Weekly Travel Photo by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

Amazing California - I have a love affair with the state of California. It is a place that appeals to almost everyone - from the desert, to the ocean, to beautiful mountains and large swaths of trees, to urbanists, suburbanists and spiritualists - everyone can find a comfortable home. This shot was taken at Newport Beach in 2015 as a most quintessential California photo - beach and surfing.

Weekly Travel Photo by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

This photo was taken in Chitwan, Nepal in 2011. Rice is a staple of Nepalese cuisine, and these women were hard at work tending to the field prior to a downpour of rain. This photo also demonstrates that you don't need to see one's face in a photo to understand the context, nor the emotions.

WEEKLY TRAVEL PHOTO by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

This photo was taken in Mongolia in 2015. Mongolians celebrate the annual festival of Naadaam - 'the three games of men' - where archery, Mongolian wrestling and horse racing are competed in. I was able to capture this archer in the region of Khovd, while coming as close as possible to him without interrupting his concentration. The most unique aspect of Mongolian archery is that they hit those balls you see on the ground in the photo next to the three men in the background. This archer hit every single one of them with only one shot. Quite a talent.

Weekly Travel Photo by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

The beautiful Acropolis area at night in Athens, Greece - 2010. I took this shot from atop Lykavitos - the highest point in the city - and I waited quite some time to get the lighting right.

In ancient times the Acropolis was a scared place of worship dedicated to the goddess Athena - the city's protector. Today, it is an architectural masterpiece, a source of national pride, and the most famous site and symbol of Greece.

Weekly Travel Photo by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

This photo was taken in Varanasi, India on the Ganges in 2011 - the holiest river to Hindus. It is also a way of life for the millions of Indians who depend on it daily as a place of worship, chores and means of transit. There is a beautiful tranquility to the area, given the traffic of people and activity.  At any moment, it is quite easy to find a place and quietly reflect. 

The mother and her son in the photo stopped to pose as I made my way down the river. You can see the joyful look of the son, with a slightly more pensive look made by the mother. 

Weekly travel photo by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

This photo was taken on the Ruta de las Flores highway in El Salvador in 2011. When you first look at the photo you assume the woman is raking some sort of stone, but they are actually coffee beans. We happened to stumble upon a local coffee bean plantation and the technique of the woman lent itself to a unique photo opportunity.

Weekly Travel Photo by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

This photo was taken in Cuzco, Peru in 2010. Unbeknownst to the group of us traveling, it was Peruvian Independence Day. We were witness to a massive parade in celebration of it in the city's central square. This shot capturedone of several military factions that marched in support of the country. The face paint represented the Peruvian flag colours.

Weekly Travel Photo by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

This photo was taken in Cambodia in the summer of 2014. His name is Bou Meng. I met Bou at Tuol Seng (Hill of the Poisonous Trees) - a former prison of the Khmer Rouge regime. It was where 14,000 Cambodians were tortured and then sent to the Killing Fields across Cambodia to die. It is a tragic reminder of the cruelty of power, ideology and hatred. Of the 14,000 Cambodians brought to the prison, only 7 survived. Bou Meng is one of two survivors still alive today. I was amazed by his grace and humility and the fact the he comes to the prison (which is a museum now) every day to meet with tourists and tell his story.

Weekly travel photo by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

I love to travel. I love photography. I have meshed these two loves of mine over the years and one of my 2016 social media goals is to share one travel photo a week. I will provide the story behind the photo and the year it was taken. I hope you enjoy them. 

My first photo was taken in 2005 in the town of Istravashan, Tajikistan. Tajikistan is the smallest country of the 'stans' in Central Asia, situated just north of Afghanistan. Tajik culture reveres women's unibrows, so much that in some cases they are painted on women and girls alike as seen in this photo

Panama City by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

It was a quick visit to Panama City, but I was able to explore a good portion of the city. 

Panama City feels like a city rooted in its Panamanian culture with a focus on commerce and development. That is quite evident in how the financial district of the city seamlessly transitions to the Old Town. There has also been concerted effort to develop the city's waterfront, with a massive environmental clean up of it and the development of bike/running lanes all along the water. The city's boardwalk sees a good mix of open spaces and parks with families and health conscious people all using it. 

Although I opted not to take a tour of the Panama Canal, the importance of it can be seen from anywhere in the city - with ships queuing in the Panama Bay as they await their turn to go from the Pacific to the Atlantic and vice versa.

 

 

 

 

New York City - Hallowe'en by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

There is an energy to New York City that is unexplainable. So it was no surprise to see the city hold the largest Hallowe'en parade I have ever seen. 

I was able to take some shots of the festivities and I chose to take several of them with a more blurred frame - hoping to capture the creativity and frenetic energy of the evening.

 

 

Portraits by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

Portraiture

One of the reasons I love to travel and photograph what I see is the people. My social being is fuelled through the interactions of others. It is as though people have a lifeline to my mind and soul and constantly replenish it. If I am ever feeling down, I know a simple conversation with someone will change that quickly. Therefore, when I travel I love to meet as many people as I can to understand their life and their perspective. It is why I enjoy taking portraits of those on my travels. 

Portraits help to tell one's story in a simple image. Whether it is the eyes, the smile, or the hair a portrait captures the intimacy and spirit of one's being. 

I started taking portraits the last few years and I hope to continue to focus on this and find more unique ways (besides the standard approach I use right now) to convey that intimacy and spirit. 

 

 

Montreal by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

My latest adventures took me to Montreal for a weekend, specifically Old Montreal (Vieux Montreal). Old Montreal, next to Quebec City, is one of the best historically preserved cities in Canada. Its charm and history is evident, as its culinary excellence.

I decided to focus on taking photos of the details of the city. The photos aren't that many, but the ones I have posted capture a bit of the 'detail' of  Vieux Montreal. 

Mongolia by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

Blue skies. Vast landscapes. A still preserved nomadic culture. A rich history. Home of the greatest conqueror - Chinggis Khan. Mongolia was all of that, and even more than I expected. I was also able to experience Naadam while there - Mongolia's annual national celebration with wrestling, archery and horse back riding as the main events. I celebrated Naadam not in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, but in a remote part of Western Mongolia - Khovd. These local celebrations were held over a period of 3 days, with a beautiful parade in the city's local stadium. 

My photos capturing Nadaam's horse races were especially interesting. Children between the ages of 6 and 8 are raised and trained to ride horses for long distances at extremely fast speeds. These children then go on to compete in races for Naadam, racing a distance of over 40 km to the finish line in front of a large crowd. The winner of these races goes on to become a local hero in communities, and in some cases helps to financially support their families. I used a camera panning technique to capture the finish line.

 

California by Vasiliki Papadopoulos

I have a love affair with the state of California. It is a place that appeals to almost everyone - from the desert, to the ocean, to beautiful mountains and large swaths of trees, to urbanists, suburbanists and new age believers - everyone can find a comfortable home.

I have been to California several times in the past 10 years, but nothing prepared me for the sheer grandness of the Big Sur. It ranks as the best drive one can experience. You appreciate the vision and foresight that built a two lane highway alongside the Pacific Ocean. You appreciate the engineering marvel of a Bixby Bridge. You appreciate nature in its most raw form. 

Our road trip saw us begin in San Diego and two weeks later we ended up in Napa Valley - one rented car, a host of luggage, a husband, a son and thousands of photos later. I hope you enjoy all of the two weeks I could fit in.