1. The best picture you have ever taken of something/someone
2. The best picture of yourself & why you think it is.
3. A favorite picture that someone else took/painted/doodled
First is arguably the best picture I have ever taken. This is of a lake whose name I forget next to Jasper Park Lodge, in Alberta Canada. On our wonderful Canadian Rockies adventure a couple years ago we woke up early one morning at the lodge to walk around the lake. Very few people were out, just a handful of joggers, and there were elk and wolves crossing the path in front of us.
The best picture of myself is a tough one, because generally I don't like pictures of myself. I was tempted to choose a baby picture, but I got lazy and didn't feel like scanning one in. I found this one that a neighbor took of me the morning of my wedding. I like it because I was so happy and nervous, and I felt so pretty and special.
Also choosing a favorite picture someone else took or painted was tough. I've already shown my favorite painter, Rick Bollinger. I chose this picture not because of how great the picture is, but because of what it reminds me of. This was taken by my former colleague/boss/friend Dave, while we were traveling in South Africa. Here I am on the very top of Table Mountain in Capetown, after we had hiked all the way across the top of it, several miles.
South Africa was the coolest trip ever (and I've been a LOT of pretty cool places!). It was Dave's idea to go because he had been there once before, so I submitted several papers to be presented at a big wastewater conference and they were accepted. It took forever to get there, more than 24 hours on the same plane. That part was unbearable. But once we were there it was so great, with gorgeous scenery and all kinds of crazy wild animals (including my favorite, PENGUINS!) and tons of wine! Everything was so cheap too! We spent a whole day in Stellenbach (the wine country) touring vineyards with a local customer of ours and tasting the wares. We bonded over bottles and bottles of good wine. That's when I told him I had been trying to get pregnant. He was so caring and hopeful for me but bummed because he knew he'd probably be losing me as a salesperson soon. Anyway, if you ever get the chance to go to South Africa, JUMP at it. Here's a stock photo of Table Mountain, which rises up above the city of Capetown on the southwestern coast of Africa.
This photo is taken from Robben Island, in Table Bay, where the prison is that held Nelson Mandela for 23 years during the period of apartheid. During my visit I learned about how apartheid had destroyed South Africa, and how it was slowly rebuilding and regaining hope, ten years later. I saw the black townships, fenced in communities of shacks with no running water or electricity where the blacks were forced to live and many still do. I learned about the massive AIDS epidemic threatening to wipe out generations, and I saw what 37% unemployment looks like. But the hope and spirit of the people was so evident. People were nice, and not scary at all, black or white. The world left them behind during apartheid and now they want to the world to come back. And I think it should. I would totally retire there if it weren't so far away.