A picture says a thousand words. Nothing captures a moment in time quite like a photograph. You can describe your feelings and what you are seeing with words, but all it takes is a snapshot to instantly transform the reader to a time and place. We travelled to over 20 destinations on 5 continents this year, it’s amazing that Dave had the chance to even edit any of his photographs, let alone prepare them for articles and posts every day. And now he has compiled this beautiful round up of ThePlanetD’s year in pictures.

It is one of the highlights our travel blog, Dave’s photography. He was published in the Lonely Planet Traveller Magazine, Flight Centre Magazine, the Toronto Star and the Globe and Mail this year. He was named one of Manfrotto’s favourite photographers, he has become a StaffPro at Fstop Gear, his photos will be featured in the Flying Kiwi’s  brochure and he’s run workshops and webinars about the art of photography. ThePlanetD has won a few best photography blogging awards and photography contests as well in 2011. All in all, it was a good year for photography here.

So enough of me gushing over his talent, enjoy ThePlanetD’s year in pictures, it was a good one.

2012 Year in Pictures


year in pictures penguins in antarctica

A special penguin moment in Antarctica

The stars of Antarctica are the penguins. They are the cutest most adorable creatures on earth and even though they smell like death warmed over, you can never get enough of their cuteness.

year in pictures quark expeditions

Antarctica Landscape

This is the photograph that was featured in Lonely Planet Traveller magazine featuring Quark Expeditions as a top cruise experience in the world. Antarctica was so outstanding, we felt that it deserved to be featured twice in our Year in Pictures round up.

Galapagos Islands

Year in Pictures sea lion

Sea Lion in the Galapagos Islands

The wildlife of the Galapagos Islands is like no other and nothing is as cute as the sealions sleeping anywhere they can. You’ll even see them catching a nap on a park bench downtown.

Year in pictures Galapagos Islands

The Marine Iguana of the Galapagos Islands

So the iguanas may not be as cuddly as the sea lions, but seriously, look at that face! The Galapagos Islands was one of those special destinations that was also so special, we had to feature it twice in our year in pictures review.


Year in pictures, roman forum

The Roman Forum in Italy

It was our first time to Rome. We didn’t know what to expect, but we weren’t prepared for the ancient monuments and ruins scattered throughout the entire city. Rome is one of the most unique urban areas on the planet.


year in pictures 2012

The Gondolas of Venice, Italy

Not to be outdone by Rome, Venice is another unique Italian destination. We were surprised with just how much walking one could do there. We had visions of all of Venice being only accessible by boat, but you can get lost walking through the maze of narrow streets. This however, is the iconic image of the city.


Year in Pictures, Florence

Florence, Italy at sunset

Nothing is as beautiful as a sunset over Florence. Standing by the statue of David, (there are three in Florence) we overlooked the city and watched the  fire in the sky.


Year in pictures sunset in croatia

Sunset on the Island of Rab, Croatia

Just before setting off on a 10-day paddling excursion with Sea Kayak Croatia, we spent a beautiful night in luxury on the island of Rab. This is the sunset from our balcony window.

year in pictures kayaking croatia

The beautiful landscape while Kayaking in Croatia

Ok, I lied. Croatia was one of those destinations that deserve more than one photograph. It was on beaches such as this that we camped each night with our guide Baffo.

Catalunya, Spain

year in pictures gaudi

Gaudi in Barcelona, Spain

It may be it’s own country soon. Catalunya may lose the “Spain” and simply become Barcelona, Catalunya. Spain will be losing it’s most beautiful city if the country splits up, but either way, you can’t deny the splendour of the works of Gaudi.

year in pictures, the pyrenees

The view was magnificent in Catalonia, Spain

Catalunya has the best of all of Spain. It has spectacular coast lines, beautiful cities and breathtaking mountains. We weren’t prepared for this view as we hiked through the Pyrenees.


year in pictures maui sunset

Sunset in Maui, Hawaii

We highlighted some great adventures in Maui such as kite surfing, paddle boarding and outrigger canoeing, but it was the sunsets each evening that took our breath away on this Hawaiian island.


year in pictures lanai, hawaii

Horses graze at Koele Lodge in Lanai, Hawaii

A year ago, if you asked me where Lanai was, I’d say somewhere in Asia. I had never heard of it. It’s a hidden gem of Hawaii and staying at the Koele Lodge in the highlands of the island will transport you back in time.

Pamplona, Spain

year in pictures san fermin

Running of the Bulls Pamplona, Spain

We were sent to Spain by Expedia to run with the bulls. We haven’t shared a lot of that story yet, but will be revisiting it next year at the time of the San Fermin festival. We watched from the balcony before joining the crowd the next day to take our part and run in this age old tradition.

Yosemite, USA

year in pictures yosemite national park

Yosemite National Park, California

As part of Intrepid Travel’s innovative self drive adventure, we had the opportunity to stay at Yosemite National Park. There is a reason it was the first national park in the world. Nothing prepares you for the beauty you will see when you look out from glacier point. It is definitely one of the most memorable moments from our year in pictures.

Zion National Park, Utah

year in pictures zion national park

Zion National Park, Utah

We didn’t have enough time to explore this beautiful park. A person needs a week to truly explore and hike through its rugged landscape. We’ll be back and we have this picture to motivate us to make that goal happen.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

year in pictures antelope canyon

Antelope Canyon in Arizona

It’s a tour that lasts less than an hour, but it’s a memory that will last a lifetime. Witnessing the beams of light shine through the canyon for a short window of less than 10 minutes fills you with excitement. Being able to snap a photo and capture the moment, is priceless.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

year in pictures grand canyon

Grand Canyon Sunset in Arizona

Why is it one of the most iconic images in all of America? Because it is spectacular. We have seen the second larges canyon in the world – Fish River Canyon in Namibia, and it doesn’t even come close to the size and scope of the Grand Canyon.

Costa Brava, Spain

year in pictures, hot air balloon over pyrenees

Ballooning in Costa Brava, Spain

We may not have made it up in the air during out hot air balloon excursion in Spain, but we did get the chance to take beautiful photos of the one that did. Don’t feel bad for us though, we got our chance a few weeks later in South Africa.

year in pictures spain

Sunset in the spanish pyrenees

Sunsets are a big part of our year in pictures.

Bern, Switzerland

year in pictures bern

The City of Bern, Switzerland

I hadn’t really thought of going to Bern before. The Swiss capital turned out to be the most beautiful city we visited in the country.

Interlaken, Switzerland

year in pictures interlaken switzerland

Interlaken, Switzerland at night

It’s the adventure capital of Switzerland and you can understand why. Interlaken is surrounded by massive Swiss Alps, lakes, rivers and valleys. It’s got it all.

Selenkay Conservancy, Kenya

year in pictures masai man kenya

Masai Village in Kenya

Many people complain that the Masai in Kenya are aggressive and only want your money. But if you go to the Selenkay Conservancy and visit the Selenkay Masai Village, you’ll meet the real Masai People. A people who are proud, strong, friend and welcoming.

year in pictures leopard in Kenya

The Elusive leopard on safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya

We’ve only just arrived home from Kenya and have barely scratched the surface of sharing this incredible experience with everyone. As you can imagine, seeing the wildlife was the highlight of kenya. If you want to see more of the Big 5, check out our wallpaper giveaway. We’re keeping the free download open until the end of the year.

So there you have it, our year in pictures.

When I look back, I can’t believe that it has only been a year. It feels like a lifetime. We are very fortunate to be living our dream. We took a chance 4 years ago, left our jobs and followed our dream. With big risks come big payoffs. We never dreamed we’d have the opportunities that we’ve had when we first started travel blogging. Who knows where it will take us next, but for now, we’ll enjoy the holidays and think of the next big dream.

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Leave a comment


  1. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    Talk about crisscrossing the globe! Though I do have to comment that I don’t think Catalunya will become its own country, nor that it’s the most beautiful city in Spain. Then again, I’m quite partial to Seville!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Cat, we haven’t been to Seville yet so I guess I should have added, Most beautiful we’ve seen. We’re not sure if it will become it’s own country or not, but it’s sure an interesting part of history. Looking forward to visiting Seville one day!

  2. Kellie

    Beautiful images of a diverse year of travel. I love reflecting on a year of travel, it inspires me to explore more in the next year! I love your Galapagos images, a destination high on my bucket list.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Kellie, The Galapagos was definitely an unique destination. It’s cool to have the blog to be able to reflect. As I was searching for ideas, I was reminded of so many things that I had nearly forgot about. It’s the little moments that get put to the back of the brain and then when your read about them you go, Oh Yeah, that was a great experience!

  3. Steve

    Wow. I don’t know where I’ve been, but this is quite the introduction to your website for me. Amazing photos, every one of them. Such a great variety of destinations over the course of just one year as well. Fantastic wrap up.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thank you! We were quite fortunate to have the opportunity to go to these places this year and be able to witness such beautiful scenery and meet amazing people.

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    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Stephanie, He’s been slowly plugging away and I really wanted to share his accomplishments because he is always so quiet and unassuming. I’m really proud of him:)

  5. Kirsten

    What a TREAT to look through this and live through your year. And I smiled extra big when I saw the Rome photo since we were all standing in that spot together!!!!! BIG HUGS and wishes for some seriously good photo ops in 2013!!! XO (and… see you soon!! ;) )

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Kirsten. you were such a big part of our 2012. We have quite a few photos from when we were together. I hope that we get the chance to spend more time together in 2013. And I know you know that there’s a good chance it will happen! Exciting things in the air:-)

  6. Cam

    Fantastic photos guys! Quite the year of adventure!
    It was great to finally meet you guys in person in Hawaii early this year ;-)

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Randy, we’re excited for 2013 as well, it’s shaping up to be some awesome adventures. WE can’e wait to tell people what we’re up to!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Cathy, glad we could inspire you with some new destinations. That’s one of our favourite things to see where other people have been for our own travel inspiration.

    1. debndave Post author

      It’s funny you say that, because since we returned from Kenya, we’ve been hiding out indoors watching Ellen, How I Met Your Mother and The Walking Dead. Staying in has been amazing!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Christy. We have a bit of time before we leave for South Africa and I’m working on getting Dave to put together another photo story of the animals of Antarctica. Stay tuned for it coming your way soon!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thank you D.J. We are so fortunate to be able to visit these destinations and we are happy to be able to share them with people. I remember when we were looking for inspiration, I scoured magazines, books and the internet for photos and inspiration to let me know I could do something extraordinary one day. That’s our hope here, that people can live their dreams too.

  7. Dariece - Goats On The Road

    Congratulations Dave! The photography on your website is phenomenal…as is the writing Deb :)
    We love reading all of your articles and marvelling at your photography. It most certainly has been a great year for you two. All the best in the New Year.

    Cheers & Safe Travels,
    Nick & Dariece

    1. debndave Post author

      Ah, thanks Dariece. I’m super proud of Dave’s photography. It’s been great getting to know you guys too this year. All the best for 2013!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thank you Salika. I’m looking forward to this year too. I think it’s going to be a tough one to top, but we’re just hoping to keep life exciting and fun and no matter where we go, we’re going to make it an adventure.

  8. Christian

    Absolutely stunning photographs! I am making a trip through Utah & Arizona in May and was debating about a stop at Antelope Canyon…I think you just made up my mind though!

    1. debndave Post author

      Awesome. Make sure to book a photo tour when you go. If you go on a regular tour, you won’t have the opportunity to take the shots that you need. It’s crowded in there and you need to know your camera settings really well because you don’t have a lot of time. You can’t visit the canyon without a guide and they only allow a certain amount of time per group inside. Photo tours get priority though. Have a great trip.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thank you Antionette. It helps to have amazing locations to photograph. We were so lucky to be able to visit these destinations and it was pretty difficult to take a bad photo of some of the most beautiful places on earth.

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  10. Arti

    What stunning captures! Dave deserves every bit of appreciation coming his way! The antartica shots are just gorgeous!
    Have a wonderful day :)

  11. Dan

    Hi guys! Amazing photos! I am thinking to start my own traveling blog and your blog was full of great tips. But can you, please, answer me at couple of questions? First of all, what kind of camera are you using? And second: how much do you use photoshop? Thanks a lot and keep up the good job! Hope I’ll get an answer :D

  12. Jenna

    Your photos are truly amazing, and I love that you showcase such a diversity of places and subjects. The Galapagos Islands are a dream destination for me, and I think my kids would learn a lot from seeing the wildlife. I am really curious how it would be traveling there with 2 children.

    1. debndave Post author

      I think it would be great to travel there with children. We saw a lot of kids in the Galapagos. Have an amazing time, it was our dream destination too.

  13. Kim - Liv Life

    Simply awesome photos!! Our travels overlapped a bit in Venice and Croatia, and I think I may proclaim Rome as my all time favorite city. Gorgeous shot of the Forum!! How did you do that with no people? Timing, or a long exposure? Really, really nice shot.
    I’m green with envy with your travel experiences!!! Keep ‘em coming!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Kim, it was a long exposure on a tripod and I took 5 exposures for HDR. Hope this helps. Cheers. As far as the people, there weren’t any walking around at that time so we got lucky to not have a crowd.

  14. Kate

    Holy Moly! What an amazing year. Those close-up shots of the animals are quite spectacular. We were talking about the possibility of visiting Lanai (as we sat on the beach daydreaming in Kauai :))–hope to read and see more about on your site!

  15. Sherry

    I’m often jealous of the things you guy get to do together, which are sometimes difficult to do alone in travel. The two of you are such great inspiration. I always look to see where you’ll end up next.

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Sherry, thank you for the kind words. We feel very fortunate to be able to travel together. It was a choice we made to do so and our goal is to inspire more couples to get out there and travel together. So many of our working friends took separate vacations or spent their vacations doing separate activities, we want to let people know that couples can have a great time hanging out together. Cheers and all the best for 2013.

  16. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen)

    Wow, just wow. Congratulations on such an incredible year. I don’t know which photos or experience is my favorite — Antarctica, Croatia, Italy, Kenya, Yosemite?! Luckily you guys got to experience it all and didn’t have to make the choice. Best wishes for your travels and life in 2013!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thank you Ellen. Yes, I don’t think that I could choose a favourite either. It was difficult just narrowing down each location to one or two photos let alone choosing a best experience. We feel very fortunate.

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  18. Tom @ Waegook Tom

    LOVE these photos, guys! The sealion has to be my favourite here, I’m a sucker for adorable animals! Love the ones of Bern, Catalunya, and your second photo of Antarctica the most here. Looking forward to seeing lots more stunning pictures in 2013!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Tom, We’re a sucker for adorable animals too:-) We were lucky to have the opportunity to visit so many photogenic places this year.

    2. debndave Post author

      Thanks Tom, we are a sucker for animals too. I think that is why Kenya, the Galapagos and Antarctica were so special for us. The animals are so beautiful.

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  20. Erik

    I’ve been ready a fair number of these posts recently and while I’ve read about some pretty incredible years, yours has to take the cake.

    That HDR picture of Half-Dome at Yosemite is probably my favorite pic of the whole year anywhere in the travelblogosphere!

    Wishing you more safe and exciting travels in 2013! Can’t wait to follow along!!

    1. debndave Post author

      Wow, thank you Erik. I am so glad that you enjoyed. We were totally blown away by the view here of Yosemite. I remember driving up and once we turned a corner, both of us let out a gasp. It was so beautiful. If you can get up to Glacier point lookout, it is well worth the view.

      1. Erik

        I was there in 2011. I entered the park from the South and headed straight to Glacier Point so that would be my very first view of the valley. I remember bursting into tears upon first looking into the valley from there. I’ve had some visceral reactions to travel, I can’t remember one as strong as that. My wife doesn’t travel, so she was at home when I called her weeping and trying to explain how amazing that view is- she probably thought I was having a breakdown :-)

  21. Sherry Ott

    Looks like it was a pretty great looking year! Congrats to you both on all of the accolades. I know all too well just how hard you both work in order to make your site a success!

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Sherry, we’ll have to plan some sort of adventure together again soon. But glad that we’re going to have two opportunities to hang out in 2013.

  22. Steve King

    Stunning pictures. Well done! I did want to point out that Yosemite was not the world’s first national park. That distinction goes to Yellowstone National Park, established in 1872.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thanks Steve. Our guide told us it was Yosemite, because of the Sequoia trees. goes to show, even the park rangers don’t know everything. Cheers and thanks for the clarification.

  23. Kruger Safaris

    A great selection of photographs within a variety of genres and in different areas of the world. Being an amateur photographer, I aspire to be able to firstly take phenomenal photographs and be able to visit new and unique places in the world.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thank you for the kind words. We feel very fortunate to be able to visit all the places that we did in 2012 and I hope that you have some exciting travels planned in your future too.

  24. Yeity

    Sometimes, after the drugs have kicked in and we’ve had a mild stroke, our photographs end up looking like yours too! Just sometimes though, most of the time they just look like shit. Awesome stuff!

    1. Nico

      Some great photos that undoubtedly bring back memories of amazing journeys. I’m sure 2013 will bring yet more amazing photos. And experiences for you.

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  26. Jarmo

    That is some seriously awesome photographs guys! Difficult to choose a favorite, but I think I might have to go for the first one with the Penguins. Also love the Pamplona shot as I’m there! well, you can see the back of my head and my DSLR, trying to take photos in the corner balcony :)

    1. debndave Post author

      Awesome Jarmo. That is so awesome that you are in this photo! I didn’t even notice. I still can’t see you. I remember trying to find you guys that morning but never did see you. I guess you were right in our eye line. What side of the picture are you on?

      1. Jarmo

        We’re on that first balcony on the left side just in the inside corner. It’s the two Nicole’s in the first window, and then me, Jeannie and Oneika on the second window.

    1. debndave Post author

      Thank you, I have to admit, when it came to the penguins, it was a difficult choice. They are so cute that every photo was a favourite.

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    1. debndave Post author

      Lucky you living in Spain! We spent a lot of time in Spain this summer and absolutely adore the country. We made some amazing friends there too.

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  29. Turtle

    Argh! I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to come across this post.
    Love the photos! Love that things went so well for you in 2012! Love that we’ve got a whole new year ahead of us for even more stunning images from you guys!! :)

    1. debndave Post author

      No problem Turtle, we’re always a couple of months behind ourselves. Other’s seem to be on top of posts and we find them a few weeks later and say “Hey did you see that awesome post Time Travel Turtle Did?” To Which they reply “Of course, that was like 2 months ago!” :-) Thanks for stopping by and happy 2013!

  30. alojamiento rural rioja

    Year in Pictures – Best of 2012 | Travel Blog | ThePlanetD, me ha parecido muy revelador, me hubiera gustado que fuese más amplio pero ya saeis si lo bueno es breve es dos veces bueno. Enhorabuena por vuestra web. Besotes.

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