ALL POSTS IN [Photography]

This Week in Photos is full of twists on tradition: A Halloween surf competition, a Zombie Walk to commemorate the Day of the Dead … and more. Expect nothing less from our travel news roundup, where you’ll meet an inspiring 100-year-old and go on a record-breaking cross-country road trip.

We all have ideas of trips we’d like to cross off of our “bucket list,” but one 100-year-old adventurer is showing us it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Elsa Bailey recently traveled to Churchill, Manitoba, Canada to see polar bears in their natural habitat. She said it’s something she’s always wanted to do, and when the opportunity came, she “jumped at it.”

In other adventure trip news…an Atlanta man took “road tripping” to a whole new level this week, setting a record for the fastest cross-country drive from New York to California in just 28 hours and 50 minutes. Ed Bolian started planning about 18 months ago, adding gas tanks to his Mercedes Benz and purchasing high quality radars to avoid police – something that he says he doesn’t endorse. Find out more about his journey here.

If you’re travelling this Thanksgiving, you might want to prepare yourself for some long lines. Between Nov. 22 and Dec. 3, more than 25 million people are projected to board flights for the holiday. The total number would be a 1.5 percent increase over last year’s travelers, according to Airlines for America.

Before you leave on your trip this holiday season, Johnny Jet says there’s an important step you need to take in order to protect your money. He says notifying your bank and your credit card company that you’re traveling out of the country can put an end to suspicious activity that comes through from your hometown. Safe travels!

This Week in Photos

The US government shut down for the first time in 17 years, thwarting tourists’ plans in Washington, DC — but it was business as usual for the rest of the world in this week in photos. Whether you’re trying to salvage your vacation — or trying to forget the whole thing — our favorite travel bloggers came to the rescue.

If you had a trip planned to one of the nation’s nearly 400 national parks, historic sites and monuments in the near future, you’re most likely working on rescheduling your vacation. The Daily Traveler has put together a list of government shutdown alternatives featuring ways to visit historic sites and still get a dose of history to work around the indefinite closing of the nation’s national monuments and parks this week.

When it comes to planning your next trip, Nomadic Matt has 17 easy tips to help with the process. Stemming from his personal experiences, Matt’s helpful tips include everything from picking a destination and planning activities to automating your bills and telling your credit card companies you’re traveling.

When you’re tight on money for the trip you’re planning, Johnny Jet suggests that travelers remember there’s always a couch to stay on if you can’t afford a hotel. Couchsurfing.org matches adventurous travelers with hosts that open their homes to strangers looking to explore the globe.

If you’re flying this fall and find that the airplane seats are a little too close for comfort, know you’re not alone. According to a post on Gadling, 9 out of 10 passengers would like to see reclining airplane seats banned. Next time, look behind before you recline.

Photography by Jeff Folger

Fall is here. And that’s means one thing – it’s time to get outside and photograph fall’s spectacular colors.  To help you on your way, we caught up with Jeff “Foliage” Folger, a New England fall foliage photographer and sage for over a decade, to get his tips and tricks for capturing autumn’s stunning scenes year after year.

An expert adviser on our Travel’s Best Fall Foliage Road Trips 2013, Folger has a passion for fall foliage and loves photographing autumn’s seasonal show. Folger also writes his own blog, Exploring New England’s Fall Foliage, where, in addition to showcasing his photography, he shares tips on planning and locating foliage, as well as tracking down peak times.

Check out our Q&A with Jeff:

Traveling Type: How did you become a “fall foliage sage” and photographer?
Jeff “Foliage” Folger:  The photography started when my father gave me a small camera back in the late ’60s and taught me how to develop black and white film in our basement. I kept up with cameras through the next 30-odd years, but only as a hobby. Then, when I retired from the Air Force and settled in Salem, MA, I set out to explore the fall foliage season — making all the rookie mistakes. Over the next 10 years, I would be on the road from late September until the end of October, and Yankee magazine asked me to be their first foliage blogger. My job was to drive all over New England and tell folks where I found the best fall colors.

And how did you get your moniker — Jeff “Foliage” Folger?
During my first year blogging with Yankee, my editor started calling me Jeff “Foliage” Folger during podcasts. A few years down the road, a local radio talk show host added the title “Foliage Sage” (and “Arboreal Oracle” which is my favorite).

Where is your favorite place to go leaf peeping?
My favorite place? Any place that I haven’t been before! I love discovering new places and sharing them with my readers. The most honest answer is a bit sappy, but when I have Lisa, my wife, with me and I can share a new place with her, that makes it special. My website lists locations by state. It will never be finished, but I load a few new places on that website each year.

What’s the biggest misconception about fall foliage?
There are so many misconceptions. Where to start? First: “peak fall color” … everyone comes looking for the “peak.” Most people would be so much happier if they never heard this term. You see “peak” is more an ideal, and it rarely happens – it’s when every tree in sight changes at the same time and at the same rate. In reality, if you see 80-90% of the trees in their fall colors, you will be blown away.

Photography by Jeff Folger. Route 112, New Hampshire.

You mention in your blog the art of getting lost” while leaf-peeping. What do you mean by this? 
The art of getting lost is nothing more than getting off the well-known routes, like the Kancamagus Highway. Everybody (including me) loves to travel Route 112 between I-93 and Conway, NH. But not many think to take Route 112 west away from the “Kanc,” where you’ll find Lost River Road and Kinsman Notch. From there you can travel up Route 16 and find red barns surrounded by sugar maples. I don’t want anyone to get lost, but I want you to look at a good map and look for interesting features and see where it takes you.

Why do certain places in the country, like the Northeast, have more vibrant fall foliage?
I’ve talked to the forestry officials and they tell me it’s because there are over 70 varieties of deciduous trees. And then the fact that New England has the highest concentration of sugar and red maples in the country. These 2 types of maples provide the most vibrant yellow/orange leaves and scarlet red leaves.

What’s your forecast for this fall — the best place and best spot to see fall foliage?
The best place to see fall color is wherever you find yourself. Just being out in nature and exploring the wonders of our world is the prize. If you happen to find a path with golden maple leaves above and a carpet of colors on the ground to go with it, then you have really found the best place.

Jeff “Foliage” Folger in his element photographing New England’s fall foliage.

How do you keep it fresh (photographing fall foliage every year)?
For me, there are places have become old friends that I like to stop in and see how they have changed. Also, New England is really a big place and every year I find new places to explore. Every turn of the wheel brings something I’ve never seen before. Until I have explored every road, it will remain fun for me. Plus, I get to meet great people working the land or in small stores and they all have great stories to tell.

What are the most essential tips for any aspiring photographer to know?
Shoot to make yourself happy. If you are shooting but it’s just a job, then you’ll learn to hate the photography after a while. I take the shots that make me happy and if I’m lucky, a few other people will like them, too.

What are the biggest gaffes you’ve made photographing fall foliage?
Not using a tripod and thinking that if I hold my breath I can hold the camera still enough to not blur the image. It doesn’t usually work.

 

What’s your favorite photo of fall foliage that you have taken?
There are so many favorites and all of them are tied to memories of traveling with my wife. One that sticks out in my mind was our first time to Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts. It’s a 1730s village brought to life by actors. Lisa and I took a boat ride on their little pond and it was cloudy and misting but the colors were so perfect.

Jeff Folger’s favorite fall foliage photograph, taken in Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts.

What are the top places you have yet to capture – that you want to?
This one is easy. I want to spend a lot more time in Maine looking for moose and other scenes. Then, I’d like to more completely cover Rhode Island and Connecticut. Not to mention the Berkshires and western Massachusetts. In 10 years I’ve only scratched the surface.

****

Get more tips in Jeff “Foliage” Folger’s Fall Photography Tips.

We want to see your photos of fall foliage! Take your best shot and submit your favorites in our community gallery.

Before you plan your leaf-peeping drive, check out Travel’s Best Fall Foliage Road Trips.  And don’t forget to vote for your favorite spot to see fall colors!

It’s that time of year again. One day you wake up and shiver, realize “Yes, I probably should have worn a coat to work,” and then notice the leaves are slowing changing color. But if you’re just not ready for fall — or you’d like to relive summer one last time — see all of our 2013 photo contest winners in one place.

2013 Photo Contest Winners

1. Bubble Cheeks: ”I was enjoying a fun afternoon with my 4-year-old nephew, who is learning to swim. He was showing me how to make ‘bubble cheeks.’” — Susan

2. A Day in Paradise: ”Hawaii is one of our top destinations. We love to go there every year. This picture was taken at Big Island, HI, on a beautiful day. Look at that sunset — it’s so peaceful.” — Annie L.

3. Mediterranean Marvels: “Sunshine over the Colosseum! My adventure to the Mediterranean this Summer was life-changing. I was captivated by the history and beauty of several of the amazing sites throughout Italy, Greece and Turkey!” — Sable’s Travels

4. King of the Jungle: ”Cute cub. Very aware of mom. We grabbed this close-up while on safari at Tanda Tula. Thought the cub was very cute. Noticed later that mom was much more observant than we initially believed.” — Patrick M.

5. Floating in Paradise: “My husband and I went to the beautiful island of Bora Bora on our honeymoon. Each morning, I would jump off of our balcony into the blue lagoon below. One morning my husband saw me floating and snapped my favorite shot of the trip!” — Tiffaney

6. Heavenly Thoughts: ”Tintern Abbey, is situated in the village of Tintern in Monmouthsire, on the Welsh bank of the River Wye, which forms the border between Monmouthshire in Wales and Gloucestershire in England.” — Tintern Abbey

See all of the finalists in our 2013 Summer Photo Contest slideshow.

Sun Catcher

“Sun Catcher” by Heather Buttelmann

Well folks, that’s a wrap. As we bring our first photo contest to a close, we’re overwhelmed with the amazing travel photos you’ve shared with us (all 5,582 of them) — so thank you!

Our final grand prize winner goes to “Sun Catcher” by Heather Buttelmann. Congrats on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location!

Heather says, “My daughter was trying to net fish in a tide pool. She lost her balance on the slippery surface and Voila! I got the shot!”

See the other finalists from this week below, and remember, even though the contest is now closed you can still check out all of the impressive 2013 Photo Contest submissions.

“Tuscan Paradise” by Sybil

“Mingling With the Natives” by Danielle

“The Harbor”

“Beautiful Bryce” by Casper

 

 

Floating in Paradise

“Floating in Paradise” by Tiffaney

This week’s winner goes to the aptly-titled “Floating in Paradise” by Tiffaney. It’s safe to say her submission made the Travel Channel staff collectively wish were there.

Tiffaney says, “My husband took me to the beautiful island of Bora Bora on our honeymoon. Each morning, I would jump off of our balcony into the blue lagoon below. One morning my husband saw me floating and snapped my favorite shot of the trip!”

It was our favorite, too, Tiffaney! Congrats on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location.

See the other finalists from this week below, and remember we only have 1 grand prize left! Upload your best vacation photos now for your last chance to win.

“Color-Splashed Sunset”

“Blondes Do Have More Fun” by Kimberly

“Mediterranean Marvels” by Sable’s Travels

Emerald Lake & Cilantro Cafe

“Emerald Lake & Cilantro Cafe”

 

 

“Heavenly Thoughts” photo by Tintern Abbey

Today marks the end of the first week of our month-long photo contest.  We asked you to proudly show off your camera skills and brag about your summer escapades.  Now it’s time to reveal the first Photo Contest winner! (Drumroll please)…In the category of Road Trips, the grand prize goes to “Heavenly Thoughts” by Tintern Abbey.  Congratulations on winning a $500 Choice Hotels voucher to use at any location!

We have 4 more grand prizes left, so make sure to upload your best vacation photos now for a chance to win.  You can enter as many times as you wish and take your pick from any one of the five categories: Outdoors & Adventure, Family Getaways, Road Trips, Romance & Honeymoons, or Travel Fun for Less.  You could also get your photo featured in a Travel Channel slideshow as an “Editor’s Top Pick.”  Travel Channel and Comfort Inn® are giving away prizes every week, and with 4 more weeks left, you don’t want to wait!

To get more information – or if you merely want to size up your competition – check out 2013 Photo Contest.

Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

Lola Akinmade Åkerström is a Nigerian-American, Stockholm-based writer and photographer who has contributed to digital and print publications such as National Geographic Traveler (both UK & US versions), BBC, CNN, The Guardian, Travel + Leisure, Lonely Planet, AFAR, San Francisco Chronicle, Fodors.com, several in-flight magazines, and many more. She is featured in a South Africa vignette Through The Lens that airs on National Geographic Channel and her photography is represented by National Geographic. Check out her blog, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Traveling Type: How did you get started travel blogging?
Lola Akinmade Akerstrom: I’ve always had a travel website of some sort since 2002 when I volunteered as a field journalist with an expedition race in Fiji. I shared dispatches, snippets and photos so my family and friends could follow along, but it wasn’t until late 2006 — when I discovered Matador Network — that I fully began “travel blogging.” At that time, I was still working a full-time job as a GIS system architect developing cool interactive online maps, but by 2009, I officially left that life behind in pursuit of travel writing and travel photography.

What’s your blog about?
I developed my own travel blog to feature highlights from travels along with dispatches because I work primarily as a freelance writer and photographer. So my blog acts more as a showcase for my work — writing and photography — with the occasional service-y “how to” post and product reviews.

How many countries, cities, and continents have you traveled to?
I stopped counting countries after my 40th because travel to me isn’t about some arbitrary list of places that need to be checked off and conquered. That said, I’d probably be well over 50 countries by the end of this year. But who’s keeping count? :)

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
I don’t have a favorite place but I do have favorite experiences, ranging from volunteering in Cambodia and photographing the Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland to learning about Zulu culture in South Africa and soaking up the vibrant markets in Lagos, Nigeria.

What’s your favorite place to get away from it all?
We actually live on one of Stockholm’s islands so we have a favorite cliff by the water where we steal away to just relax and watch sailboats and ships cruise by.

What’s your must-have item that you never travel without?
Camera. I have a hard time traveling without one.

What’s your favorite travel app?
Skyscanner. I’m always searching for cheap tickets.

Tell us your funniest travel story/experience. 
Strong winds plus me in a skirt and you already know what happened. But what made it even more embarrassing was that I was boarding a full double-decker bus in London and was climbing the stairs to the upper deck when a gust of wind rushed in, lifting and wrapping my skirt around my waist in the process. So those seated in the lower deck definitely got a good view of my underwear.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten while traveling, and where was it?
A tough call, but I can say the best pizza I have ever eaten was in the remote village of Gratteri in Sicily — the type of tiny village where the baker rides a small Vespa through narrow streets delivering bread directly to homes. We had to wait all day until 7 p.m. for the pizza maker to arrive into the village … and it was well worth the wait.

What’s the best hotel/resort/hostel you’ve stayed at?
Right now, it’s Les Jardins de la Medina in Marrakech. I really enjoyed its ambiance and would return in a heartbeat.

Where’s “home”?
Home is anywhere my husband and daughter are. Right now, they’re in Stockholm so Stockholm it is. But I was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and it will always be my “true roots” home.

What would you recommend to travelers visiting your hometown?
When visiting Lagos, try to experience one of its open-air markets for a sensory overload and a true glimpse into what makes it such a vibrant city. When visiting Stockholm, take a boat cruise around the harbor. Better yet, take a brunch or lunch cruise so you can dig into local Swedish specialties like pickled herring and cured salmon while soaking up Stockholm’s stunning views.

What’s #1 on your bucket list? 
Mongolia. Oh, and the North Pole.

You May Also Like:
What You Need to Know About Spelunking (by Lola)

Travel Channel's Summer Photo Contest

There’s nothing better than a summer vacation that leaves lasting memories — except maybe capturing those moments on camera. Now you can upload your summer vacation photos for a chance to be featured on TravelChannel.com and win prizes from Comfort Inn®.

Every week, we’re giving away another $500 Choice Hotels voucher for a stay at the location of your choice! So what are you waiting for? Enter the contest now and check the blog every Friday through August 6, where we’ll reveal the week’s finalists and the lucky winner.

See how some of the Travel Channel editors spent their Independence Day. Then, show us how you spent yours! Instagram your photos with the hashtag #TCJuly4th and we’ll feature our favorites on the blog!

Fourth of July

Top Row, Left to Right:

“Happy July 4th from Kensington, MD!” - Jessica Menk, Digital Editorial Designer

“Sitting on the steps of Department of Labor, waiting for fireworks to begin on the National Mall.” - Vanessa Mack, Photo Editor

“Here’s a shot of Mike Espenshade resting before the start of Civil War reenactments. He’s been a re-enactor for the past 30 years, and this week he’s joined 40,000 compatriots to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and a “new birth of freedom” – the Fourth rocked in Gettysburg!” - Lisa Singh, Interactive Producer

Bottom Row, Left to Right:

“There’s no better way to celebrate America’s birthday than by watching America’s favorite pastime! Cold beer, a great game and a cone of soft-serve vanilla ice cream made for the perfect Independence Day.” – Allee Sangiolo, Interactive Producer

“Even under repairs, the Washington Monument glows in anticipation of 4th of July fireworks on the National Mall.” – Robin Bennefield, Managing Producer

“No cookout would be complete without a patriotic blueberry pie! But the credit goes to a friend — I’m a terrible baker.” - Sara Gilliam, Senior Interactive Producer

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