What is your favorite photo you’ve ever taken?
I love photography. I love appreciating beautiful photographs, with their color, their composition, or their subject. And I love taking photographs, especially scenic landscapes and flower close-ups.
I’m an avid traveler, having lived in or visited 36 countries so far. I have taken countless pictures of the beautiful vistas I’ve seen. Like watching the clouds roll down the mountains as a river would, from my vantage point on the Great Wall of China, with dawn about to break. Or that time I peered across a perfectly placid Lake Atitlán to the rising volcano on the opposite shore. And climbing to the top of the travertine terraces of Pamukkale, witnessing the setting sun paint the sky gorgeous oranges, pinks, and purples.
But there’s been one photo I’ve taken that stands out from the rest. It’s the photo that I think of first, whenever I’m asked about what I like to take pictures of. It’s of Mount Everest.
I remember being out of breath, and suffering from a headache and persistent nausea. I had “mild” altitude sickness. I was cold, uncomfortable, and grumpy. I look back on my visit to Everest Base Camp, taking for granted how much of an incredible opportunity it was to see the peak. Mt. Qomolangma, as she’s known in Tibet, is frequently cloaked in clouds, so being there to see her peak is rare.
I remember clambering up a small hill, looking out over the tents of trekkers, acclimatizing to the altitude for a couple weeks at Base Camp 1. Buddhist prayer flags are ubiquitous, draped liberally over the Himalayan mountain range. I saw one particular thread of flags, and I saw how they would frame a picture beautifully, with Everest’s peak, peeking back at me.
With short, shallow breaths, I kneeled down and composed my favorite photo I’ve ever taken: