My 7 Super Shots
Leah Walker April 23, 2012

I’ve been tagged by Kit, the awesome lady behind Seek New Travel, to participate in HostelBookers’ 7 Super Shots. I’ve enjoyed looking at other bloggers’ photos, and am excited to share mine. I hope that you enjoy the pictures as much as I did taking them.

A photo that takes my breath away:

Waterford Ireland

I woke up in Waterford, Ireland to this most beautiful sight. Once I saw the reflection of the sunrise off the glass-like water, I immediately grabbed my camera. I stepped out onto my Granville Hotel balcony and captured this shot of the quay. There wasn’t a car on the road or a person in sight. It was such a wonderful way to begin the day.

A photo that makes me laugh or smile:


On my third day in Rio de Janeiro, I finally touched the ocean. It was a beautiful day on Leblon Beach and uncrowded to boot. I sat in my rented chair in the shade of an umbrella watching these kids play in the water. Although it was a warm day, the water was cold. These kids didn’t care, especially the smaller boy in the black sunga. He was like Odysseus challenging Poseidon. Check him out in the featured photo, too. Those kids made me laugh.

A photo that makes me dream:

Ancient Oaks

Along the Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans lies Oak Alley Plantation. I stopped here on a road trip from Houston to New Orleans last September. This is the view from the balcony of the antebellum mansion to the quarter-mile stretch of 300-year-old oak trees. This scene makes me dream of a bygone era where men were genteel and women didn’t sweat; they glistened.

A photo that makes me think:

Rio Ipanema

 On a Sunday morning in the Ipanema neighborhood of Rio, I was having brunch at Gringo Cafe. Over my Farmhouse Breakfast, I saw this lady walking along the sidewalk. Noticing her as well, Xochitl, the friend I was visiting in Brazil, told me that her name is Ana Marie. Known also as “the lady in the white bikini,” Ana used to be an actress and singer before becoming addicted drugs. Xochitl told me that she was known throughout the world for her beauty and that she speaks English, French, Italian, and Portuguese. Now she lives in Ipanema and requires her two brothers to act as caretakers due to her mental illness. Soon a documentary will be released about her life. Here’s a blog and a video with her story. If you don’t understand Portuguese, check out the comments section below for the translation by Xochitl.

When I pointed my camera at Ana Marie, she gave me a sweet, yet tragic, smile.

A photo that makes my mouth water:

New Zealand Benheim

My first two nights in New Zealand’s South Island were spent at the Walnut Block Cottages near Blenheim. My private cottage was located right in the middle of a field of grapes. The rolling landscape of the Marlborough Region stood in the distance and a giant walnut tree was a stone’s throw away. When I checked in, the owner pointed out a cherry orchard a short, ten-minute walk through the vines. She said that her in-laws owned it and that I was welcome to pick some. The next morning I walked down to the orchard, bag in hand, and filled it up with some of the most beautiful and sweet cherries I’d tasted. I sat on my front porch and drank wine and ate cherries for breakfast.

A photo that tells a story:

Yantai China

It was a rare, beautiful spring day in Yantai, China. The wind was blowing less than 30 miles per hour and the temperature was above 50 degrees. My husband and I walked along the Yellow Sea and watched the locals watching us. We posed for pictures and even spoke a little broken Chinese. I came upon this scene on the beach. No one was paying attention to us; they were just going about their business. There are so many different scenes in this one photo that could all stand alone. Put them together and they tell a brilliant story.

A photo that I’m most proud of (aka, my National Geographic shot):

New Zealand_Lake Tekapo

After nearly a month in New Zealand, it was time to leave. My next-to-last morning was spent in Tekapo. Famous for its glacier-made lake the color of turquoise, Tekapo is a favorite of New Zealand visitors. Before leaving for Christchurch, my husband and I made the awe-inspiring drive to Earth and Sky, the observatory on top of Mount John. We ate breakfast at the cafe and enjoyed one of the most beautiful views I’d ever seen. After poking around a little more, we made our descent down the mountain. In the distance along the narrow, steep road, we saw a couple dressed in wedding attire followed by two photographers. I pulled over and watched for a bit before capturing this photo. I can’t think of a more spectacular spot to have wedding portraits taken. Smashing.

Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Bonjour Paris, Luxe Beat Magazine, Four Seasons Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.


  1. When I read the stories that go with the pictures, they all of a sudden become so much more than just a pretty image. I really like the New Zealand picture. It is one of the locations I hope to go when I grow up :)
    I’m going to see if I can find some more info on the lady in the white bikini… It’s an intriguing story.


    1. Thanks, Raf. I think you’d love New Zealand. But then again, how could you not? It’d be great on a bike, I think. As for Ana Marie, I believe there was a article about her sometime before Carnival, but I’m not exactly sure when. My friend read it and told me about her over breakfast. I’ll see if I get the story again. If you find something, please send it to me.

  2. A few shots I had not seen, but the others were some of my most favorite too! Excellent choice!

    Information on Ana Maria, the lady of the white bikini…
    Slender Figurine from the 60’s, which roamed the streets of Joana Angelica, Vinicius de Moraes in the neighborhood of Ipanema.
    Polyglot, spoke english, french, italian, played piano, worked in Radio Globo, was married to Marcos Valle, participated in recordings of Sergio Mendes’ Album “Brasil 65”.
    She would call attention for her beautiful bronzed skin & her in tune voice. While married to Marcos Valle, she lived in New York, London, & LA.
    Her excessive drug abuse in 1969, put an end to her marriage & brought her back to her parents house in Ipanema. During that time, Ana, started having recurring psychotic outbreaks as well as wondering thru the neighborhood. Currently, Ana Maria lives under the guardianship of her two brothers,raggedly dressed, wandering with an empty shopping cart & talking to herself in the streets of Ipanema.
    In 2006, I was invited to participate in a booth in Fashion Rio, which gave homage to classic characters of the “carioca” beaches.
    Ana Maria was always dressed in blue, sometimes she uses pink & nowdays, she wears plastic flowers in her hair, which normally gets colored at one of the Werner Hair Salon franchises.
    The release of the documentary “Ana Maria, a mulher de Branco” (Ana Maria, the woman in white) is forseen for July 27th in Ipanema 2011

    1. You’re the best for sending the link and translating it for me. It’s such an interesting story, but I got some details jumbled up. I’m glad you were able to clarify.

  4. Thanks, Sandy. I used to have shots that I thought were great until I bought the DSLR. Now they just look sad. Actually the China and NOLA ones were taken with a point-and-shoot. I’m sure great photographers can take wonderful photographs even with the simplest equipment. Novices like me require a little more. :-)

  5. I think with a point and shoot, if you have HIGH PIXEL, you can get some great shots. I just got one with a 16 mg pixel, and it takes wonderful photos! I don’t always lug around my DSLR, but I always have my point and shoot in my purse. Then like we said, editing or enhancing helps too! Your photos have definitely improved and are lovely! You know how to work your camera and it shows!!!!

    1. Thanks, Gary. I took the Oak Alley photo on Friday, September 23, 2011. It was still really warm outside (as it is in southeast Louisiana). It was my first time seeing the trees, other than in pictures, so I didn’t realize they were full. How are they looking this spring?

    1. Thank you, Lisa. Those kids were having the best time. I didn’t need to speak Portuguese to realize that they were having fun. I loved the one girl playing with all the boys. That would have been me growing up.

  6. How fun! Great photos and, as someone else mentioned, they’re even lovelier after reading the little stories that go with them. I think my fave is of Oak Alley Plantation. The South is one place I have not spent ANY time, but that photo looks just as I imagine it would.

    1. I know I’ve told you before, but you must visit the South. It’s such a neat place and each state is slightly different from the next. Oak Alley is famous for those trees. It was the second plantation home I visited that day; the first was Nottoway. Check out my post on it here.

  7. Beautiful! I love how in the first one the reflection is actually brighter than the real thing. The picture of the lady in the bikini made me little sad…

    1. Thank you! I thought the reflection was odd too, Sabrina. I’m not sure why it was intensified. And yes, Ana Marie does have a very sad story. I’ll probably write a whole post about her later.

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Miss. Kit, for tagging me. This was so much fun to do. I know you’ll make it to New Zealand in 2013…because you want to go! Such the life of a digital nomad. 😉

    1. Lucky girl. I waited far too long to visit New Zealand and now everything compares to it. Can you believe those cherries? I just gave them a quick rinse and that was it. If you think the color is good, you should taste them. Heaven!

  8. Great shots! I really like the Oak Tree Plantation image…I’ve never been to that part of the US, but find those alleys of trees mesmerizing. Great shots…!!

    1. You should visit the South, preferably in the spring (crawfish season) or late fall (football season) when it’s not so hot. Oak Alley has been used in movies (Interview with a Vampire), tv shows, and even Beyonce’s music video for “Déjà Vu”. There’s lots of history there and the whole area in general. It’d be worth a trip for sure. Thanks for the kind words.

  9. Fantastic photos Leah! Love the one from Lake Tekapo! And the image from the plantation is amazing, before I read it I instantly though Plantation. Your photos come out so good, besides your awesome skills, what camera do you use?

    1. Thanks, Ryan. As you know, it’s hard to take a bad photo of Tekapo. I wouldn’t say that my skills are awesome, but thanks for the compliment. I use an old Nikon D50. It’s my first DSLR, so it’s a good camera to learn on. I’ll upgrade eventually. I did just buy a new lens recommended by a photographer friend of mine. I still have a ways to go. All pics were taken with that camera except the China and plantation shots. Those were with a Nikon point-and-shoot.

    1. And, here’s your reply, Ted. Thanks for stopping by AND commenting! LOL…I’m just starting to figure out all this DSLR stuff, so it’s a work in progress. Hopefully my Chicago pics turn out great, too.

  10. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this blog. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appearance. I must say that you’ve done a superb job with this. Also, the blog loads super fast for me on Firefox. Outstanding Blog!

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