tirana for the new york times

Back in August I spent a few days in Tirana, Albania, photographing a travel story for the New York Times. Here are a few of the pictures that didn’t make it into the print edition. During the trip I met some of the most down-to-earth and inspiring people I’ve met in a while – cafe owners, winemakers and cooks. Thanks for making my visit so enjoyable.

 

People pass by the Pyramid in Tirana, Albania. The Pyramid was opened as a museum to commemorate the late ruler Hoxha. After the collapse of communism it served as a conference center and even became a NATO office during the conflict with Kosovo. 

The Komiteti Cafe and Museum in Tirana, Albania, was started by Arber Cepani and features relics from Albania's past, like these wall hangings that Cepani says are found in every home in Albania. Cepani, the son of an Albanian diplomat who spent about 20 years living abroad, says he believes it is important to know the history of your country and learn from it. For the younger generation, the cafe is a place to learn about the communist past. For the older generation Cepani says it is pure nostalgia.

Flori Uka is a winemaker that runs Uka Farm, his family's farm that produces fruits and vegetables for use in their restaurant just outside of Tirana, Albania. 

Radio Bar in Tirana, Albania, is known for its cocktails and good music. The bar often hosts live musicians and DJs.

Arios Banushi, 10, (left) and his younger brother Albi Banushi, 5, ride the Dajti Express in Tirana, Albania, up the side of Mount Dajti. The Banushis are from Tirana and were visiting the cable car with their grandparents. The journey takes 15 minutes and is the longest cableway in the Balkans. 

View of Tirana, Albania, looking toward Rinia Park and Skanderberg Square from Sky Tower.

Barista Iris Ibro works at Komiteti Cafe and Museum in Tirana, Albania. The cafe was started by Arber Cepani and features relics from Albania's past. 

Hyrie Hoxha plants green beans at Uka Farm in Tirana, Albania. The farm produces vegetables and fruits that are used in the farm's restaurant. Flori Uka, who runs the family farm, also makes biodynamic wines that are served at the restaurant. 

The mosaic on the front of the National Historical Museum in Tirana, Albania, depicts a tribute to Albanian history from the Illyrians to World War II partisans. 

Uka Farm in Tirana, Albania

Customers pick a spot to eat dinner while looking out at the vineyard at Uka Farm in Tirana, Albania. 

Many apartment buildings throughout Tirana, Albania, are painted in bright colors after Edi Rama (former mayor of Tirana and now primer minister of Albania) led an initiative to brighten post-communist Albania. This building is in the Xhamlliku neighborhood. 

Alma Verushi (left) and Laureta Verushi run Taverna e Kasap Beut in Tirana, Albania. One of their specialities is burek, a flaky pastry that can be filled with cheese, vegetables or meat. 

Many government ministry buildings along Skanderbeg Square were designed by fascist-era Italian architects in the 1920s in Tirana, Albania.

Radio Bar in Tirana, Albania, is known for its cocktails and good music.

short and sweet portrait of lima

 

Just wanted to share a short travel video and some images I shot in Lima to accompany Nicholas Gill’s story “Lima’s Melting Pot” in the May issue of SilverKris, the travel magazine of Singapore Airlines. Here in the southern hemisphere the grey skies of winter are upon us. Missing those beautiful summer sunsets!

 

Screen-Shot-2014-05-07-at-4.50.53-PM

Screen-Shot-2014-05-07-at-4.51.12-PM

Screen-Shot-2014-05-07-at-4.51.25-PM

Screen-Shot-2014-05-07-at-4.51.34-PM

Screen-Shot-2014-05-07-at-4.51.43-PM

Screen-Shot-2014-05-07-at-4.51.53-PM
 

earth day

I spent Earth Day in the Amazon, documenting four Amazonian manatees as they were released back into their natural habitat. As our boat was pulling back into Iquitos I turned around and saw this. I felt the awe of nature and an overwhelming gratefulness for being there at that very moment.

Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon

lima in national geographic traveler

I love shooting travel stories in Lima. While I may grumble about thieves, traffic and other undesirable characteristics of the city, while working on stories like these I am reminded of all its charming qualities and introduced to new people and places. Check out the iPad version of the story for more images.

Screen-Shot-2014-04-10-at-2.26.19-PMA

Screen-Shot-2014-04-10-at-2.42.27-PM May 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler

on the farm in la junta

Just brewed some tea we bought in Valdivia, Chile, and it brought back memories of one of my favorite places we visited on the trip – La Junta. We stayed with Francisca and Ruben, who open their home to travelers, mostly fishermen who come to hang out in and along the Palena River. Ruben shared his mate with us after his long day at work on the farm, and Francesa cooked us a savory lamb roast. We were their first guests of the season, and Oscar even got to drive the old farm truck! We planned to stay for just a night and ended up staying for two. I would have preferred to stay for a month!

Sheep in La Junta, Chile

Roosters, chickens in La Junta, Chile

Mate in La Junta, Chile

chiloé is magic

How is it possible that I did not even hear of the Chilean island of Chiloé until a few years ago? Honestly, this place is magic. Beautiful and peaceful landscapes, simple and kind people and flavorful food. It was the culinary highlight of our trip. Everything from curanto in the market in Dalcahue to the charming restaurant Mercadito in Castro.

chiloe, chileChurch in Curaco de Vélez / Castro