Late last year, I was forwarded a link to the New York Times website. I clicked it, and it took me to Why We Travel: Submit Your Travel Photos 2011. I was sold immediately. Travel, photography, online and writing. All things I love.

So I had 250 words to: “Share your best travel photos and tell us the back story. Where did you go and why? What’s happening in your photo? What does it mean to you? A selection of the top images will appear in the Travel section.” It took me no time to pick a pic and write.

So here is my image and my reasoning behind the shot and selection. Enjoy. PS – not sure if the NYT’s picked it or not.

Vending Machine Land

Vending Machine Land

For many years I’ve dreamt of visiting Tokyo and there were many reasons for this.

Sushi (Yum). Electronics (I’m a geek). Robots (I collect them). Anime (It’s cool). Fashion (It’s so unique). Lights (It creates a great atmosphere). Bustle (The energy). Culture (I studied anthropology). Foreign (I speak English). And vending machines (It’s a culmination of the above).

I had less than 24 hours in Tokyo this past September and I enjoyed every second of it. I walked. I walked a lot. And I carried my camera everywhere, looking for any possible moment to capture.

I took pictures of the electronic and shopping districts. Train stations. My lunch. Various views. Street scenes. Hotels. Shops. You name it.

I also stopped at countless vending machines. Sometimes I knew exactly what I was getting. Other times it was a complete surprise. Now, that’s traveling.

I love this picture. I love that the frame is filled. I purposely shot this without a flash because I wanted to capture the glow of the friendly, robot-like machines. I love that it says COMICTORANOANA. I have no idea what it means – I love these moments.

I grabbed this shot late at night in a Akihabara – kind of the electronic, anime, fashion area. These vending machines represent all of that to me…in a weird sort of way.

I returned to Akihabara the next day and it was packed. The vending machines looked completely different in daylight. I’m glad I found them late at night, alone.