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If how you end 2012 is any indication of what to expect in 2013, we will have a lot to look forward to! Champaign, fireworks, city skyline, good friends – a grand start to 2013.
The second half of 2012 was a bit less exciting (no burning giant statues or camels in the desert) but we took advantage of the beaches and relaxed. Our Spanish visa expired in April and we moved to Croatia as it’s not yet part of the EU. The unexpected gem we found there was not love at first sight and took a few weeks to settle in. After we ate the food, met some amazing people and ventured out into the islands of the Adriatic Sea, we were hooked! After two months of beach time, it was time for Chele to head back to the US and I hopped on a bus down to Greece via Montenegro and Albania. Along the way I met some fantastic people and saw some of the most incredible coastlines. Arriving in Greece (Athens) was a completely different story as the re-elections were taking place and through the help of friends and a bit of luck, I managed to capture with a few good images that you’ll see in the ‘Best of’ list.
I returned to the US in the end of June, I started working at sporting events and other various gigs again. We spent some time back in Nebraska before moving to Denver for a year. In September I worked with the US Pro Cycling Challenge, and Chele and I drove across the Rocky Mountains following the tour. September was also the month I trained and ran my very first marathon. It was a milestone I thought I would never accomplish and was a day I will never forget! Looking back at the amazing past 12 months, it only gets me motivated and excited for what’s to come in the next 12! Enjoy part 2 of my Best of 2012 list!
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Looking back on the past year in photos has been an exhausting experience for me this past week. I’ve had to sift through thousands of images (17,452 to be exact) and I wanted to get twelve amazing and meaningful images to show what this year was like for me, but I found out that goal was impossible. This past year had too many memories and experiences that I needed a few more to show it. The beginning of the year marked our first time living in Spain – experiencing the routine of everyday life along with the excitement of festivals and futbol matches. We spent 3 months in Spain with visits from my oldest high school friends in Valencia to my sister who met us in Barcelona–then ventured south to Morocco for a week long adventure in Marakesh and the Northern Sahara (on camels!) So here is part 1 of my Best Images of 2012!
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A panoramic view from the top of the Remarkable Mountains just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand (pictured bottom center) Right click and open in a new tab for the BIG version (2756 x 642)
See where this photo was snapped: Remarkables Ski Field
(originally posted via Chele Norrie @ www.humanitarianwriter.com)
Michael and I have thousands of photos no one has ever seen from the last two years of traveling the world together. Many of which, we’ve barely glanced at. Much of our time abroad was spent experiencing as much as possible, meeting extraordinary people, dumping the day’s photos onto a hard drive and then passing out. We repeated this practice for months on end. Tragically, just less than 1% (an estimate) of our experiences were shared via social media.
Today marks a new beginning of sharing the stories untold and the photos, unseen.
Say hello to the Thousand Photos Project…
Or, in Croatia, bok – which derives from the word, “Bog,” literal translation: God. Meaning, go with God for short. Essentially, hello’s in Croatia mean a lot.
“Do one thing everyday that scares you” – that’s what is driving me to my next life endeavor next week. I managed to convince myself (along with the encouragement of serial marathoner Craig Martinosky) to sign up for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon ….yes the FULL MARATHON! Since running the 5K in Chicago last year and the continued inspiration from my bad ass cousin Mary Snocker (another serial marathoner) I have kept this goal as a distant dream that I didn’t really think would happen. After riding a century on my borrowed 20 year old Schwinn last summer I found a spark of inspiration and a bit of enjoyment in the pain of endurance sports. It gave me just enough push to become more and more confident in my ability – both mentally and physically.
But this weekend – with only a 2 months of serious training & yet to break the 20mi mark- I’ll be pushing my limits to a point I haven’t been to yet so naturally there’s a bit of nervousness and healthy fear. But I feel like I have nothing to lose if I fail at finishing (except the $120 sign-up fee!) Whatever amount I run is farther than I ever thought I would/could run in the past – so for me, pushing my mind and body towards this goal is an accomplishment I can be proud of and will be a true test of how far I really can go. Hopefully it will end with us crossing the finish line (beers to follow) with thousands of other runners in downtown Denver!!
If you’re in the area I would love to see you along the way. Life isn’t anything but a series of scary/amazing experiences and I’m asking for it next weekend…wish me luck!
UPDATE: (2 days later)
“Still a little sore and achy with a very bruised toe but overall feeling great.” That’s what I keep telling family and friends who check in with me every once in a while to see how I’m doing. Still in shock of how well the day went. Start to finish I pretty much felt great – much better than I did during my training long runs, and I owe it 100% to my old friend Craig and his wife Lacey for their encouragement and running knowledge. We finished slower than most (5:19:08….a 12:15 mile pace) but what we lacked in speed we made up for in amusement along the way as we posed for the cameras, caught up about life, and chatted with other marathoners. With so many random things that could have gone right or wrong (hydration, cramping, weather, gear etc etc) I’m lucky to have had a great coach and fantastic support team – otherwise it may have turned out with a very different outcome.
I set out to learn about myself and push something that I’d previously thought was impossible. Two more things that hit me as I was finishing that day. The decisions we make today will direct our destiny tomorrow. If you have a dream, act on it now, only then will it happen (perhaps tomorrow). The other, maybe more meaningful thing that I realized, is that you never know who will come into your life to help you out at the right moment when you need it – and all you can do is let it happen. For me, Craig and I had lost touch over the years and got back contact because I asked him for advice on running. Now, we’ve reconnected, got to spend some quality time together, and ran a marathon from start to finish. It opens my eyes to people from my past that I can rekindle the relationship and encourage them in some way.
This entire experience will encourage me for a very long time and a memory I’ll never forget. This marathon will deffinately not be the last!
Here are a few shots from the day:
After a week of tough racing over the Rocky Mountains, the tour finished in Denver with an individual test of speed. With more than a few turns the course will provided a challenge for the riders and fantastic viewing opportunity for race fans. The athletes started at one minute intervals in the middle of Civic Center Park near the State Capitol Building, down some of the cities most iconic streets – Speer Boulevard and Colfax Avenue with a finish along Broadway St. Here are a few of my shots from the last Stage of the 2012 US Pro Cycling Challenge!
RadioShack/Nissan/Trek team racer Ben King pushes out of the gate in Denver’s Civic Center Park
Colombian Andrés Díaz get a view of everyone in the waiting area before his time trail for team Exergy
The Colorado Springs stage seemed more like a festival than a race. There were considerably more booths and bars involved than in previous mountain towns. And I know the athletes noticed the bump in spectator support! Here are a few selects from Stage 5 of the ’12 US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado Springs…
We are always seeing images of the top riders of the race so I thought I would post one of the middle of the pack. Here, the tight knit group of riders following the riders in the Break (aka the Peloton) make their way through downtown Colorado Springs.
After the finish and awards the second race of the day begins. Teams from local bars & restaurants compete in a (we can assume) drunken relay race in downtown.
Another warm sunny day in Boulder as the crowds gathered around Pearl St. The rout for the day (from Golden to Boulder) passed by the sponsorship area a few times before racing up to Flagstaff for the finish. Watching the finish on T.V. instead of live was a different experience and I wish I could have been in the party up on Flagstaff! Here are a few shot from Stage 6 in Boulder…
Radioshack/Nissan/Trek team rider rides ahead of the Peloton pack through downtown Boulder with fans showing their support.
Crested Butte was my favorite stop on the tour last year and this year didn’t was almost a carbon copy. Sunshine, cool people, beautiful mountains, and a spectacular race! Even the drag queen “Girl in Red” came out again….heels and all. A long day of driving (3 hrs in the morning, with another 3 hrs in the evening) we are ready to crash. This year I opted to keep Mount Crested Butte in the shot at the finish line and I’m afraid she might steal the show! Hope you enjoy these two snaps, more to come….
Riders Tejay van Garderen (red) and Christian Vande Velde climb the last few meters to the finish with Mount Crested Butte in the background. They finished #1 & 2 respectively. (more…)
Recently I was asked to do an online interview for the ‘Ask the Artist’ series on ENMCreative‘s website. With questions completely from facebook, twitter and the enmcreave.com blog, they ranged mostly about photography and travel. I got to do a fun little into from Dublin as I was hanging out with an old friend in the Bleeding Horse Pub (love that name)
This was my first interview and I’m not really used to writing so much, but it was really great to reminisce about some of my favorite moments in my short photography career. One that has always been closly tied to my other passion as a traveler. I hope that relationship will continue far into the future with countless more memories to come!
Check out the interview here – http://enmcreative.com/ask-the-artist-answered-photographer-michael-nyffeler/ Thanks for reading!
Down off the Great Ocean Road along the southern coast of Victoria, Australia, and past a strip of beaches and cliffs known as the “Shipwreck Coast” you will find a natural phenomenon jutting out of the blue ocean. Weathered from thousands of years of waves, wind, sun and sand The Twelve Apostles are a natural wonder (more…)
Last night I finally got a chance to open up some of the old dusty hard drives filled with memories of long ago. This one, I thought I would share with you since I think it’s pretty stunning. The Remarkables Mountain range is just outside of Queenstown in the southern island of New Zealand. Although they don’t get their name from being incredibly high in altitude, it’s the views from the top that makes them remarkable. I remember feeling like I could see peaks upon peaks seemingly forever off into the distance.
It’s a place you don’t ever want to leave. And places like this are where I first found my calling to pursue the life of a photographer. I will never forget standing on this ledge peering down to the lake below, but an image will last long after my memory fades. And with these images filling out my memories so vividly, I will never have to leave.
Here’s another view of the mountains from my house in Queenstown.
“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”
Find more of my images from the weekend elections here.
Which direction will Greece step? One of the most important elections in modern history for Greece and the EU June 16, 2012
“A wise man can lose nothing, he has everything invested in himself.”
Yes I know its Monday – sheesh give me a break I’ve been on the move! Actually, this is on purpose as I’m moving the weekly subscription to my wallpaper updates to Mondays! So from now until the end of time, my wallpapers will be uploaded and ready for your imaginative and downloading pleasure by the weekend’s end. Starting your week off with something fresh to keep you motivated and inspired…. (more…)
…please wait as the loading time may take a few minutes.
Graffiti Streets Project #1
After a sunny afternoon walking along the beach in Barcelona I came across some talented teens tricking. How does one trick you ask? Pretty simple. Step 1: buy a nautical bouy at any nautical shop. Step 2: bury it halfway under the sand Step 3: test it out to get the alignment right. Step 4: get some speed, tuck in the legs in, and you’re trickin! These guys could literally fly across the sand…and it was amazing to see. So amazing in fact, that I had to try it out for myself haha. (scroll down to the bottom) Here are some images I have put together….
…a little encouragement to simplify your life down to a single action – a single wave of energy that will push you in the right direction.
Download this week’s wallpaper –
April 19th, 2012 – Standard The Action - Stradbroke Island, Australia (1280x1024) (302) Wide – The Action - Stradbroke Island, Australia (1980x1200) (394)
One thing I really love about photography is that many times I use it as my excuse to get out and see the world. I feel the pull to get up, grab my camera and go for a walk –and the feeling is doubled while living abroad. Although, it helps if you know where the action is, it’s also nice just to run into those serendipitous moments where you’re at the right place at the right time. Sometimes to the bigger events I will intentionally bring my heavy and assuming camera and lens that allows me to slip into the mix of media people to get a few shots — all it takes is a bit of acting like you belong there. A trick I use (when I haven’t already been granted a press pass) is a pretty simple one. I find a gang of press photogs just before the event and strike up a conversation with one just so I can be associated with the group. Usually the person checking credentials won’t have time to check them all and there’s my in. It’s a balance of knowing when to pull out the big guns and go for it, or hang back and play it cool.
This week was the start of The Festival of La Magdalena in Castellón de la Plana, Spain. A week long party that commemorates the birth of the city over 700 years ago. This year unfortunately, it falls just before another major festival just a few miles south of us in Valencia called Las Fallas so, we will only get to see the start of the week. I had no idea this quiet little city could get so loud. I think it helps that the Mascletas (daily at 2pm), parades, concerts, and parties (think marching bands with guns mixed with European techno) are only a few steps away from our apartment.
One event during this Festival called Romería de las Cañas (Pilgrimage of the Cane) is the most meaningful and historical part of the week for the local residents. Its a symbolic walk from the city center plaza to the ancient ruins of Castellon city in the hills a few miles away that honors the past residents of Castellon who moved the city to the plana (or plains). It was an early wake up call for me (gasp 6:45am!) but my camera made me get up and I couldnt argue. I thought there would be a few people who would get up early from the long night of beer, wine, parades and parties to actually brave the chilly morning walk. Turns out, half the damn town got up and the other half seemed like they hadn’t been home yet. It was amazing to see so many people ready to make the walk, like their ancestors did over 700 years ago.
My spanish is not yet to ‘conversationable’ level so I had to rely on my trick — where were those photojournalists?? There were a few sitting around so I waited until they started to group together because I knew I would get some good angles staying close to them. Due to the masses of people, they had to stay one step ahead of what was going on otherwise it would be impossible to get close. Thankfully, I kept up with them and got a few shots — even though I had no idea what anyone was saying haha. Here are a few shots from the first few days of the Festival de la Magdalena 2012….
At 7am the sun rises just enough to warm the top of The Fadrí – the 200ft. tall bell tower in the Plaza Mayor — and marks the start of the Romería de las Cañas (Pilgrimage of the Cane) for the Festival of La Magdalena in Castellón de la Plana 2012.
Download this week’s wallpaper – March 8th, 2012 –