Travel Photo Thursday: “Great Unexpectations”

Travel Photo Thursday: “Great Unexpectations”

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Big Ben, LondonProfessional travel photographers “on assignment” often carry a “shot list” to insure that they capture the exact images needed to illustrate a story.

Leisure travelers may plan to visit and photograph famous tourist attractions, like Paris’ Eiffel Tour, Rome’s Coliseum, or London’s Big Ben.

But they usually don’t know what the story of their trip will turn out to be, so they need to be more opportunistic and sh0ot the “unexpected” when they encounter it.

Die Surf Ist Oben!

When I visited Munich’s English Garden I expected to see people strolling through the park, kids playing, and folks hosting beer steins while listening to a brass band play by the Chinese pagoda.

And I did see all of those things.

But what I didn’t expect—since Munich is inland, far from an ocean—were surfers.

Not Web surfers, but guys in wetsuits surfing on waves.

Surfing in Munich's English Garden

But, even though my guidebook had not mentioned them, there they were, “hanging ten” while careening back and forth across the fast-flowing Eisbach.

The Beach Boys should have been there as well, singing “Catch A Wave.”

Amsterdam Soccer Mom’s Taxi

Amsterdam BikesSure, before arriving in Amsterdam I knew that Hollanders were bicycle-happy and that great hordes of them would be pedaling down the streets and back lanes of the city.

After a half-day, I quickly learned not to stand in bike paths while taking photos. That is, unless you wanted to be repeatedly run over and suffer “Death By Bike.”

Moms Bike Taxi, AmsterdamI figured kids of all ages would be riding bikes. And so they were.

But Amsterdam isn’t an “auto-free” zone. There are plenty of cars, and big ones at that, rolling down the streets.

So I wouldn’t have been surprised to see “Soccer Moms” driving kids around in hulking SUVs, just as they do back here in the U.S.

But I was wrong. They simply marry a wheelbarrow and a bike together creating the Netherland’s version of “Mom’s Taxi.”

Snake on a Plain

Snakes are not strangers to the San Francisco Bay Area where I live, but they aren’t commonly found either.

But if you get out of the cities and hike in the hills when the weather heats up, you may encounter the odd rattlesnake. And in the cool flatlands and some suburban gardens, aptly named gopher snakes lurk around gopher holes, hoping to “take a rodent to lunch.”

On a hike out to Abbott’s Lagoon in the Point Reyes National Seashore, I figured to spot some Snowy Plovers nesting on the beach, just above the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean. But as I ambled along the trail through the uplands a mile or so from the shore, I came across two men laying on their stomachs, attempting to photograph a garter snake.

Garter Snake, Point Reyes National Seashore

While I could have tried for a close-up shot of the snake, this one of it “corralled” by the hands of one of the men seem like the best way to take advantage of a “Great Unexpectation.”

(Click on an image to enlarge to full-size. Visit Budget Travelers Sandbox for more of this week’s Travel Photo Thursday shots.)

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8 Replies to “Travel Photo Thursday: “Great Unexpectations””

  1. Those surfers are incredible – definitely wouldn’t have expected that in Munich! Love the “mom taxi” too – it reminds me of our trip to Copenhagen when I was taken aback to see women dressed for the office bicycling past while sipping coffee!

  2. I have seen the surfers in Munich before (not in real life), and it truly is surprising. I love photographing the unexpected. When we travel B.H. takes the “normal” photos with his good camera and I snap the unexpected with my Canon S95. Love the Mom’s taxi – that really tells a story.

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