Blog Posts by Michael Clemmer

  • Flickr photo of the day: Smiling eyes

    (Photo: Victoria Rivas / Flickr)

    When Spanish photographer Victoria Rivas was visiting Yemen, she was asked by a small group of local women to “pretend” to make a photograph of them.

    Rivas wasn’t sure what was proper and made one quick exposure, capturing five beautiful pairs of eyes smiling from their hot burqas.

    Yemen’s constitution is founded on Sharia, old Egyptian laws and Napoleonic tradition, all of which are more about the rights of men than the rights of women. That said, in Yemen the wearing of the burqa, or niqab, is often a choice made from family tradition. When the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan, photographing women was banned and women, when in public, were forced to wear the burqa at all times.

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  • Flickr photo of the day: Here comes summer

    (Photo: Bradley Adkins / Flickr)

    To most of us, summer begins at Memorial Day, but the more meteorologically inclined say it begins on (or about) June 21, the date of the Summer Solstice. Quibbling aside, the heat is on and if you’re a kid in Charleston, S.C., and you’re hot because you’ve been totally enjoying yourself at Waterfront Park, you get in the fountain.

    Such joys belong to children. As we age we become reticent and hold ourselves back; true joyfulness and bliss become fragmented memories. Yet doesn’t the child within us long to run and play?

    Photo by Bradley Adkins.

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  • Flickr photo of the day: Border control

    (Photo: Alan Tsai / Flickr)

    When it comes to border control, China wrote the book.  Some time around 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang conquered several states along China’s border with Inner Mongolia. To get his newly minted Qin Dynasty off to a good start and to keep it safe from intruders, he ordered a wall built around it. It took years and cost tens of thousands, if not millions of lives, but that was a sacrifice he was willing to make.

    Subsequent dynasties, mainly the Ming (in the 14th century) repaired and extended the wall some 5,500 miles making it officially Great. The portion seen in this photograph is at Gubeiko (the old north mouth) near Beijing and crosses Coiling Dragon Mountain and Crouching Tiger Mountain.

    Photograph by Alan Tsai.

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  • Flickr photo of the day: The Five Lands

    (Photo: crudestar / Flickr)

    Located on the rugged northwest coast of Italy, Vernazza is one of “The Five Lands” (Cinque Terre), a marvelous collection of quaint villages designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Although it’s part of the Italian Riviera, Cinque Terre is an Italian national park, so you won’t find any brash commercial development there.

    What you will find are beautiful vistas of the Tyrrhenian Sea, the ruins of an 11th-century fort, sumptuous food and a hiking trail that links Vernazza with its sister villages: Monterosso, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore. “It’s almost unfair,” says The New York Times, “that so much intense beauty, great cuisine and amazing aromas are jampacked into such a compact space.”

    Photo by Flickr user Crudestar.

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  • Flickr photo of the day: Sustainable sardines

    (Photo: Paul Cowell / Flickr)

    Not only are they loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and lots of protein, but sardines are also a sustainable fishery. Pacific Sardines – like the ones being observed by a scuba diver in this photo – were once getting hard to find. In fact, by the late 1940s scientists thought they had been fished almost to extinction.  In John Steinbeck’s 1945 novel, “Cannery Row,” he describes the offloading of sardines: “The whole street rumbles and groans and screams and rattles while the silver rivers of fish pour in out of boats and the boats rise higher and higher until they are empty.”

    But sardines go through “boom and bust” cycles and reproduce quickly; now they are a “Best Choice” on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch list.

    Photographed near Mactan, Philippines, by Paul Cowell.

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  • Flickr photo of the day: Mushroom or waffle?

    (Photo: Rob Dawkins / Flickr)

    So the famous German architect Jürgen Mayer-Hermann had this cool idea: Build a 409-feet-by-230-feet-by-85-feet-tall wooden structure in the form of giant mushrooms. Built in the “old quarter” of Seville, Spain, it will be the world’s largest wooden structure and it will be called Metropol Parasol (Incarnation of The Mushrooms).

    Construction began in 2005, but there were issues. During construction, ruins dating back to Roman and Andalusian eras were discovered and in addition, an engineering firm informed authorities that the structure was “technically infeasible.” Heads were scratched, solutions were found (including the use of glue ) and 100 million Euros later there is nothing else like it in the world. Gracias Señor Mayer-Hermann, es magnifica!

    Photograph by Rob Dawkins.

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  • Flickr photo of the day: Peeking through

    (Photo: Carl John Spencer / Flickr)

    Rising 27,840 feet, Lhotse (Tibetan for South Peak) is the fourth-tallest mountain in the world (behind Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga). In fact, that oxygen-deprived, snow-blind and damn-determined army of climbers who ascend Everest during the annual climbing season must cross the northwest face of Lhotse.

    During a brief period, lasting from late April until the end of May, there aren’t as many clouds and climbers can see where they are going as well as the world around them. But Mother Nature makes no promises, as seen in this photo taken by Carl John Spencer.

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  • Flickr photo of the day: Buena Vista Lavanderia

    (Photo: Jody Gaisford / Flickr)

    A lush, tropical breeze flaps the sheets, towels and underwear that were washed in the rundown apartment’s bathtub and now hang on the rooftop clothesline. An AM radio plays the sweet sound of the late Ibrahim Ferrer singing “Aquellos Ojos Verdes” (Green Eyes). His light fingers fairly trickle over the piano keys; his tenor voice takes you back to the days when Old Havana was a tourist Mecca, not the peeled paint, cracked windowed barrio it is today.

    Once the Queen of the Caribbean, Havana struggles to shed the image of a decaying city of old cars, a place better for foreign visitors than its own people. Just last week, Vice Minister of Communications Wilfredo Gonzalez announced that Cubans will have access to the Internet “in the near future.” Once that door to the outside world is opened, the Queen may soon return.

    Photograph by Jody Gaisford.

    Do you have your own compelling travel photos to share? Join the Yahoo! Travel Flickr group, or look us up on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and

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  • Flickr photo of the day: All their flowers in a row

    (Photo: Alan Tsai / Flickr)

    The rural town of Biel, located in the prefecture of Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, has a thing about order: they love it. And 1.2 million visitors a year love to come see and photograph the fields of colorful flowers all planted in a most orderly fashion.

    The town was “discovered” in 1970 by famous Japanese landscape photographer Shinzo Maeda. (1922-1998). His beautiful photographs of the fields of brightly colored flowers were a sensation and they help turn the town into a world-famous resort; its hills are covered with flowers in spring and summer, and snow in winter.

    Alan Tsai of Taipei, Taiwan, took this photo.

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  • Flickr photo of the day: Saluting the jellies

    (Photo: Indira Nair / Flickr)

    Photographer Indira Nair, who proudly uses only a “point-and-shoot” camera, photographed these West Coast Sea Nettles at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, in Monterey, Calif. Jellyfish, such as these nettles, have no brains, no teeth and no blood, and they are 95 percent water.

    With a “bell” that can grow to three feet in width and stinging tentacles 15 feet long, they pack a world of hurt and have ruined many a day at the beach.

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