. Now, editing with anything other than Lightroom won’t do.
For reference, here is what the original photo looked like (what kind of sorcery is this?!).
8. Scotland has a sh*t ton of castles, but arguably none as famous as Eilean Donan. The castle has been featured in many films, including Highlander and the James Bond film The World is Not Enough, and is incredibly photogenic considering it sits on its own island where three lochs meet. Getting the chance to photograph this castle was one of the reasons why I took a leap of faith and went on my first solo trip.
9. I took a spontaneous day trip to Dover and Canterbury and spent much of my time taking photos on White Cliffs of Dover. This picture, in particular, means a lot because I took it. I finally figured out how to use my camera’s self timer during a time of desperation (the sun was setting and I had the white cliffs as my backdrop and really needed a photo with me in it but there were zero people around). One of my friends told me she thought it was a shot from a movie before she realized I was the one sitting there, and had no words to respond. :’) (Thanks, Lisa! <3)
10. I walked around London late at night a couple of times but it was during my last walk by Westminster that I looked up right where Big Ben was perfectly symmetrical. I was with my two middle school friends, Momoko and Haru, that night. We had just crossed Westminster Bridge and were heading to Westminster Station, where we would say goodbye to each other before I left London for good.
In retrospect, this post should have been titled “Top 10 Photos from England and Scotland,” but all the photos I took at the other places I traveled to were using my iPhone 5s (i.e. shit). I really should have started using my sister’s Nikon D3200 sooner.
Here’s to 2017, a year of more writing, traveling, creating, and significantly better quality photos!