Tag Archives: travel photography

Travels abroad…Turkey Bound! ~ Turkey Travel Photography ~ Misti Layne

I love to travel and do it any chance I can get.  I went to Turkey a few years ago and knew I had to go back.  I’m a totally history geek so when I saw this trip included Troy, Ephesus, Hierapolis, Pergamum and more I knew I had to go.   It was filled with amazing history, lovely people, adorable animals and a great opportunity for photographs.  Now, I’m exhausted and need a weekend in Mexico to relax!  I hope you enjoy just a few of my images and the words I write are somehow conveyed here.  Thanks for looking!

Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey


Travels in Turkey

Blog by Misti Layne

Sandy, New York City and Me ~ San Francisco Photographer ~

Every year for many, many years I have gone to NYC once or twice a year.  I first went when I was 18, went to NYU and it holds a little bit of my soul.  This year was a bit different. I got caught in Hurricane Sandy.  It wasn’t so bad in Manhattan for me.  We were left in darkness but on 30th Street so walking to 39th Street wasn’t so bad.  For those downtown, it was a very different story.  My friend and I walked the Brooklyn Bridge then caught a cab back home.  Driving through Chinatown made me feel like it was war torn Vietnam.  No lights, nothing recognizable, no people and no English signs.  It left me with a sort of discombobulated feeling.  It didn’t feel like the place I’d known for so long.  I am glad I experienced it and of course, got home but for those who are still dealing with it I cannot fathom the pain and agony it has caused.    These images were taken with not the right equipment–I came prepared for head shots not a hurricane but I hope leaves some sense of what it was like to be there.

My Arista Winery Wedding on I Do Events! ~Napa Wedding Photographer~

I’m honored to have another wedding on I Do Events!  Michelle and Dan came all the way from New Jersey for their destination wedding at Arista Winery in Healdsburg.  They were such a lovely couple and their family and friends definitely brought Jersey to the West Coast by dancing long before the dance floor “opened”!   The day was lovely, intimate and fun was had by all.   The flowers were by Dragonfly Floral who really did a great job with the setting of the vineyard during the Fall season.   Taking them into the vineyards with the setting sun was just gorgeous.

This family owned winery is so beautiful and the McWilliams are just delightful.  There are two large lawns for the ceremony and reception as well as a Japanese Garden and of course vineyards.  During the Fall this is truly one of my favorite venues.   The wines, well they too are amazing.  Pinot Noir is my favorite and this is really one of the best.  A venue is a huge part of a wedding.  Some people even choose their date based on the availability of their favorite venue.  It sets the tone and atmosphere of the day whether you want a winery, seaside or 5 star hotel ballroom.

So when thinking of your venue start with what means the most to you.  Do you like nature and trees then there are a lot of locations nestled in the woods.  Seaside?  Well in California you have more options than anywhere else!  Hotels are so amazing in San Francisco that you can have new and modern lines like the Intercontinental or go retro in places like the Westin St. Francis and Palace Hotel.   But where ever you choose just love it and the people who coordinate there.  They will make sure it is as memorable as you hope.

Wine Country Wedding Portrait

Support the Le Sueur Cheetah Project!

I had a truly life changing experience in South Africa and I’d like to do something in return. The Le Sueur Cheetah Project was just truly an amazing experience for me. They need money and more so now because one of the cheetahs is pregnant which is wonderful. Please consider purchasing one of my images. All profits will go to Le Sueur. They really need support and I hope to do just a little bit. Thanks a ton!

Purchase images here… Help Le Sueur Cheetahs.

Holiday Abroad in South Africa

So I have been away for quite awhile and I hope you noticed!  I’ve actually been traveling in South Africa and just returned last week.  It was truly amazing and one of my most favorite trips ever.  I’m a total animal lover and spent time on safari but also at a monkey, lion, elephant and cheetah sanctuary.  This was the most amazing thing ever.  The people were so passionate about their jobs and the animals and were quite proud of their country and the conservation efforts that are being made.  We obviously have nothing like it here!  But here are some of my most favorite images and boy was it hard to get it down this far.  So I hope you enjoy a bit of my passion which are travel and animals and this was a lot of both!

Road Trip to the Southwest

I just returned from an amazing road trip.  This year I’ve decided I have to travel as much as possible and this one was about seeing friends, family and the road between.  First stop was West Hollywood, then Palm Springs and then off to Phoenix and back again.  It’s a really beautiful part of the country even if just sand, flat or hills.  The area around Palm Springs actually reminded me of the mountains of Mt. Sinai.    Watching the sunset at Sedona was really quite amazing.  I had no idea what that area was truly like but the sun never seemed to set the same way.  I definitely need to go back and see more.  But I walked away with a refreshed feeling and so glad to see friends and loved ones.  Seeing the beauty in the small things will surely help me in finding them in my assignments from weddings to portraits.  I’m so excited for this year and the people I will meet!

Ten tips for Travel Photography

The world is a much smaller place now than ever before and travel photography is something that is no longer done by a few professionals. Black and white photographs, portrait photography of locals and documentary or editorial photography is something we all do now with even the cameras in our phones. I recently returned from a Middle East tour of Egypt and Jordan. Both places I had been dreaming about going to for as long as I can remember. I travel a lot and it’s my biggest “vice” in life by far. Learning from other cultures and experiencing different ways of life can only enhance yours in a better way. It was a wonderful trip filled with amazing places and lovely people. So here is my 10 point bullet list for travel photography!

Click to continue reading “Ten tips for Travel Photography”

Holiday in the Middle East

I’ve always dreamed of seeing the Pyramids of Egypt and Petra and Wadi Rum in Jordan and finally made that dream happen this month.  It is an amazing place full of amazing people and just the best experience!  We had a very full 10 days but our tour director did a great job getting us around and seeing the most important things and learning a thing or two as well.  It’s a different world to be sure but we also share so many things and I walked away with great memories and many new friends.  A few marriage proposals too but alas I had to turn those down.   The Pyramids of Egypt were incredible and possibly the most amazing place I’ve ever been is Wadi Rum.  Truly breathtaking.

The people were so kind and fun.  At a mosque I was inundated by about 20 kids on a school outing who were asking me a bunch of questions and just as intrigued by me as I was of them.   I rode a camel that decided it didn’t want to go up the mountain but back home to dinner at a gallop but fortunately I was saved by my Bedouin who ran down to get him back.  That was fun!  But here are just  slight few of my favorites from an amazing holiday abroad to the Middle East.

Hello Michigan…

I’m originally from Michigan but left almost 17 years ago now.  I went back last month to see friends and family.   I always appreciate seeing everyone when I go back but I can’t say I enjoy the state in the middle of winter!  I snapped a few shots while driving to the airport and counted the cars in the ditches-12 plus one ambulance.    Just a few days later I was driving Highway 5 to Los Angeles.  The difference was remarkable but both beautiful in their own way.  I was driving only once while taking these photos I swear!  You can figure out which is where!

Travel Photography in Ireland

What a beautiful country.  I always love traveling just at the beginning of the winter season.  The light is ten times more dramatic, far less tourists to contend with and the mood is always kind of more festive with the oncoming of the December holidays.  Last year I walked the streets of Auschwitz almost alone, saw the festivities of the holidays in town squares like Berlin and Vienna and Warsaw. It’s just more amazing than the blue sky and green grass of summer in my opinion.  So this year was a great follow up.  The skies poured on us often but left such amazing scenes to photograph.  You just don’t get that in summer.  So please enjoy my somewhat touristy photos and more artistic visions that happened during my time in Ireland.

Travel Photography…NYC in the Fall

This is absolutely my favorite time of year and especially in New York City.  The crisp air, colors and light is just the best.  Here are a bunch of photos I took on my average 6 mile per day walk.  It’s the best way to see the City by far.  I used the Canon Mark II for this to test as I’d just gotten it which was fun but I sure missed my film camera!!!  Remember when you travel always keep your camera with you!  You just never know what you may see.


I’ve just returned from a networking party.  I would have never gone to the party alone but I was invited by a friend, so I decided to go.  I’m so glad I did because I ran into people I knew, but I never would have done it had my friend not been there.  I’m a total wallflower.  People never believe me on this but it is true.  I’ve heard it over and over about how I have an outgoing personality and am warm and inviting but that’s after the first introduction.  I’m a mouse until then and hell if I know why.  Once the “first move” is made I’m OK but I’m never one to initiate a conversation in a group setting.  My façade is the one of the beautiful woman who is so self-assured that nothing bothers her.  WRONG.
As I have aged, hopefully gracefully, my insecurities have waned greatly.  My high school reunion is coming up and I have a strong feeling I’ll see again where a lot of my insecurities were born and bred; it helps a lot that I’m expecting many of my former classmates to have lost their hair, grown exponentially in girth and have added a few dozen wrinkles.  But I didn’t say I was completely confident and over my resentment of the bullies I endured in school.  So, on a recent trip to Las Vegas I had a late dinner at the bar of a hotel off the strip.
When I travel alone I love to sit at the bar.  I guess it is where my comfort zone lives because you always feel like you are not “alone” or getting the looks of “ohh, poor her all alone”.  Of course I had my camera with me and the ambient lighting of the bar was fabulous which consisted of muted warm lights except for blue votives on the bar.   I took the far end by the TV, which had some obnoxious commentator going off about some mundane subject like it was the last day of life as we know it.  There were two couples on the other side of the bar and my eye, of course, casually watched their story unfold.  The key to this photograph was the reflection and the unknown of who belonged to the glasses, the hands and the reflections.  Yes, I saw their faces but I actually tried to blank them out because sometimes you can see more in a gesture than in a facial expression.  What I saw in each of their faces directly was just a façade.  I watched the hands on the wine glasses, the plates of food on the bar and watched the reflections of facial expressions in the high gloss of the bar itself.  The extension of their bodies became what was real.  You can smile when you don’t mean too, so your gestures end up telling the true story every time.
I’ll start with the two white wine glasses in the forefront and the people to whom they belonged.  They were very comfortable with each other, though it was the kind of comfortable though that comes with time, a lot of time.  They were in their late forties, perhaps early fifties and from out of town.  OK, that part is obvious as we were in a hotel bar in Las Vegas but bear with me.  They didn’t say much to each other or the bartender.  The hand movements were slow and methodical and when I watched, their facial expressions mimicked their hands.  They would rarely look at each other and when they did it was a glance.  When they spoke to each other it was minimal.  Now, I’m not an expert in reading people but I think it is obvious that with this couple the flame was burning out, or completely gone and sitting in the bar helped to pass the time.  The façade here was one of we are just fine and happy to be here but in reality it was not coming off that way at all.  It was difficult to watch them because their lack of connection with each other made me feel like an intruder.
Now, let’s move on to the much more interesting couple at the end of the bar.  You can see her reflection in the bar top.  She was a bit older than me, full of life and very animated.  The gentleman she was with was more subdued but honestly, I could only really see the back of his head; so he could have just been enthralled with her and quite the conversationalist himself.  I’ll be perfectly blunt here and say, both couples understood they were getting laid as soon as dinner and the last cocktail were over.  This couple showed a bit of childishness in their expressions and the giddiness carried over to when they held their glasses or took a bite of food.  The hand would hold the glass and gestures would have to be restrained from letting the liquid spill over the rim.  When taking a bite of food it was with a smile and nodding enthusiastically to what the other was saying.  It was amusing to watch them but they were also obvious.  So what was the façade each one wore that night?  The one that we have all worn a time or two, the one that doesn’t reveal what we ourselves are afraid of because we can’t reveal this side, our true side, to others too soon in fear of judgment, personal insecurities or abandonment.
Five people from different places and in Las Vegas for different reasons are sitting at a bar and each wearing a different façade.  A beautiful woman giddy from the thought of being alone with the man next to her and he just as enthralled with her, and both on their best behavior and putting their best foot forward. Then there is the other woman of average looks and her partner for the evening just going through the motions for another day.  Then there is myself with no one to impress, no one to tolerate and also wearing a façade which consisted of a person minding her own business and most definitely not.  I’ll have to be honest and admit to being the one wearing the most deceitful veneer of all.


My father has been in the National Guards since 1965.  He went to war for the first time when Iraq invaded Kuwait.  Now once again, he has just returned from Iraq where he spent one year “boots-on-ground”.  His job was driving for miles back and forth across Iraq to provide supplies and support for the Fourth Infantry.  This was his job and he accepted the call to duty.  I admire that quality greatly.  I learned early in life from him that there are times when you just have to do what you have to do.   Accepting the inevitable and unchangeable just makes it easier.  However, this was a major life change for my father that greatly impacted many of us who know him.
I gave my father a job when he left and it was twofold in purpose.  First, it gave him something to do and to think about other than being in the middle of a war where he wasn’t wanted and where he certainly didn’t want to be. Second, it gave me insight into his life and the lives of Iraqi’s in the way I love and understand best through photography.  I sent a camera, film and the objective to not stop taking photographs and he complied as all good soldiers do.  To my surprise however, he impressed me with his vision and I now wonder if my inexplicably innate photography skills may have actually come from him.
My father took about 1000 photographs while he was in Iraq and Kuwait but unfortunately, some of this film was lost in the mail.  He says he took many of the photos while imagining me sitting by his side on his endless journeys.  He hoped he was capturing photos that would tell the story of his life and travels while in Iraq.  My dad took this job very seriously and impressed me greatly not only with his ambition to do a good job and satisfy his daughter’s whim and fancy but with the fact that he actually did a good job.
He took many photos that would likely bore an uninterested person and he took many photos that made you look twice, think and reflect.  They all helped to tell the story of a soldier at war.  One photo in particular hit me immediately and it is a photo I get lost in and can imagine taking myself.  I may however, would have actually over thought it and the fact that it was so quick of a decision and reflex on my father’s part to take the photograph is part of its allure.
The photo is of a solitary man walking in a plowed field, head bent down and dressed in a robe and head scarf. There is a bar in the photo and you realize it was taken out of the window of a military truck moving down an Iraqi road but it frames the man perfectly.  It was just a split second decision by my father to take the photo but the impact of being the voyeur of a voyeur really hits me.  I’m still trying to come to terms with the force I’ve been hit with by this man that I will never know. I know it is odd. He is just a man, whose face I can’t even see, who lives thousands of miles away and lives a life I will never understand.  But what is his role in the universe and why did he enter my thoughts so strongly just from a photograph that I didn’t even take?
Here is a man isolated in numerous ways.  He is in a country at war and possibly wondering if life will ever get better while those in uniform are likely wondering if they will get back to their better lives.  He is in a field that is not producing and does he even have the means to make it flourish?  He is walking alone, looks lonely and this is highlighted even more in the photograph by the vehicle window bar framing him perfectly.  This image is so simplistic but with imagination, knowledge and heart it becomes a whole lot more than a man walking alone and you have no choice but to wonder how his life has been impacted since men and women like my father started to cross his path.  Here, for a moment in time, are two men who live thousands of miles apart with completely different lives who cross paths for but a split second but both just hoping life gets better than what it is now.  That is what my imagination, heart and knowledge of the situation tell me.
My father going to war was an unwanted impact in my life.  This photograph of a strange man has made an impact I have yet to figure out.  For my father, he is a mere sentence in the story of his life at war and my pops just doesn’t see it as I do.  But for this strange man, this is the complete story of his life from which he likely won’t escape or even want to leave.  This is his country, his homeland, his field, his dirt, his birthplace and the place where he will most likely die.  Does he live and will he die alone just as he walks unaccompanied in this photograph?  No one, absolutely no one, will ever know because this man doesn’t know that I even exist let alone that I am wondering about his life based on a photograph taken by my father.  Am I reading more into it than I should?  I think that is what makes this photograph an art piece.  I really want to analyze and understand not just view what is before me.
My dad is safe, has a warm bed again and is happy to be home.  What of this man in the field?  This war is not yet over for him but I hope he is safe and warm as well, even with the unwanted impact on his life that he still suffers.

Here are my photos of my dad’s return…


Why is art supposed to move and inspire us? Art is found in ancient caves and under incredible security in multimillion dollar buildings in Paris, New York City, Florence and Rome and hundreds of other cities. How is it that we found some items to be particularly moving and important or of any value? Why do we need someone to tell us what art is suppose to be? Does saying something is priceless really make it priceless? Why do we favor one work of art by the same artist over another? Why does one medium thrill us and another bore us? I’ve seen the Mona Lisa, and I was not impressed; not with the painting itself, although other works of art have moved me more, but with the atmosphere of her location. Under this thick case, with soft lighting and a line in front of it that you cannot cross, all you can see is her smirk and sparkling eyes. Then you hear twelve different languages around you all trying to decipher what she is all about. As you make your way through the touristy crowd to get a better view, someone taller comes along and stands dead center in your view. Honestly, I’d rather stand in a cave looking at a simpler painting that is a thousand years old rendering an outline of a human form created by human hands.

I love art and I am completely fascinated by the known and unknown creators, the mediums they used to create and the history behind their pieces. Egyptian wigs, chairs and toys can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum in New York City and considered art because of the intricacies that embodies them. It is amazing when you start to think about the anonymous person who wove these tiny braids for a wig and the unrecognized painter who painted bright colors for toys. And then seeing Michelangelo’s David in Florence, I had no idea from photographs that this sculpture was more than life size and just as beautiful as you hoped it would be in person. So here, we have the unknown artists and Michelangelo. We all know Michelangelo to be an eccentric and incredibly talented in many ways, but does knowing this makes his work more inspiring to the human soul than an unknown? Why do we have a need to analyze art all the time rather than just letting it automatically overwhelm the spirit and bring us to an emotion we didn’t have before we saw the piece?

When I see something that makes me want to pick up my camera and photograph it, what motivated me to do so? Did something truly inspire me or did it all just “click”? I’ve never had the nerve to have a gallery show because I couldn’t bear the thought of being criticized, and most importantly I couldn’t stand to hear people say, “I wonder what on earth possessed her to take that image?” In all honesty, I really don’t know the answer to my question. For the most part, I just see something and feel the desire to pick up the camera and capture it. Perhaps I look where others may not, but that is just being observant. That “take a breath and stop moment” happens often than we think in our busy lives. Many people don’t just stop to smell the freaking roses and are missing out on moments that could inspire them in some way if, they just stopped to notice.

When I was walking around Paris on a very wet, dreary day, I saw the leaves just lying sporadically below my feet and could see the texture of their crackly, dry forms lying on a wet, cold surface next to a dark stone wall. The combination of textures and lights and darks and reflection were just fascinating. Honestly, I didn’t know how the photo would turn out but I had that ‘Ahh’ moment and knelt down and took a few photographs. I wasn’t looking for the moment, it just came upon me and I was able to just stop and let it inspire me.

As I look at the image that inspired me, I can remember the exact day and the mood I was in. I had feelings of loneliness and sadness with a sudden desire to hold the hand of almost anyone. I felt as if this sadness would go on forever, and that there was no one to see and understand what I was experiencing. Did my feelings set the mood which, inspired the image or did the image I see at the time, a photograph in my head, inspire my feelings?

Perhaps art exists so that we can be inspired to think and feel and question and know that there is no right answer. While we may not have the time to look for ourselves as to what can inspire us on a daily basis, thankfully, there are people who take the time to interpret and show us what should be seen and appreciated.

I think it is wonderful to travel around the world and fight crowds to discover art we hadn’t seen before, especially when the art itself was created in a quiet moment, in a quiet place, by a single person who found the vision to create. Maybe it is just like the inspiration to create a small piece of the human form by placing a hand on a wall and outlining the human touch.