Win a trip to Dominica by showing off your adventurous spirit

As far as travel contests go, they don’t come much easier than this one. Wend Magazine, Adventure Dominica, and Ahnu footwear are joining forces to send a lucky winner, and their guest, off on a tropical escape to the island paradise of Dominica. They’re offering up airfare for two from the U.S. or Canada and five days/four nights stay at the Calibishie Cove Hotel, one of the top eco-lodges on the island, not to mention all the sun and surf you can take in while you’re there.

To win, you simply need to submit a photo that best captures your adventurous spirit. The photo can be from practically any place or any activity, but it needs to show off your adventurous side in the best way possible. For instance, perhaps you’ll need to dig up that photo of you hiking the Inca Trail or kayaking the Grand Canyon. What ever it is, find it, and send it to and if your image is selected, you’ll be on your way to a vacation you won’t soon forget.

Like the rest of the Caribbean, Dominica has plenty of beaches and sun to go around. But it is also an excellent destination for adventure travelers looking for a tropical location to explore. The island has miles of hiking trails that wind through lush rainforests teeming with wildlife and over a thousand species of flowering plants, while hundreds of beautiful rivers flow by, fed by the more than 300 inches of annual rainfall there. And when you grow tired of exploring above the surface, simply head below for something completely different. Dominica is a great diving and snorkeling destination too, with plenty of marine life and colorful coral reefs to explore.

So, dig up that photo and send it off today. It just might earn you that warm weather escape you’ve been dreaming of, and although spring is officially just around the corner, it never hurts to have a little fun in the tropical sun.

Update: Adventure Dominica has a posting on this contest too. You can find it by clicking here. As mentioned, the rules are simple and straight forward.%Gallery-22103%


Be sure to check out Episode 4 of Travel Talk TV, which features a scuba diving adventure in California, international dating tips, and a sofa in an aquarium!

Five reasons to leave your camera at home

When packing for that dream trip, a camera is usually high on the list of essential items. Actually, it’s not as important as some people think. Here are five reasons to leave your camera at home.

One less thing to worry about

Besides a wallet, what could be more tempting than a nice flashy camera? Travelers get their cameras stolen all the time, and they not only have to undergo financial loss and wasted time reporting the theft, but have the added nastiness of knowing some criminal is looking at photos of their family.

It puts a barrier between you and the people

Nothing makes you stand out more than pointing a camera at a complete stranger. An unsuspecting market stall owner or farmer or palace guard is busy trying to do his or her job, and suddenly some tourist comes along and sticks a big lens in their face. Not a good way to get the locals to warm up to you. In some places, posing for photos has become a business and you’ll be promptly asked for cash after you take a shot, or be badgered by flocks of children asking for their photo to be taken. Some countries have strict rules about what you can photograph. I once got told off by a cop in Tehran because I took a photo of a statue. The statue was fine, but including the post office behind it was forbidden because it was a government building. With no camera in sight, you’ll get a lot less harassment.
Really, does anyone care?
There’s nothing quite as boring as looking at someone else’s holiday snaps. Oh sure, your family and friends will make admiring noises and ask to see more, but that’s because they like you. They’d like you more if you closed the photo album or computer and took them out for a drink.

It can interfere with the moment

When my wife and I attended an archaeology conference in Oxford, we and the other participants got invited to walk among the stones of Stonehenge at dawn. As the sun rose between two of the standing stones it cast an eerie glow through the mist. Everyone hurried to take a picture while I stood there in awe. The conditions were such that nobody got a perfect shot. I ended up with the best memory of the event, still vivid after seven years, because I was actually looking at the sunrise instead of trying to capture it. (Full disclosure: this was mostly due to the fact that my wife was holding our camera at that moment, otherwise it would be her bragging right now.)

Over at Postsecret, where people send in heartfelt messages and confessions on anonymous postcards, someone who says he plays Mickey Mouse at Disneyland tells parents not to rush over and take a picture of their kid cuddling him because the best part of his job is seeing the kid’s face light up at meeting him. Taking a shot distracts both him and the kid from a magical moment. Who are we to disagree with Mickey Mouse?

You can get better pictures elsewhere
Chances are you’re not a professional photographer. Even if you are, when you’re on vacation you probably don’t have the time or inclination to take professional quality photos anyway. The pros work under ideal conditions with expensive equipment, and often wait hours, days, or even weeks for the perfect shot. Benefit from and reward their labor by buying postcards and coffee table books full of amazing images of the places you’ve been. Or check out our Photo of the Day section.

So when you’re packing for your next vacation, rethink what you’re putting in your bags. Your trip might just be the better for it.


Travel photography scholarship in Antarctica!

Think you have what it takes to hang with a National Geographic photog? Now, could you last two weeks shooting in Antarctica? If you think you have what it takes, check out the new travel photography scholarship. If you win the assignment, you’ll go take Gap Adventure’s Antarctica Classic M/S Expedition to the Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula, and your photos will appear on the National Geographic Channel’s website.

Oh, and since I’ll probably reblog it, let me know. They can also appear on Gadling if the winner’s cool and gives me permission.

“This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience life as a National Geographic photographer,” comments Amanda Byrne, Scholarship Coordinator for “In addition to a wonderful trip, the scholarship recipient will receive AUD$2000 worth of Pentax photographic equipment of their choice to really help them take the best pictures possible.”

Ready to give it a shot? Apply here!

Rainforest Alliance announces second annual “sustainability” photo contest

“Sustainability” has been quite the buzzword over the past few years and has been interpreted in many ways across a number of different industries. Now, the Rainforest Alliance wants to see what your interpretation of the word is in the form of a photo, as they launch their second “Photo Sustainability” contest.

The contest is co-sponsored with Fujifilm and is open to U.S. residents only, but offers up some great prizes, including a Grand Prize of a five day trip for two to Costa Rica that includes a stay at the Pacuare Jungle Lodge and a whitewater rafting expedition. The winner will also be awarded a new digital camera from Fujifilm.

In addition to the Grand Prize winner, four other winners will be named in the following categories:

  • Wildlife on farms, forests or other natural habitats
  • Landscapes (forests, waterways, flowers and plants, beaches, wetlands)
  • Sustainable tourism (hiking, bird watching, mountain biking, and other land-based nature activities; surfing, scuba, kayaking, snorkeling and other coastal or marine activities; other ecotourism-related subjects)
  • Conservation (people working to protect natural resources, including water, flora and fauna)

Each individual winner will also receive a new Fujifilm digitial camera as well as an honorary one-year membership to the Rainforest Alliance.

Up to five submissions in each category will be selected by Rainforest Alliance staff, who will then post them on their website where the public will be able to vote on them, helping to determine the category winners. The Grand Prize will be awarded by noted outdoor photographer Art Woolfe, who will be looking for “overall composition, creativity, artistic merit and relevance to the Rainforest Alliance mission.”

All submissions will be added to the Alliance’s library of photographs to be used on their website and other publications as they pursue their goal of raising awareness about conservation issues and the general theme of sustainability. To enter the contest go to between now and November 1st. Register online and upload your best photos. Winners will be announced on the Rainforest Alliance website on December 15, 2009.

Good luck everyone!

The Disposable Memory Project

Disposable cameras have become a very popular way of capturing images in the digital age. They’re cheap, take relatively decent photos, and can be found in just about every discount store the world over. But one organization has taken the disposable camera off the guest tables at every wedding, and sent them out into the world to capture images from around the globe.

The concept behind the Disposable Memory Project is simple. Pass out disposable cameras to travelers, have them take a few photos and then pass the camera along to someone else. Eventually the disposable cameras get returned, at least in theory, and the photos are published online for everyone to share. So far, the project has placed 164 cameras in 42 countries around the world. To date, 42 of those 164 cameras have been found, and 11 have been returned, carrying a record of their journey with them.

The Disposable Memory Project website has a comprehensive list of each of the cameras and the places where they’ve been released into the wild. You can use the page to see if there is one close to where you are, and if you find it, you can claim it, snap a few photos, and pass it along. Eventually, once the memory on the camera is full, you simply contact the good folks at the Disposable Memory Project and they’ll arrange to have the camera picked up, and get the images developed and posted on the web, passing the link along so you can check out your photos.

What an interesting and fun project! There are still quite a few cameras that have been found and are still bouncing around the globe, and dozens more that have yet to be discovered at all. If you want to join the fun, go find a camera that has been released in your area, and if there isn’t one, perhaps you can release a camera of your own.