Tag Archives: travel

Best of 2015

January is flying by! I meant to post this earlier in the new year, but got caught up with breaking news coverage and designing and preparing a magazine for print single-highhandedly. It’s been a year of changes and introspection for me. I’ve felt isolated as a photojournalist and I’ve been shedding layers of my identity to find what’s at my core. Changing means growth, but it can be hard. I’ve found myself bursting into tears for no known reason, yet still pushing my physical and mental limits. I think I’ve found a lot of solace in the past by associating with other photographers, dancers, outdoor adventurers, and I still do. Yet I’m learning, slowly and surely, that those things are what I do, not who I am.

Check out some of my favorite images from 2015 in a grid! (Because why not make more art out of my primary medium?)

BESTOFGRID-2015-small

And here’s some highlights from 2015, including personal adventures and career developments. I’m grateful for all the people and experiences I encountered in 2015.

  • Spent many weekends backcountry skiing, fully embracing the chill of winter and snuggling with fluffy huskies post ski.
  • Took the Amtrak train to San Francisco, and a Chinese tour bus back home, to photograph a travel story.
  • Danced through a winter bluegrass concert with my best friend.
  • Skied under the full moon on the largest flat top mountain in the U.S.
  • Performed to live piano music written by Debussy, an innovative French composer.
  • Mountain biked at night, for the first time, in Sedona, Arizona.
  • Danced and modeled chainmail in the annual Paonia, Colorado fashion show.
  • Backpacked through Canyonlands National Park in Utah.
  • Taught dance and watched young girls get more comfortable with their bodies.
  • Shoveled 700 pounds of coal in just over 2 min!
  • Trekked in the Weminuche wilderness in Colorado, stopping to swim in every alpine lake along the way! We also met a herd of mountain goats!
  • Ran the four pass loop in the Maroon Bells wilderness of Colorado, finished multiple trail races, and my first trail marathon!
  • Attended NPPA’s Women in Photojournalism conference, Geekfest, Summit Workshops for Adventure Photography, and Mountain Workshops in Kentucky, meeting many passionate photographers and visual journalists along the way.
  • Built a bed and storage in the back of my Subaru Outback.
  • Spent my birthday and Thanksgiving climbing sandstone cliffs in Indian Creek, Utah with my whole family
  • Met my partner’s family in Oregon for Christmas, climbing and skiing in the midst of the chaos.
  • Completed a personal portrait challenge, taking someone’s portrait every day for a month.
  • Moved into a beautiful farmhouse with 13 fabulous folks, where we create, share delicious meals, and have spontaneous dance parties.
  • Worked on multiple photo stories throughout the West, helped redefine print and web design elements, and developed a more robust data visualization system for High Country News.

 

Touring the West

A few weeks ago, reporter Judith Lewis Mernit and I boarded a bus with Lassen Tours, whose primary customers are Chinese, to discover how foreigners experience the West. In 72 hours we traveled from San Fransisco to Las Vegas with stops at natural spectacles like the Grand Canyon and Death Valley. An outlet mall, fruit stands, singing fountains and Asian restaurants also made an appearance on the quick trip. Mernit summed up our perspective of the experience pretty well in the resulting High Country News article: “Both Warren and I had lived in other countries, places where we had learned the languages and tried our best to blend in with the locals. But our Chinese friends were having none of that. It occurred to us both in the same moment that we were not observing a troupe of Chinese visitors in the West attempting to adapt to our culture. We were traveling on a mobile China as it moved through the American West. And the American West was expanding — with restaurants, shopping and spectacles — to include them.” Read the resulting article here and see a few frames that didn’t make it in the story below.

A family on a tour bus and local workers chow down in McDonald's on Interstate 5 in California.

A family on a tour bus and local workers chow down in a McDonald’s off Interstate 5 in California. Brooke Warren/High Country News

Tour guide for Lassen tours Raymond Tse rattles off the day's itinerary once the bus arrives in Las Vegas after driving from San Fransisco.

Tour guide for Lassen tours Raymond Tse rattles off the day’s itinerary once the bus arrives in Las Vegas after driving from San Fransisco. Brooke Warren/High Country News

Henry Lu tries on sunglasses in Sunglass Hut at the Tanger Outlets in Barstow, Calif. Seventy percent of the store's paying customers arrive on Asian tour buses.

Henry Lu tries on sunglasses in Sunglass Hut at the Tanger Outlets in Barstow, Calif. Seventy percent of the store’s paying customers arrive on Asian tour buses. Brooke Warren/High Country News

Chinese tourists Wen Hua Lee and Leo Liu Jun take pictures of their husband/father Jie Qi Liu in Death Valley National Park.

Chinese tourists Wen Hua Lee and Leo Liu Jun take pictures of their husband/father Jie Qi Liu in Death Valley National Park. Brooke Warren/High Country News

Tourists walk in Badwater in Death Valley National Park.

Tourists walk in Badwater in Death Valley National Park. Brooke Warren/High Country News

Korean tourists Zo Sun-Hwa and Park Young-Gu take a selfie at the Badwater salt flats in Death Valley National Park.

Korean tourists Zo Sun-Hwa and Park Young-Gu take a selfie at the Badwater salt flats in Death Valley National Park. Brooke Warren/High Country News

Palm trees cast shadows on a building in Las Vegas, Nev.

Palm trees cast shadows on a building in Las Vegas, Nev. Brooke Warren/High Country News

Leo Liu Jun, 10, contemplates gelato flavors at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Nev. with his mother Wen Hua Lee.

Leo Liu Jun, 10, contemplates gelato flavors at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Nev. with his mother Wen Hua Lee. Brooke Warren/High Country News

(right to left) Vietnamese tourists Tran Phuoc and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lien walk through Las Vegas, Nev. with their daughter.

(right to left) Vietnamese tourists Tran Phuoc and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lien walk through Las Vegas, Nev. with their daughter. Brooke Warren/High Country News

On Track(s)

Last week I traveled from Colorado to California by train to catch a bus to Las Vegas for a photo assignment. I know, complicated. But it worked. Riding the train was an interesting way to see the West and learn about the historic route. The section between Denver and Salt Lake City is said to be one of the most scenic routes on the rail. Still, the most interesting sights on the train to me were the people.

A passenger reads in an Amtrak train at the Grand Junction station on Feb. 15, 2015.

A passenger reads in an Amtrak train at the Grand Junction station on Feb. 15, 2015.

Conductor Tom Rawlings has worked the scenic route between Grand Junction and Salt Lake City, where he lives, for 2 years. Before working for Amtrak, he spent 30 years as an engineer on historic steam engines.

Conductor Tom Rawlings has worked the scenic route between Grand Junction and Salt Lake City, where he lives, for 2 years. Before working for Amtrak, he spent 30 years as an engineer on historic steam engines.

Passengers disembark the Amtrak train on Feb. 16, 2015.

Passengers disembark the Amtrak train on Feb. 16, 2015.

Passengers focus on their electronic devices while riding the train.

Amtrak passengers focus on their electronic devices.

Memories from 2014

Like many people I looked back through all the pictures I’ve collected in 2014 and sifted and sorted to find photo’s that sparked a special memory or spoke to a new style. These aren’t necessarily my best pictures of 2014–although some of them are favorites–but they each tell a story.

They tell stories of courage, travels, new friends, exploration and beginnings.

Girls twirl in their wool polleras in the village of Perka, Peru on the shore of Lake Titicaca.

Girls twirl in their wool polleras in the village of Perka, Peru on the shore of Lake Titicaca on June 24, 2014. Each village or region has a different style, which is influenced by indigenous and Spanish colonial clothing.

Cahalen Morrison & Country Hammer perform on top of a haystack in Paonia, Colo.

Cahalen Morrison &; Country Hammer perform on top of a haystack in Paonia, Colo.

Fiery leaves rise above Aspens that have already shed their fronds on Kebler Pass in Colorado.

Fiery leaves rise above Aspens that have already shed their fronds on Kebler Pass in Colorado.

Morgan Foster

Morgan Foster in the snow in Bellingham, Wash.

Steve capes a buck dear for a wall mount.

Steve Kossler capes a buck deer for a wall mount in Paonia, Colo. “Some people don’t like hunting,” he says. “but it’s just part of the West.”

Climbing trip in Indian Creek brings people out to crush cracks and get high.

Michelle Brugiere starts a climb in Indian Creek, Utah while Jeff Montgomery dons his festive pimp hat.

IndianCreek 3.2014-BrookeWarren1385

Morgan Foster approaches South Six Shooter on the morning of March 28, 2014. South Six Shooter and North Six Shooter, in the background, are two solitary towers that stand northwest of the cragging buttresses in Indian Creek, Utah.

Brian Calvert searches for elk in the West Elks wilderness. This was the first time he has gone out hunting since childhood.

Brian Calvert rests while tracking elk in the West Elks Wilderness. This was the first time he has hunted since childhood.

On his 90th birthday, Gerald Warren reads The Economist. He reads the magazine cover to cover every time it arrives at his doorstep. When asked about what he read he says, "I don't remember, but I know it was good."

On his 90th birthday, Dec. 21, 2014, Gerald Warren reads The Economist. He reads the magazine cover to cover every time it arrives at his doorstep. When asked about what he read he says, “I don’t remember, but I know it was good.”

Victor Ayma Qoyso plays the harp. Brooke Warren 2014

Atop a mountain 13,000 feet above sea level near Maracuay, Peru, Victor Ayma Qoyso, 71, gently strums his harp and sings a high pitched melody in Quechua that extends across the hills. The harp came to the Andes of Peru during the Spanish colonization and has become part of the sound of the Andes.

Aboreal Carcasses

Katherine Darrow treks through a burned forest in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile on Dec. 11, 2013. About 125 square miles of land were burned in a forest fire started by a campfire in December 2011.

Katherine Darrow treks through a burned forest in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile on Dec. 11, 2013. About 125 square miles of land were burned in a forest fire started by a campfire in December 2011.

One of the strangest landscapes in Patagonia are the forests of tree skeletons. The burned bark of the beech tree known as the lenga in Chile (Nothofagus pumilio) turns white after the black char has weathered off, making them appear even more like bones. Fires are strictly prohibited in National Parks in Chile, partly due to the catastrophic forest fires that have burned through Torres del Paine National Park. The most recent fire was in 2011 when the flame from burnt toilet paper blew out of control in the strong wind that is characteristic of the area. The forests are slowly returning, and the pioneer species that carpet the land soon after the fire keep the ground green. For now, the aboreal carcasses remind any hikers or climbers not to start fires in the area.

Tree skeletons from a forest fire in 2011 spread across the landscape in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. The fierce and constant wind in the area makes any fire a potential hazard.

Tree skeletons from a forest fire in 2011 spread across the landscape in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. The fierce and constant wind in the area makes any fire a potential hazard.

Zac Cobb, left, and Connor Watumull dash through a section of burned forest in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile.

Zac Cobb, left, and Connor Watumull dash through a section of forest killed by a debris flow in French Valley of Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile.

Mercados y Mariscos

A vendor displays an octopus, one of the many types of seafood he sells each day.

A vendor displays an octopus, one of the many types of seafood he sells each day.

Vendors at a fish market in Santiago, Chile chant their prices and hail customers to buy their seafood. They keep the fish for up to five days, while periodically laying it on fresh ice, before it is no longer deemed fresh. Seafood is part of the traditional Chilean diet due to the country's easy access to the Pacific Ocean.

Vendors at a fish market in Santiago, Chile chant their prices and hail customers to buy their seafood. They keep the fish for up to five days, while periodically laying it on fresh ice, before it is no longer deemed fresh. Seafood is part of the traditional Chilean diet due to the country’s easy access to the Pacific Ocean.

Katherine Darrow, a tourist from the United States, explores the traditional markets in Santiago, Chile.

Katherine Darrow, a tourist from the United States, explores the traditional markets in Santiago, Chile.

Women sell a variety of foods in their stalls at a traditional market in Santiago, Chile. Many Chileans shop at supermarkets, but open-air markets are still popular, especially to buy produce.

Women sell a variety of foods in their stalls at a traditional market in Santiago, Chile. Many Chileans shop at supermarkets, but open-air markets are still popular, especially to buy produce.

Penguinos

A ferry leaves Tres Puntas dock in Punta Arenas each morning filled with an international population of almost 100 tourists. After surging across a vast expanse of blue water, the boat drops the people off on Isla Magdalena, a small island populated by Magellanic Penguins and other seabirds. While the people are confined to a six-foot-wide pathway leading to a lighthouse, the penguins have full control of the land. Burrows, densely scattered about, house penguin families where fluffy grey chicks are just beginning to peek out. A waddle of the black and white birds waddle and splash near the shoreline and others watch the humans walking by.

This popular tourist attraction brings in thousands of people each year, and the penguins still enjoy their little dot of land.

A tour group takes a ferry to visit a population of Magellanic Penguins on Isle Magdalena. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. The birds are monogomous and the males make their nests in burrows that cover the landscape.

A monogamous pair of penguins “kiss” on Isla Magdalena on Dec. 10, 2013. The males make their nests in burrows that cover the island.

A tour group takes a ferry to visit a population of Magellanic Penguins on Isle Magdalena. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. The birds are monogomous and the males make their nests in burrows that cover the landscape.

Magellanic Penguins dot the landscape of Isle Magdalena where a tour group takes a ferry to visit the birds. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion.

A tour group takes a ferry to visit a population of Magellanic Penguins on Isle Magdalena. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. The birds are monogomous and the males make their nests in burrows that cover the landscape.

Humans and Magellanic Penguins share a space while the people tour the penguin’s habitat on Isla Magdalena on Dec. 10, 2013. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. The birds are monogamous and the males make their nests in burrows that cover the landscape.

Magellanic Penguins dot the landscape of Isle Magdalena where a tour group takes a ferry to visit the birds. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion.

Magellanic Penguins dot the landscape of Isle Magdalena where a tour group takes a ferry to visit the birds. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion.

A tour group takes a ferry to visit a population of Magellanic Penguins on Isle Magdalena. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. The birds are monogomous and the males make their nests in burrows that cover the landscape.

People take pictures of a Magellanic penguin entering its nest on Isla Magdalena on Dec. 10, 2013. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. The birds are monogamous and the males make their nests in burrows that cover the landscape.

A tour group takes a ferry to visit a population of Magellanic Penguins on Isle Magdalena. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. The birds are monogomous and the males make their nests in burrows that cover the landscape.

A seagull protects her eggs resting in her nest near the trail by flapping her wings in people’s faces if they get too close.

A tour group takes a ferry to visit a population of Magellanic Penguins on Isle Magdalena. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. The birds are monogomous and the males make their nests in burrows that cover the landscape.

Magellanic penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. This bird survived a sea lion attack, but didn’t come away without wounds.

A tour group takes a ferry to visit a population of Magellanic Penguins on Isle Magdalena. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. The birds are monogomous and the males make their nests in burrows that cover the landscape.

Magellanic Penguins mosey around Isle Magdalena on Dec. 10, 2013. The penguins usually live to be about 25 years old, unless they are eaten by a sea lion. The birds are monogamous and the males make their nests in burrows that cover the landscape.