A Taste of Stonehenge

What is the oldest thing you have seen in person?

We couldn’t come to the UK without seeing the famous site of Stonehenge. It’s thought to be over 5000 years old and was once used as a burial site. It also marks the winter and summer solstices and could have had spiritual significance.. however, no one really knows for sure why it was built.

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Over the years, access has become more restricted. Tourists used to be able to actually climb on the stones, and a long time ago, chisels were even provided for extracting a keepsake. Now, the 800k annual visitors are kept to a designated path, not even permitted to walk amongst the stones except with a special permit at restricted times.

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When making our own plans to visit, we wanted to get the best photos we could. We really wanted to be there for golden hour, either right after sunrise or just before dusk. Though it would undoubtedly be more crowded, we opted for sunset as it was still within the operating hours of the site (and we couldn’t pick up a rental car in time to drive out without incurring an extra day of rental fees).

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We also looked into the sunrise and sunset permits, but they sell out months in advance.. and they were prohibitively expensive. As it was, we couldn’t quite stomach the €19-per-person entry fee. Fortunately, you CAN visit Stonehenge for free.

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We just parked at the visitor center and walked through to the path to the stones. Tickets aren’t required until you get closer, and then you can walk to the north of the main entrance onto a public path that goes next to the stones. We were a little farther than those who paid, but we had a decent enough view.

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As we were leaving, someone else on the path asked if we were there for the harvest moon. We weren’t even aware there was one that evening! We stuck around a few extra minutes and were rewarded with the beautiful orange orb ascending in the east. We only wish we had thought to position ourselves west of the stones earlier!


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Spitzkoppe: The Matterhorn of Africa

Spitzkoppe, Namibia is a beautiful park of large rock formations in the middle of a long empty desert, named for the incredible mountain that dominates it. As we made our way south from Etosha National Park, this place was a must for us. It was hard to miss as we could see it from over a hundred kilometers away. Known as the Matterhorn of Africa, it stands at 670 m (2,200 ft) above the desert floor at an altitude of 1,728 m (5,669 ft) above sea level. We camped there for one night and were able to explore most of the park. It felt like we were in another world.

Spitzkoppe Namibia Boulders

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Grouse Mountain

After a trip to Capilano, we had to make our way to the nearby Grouse Mountain. There was so much to discover and more hiking than we had time for. We’ll have to go back sometime!

LotsaSmiles Photography

While somewhat a tourist attraction, if you find yourself in Vancouver, you’ll want to check out the views from atop Grouse Mountain.

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Top 6 Worldwide Photo Ops to Anticipate

As most of you know by now, I am a photographer.  (If you want to see more of my travel landscape photography, feel free to check it out over at www.lotsasmilesphoto.com.)  I love nothing more than a breathtaking scene and I get giddy immortalizing it and its associated memories in pixels.  In fact, while I can’t wait to experience some worldwide history and culture, while I long to stand atop some world-renowned trails, and while I’m an incurable foodie, I am most looking forward to the photography opportunities.  There’s so much to see; how could I not?

Here are the top items on my photo op bucket list.
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Welcome to Vancouver!

Switching gears once more, we thought we’d give you a taste of our adventures in another place: Vancouver, BC. A long drive, a beautiful city, and a midnight fire scare.. welcome to Vancouver!

LotsaSmiles Photography

Overall, we found Vancouver B.C. to be a very welcoming city.  After all, it appeared to have more tourists than residents, spanning the entire globe.  And it was quite the destination for Canada Day celebrations.

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Norway: Epic Road Trip

The Drive

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Driving in Norway was easier than we thought it would be. The road signs were easy to follow and many times we had the road all to ourselves. Doing a car camping road trip through the country was very peaceful compared to anything we’ve ever done in the U.S. or in Costa Rica. It was hard to believe we drove over 2,000 km, but some of the best views were right off the road. Why do a 20 km hike for one view, when you can drive for a thousand? Here were some of our best views.

Snowy Lake in Norway

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Bluest Lake You Have Ever Seen – Crater Lake Oregon

We tried to get some pictures of Crater Lake on our first night there. It didn’t work out so well as the snow rolled in. It was cold and very windy. You never truly know what to expect when you attempt to photograph a sunset, but that is part of the adventure, right?

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