Golden glow of Paris in August The photographer: Jaime Garza of Sacramento Behind the lens: After enjoying a fantastic dinner with friends at their Paris home in August, we walked around the corner to enjoy this spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the wonderful people of France (family and friends) during this difficult time.
Surprise visitor in France The photographer: Christine Weinstein of midtown Sacramento Behind the lens: When my husband, Dave Jones, and I were visiting France in May and June, we spent a relaxing week in the gîte (rental house) of the Mangane family. We were the first Americans to ever stay at their gîte near the medieval town of Désaignes in the Rhône-Alps. One day their son stopped by with a juvenile bird that had fallen out of a tree. The boy fed and looked after the young bird, protecting it from roaming cats. The bird stayed perched on the boy for two days. The day after this photo was taken, the bird flew off.
Dresden on a dreamy evening The photographer: Alan Lampe, Folsom Behind the lens: This evening scene was taken in Dresden, Germany, in September. My wife, Marci, and I were on a tour with friends of Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland. The day had been filled with museums, art and history. The beautiful evening was a fine finish to the day.
A friendly face at Machu Picchu The photographer: Steven B. Raffin of Granite Bay Behind the lens: On a trip to Machu Picchu outside of Cusco, Peru, we were greeted by one of the very few residents. The encounter was brief but pleasant.
The photographer: John Modin of El Dorado Hills Behind the lens: In the 160,000-acre Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve near the southwestern section of Kruger National Park in South Africa, an adult male leopard from an 8-foot termite mound surveys his territory for unwelcome male trespassers. We followed him for nearly an hour, watching him survey and mark the limits of his territorial boundary before he entered steep terrain where we were unable to follow. We were also fortunate to capture incredible close-up photos of elephants and rhinoceros on this safari adventure.
Postcards From Readers: Falling in love with Point Lobos The photographer: Mel Kinoshita of Roseville Behind the lens: On a spring day, my future wife-to-be, lovely Melissa, and I walked the scenic oceanfront trails and had a picnic lunch at Point Lobos. Beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, and a beautiful lady!
Cruise ship stop in Vietnam The photographer: Henry Saunders of Sacramento Behind the lens: This shot was taken in a small village in Vietnam. This was the first time a cruise line had taken a small number of tourists to this town, and the villagers were very curious and kind to us. After taking this photo, the woman gave my husband one of her flowers. He tried to give her money in exchange but she would not accept it. I love the expression on her face.
Peyto Lake, Alberta, Canada The photographer: Joe Cheung of Sacramento Behind the lens: Peyto Lake in Banff National Park is a striking sight. Its blue color comes from glacier rock flour that flows into the lake during the summer. Notice the right side of the lake is shaped like a wolf’s head. This is nature at its best.
Lobster fishing in Nicaragua The photographer: David Schmitz of Natomas Park Behind the lens: While visiting Nicaragua, we took a side trip to the Big Corn Island (Las Islas del Maiz), located around 50 miles off the Caribbean coast of the country. We flew to the island from Managua on a single engine 12-seat plane and stayed in a beach bungalow only about 15 steps from the water. Lobster fishing, the main industry of the island, includes many family operations, like these local lobster fishermen who are preparing lobster traps.
Temple in Kyoto, Japan The photographer: Lorena Esparza of Sacramento Behind the lens: This is Kinkaku-ji temple in Kyoto, Japan. I recently visited Japan with my classmates, and it was an experience I will never forget. When I visited the temple, the humidity was unbearable, Chinese tourists scrambled to take pictures, but in the end the shot was worth it. This temple was purely built to show the wealth of the shogun and that he was just as fit as the emperor. Kyoto is an amazing city to visit if you are interested in seeing traditional Japan.
Rail station near Giverny, France The photographer: Shirley Hall of Citrus Heights Behind the lens: This shot of an old Frenchman was taken by my wife, Shirley Hall, in May this year after our visit to Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, France. She took it while we were waiting for a train to return us to Paris. The man appears to be proofreading or editing some sort of document.
Exploring an exotic garden The photographer: Cindy Philpott of Sacramento Behind the lens: On a recent trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, my mom and I did a two-hour tour of the botanical gardens located in town. The beautiful garden created by an artist is full of native plants including exotic cacti, agaves and succulents all laid out and connected by a series pathways, borders and bridges.
Fort in India The photographer: Georgene Redmann of Davis Behind the lens: As we entered the Ranthambore Fort in India, pilgrims were coming down the steps after visiting the Ganesh temple.
Zion National Park, Utah The photographer: Rick Melnicoe of Davis Behind the lens: The Narrows of Zion National Park, Utah, was carved over the millenniums by the Virgin River. The top to bottom hike is 16 miles long and can be done as a long day hike or overnight camping. A permit is required. Much of the hike is in shallow water with a few places requiring a short swim. The beauty of the canyon is spectacular with walls reaching over 1,000 feet above you and only 20 to 30 feet wide in a few places. Most visitors hike up from the main park, but miss the true beauty of the farthest reaches of the canyon.
Piedras Blancas elephant seals The photographer: Bill Chiechi of Sacramento Behind the lens: This past June my wife and I happened upon the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery along the Central California coast. There were many hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of these seals present along this protected beach. At this time of the year the seals are molting and mainly there are females and juveniles present. We watched many of the juvenile males practicing sparring with one another, a skill they will use to attract females during mating season, once they are mature.
Paramount Theatre, Seattle The photographer: Lou Padgug of Sacramento Behind the lens: On a recent trip to Washington state, we saw the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. Unfortunately, we were not there on the day free tours of the interior of this incredibly ornate performing arts venue are offered. While walking along the side of the building, I looked up and this fire escape caught my attention.
Namche Bazaar before the quake The photographer: Rick Lynch of El Dorado Hills Behind the lens: When my friend, Kurt Stegen, and I were 18 and had just climbed Mount Whitney, we made a commitment to do something special when we turned 60. In November, we both turned 60 and booked a trekking adventure through REI to Nepal. This is a picture of Namche Bazaar at 3440 m (11,300 ft). We were in Namche eating lunch on April 25 when the earthquake hit. I love to remember Namche in its beauty prior to the quake rather than the destruction on the day of the earthquake.
Yosemite Valley in spring The photographer: Brian Phillips of Folsom This was taken on a recent trip that my wife, Shelley, and I made to Yosemite. It was cloudy with occasional rain while we were there, but on the afternoon of May 19, the sun broke out, lighting up a section of Cathedral Rocks. We were driving back to our hotel at the time, and running late for dinner, but when I saw this beautiful light, I immediately pulled over and grabbed a few shots. There are also deer in the meadow in the foreground.
Canyonlands National Park, Utah The photographer: John Spurr of Davis Behind the lens: This photo is from a hike in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The trail leads hikers out to a wonderful area called Chesler Park, which has all kinds of colorful rock formations. Lightning was flashing in a thunderstorm behind the butte on the right.
Cappadocia, Turkey The photographer: Estrella Parker of Piedmont Behind the lens: This was taken in Cappadocia, Turkey. Whirling dervishes are followers of Sufism, a religious sect whose mystics believe that ritual spinning will bring them closer to God.
Vancouver, British Columbia The photographer: Oscar Vallejo of Carmichael Behind the lens: At Granville Island Market Place in Vancouver, BC we were ready to board our water taxi for a quick ride over to Yaletown for more sightseeing. Vancouver has an enormous amount of condo towers overlooking the city and harbor.
An elephant parade in Tanzania The photographer: Tom Taylor of Fair Oaks Behind the lens: We are in Tanzania on the second day of a 15-day photo safari. Our first encounter with wild elephants came in late afternoon in Tarangire National Park when we spotted a herd of about 35 elephants walking single file along the edge of a vast marsh. We pulled to the side of the dirt track in our vehicles and turned off the engines, then watched this line of elephants move quickly along the marsh edge. This shot became one of my favorite photographs from the trip.
Children make river a water park The photographer: Vic Carbonell of Sacramento Behind the lens: While cruising with friends along the Dapitan River in Zamboanga del Norte, Philippines, we came upon this group of kids enjoying their improvised playground. Some were in a bamboo raft, others on the branch of a tree. They were shrieking with laughter and apparently egging one another to jump. They were so engrossed in their pleasure that they did not even look our way as we passed by. The scene brought back memories of my own river adventures when I was young.
Machu Picchu, Peru The photographer: Marsha A. Robinson of Citrus Heights Behind the lens: My sister Karen and I journeyed on the Perurail Vistadome to the town of Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu. From there we took a shuttle bus that crisscrossed its way up the mountainside and dropped us at the entrance to the park in the late afternoon. Most visitors had left the park by then. We had only to show our tickets at the ticket booth and walk about a hundred yards into the Lost City of Inca and were greeted by this magnificent view. It just took our breath away.
Pak Beng, Mekong River, Laos The photographer: Debbie Cole of Curtis Park Behind the lens: In February 2014, we took a two-day slow boat down the Mekong River in Laos from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang. We stopped overnight in the small, rustic village of Pak Beng. This photo was taken at sunrise the morning we left the village and captures the serene and mysterious nature of the river, as well as the mountains and jungle that frame it. Our trip gave us an appreciation of the natural beauty of Laos and the relationship its people have with the mighty Mekong.
The photographer: Joe Cheung of Sacramento Behind the lens: On one beautiful but windy afternoon, we visited the Horseshoe Bay in Arizona. It was so windy that my wife (shown at left) didn’t dare stand close to the edge of the cliff when this photo was taken. This picture was taken with a fish-eye lens in order to capture the captivating view of the bay.
The photographer: Susan Boring of Sacramento Behind the lens: I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal from 1993-1995. In 2012, I was able to travel back with my husband to share a country that I grew to love so much with him. This picture was taken just outside of Kathmandu during the rice harvest in October. The people are so happy, hard-working, and kind – this picture epitomizes that. As we hear of the tremendous loss due to the recent earthquake, I remember this day fondly and hope that my friends are safe.
The photographer: David Schmitz of North Natomas While in Barcelona we took the train for a one-day visit to Monestir de Monserrat (the Monastery at Monserrat). This picture was taken from the top on the Monserrat (translation: serrated mountains) looking down on the monastery. There is a short and very steep train ride to the top. We arrived at the monastery via a 1.5-mile cable gondola that traveled from the valley below through the clouds to the monastery. The cathedral at Monserrat contains the famous “Black Virgin” statue that has been darkened over the centuries from the burning candles.
The photographer: Tom Wardell of Sacramento Behind the lens: This is one of many captivating photos taken on a recent, fascinating 10-day Mekong Delta Cruise aboard the boutique 28-passenger Toum Toui ll. Shown here is a young woman in a pottery farm in the Cambodian village of Kampong Chhnang. I have traveled frequently and often throughout the world and have never felt more welcome or comfortable then I did in Vietnam and Cambodia.
The photographer: David A. Sauvé of Placerville Behind the lens: This picture was taken on the main north/south road through Yellowstone National Park one August. This big fellow was leading a parade of RVs and campers just a little bigger than him. I thought about reaching out the window when he passed us and grabbing a horn, but discretion trumped valor and I rolled the window up. Taken with an old Pentax Spotmatic 35mm SLR, Ektachrome 400 film.
The photographer: Gary Orr of Sacramento Behind the lens: My wife and I completed a bike and barge vacation from Amsterdam to Cologne. When we arrived in Cologne, we rented a car and wandered the hills from Cologne and followed the Mosel River "Fairly Tale Route" all the way to Luxembourg. We took this photo of the village of Cochem from the courtyard of the 12th century Reichburg castle.
The photographer: David Schmitz of Natomas Park Behind the lens: Parking is at a premium in Rome near the Vatican. This driver was fortunate to find a parking space that fit his/her car across the street from the Castle of the Angels
The photographer: Richard Chamberlain of Oroville Behind the lens: Native people get from island to island in Botswana’s Okavango Delta in dugout canoes called mokoro. These people had just gone to visit a church member who had been ill and were returning to their place of work where my son and I were staying.
The photographer: Michele Dodge of Plymouth Behind the lens: This was a lovely little quay in the northern France town of Honfleur. Several of the Impressionist painters enjoyed this very same view (with different boats, of course). Honfleur is a gorgeous town about an hour’s drive from Omaha Beach. I walked into town in the rain the morning we arrived, saw this lovely view and decided I had to see it after the rain stopped. Luckily, the afternoon cleared up!
The photographer: Anne Eychaner of Carmichael Last September two friends and I spent 13 incredible days rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. This amazing view is from Anasazi granaries built into the canyon wall above Nankoweap.
The photographer: Nancy Arkelian of Sacramento Behind the lens: In Vietnam, there are 90 million people and seemingly as many motor scooters, carrying almost everything imaginable. In the countryside we saw this man, who must be one of the most enterprising recycling entrepreneurs in the world.
The photographer: Rick Melnicoe of Davis Behind the lens: Jaguars are the third-largest of the cats and found only in the Americas. While on a trip to the Pantanal of south-central Brazil we were taken by boat to an area on the Cuiabá River where these magnificent jaguars hunt caiman and capybara. This photo was taken of a female who was not too happy that our boat was the only obstacle between it and a family of capybara on the opposite shore.
The photographer: Gus Betancourt of Sacramento Behind the lens: I visited Glass Beach in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg a few months ago and discovered the sea glass created from years of dumping garbage onto an area of coastline near the northern part of the town. Sadly, most of the glass has disappeared, but the nice, quiet and mysterious atmosphere of the town is still intact.
The photographer: Carol Brock of Penryn Behind the lens: At Rum Point on Grand Cayman, we came across this sign on a recent family visit to the island. The sign shows some history of hurricane activity for the islanders. Hurricane Ivan did some major damage to the island when it hit in 2004.
The photographer: Julie Duehring of Folsom Behind the lens: We were on a girls’ trip to Italy in September and decided to take a one-day tour of Tuscany. The highlight was our stop at the beautiful town of Montepulciano, a small, hilly medieval town with many wine cellars, restaurants, and quaint shops. The oldest shop in town, Maltedetti (pictured here), sells leather goods and shoes, but I don’t think the shoes in this photo were for sale!
The photographer: Mary Duplat of Sacramento Behind the lens: My husband, Claude, and I were in Paris this past fall on our honeymoon when we spotted this young woman “doing it all.” It seems women around the world keep the daily business of life moving forward.
The photographer: David Kalb of Davis Behind the lens: The Chateau d’Amboise is situated along the River Loire in France. It is one of more than a dozen large chateaus in the Loire Valley, a region of France that is both historic and beautiful, from one end to the other. Walk along the river late in the day and if the sun and clouds are right you may capture this picturesque reflection. I took more than 250 photos of the four chateaus I visited during my June vacation.
The photographer: Jeff Hendy of El Dorado Hills Behind the lens: During our recent first trip to Alaska, my wife and I were prepared for glaciers, cool weather, wild animals and quaint small towns. We were not all prepared for the fantastic natural beauty of the state. This photo of Tern Lake, between Anchorage and Homer, is an example of that beauty. The combination of the birch tree, green and snowy mountains, the lake and the light made this a great photo op, and was taken on my Sony NEX5, a small, lightweight interchangeable-lens camera that has totally replaced the bulky DSLRs I used to lug around.
The photographer: Cindy Philpott of Sacramento Behind the lens: While spending the day exploring the many sites of Bangkok, I came across a group of local schoolchildren enjoying a day trip to one of the many temples in and around this amazing city. I quickly snapped this photo as they wandered past only to notice afterward the boy and girl happily holding hands.
The photographer: Chris Allan of Sacramento Behind the lens: The morning after a snowstorm, I headed out before dawn, and the vistas around Caples Lake were stunning!
The photographer: Debby Sprigg of Sacramento Behind the lens: Disneyland brings out the inner child in everyone. Seeing it decorated for Christmas is absolutely breathtaking! My Mom and I went earlier this month, and it was incredible, especially Sleeping Beauty's Castle with its sparkling decorations. I was lucky and got a wonderful, unobstructed spot to watch and photograph the fireworks blossom in the sky behind the Castle.
The photographer: Gary Mills of Sacramento Behind the lens: This photo was taken while my wife and I were on a small boat on the Dalyan River near Myra, Turkey. There are hundreds of these amazing 4th century B.C. Lycian rock tombs carved high into the cliffs.The photographer: Gary Mills of Sacramento Behind the lens: This photo was taken while my wife and I were on a small boat on the Dalyan River near Myra, Turkey. There are hundreds of these amazing 4th century B.C. Lycian rock tombs carved high into the cliffs.
The photographer: Marjorie Lehr of Carmicheal Behind the lens: We have been to Niagara Falls before, but had never experienced the thrilling helicopter ride over the top of both the American and Canadian Falls as we did this vacation. The Horseshoe Falls is the Canadian and the straighter falls is the American Falls. The sight of them is magnificent and the sound intimidating, demonstrating, both visibly and audibly, the incredible power of water.
The photographer: Jim Sargent, Carmichael Behind the lens: We visited Zion National Park in May and spent one day at the less-visited Kolob Canyons area north of the main park. We hiked 2 1/2 miles up Taylor Creek and at the end we were rewarded with this fantastic cave and 1,000-foot-high red rock walls. Water seeping through
The photographer: Larry Anderson of Granite Bay Behind the lens: I took this photo on a recent trip to Turkey. I was in a hot air balloon just after dawn, above the strange, otherworldly land formations of the Cappadocia region. About 60 balloons were aloft that day, and the scene provides both color and contrast to the fascinating landscape below.
The photographer: James Muir of Sacramento. Behind the lens: English Harbour is a natural harbor and settlement on the Caribbean island of Antigua. The Royal Navy established its base of operations for the area during the eighteenth century. English Harbour is best known for Nelson's Dockyard, which occupies the site of the British Navy base. Named for Horatio Nelson who commanded it during the colonial period 1784 through 1787. The photo was taken after a morning rain in January.
The photographer: Peter Silva of Sacramento. Behind the lens: This photo was taken last May during a beautiful evening in the City of Light. Walking away from our visit at the Eiffel Tower and onto the Jardins du Trocadéro, I couldn’t help noticing the pattern of bridge lights on the Pont d’léna as a perfect complement to the soaring monument behind. Everything in Paris is beautiful and especially at night, when the city glows with vitality and romance unlike any other in the world. A few evenings earlier I proposed to my fiancée, Maria, at Notre Dame Cathedral (she said yes).
The photographer: Dee Stayner of Rancho Cordova. Behind the lens: After shopping at the Mercado Central de San Pedro in Cusco, Peru, I noticed this intriguing man on the steps. He seemed lost in thought, and I was tempted to ask what was on his mind. Or perhaps he was merely another man waiting patiently for his wife to finish shopping. To me, this photo embodies the native culture of the city high in the Andes.
The photographer: Elenamarie O’Malley of Sacramento. Behind the lens: A rock monitor lizard plays hide and seek in Zambia’s Kafue National Park. High up in a tree, this camouflaged creature has the perfect vantage point to find a tasty snack near the Lufupa River.
The photographer: Marion Montgomery of Citrus Heights Behind the lens: Near Mandalay in the province of Amarapura, we visited the famous 200-year-old U Bein Bridge at sunset. Sitting over Taungthamaman Lake, at 1.2 kilometers long it is the longest teak bridge in the world.
The photographer: Brad Brown of Citrus Heights. Behind the lens: Brad Brown writes that Noah Alexander Brown, 2 1/2 years old, and Max Alexander, 79 years young, hiked to Pyramid Peak in the Lake Tahoe area in September. Noah hiked 3 miles, and Max hiked 13 miles. And it looks like God was smiling down on both of them.
The photographer: Wyatt Wreford of Folsom. Behind the lens: This photo was taken by 11-year-old Wyatt Wreford during an April trip to the Ostrich Farm on the island of Curaçao, which is the largest ostrich farm outside of Africa. The very prehistoric-looking birds gulp air to cool themselves down, which makes for a very funny sight! His photo captured it perfectly!
The photographer: Dennis Hill of Carmichael Behind the lens: This photo, taken in March, shows the cherry blossoms in full bloom around the moat surrounding the Tokyo Imperial Palace. Many people rowing boats on a wonderful spring day adds human interest to the photo.
The photographer: Loy Baxter of Sacramento Behind the lens: This picture was taken in the village of Gnigbanda in Togo, West Africa. The woman is planting corn in a field near her home, using a planting stick to make holes and covering up the seeds with her foot. Most of the villagers are subsistance farmers, growing food to feed their families and selling what is left over. Corn is the main staple.
The photographer: Joe Phelan of Lincoln Behind the lens: This is a photo I took in Havana when we were there with Sacramento's Friendship Force. Cuba is such an interesting place to visit, especially when you stay with families as one does when traveling with a Friendship Force group. For all the decay and poverty, Cuba has a special charm about it, and some of that is captured with this lady smoking her cigar.
The photographer: Sherry Meyerhoff of Rocklin Behind the lens: These shots were taken near Matamata, New Zealand, at the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour. I wanted to capture what director Peter Jackson may have seen through his lens while filming in the tiny village with small circular entrances to hobbit homes and the unusual permanent setting. Pretty hard to capture the beauty, colorful landscape and imagination in one photograph.
The photographer: Betty Baker of Lincoln Behind the lens: Java, Indonesia, has many active volcanoes. Mount Bromo is one of them. We decided to visit this area late in September 2012, arriving in the evening to take a jeep tour early the next morning for this spectacular view. The volcano is in the Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. We visited when the volcano wasn't active.
The photographer: Melissa Gratiot of RocklinBehind the lens: I had an amazing monthlong trip to Asia (Shanghai, China; Bangkok, Thailand; Singapore; Narita, Japan) last year. While visiting the Narita Temple Gardens in Japan, I was fascinated at the absolute beauty, calmness and Zen-like feel in the gardens. I sat on a rock and captured this view. It was a relaxing place to sit and meditate and a great way to end our trip as we headed to the airport back to California.
The photographer: Barbara Regello Behind the lens: I recently went to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Ore. I was amazed at the 40 acres of multicolored tulips in the fields. The festival runs from the end of March to the beginning of May. It was a photographer's delight – you cannot help but be joyful in such a gorgeous place!
The photographer: Patrick "Pat" McCartney of Truckee Behind the lens: Highway 395 down eastern Sierra is my favorite drive, and I try to take at least one side trip every time. I took this shot of Mount Whitney swaddled in clouds and the Alabama Hills after a fall storm dusted the high country. The vantage point is from Highway 136 heading east from Lone Pine. As Californians know, the tallest peak in the Lower 48 is the lower-appearing, serrated peak on the mid-right.
The photographer: Oveta Riffle of Gold River Behind the lens: On an early-morning walk along the south rim of the Grand Canyon, my husband, Bob Riffle, and I were surprised to see a bighorn sheep walk out on a rocky point overlooking the vast canyon. As he was looking out over his domain, he turned and looked directly at us as if to say, "I'm king of the canyon!" and I snapped the picture.
The photographer: Marshall Wilkins of Granite Bay Behind the lens: We spent four weeks traveling around China, Mongolia and Tibet in September. We snapped this picture of a 2-year-old panda at the Giant Panda Breeding Center in Chengdu, China. The center successfully breeds pandas and rescues orphaned and starving pandas. We enjoyed an intimate, up-close view of these solitary animals.
The photographer: Sara Winger of Davis Behind the lens: On a recent trip east we took some time to drive to the Berlin, Ohio, an area where there is a large population of Amish. The countryside was beautiful with gentle, rolling hills and picturesque farms dotting the landscape. It was a drizzly day and there was a sense of peacefulness in the air. This scene of one of the Amish ranches caught my eye. The red barn with the buggy parked and ready for its next trip to town spoke of a much simpler life.
The photographer: Bill Sanders of Gold River Behind the lens: My photography bucket list was completed the day I was able to go atop (legally, through an acquaintance) the Golden Gate Bridge's south anchorage point tower. Even though it was a beautiful day with very little wind, it was definitely scary, mainly due to having to climb an exterior ladder, hand over hand, the last 30 to 40 feet to the platform on top. An incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The photographer: Harley Hansen of Sacramento Behind the lens: I took this shot shortly after dawn in the Mesquite Sand Dunes near Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley National Park. The colorful name came about after people got tired of digging in the sand to relocate the well. Some enterprising prospectors used whatever was at hand – a length of stovepipe – to mark the spot.
The photographer: Bob and Mercedes Slakey of Sacramento Behind the lens: This was the sunset from the deck of our restaurant in Fiji on the last night of our three-week stay. It was so spectacular and so beautiful. It wasn't our first time in Fiji, but it was the first time seeing something like this.
The photographer: David I. Brown of Sacramento Behind the lens: While in Istanbul, Turkey, for a sightseeing trip, I saw a rare opportunity: The view is overlooking the spice market in the foreground, the New Mosque and the Bosporus.
The photographer: David I. Brown of Sacramento Behind the lens: While in Istanbul, Turkey, for a sightseeing trip, I saw a rare opportunity: The view is overlooking the spice market in the foreground, the New Mosque and the Bosporus.
The photographer: Steven Raffin of Granite Bay Behind the lens: My wife and I have visited East Africa and South Africa four times. The 2011 trip was the most spectacular. In particular, a stay at the Royal Malewane, Hoedspruit, South Africa (near Kruger Park) provided spectacular wildlife viewing. This young male leopard is about 18 months old at the time of the photo and was accompanied by his mother. We watched the two of them for about an hour by an algae-covered pond.
The photographer: Dave Delgardo of Rocklin Behind the lens: There were many bucolic scenes on a recent October motorcycle trip across Washington state's Highway 2. Quite compelling was that of this retired farm truck, knee deep in sage and wild oats, patina deepening with each passing day, positioned to monitor the east-west traffic outside of Creston. The old boy seemed to be remembering his days at labor while enjoying a well-earned rest.
The photographer: Kelsey Peterson of Sacramento Behind the lens: In 2012 I was studying at Pepperdine University's London campus. Several students took a weekend trip to the small northern Portuguese town of Porto to enjoy some warm weather in February. I thought the two boats, loaded with wine kegs, showed off the beauty of the Douro River near our apartment. You can easily walk the town in one day, but be aware that it has many steep hills.
The photographer: Eileen Newhall of Carmichael Behind the lens: This was taken from Kala Pattar, a hill known as having some of the best views of Mount Everest. Kala Pattar tops out at 18,200 feet. This shot was taken looking up through the Kala Pattar summit prayer flags toward the summit of Mount Pumori, at 23,500 feet.
The photographer: Kathe Murphy of Roseville Behind the lens: This was taken last summer at Cadillac Ranch, outside of Amarillo, Texas. It is hard to get a photo without people in the picture, but it is a photographer's delight while traveling old Route 66.
The photographer: Rich Howard of Carmichael Behind the lens: González Videla Antarctic Base is a Chilean station on the Antarctic Peninsula where tourists are allowed to visit. The gentoo penguins are standing around like they don't know where to go despite the signpost. I also like that everything on the sign post is north – New York and Santiago – and that I don't even know where some of these places are. The smell and the noise are missing, but the mountain in the background gives a hint of the wild Antarctica that is never far away.
The photographer: Bryant Avery of Surrey, British Columbia Behind the lens: My wife, Mah Szeching, and I were in Argentina for 30 days in November. That included several days at Iguazu Falls, with 250 separate falls the world's largest. To get a sense of magnitude, note the people on a boardwalk in the distance.
The photographer: Larry Walker of Woodland Behind the lens: My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Maui for our 50th wedding anniversary. In the evenings we would go to the beach. I took this photo of the sunset the last day we were there.
The photographer: Chris Allan of Sacramento Behind the lens: Seeing the Northern Lights was on my bucket list and we had read that this location (within 100 miles of the Arctic Circle) was an excellent place to be able to see them. We got lucky and bundled up in the minus-15 degree temperatures to observe this amazing natural phenomenon, which looked totally different every night. This photo was taken with a one-minute exposure.
The photographer: Mary Wurlitzer of Chico Behind the lens: My husband and I were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary by traveling throughout the lower part of Spain, and we decided to stay in Barcelona for two days because Antoni Gaudí was one of the greatest architects and artists of the art nouveau movement in the early 1900s.
The photographer: Laura McClure of Davis Behind the lens: Traveling on a twisting road along a fjord in Norway while admiring spectacular waterfalls and steep mountains, I came upon this scene, a contrast of tranquility to the rushing waters all over Norway. The stillness of the fjord provided a perfect reflective mirror to the tree and the sheds as well as a tranquil pause for the traveler. I was so taken with the view that I will always think of it as one of my personal beautiful places.
The photographer: Kirk Fritz of Roseville Behind the lens: The rabbit-size dassie lives among the rocks in the uplands of Table Mountain, just 10 minutes' drive from Capetown, South Africa. It's hard to believe, but the dassie is actually a close relative of the elephant. This one was kind enough to pose and flash a smile.
The photographer: Ted Holm of Elk Grove Behind the lens: Fall had not left Yosemite, but winter was on its way. As we were leaving Yosemite Valley, the sun was shining through the fall leaves. The ground was covered with snow, but the trees were still in the fall season. We stopped to take one last walk in the park before heading home. This is our last image of our trip to Yosemite, and it makes us smile when we talk about how beautiful the park was during this visit.
The photographer: Julie Fisher of Sacramento Behind the lens: The name of the Goðafoss waterfall on the river Skjálfandafljót in Iceland means "Waterfall of the Gods." It was only a five-minute walk from our hotel, so I was able to visit it several times to enjoy the view. This shot was taken early in the morning as the mist lifted.