Best Travel Photos of 2012

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Apr 23

Apr 23 – Lisbon, Portugal

Firstly, to set things straight.  These are obviously not the best travel photos of 2012 from everyone, just mine.  Gosh, I’m not that conceited … or am I?  Anyways, this year was absolutely fantastic.  I can’t even believe how far I’ve come and how much I’ve seen over this past year.  Choosing my best travel photos from 2012 was not at all easy.  There were some months that the photography was so packed in that I could have easily chosen 10-20 pictures.  However, I decided that for the sake of a short enough post I would chose just 4 images from each month.  That means that this group is 48 of my favourite travel photos of 2012.  I had a lot of fun going through them all and choosing images.  It’s hard for me to believe that last year at this time I was in Phoenix, Arizona.  Since then I’ve been through 24 countries and on 4 different continents.  Amazing.  Anyways, here are my favourites.  Do you have a favourite month? Photo?  I’d love to read you comments!

January – Best Travel Photos 2012

The month started with my family in their winter getaway in Phoenix and then ended in the Dominican Republic.  I road tripped all the way across from Las Vegas to Miami in the middle there as well.  It was a wild month to say the least.  And I have to say that I really loved the south of the States, and found some incredible places along the way.

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Jan 4

Jan 4 – Phoenix, Arizona

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Jan 10

Jan 10 – Havasu Falls, United States of America

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Jan 14

Jan 14 – White Sands, New Mexico

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Jan 24

Jan 24 – Miami Beach, United States of America

February – Best Travel Photos 2012

This month again I was lucky enough to start with my family.  Actually, I was able to expand my family in this month.  My sister got married in the Dominican Republic and I photographed the wedding.  I then waved goodbye to everyone for the year and headed across the border to Haiti.  From the Caribbean I made my way to western Europe via New York City starting in Ireland.

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Feb 1

Feb 1 – Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Feb 7

Feb 7 – Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Feb 17

Feb 17 – New York, United States

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Feb 24

Feb 24 – Howth, Ireland

March – Best Travel Photos 2012

The entire month of February was spent in the UK.  I started the month in Belfast, which turned out to be really photogenic, and ended the month in Dover ready to set sail for the mainland of Europe.  To be honest, the UK had lots of great photo opportunities and I might have the best collection of photos in this month, but it may have also been the month that inspired me the least creatively.  It was almost too easy.

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Mar 1

Mar 1 – Belfast, Northern Ireland

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Mar 3

Mar 3 – Glasgow, Scotland

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Mar 14

Mar 14 – Liverpool, England

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Mar 23

Mar 23 – London, England

April – Best Travel Photos 2012

This was easily the most difficult month for me to choose from.  Not only did I visit 6 countries, but the photography was absolute gold.  Hell, I could probably pick 4 photos just from Porto here and not a single one made the cut.  I’ve left out a number of favourites not only from the month, but the entire year because I want to adhere to the 4 photos per month rule.  Wow, what a great month of photography this one was in particular!

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Apr 1

Apr 1 – Paris, France

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Apr 9

Apr 9 – Rome, Italy

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Apr 13

Apr 13 – Nice, France

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Apr 23

Apr 23 – Lisbon, Portugal

May – Best Travel Photos 2012

The month of May started in Spain and ended in Mauritania.  Like April, this was a difficult month to select just 4 photos.  To be honest, I almost cheated and moved some of the photos from the 31st of May into June, but then I realized that June was pretty cool too.  Damn!

Best Travel Photos 2013 - May 4

May 4 – Seville, Spain

Best Travel Photos 2013 - May 7

May 7 – Chefchaoeun, Morocco

Best Travel Photos 2013 - May 16

May 16 – Essouira, Morocco

Best Travel Photos 2013 - May 31

May 31 – Chinguetti, Mauritania

June – Best Travel Photos 2012

June was a bit of a wild month.  It started off quite calm in Senegal but I was soon whisked away on a series of flight to British Columbia to take part in the ExploreBC project which was phenomenal!  I got to stop in at home as well and see my family for a couple of days which is always nice.  It was also nice to get a bit of a break from Africa for a bit.  No matter how much I enjoy it, too much can get to you.

Best Travel Photos 2013 - June 9

June 9 – Mouit, Senegal

Best Travel Photos 2013 - June 20
June 20 – Rocky Mountain House, Canada

Best Travel Photos 2013 - June 27

June 27 -Victoria, Canada

Best Travel Photos 2013 - June 30

June 30 – Ucluelet, Canada

July – Best Travel Photos 2012

The month of July was mostly spent in British Columbia, Canada on the ExploreBC project.  The fact that I was on a job meant that I had a tonne of photos.  I ended the month going back to Senegal.  I honestly spent about 20 minutes deciding on which 4 photos to use for this month.

Best Travel Photos 2013 - July 3

July 3 – Tofino, British Columbia

Best Travel Photos 2013 - July 12

July 12 – Near Prince Rupert, Canada

Best Travel Photos 2013 - July 17

July 17 – Burns Lake, Canada

Best Travel Photos 2013 - July 28

July 28 – Ile de Goree, Senegal

August – Best Travel Photos 2012

August was a tough month both personally and photographically.  Personally, I struggled through the rainy season of west Africa.  Between getting malaria and tough transport, the country of Guinea-Bissau beat me up so bad I started to wonder if I was a hard enough traveller for Africa.  As a photographer it was tough because I encountered a lot of camera shy people.  Plus the rains didn’t help at all either.  Still, I managed to get a couple shots I’m proud of.  Also, I want you to take notice of the shift in the types of photographs starting this month. Less architecture, more people and wildlife coming up!

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Aug 3

Aug 3 – Senegambia, The Gambia

Aug 4 – Bakau, The Gambia

Aug 17 – Ilha Bubaque, Guinea-Bissau

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Aug 22

Aug 22 – Fouta Djallon, Guinea

September – Best Travel Photos 2012

This entire month was basically spent wandering through Sierra Leone, although I did get into Liberia in the end as well.  Even though it was the rainy season I got fairly lucky with the weather.  I spent time at the beach, in the city and even got up close and personal with some chimpanzees.  After a really tough August, I needed this month to propel me ahead with some energy.  I loved Sierra Leone, and hope that more people start to explore the potential of this amazing country.

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Sept 4

Sept 4 – Freetown, Sierra Leone

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Sept 8

Sept 8 – Tacugama, Sierra Leone

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Sept 12

Sept 12 – No. 2 River, Sierra Leone

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Sept 19

Sept 19 – Monrovia, Liberia

October – Best Travel Photos 2012

After forcing my way back through Guinea and then into Cote d’Ivoire, I spent most of the month of October in Cote d’Ivoire.  It really was a work month on the computer since I finally found decent internet in the country, however I got some photos as well.  I ended the month by arriving in Mali, my second last country of the year.

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Oct 1

Oct 1 – Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Oct 9

Oct 9 – Grand Bassam, Cote d’Ivoire

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Oct 13

Oct 13 – Yamoussoukro, Cote d’Ivoire

Oct 27 – Bamako, Mali

November – Best Travel Photos 2012

Thanks to a really slow business month I was basically forced to hang out in Mali for the entire month.  I did get out and explore the ancient city of Djenne and the city of Segou a bit, but was almost exclusively relegated to staying in Bamako due to my financial situation.  It wasn’t all bad, I hung out with some great people and got a really nice feel for the city.  I would have liked to have moved on quicker, but I would have also liked to visit Timbuktu which is well off limits due to the conflict in the north of Mali.

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Nov 2

Nov 2 – Bamako, Mali

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Nov 13

Nov 13 – Segou, Mali

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Nov 15

Nov 15 – Djenne, Mali

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Nov 16

Nov 16 – Djenne, Mali

December – Best Travel Photos 2012

December was a month of both excitement and frustration.  My financial struggles lessened and I bought a scooter which I’m going to try to drive all the way to South Africa.  However, the African bureacracy is painful and I was sat around Bamako for a month trying to get the legal aspect of things taken care of.  Literally, what is done in a day in 80% of the world took an entire month.  However, all was finally cleared and I have now made it into Burkina Faso where I’ll spend New Years!!

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Dec 23

Dec 23 – Sindou, Burkina Faso

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Dec 24

Dec 24 – Sindou Peaks, Burkina Faso

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Dec 26

Dec 26 – Lake Tengrela, Burkina Faso

Best Travel Photos 2013 - Dec 27

Dec 27 – Karifuelga, Burkina Faso

How is that for a year, what was yours like?

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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32 Comments

    • Thanks Audrey! All the best in the new year!

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  1. Wow, seriously amazing post Brendan. Love the one of the Vespa in Nice!

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    • Thanks Bram, that shot was the result of my 365 photos challenge… I wasn’t going to shoot that day, but HAD to for the challenge, I came out with that and a couple other keepers, so I’m glad I did!

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  2. Great shots, really liking that Freetown one.

    Safe travels in 2013.

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    • Thanks dude! Hope you have a good New Year!

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  3. Amazing photos! I love Lisbon. Went there a few years ago and even then, said it was one of my favorite cities in Europe and one of the places I would love to live if I ever made Europe home. Love all the photos and stories you are doing in Africa as well. Awesome job on the pictures and best wishes in 2013!

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    • Yeah, Lisbon is a great place Jeremy… it may be in my plans as a place to base for a bit this upcoming year, but we’ll see. Have a nice New Year!

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  4. Hi Brendan, wow an amazing year! Awesome images and an awesome journey! 🙂

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  5. The rocks in Burkina Faso is my favorite one. Though the slightly miffed looking grizzly bear is a close second. You have seen a lot this year.

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    • Thanks Eric! Thanks, I was fortunate enough to see a number of amazing places which always helps. Yeah, I think my photography has improved a lot. It’s actually frustrating a bit looking back on my old photos because I always think “man, if I could only go back and photograph that now” haha. Oh well! Here’s to a nice 2013 to you 😀

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  6. My favourite is of the Aurora Borealis. This photo brought back wonderful memories of a trip I made to Beautiful British Columbia. I visited my brother who lived on the Alaska Hwy at Blueberry/Wonowon, B.C. While there I witnessed the Northern Lights. Such a fascinating light show we have in Canadas North. Thank you for sharing your stories of travel through amazing pictures.

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    • Such an amazing sight isn’t it Laura. That was maybe my only easy selection for the best photos of 2012… that was maybe my favourite of the whole year!

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  7. Not surprisingly, yours are the best travel photos I have seen from 2012. Amazing photos and really amazing travels. All the best to you in 2013!

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    • That’s too kind Jenna!!! Thanks for your support! All the best in 2013 😀

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  8. These photos are absolutely stunning Brendan! There are so many I could choose as a favorite, but I really liked the one from Chinguetti, Mauritania. Photography is all about being present at these perfect moments isn’t it?

    Cheers to a new year of traveling and especially photo snapping in 2013!

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  9. Hello Brendan.

    I’m speechless right now my friend. This photos really are something.
    If you came to Lisbon give a heads up, would be proud to hang out on a shouting with you.

    Cheers from Lisbon !

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  10. Wow those were amazing photos of amazing places. I especially loved the sun peeking through the photo of Big Ben. It is also always a treat to see your photos and stories from Africa & places off the beaten track. Thanks very much for sharing your experiences.

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  11. You seem to have captured more than just the locations with these photos. In each of them, you’ve managed to wrap the “feeling” of the area with the photo itself. I spent a lot of time looking at travel photos and these are some of the best I have ever seen. You just keep doing what you’re doing, man!

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    • Thanks so much Brad! Appreciate the positive feedback!

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  12. Holy moly, these are awesome! I don’t even know how to pick a favourite one. Loving the HDR shots.

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  13. These are absolutely beautiful pictures. If these don’t make someone want to travel, I doubt anything will! I’m jealous! So many amazing places in 2012! Looking forward to your 2013 posts and pics!

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  14. Absolutely stunning! Looks like you had an amazing year. Keep it up.

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  15. Awesome pictures, I posted some of them in one of my boards on pinterest (linking to this web of course) and a lot of people like them and are sharing them. This is the one that looks like people is sharing more http://pinterest.com/pin/427560558343363529/

    Good job 🙂

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  16. Wow. Where to being. You’re due some serious praise for this selection of photos Brendan. Excellent work – it was a pleasure seeing the recap, especially since I only started following your blog recently.

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    • Some of them are HDR… I like the HDR look for cities. Lots of the photos are just shot in the right light though.

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  17. Hi Brendan! I just wanted to say that all of these pictures are amazing and I’m glad I ran into your blog today. I’ve been traveling around South America for 4 months now, and this really inspired me to take even more pictures! I must say though, that the best one between all of these pictures is the one in Lisbon.. Wauw! One question if I may ask.. What camera do you use?

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    • Thanks Cato!!! Enjoy South America, I was there almost 3 years and I swore I left my heart there! As for the camera, I use a Canon 60d.

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  18. Wow, I just found your website and I’m glad I did. These are amazing photos and locations. It really is inspiring to see these images. Thank you for sharing them with the world.

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    • Thanks for checking out the site and photos Cynthia. All the best!

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