What a great year it’s been. Unplanned, I’ve spent most of it by bodies of water with incredible sunsets, meteor showers, storms and wildlife. I’ve watched the shape of a shoreline morph in the face of waves and winds that have power beyond what most people might imagine. I’ve visited far away islands, hiked dormant craters, explored history, met new people and along the way, eaten really well.

I have posted some iPhone pictures to keep my friends and family abreast of what I’m up to. But I’d like to share some of the images I took with my “proper” camera and great care. I won’t inundate you with “record” shots, the ones that just say, “I was here and wanted to prove it”. I will only share the pictures that either meant something to me, or told a story, and I’ll explain why.

I’d like to start this journey with a recent trip to Portugal. The Mateus Palace in Vila Real was not on our itinerary. Mostly because all Mateus ever meant to me was a wine more valuable for its bottle as a candle holder, than the wine inside – remember your teenage years? I have to say, that after a recent tasting, that still holds true. However, of the palace grounds were magnificent and the family history fascinating. The challenge with any location like this, is trying to avoid the typical and obvious touristy picture while trying to find a fresh, creative and moving perspective. I saw the opportunity for this picture as we entered the grounds, but shadows weren’t cooperating. I promised myself I’d make time on our way out to see if the light would afford me the shot I saw in my imagination.