Sunday, January 4, 2015

My favorite photos of 2014


2014 was a fantastic year. In general, it was full of exploring in many different senses. Scholastically, I completed my Fulbright grant and began medical school. Traveling allowed me to experience much of Southeast Asia firsthand, and also exposed me to countless new cultures and ways of life. Photography-wise, I tried to capture a lot of it. Some months were full of fantastic shots, others were lacking (i.e., when I had anatomy exams on the horizon). But it's always fun to take a look back and recognize how lucky I've been to have these opportunities.

January


Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Blog post: Destination: Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

This was a moving shot for me on multiple levels. First, it captures the imposing Cambodian stupa in the midst of the natural beauty surrounding it. However, this is also the site of some of the most atrocious murders carried out by the Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot. The dichotomy of life and death was very hard to grapple with.

February



Location: Singapore 

Blog post: Singapore Airshow 2014

In February, I took my Malaysia mate Xjilien to the annual Airshow on the eastern coast of Singapore. Both the static and live air exhibits were absolutely thrilling.

March



Location: Macau

Witnessing the House of Dancing Water, an acrobatic tour de force playing at the City of Dreams, was an astonishing affair. The actors jumped, twisted, dove, and swam with the utmost confidence, captivating the audience for the entire show. We also snagged some front row seats, which were in the aptly named splash zone. This allowed us to actually interact with the performers during the show, while also having chances to take some killer photos.

April



Location: Penang, Malaysia
Blog post: Sunday Snapshot: Perfect Day in Penang

In mid-April, a group of us stole away to Malaysia for a long weekend, and stayed at the home of the ever-gracious Xjilien. For me, this perfectly encapsulated the island vibe of Penang - beautiful scenery, lazy afternoons, and time with friends.

May



Location: outside of Phonsavan, Laos
Blog post: The Children of Laos

My favorite photo of the year. This small farming village was well off the beaten path, and had been affected by extensive US bombing during the Vietnam War. Our Lao guide had relationships with many of the families there, and made sure to seek their permission before allowing us to walk about. The children were freely running around, and certainly enjoyed the sweet snacks that we brought along as thanks for having us spend time with them. 


June



Location: West Lake, Hangzhou, China
Blog post: Sunday Snapshot: Lounging by West Lake

My only full day in Hangzhou was spent hiking all the way around West Lake, the central landmark in Hangzhou. It was full of vertical hiking until reaching the bridge from south to north, which was quite popular with the locals such as those pictured above.

July



Location: Singapore
Blog post: Sunday Snapshot: Kabuki by the Bay

My final 24 hours in Singapore began with a cultural event hosted by the Asian Civilisations Museum. These four kabuki dancers represent the four primary cultures that were influential during the development of modern-day Singapore.

August



Location: Chicago, IL

Blog post: N/A

Every time I visit downtown Chicago, I still feel like a tourist. This is a central area within the loop, with Millennium Park in the bottom right and the Trump Tower looming in the distance.

September



Location: Indianapolis, IN

Blog post: N/A

Another incredibly generous friend (I definitely have lots of those) connected me with a ticket to the Notre Dame vs. Purdue game. During warm-ups, I was able to play around with a zoom lens and get some snazzy action shots of the Irish.

October



Location: Notre Dame, IN
Blog post: Sunday Snapshot: A blue-gray October sky

Another football game, another shot of the month. This weekend at Notre Dame was blustery, cold, and nostalgic. I forgot how nice the gleaming dome can be on a cloudy day.


November



Location: Columbus, OH
Blog post: Sunday Snapshot: Hang On Sloopy

Living abroad makes you appreciate the intense sports culture that America has, and in particular the fervor people have for football. The pomp and circumstance of this Ohio State home game against Indiana had everything: tailgating, marching band, school spirit, and a rather exciting game that ended with a Buckeye victory. This photo captures the excitement of the team's entrance, just after the band dotted the "I" of their Ohio formation.

December



Location: Chicago, IL
Blog post: 25 Days of Christmas: A Photo Collection

I snagged this photo the evening of Dec. 1st, and was blown away by the Christmas spirit of the scene. In fact, it inspired me to capture a picture each day leading up to the 25th. However, this photo was still my favorite of the whole month.

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