This image was taken in Reykjavik, Iceland. I stood and watched for about 45 minutes as the moon rose. It was incredible. I had never seen the moon rise like the sun does - it was so fascinating to just sit and watch. It would be fair to assume that this was nighttime, but it was actually mid-afternoon. I was there in the middle of winter so the sun would rise late and set early, which opened up opportunities to see things like this! This was on New Years' Eve - the end of one year and the beginning of another. It also marked for me the end of one era of my life - being shy, cautious and anxious - to the beginning of something new. This was my first solo trip, which taught me to find joy in myself and gave me strength that I didn't know I had before.
Of yellow leaves and gossamer, in autumns that there were, with morning mist and silver sun and wind upon my hair
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland. One of the most magical places ever. It is the place that inspired J.R.R. Tolkien's depiction of Rivendell in the Lord of the Rings. It has many waterfalls surrounding it, huge Swiss snow-capped mountains, a quaint little village with an iconic church, and a crystal-clear river running through the village. I visited in Autumn and Winter, and both times the views were spectacular. The colours and overall feel of this place makes it seem like you are on a different world. It is unbelievably peaceful.
Our dead are beyond the count of grief
Every time I see this photo, I grieve. That place. Those tracks. There is so much history there that I will never properly understand because I am lucky to have never experienced it. This photo is from Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. It was a Death Camp. One of the most notorious Concentration Camps from World War II. These tracks were used to bring in the trains filled with people crammed in like livestock. These human beings were often Jewish or otherwise disliked by the Government in charge. The trains would come into the camp through the archway you can see in the photo. It would stop right where I was standing. Soldiers would bring people out of those trains and onto the concrete platform you can see on the left. Then they would be sorted into two groups. One would have able-bodied men and women who were seen to have some sort of value or worth that could be exploited by the Camp. The other: children, the elderly, the weak, the sick, or anybody else they didn't want to use. The first group would be taken from this place into the Camp, where their lives would become a living hell in ways I can't even imagine. Most wouldn't survive more than a few weeks. The other group, having the majority of people who were brought off those trains, would be taken to what they were told was a shower block. It was a gas chamber that they used to murder every person who entered into it.
These train tracks are not just train tracks, they are a symbol of the horrors that so many people suffered. They show a history that we can never allow to be repeated.
Many miles be still to go, but under a tall tree will I lie and let the clouds go sailing by
This is Hannah. She is a bit mad, and absolutely fantastic. She has been one of my close friends for a very long time, so when we were both travelling Europe separately we decided to meet up in Iceland. This photo is from the western coast of Iceland. We had walked across the edge, looking out over the water, when Hannah's husband called out to us that we had just walked over a big crack. Instead of doing the smart thing and avoiding the precarious spot, we went straight back to take photos! A tour guide later told us "people with big cameras are crazy" - a quote I now live by! This shot has everything I love about Iceland. It has the freezing cold arctic waters, volcanic mountains in the distance, weird coloured rocks, and it immortalises a fun moment with a treasured friend.
Courage will now be your best defence against the storm that is at hand
I'm hoping that you've read these in order! This shot is from my favourite local beach - North Curl Curl, in Sydney. This is my favourite "people with big cameras are crazy" moment. It was mad and stupid and fun, and it produced some cool photos. I had been at work all day watching a big storm rolling in. I thought I would go to the beach after work and get some stormy beach photos. As I got there, the storm hit. I have never seen waves that big there before. I was wearing a dress, stockings, big jacket and scarf. Definitely not beach attire. I scrambled across the rocks you can see in the foreground, in pouring rain, taking photos that I couldn't even see because my lens was wet and foggy. It was thrilling. While I was there, a man came down the stairs to the pool (much smarter than going across the rocks in the rain) and just stood there watching the waves under his umbrella. I would love to know his story. This wave came up and crashed down on top of him. He left before I could get closer. It was a weird and wonderful day!