2017 is winding down and the blog has been a bit barren recently.  I have a lot of cool stories to tell you and will definitely catch up in the new year.  Until then, I thought I’d share my 10 favorite pictures I took in 2017.  I’ve been sharing many of these on my Instagram (@realandyluten) but wanted to share it with my loyal blog readers as well.  It has been a year full of travel and incredible experiences, although personally I’ve been in the doldrums for a few months now and some recent things happened to make those a little more doldrummy (I’ll be fine Mom, since I know you’ll read this).  So let’s put a bookend on 2017, whether it was successful for you or you want to casually extend a middle finger towards it let’s get to some pictures!

(I took every one of these, by the way, recently someone accused me of using stock photos and claiming them as my own, so I have to say it)

10. Rakotzbrücke Bridge, Germany


I was in Berlin for ITB Berlin, the largest travel tradeshow in the world, to cover the unveiling of Qatar Airways new Qsuite Business Class.  This bridge is very much in the middle of nowhere but it’s somewhat close to Berlin so I decided to make the 3-hour drive out there to see it and I’m really glad I did.  The lake isn’t big and the optical illusion of a perfect circle from the lake’s reflection was just wonderful.  Being so far from everything else it was quite serene (even though during the spring and fall it gets taken over by photographers).

9. Snowy Hallstatt, Austria

I’ve been to Hallstatt numerous times (and enjoy it more and more each time I go) but I had never been out there in the winter.  On my way back from Lake Bled (which you’ll see later in the post) I stopped by Hallstatt and was absolutely blown away.  Not only was it a perfect winterscape but I even managed to capture some snowflakes falling (look on the water)!  The not-so-fun part was trying to drive to St. Gilgen shortly after this when I kinda sorta drove into a ditch because I couldn’t see the road because of how much snow there was, but everything ended up ok!

8. Peninsula Hotel Rolls Royce, Hong Kong

I’m not much of a selfie guy, but I thought this one warranted an exception.  I glammed it up at the Peninsula Hong Kong and even paid for them to pick me up at the airport in one of their custom green Rolls Royce Phantoms.  Check out the post (and the video!) to hear the story but it will definitely go down as one of my favorite travel memories!

7. Tegalalang Rice Paddy Terraces, Bali

Bali was amazing for many reasons (not the least of which is the amazing villa I stayed at).  The Tegalalang rice paddy terraces were incredible in their scope and the odd geometric harmony of it.  To me there was a nice symmetry between humans and nature, humans obeying the natural curves of the landscape while taking just enough dirt from the hills to sustain themselves.  Now, the 5 million or so mopeds on the road just behind me when I took this picture were the total opposite of harmony and tranquility so it may have just seemed that way by comparison 🙂

6. Empire State Building beneath Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn, New York

In Brooklyn’s Dumbo district you’ll find this epic view (at the intersection of Front and Washington).  Easiest way to get there is to look for all the photographers and selfie-takers once you’re in Dumbo and you’re probably there.  There’s just something about the perfect frame for a picture and using Manhattan Bridge to frame the Empire State Building is just so perfect, it’s why this is one of the most popular perspectives in the world.  Still had to get my take on it though, and I think the black and white treatment is perfect for such a storied location.

5. Hong Kong from a drone

On the same trip as the Peninsula Rolls Royce photo I brought my drone to Hong Kong and flew it high above the city.  I never dreamed the images would end up looking as epic as they did!  Even though some huge birds almost attacked the drone (I literally did evasive maneuvers haha) everything ended up just fine and I got some of my favorite images of one of my favorite cities in the world.

4. Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine was an incredible place.  It’s simultaneously raw, remote, and beautiful.  Really not more to say about this one, I tried to think of something more to say but I ended up just sitting there staring at the picture!  Be sure to check out all of the vlogs from this trip, aside from the wind noise they’re pretty solid!

3. Sydney Opera House Supermoon

This is one of my favorite images ever.  It also happens to be one of the first images I took with my new Sony a7rIII.  I’m not kidding when I’m saying I happened to be walking around Circular Quay with my camera and tripod when someone said “hey, shooting the supermoon huh?”  Until that moment I had no idea a supermoon was happening, but sometimes I guess you just have to get a little lucky.

2. Lake Bled, Slovenia

I’ve been to Lake Bled, Slovenia, a few times now but, similar to Hallstatt, I had never been when there was snow on the ground.  Lake Bled is about as bucolic as it gets and the snow seemed to make it even more so.  I know I need to branch out and go see places like Ljubljana (spelled that correctly the first time, for the record) but I always seem to head back to this wonderful and special place.

1. Dallas Altitude

This one is very special to me and it’s #1 for a reason.  I only started learning about photography 4 or so years ago, with my first big photography investment coming in 2014 with the purchase of my first Sony camera (the a7).  I was reminded of that as I was hanging out the side of a helicopter at 5500 feet over my city taking pictures of it which had never been taken before.  This was my first ever photo project.  It involved a significant personal investment and quite a bit of planning but I couldn’t be any happier with how it turned out.  I even created a separate site for the project, I’d be honored if you would check it out at www.DallasAltitude.com.


Honorable Mentions

There are a few pics which barely missed the cut (more airline and travel related) but I still love:

lufthansa first class review

dji phantom 4 pro review


Final thoughts

So what do you think?  Which picture was your favorite?

I hope 2017 has been incredible for you and hope you went on amazing journeys.  Even if you didn’t, I hope that you’ve enjoyed seeing my pictures and hopefully they brought you great joy and happiness.  Even if your journey looks a lot like “Raising a Family at Home and Not Traveling” that’s still a great and wonderful journey.  No matter your case let your light shine on the world and love those around you, I think that’s the only way any of this makes sense!

Happy New Year to all of the Andy’s Travel Blog readers and best wishes for incredible journeys in 2018!

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