The End Of Year Season On The Canary Islands

Now that most municipalities here are starting to take down their Christmas decorations, I feel it’s time to wrap up my end of year impressions from the Canary Islands.

Admittedly, I was really hoping to explore new Christmas markets.
I got disappointed.
There weren’t any.

But while I was looking for opportunities to spoil my palate with Quarkbällchen and Glühwein, I came across many colorful Christmas light decorations — even in the tiniest village you can imagine. Wherever you go end of December, beginning of January on the Canary Islands, a bright Feliz Navidad or Felices Fiestas will hit your eye, while small LEDs in star and ribbon shapes serve to illuminate the streets and popular promenades.

After New Year’s Day, Christmas usually seems faaar away for me. But not this year!

I was thrilled to finally discover something new in January. Christmas themed sand sculptures and La Cabalgata de Reyes Magos, the parade of the Three Kings that actually bring the presents. Not Santa!

If you like this post, you might also like Weekend Wanderings: La Palma’s Salinas De Fuencaliente

Year In Review: 2013

In 2012 I had my “a photo a day” project which made it easy for you to follow my photo journey. In 2013 things were “less organized”; so I am taking the time to recap my personal photography highlights of the past 12 months – for you as well as for me…


My New Year started with a trip along New Zealand’s East Coast (North Island) where I did not only see the last sunrise of 2012 as one of the first persons in the world, but I also witnessed one of the most dramatic looking sunsets on January 1.


Sunset in Napier, New Zealand on the 1st of January 2013


With all those photo impressions from the beginning of the year at the East Coast I decided to reanimate my Instagram account which lived in the shadow ever since I got curious and registered myself in June 2012. I started with 15 uploads in February and reached a personal best in September with 60 image additions.

Thanks to the wonderful tool I can now easily present you my most liked and commented photos of 2013 on Instagram:


My Top 20 Instagram photos in 2013

In 2013…
…I posted 320 photos on Instagram
…I won 600 followers and followed 500 interesting togs myself
…I received over 21,500 likes and 2,500 comments
…I have been featured around 70 times after learning how to use hashtags on IG :)

Also in February 2013 I kicked off my new blog on WordPress after my Posterous Blog vanished into thin air thanks to Twitter. One of my first posts over here was the announcement that my Auckland Festival of Photography submission had been chosen by an international jury to be included into an exhibition showcasing 42 images of Auckland photographers in Pingyao, China. Still thrilled!

Auckland, New Zealand

My photo submission for the Auckland Photo Day 2012; exhibited in Pingyao, China

April & May

Throughout April and May I explored several locations to photograph Auckland’s skyline. I summarized the best spots (in my personal opinion) in Auckland Skyline: Photo Locations – a post for which I could probably soon come up with part 2 as I’ve scouted new places of interest which also display the Harbour Bridge.

Auckland Skyline

Above Spaghetti Junction – the Sky Tower has been designed to resist storms with winds gusting to 200 km/hr


June was one of the most exciting months of the year for me. I had the chance to photograph the Auckland town hall organ and got locked into the town hall over a long weekend.

Set free again I took the plane to visit my family and friends in Germany and France; and I had a long awaited stopover in Bangkok, Thailand.

August & September

In August and September I created the new hashtag #landscapegroundshot and started using it on Instagram and Twitter to promote my ongoing photo project New Zealand Grounds.


While I already joined photography courses and participated in a few meetups of local photography clubs to mingle with likeminded people I never went to a Photo Walk. The annual worldwide Photo Walk initiated by Scott Kelby was about to change that in October this year. I joined the official walking group – a combination of professional and hobby photographers – and set out to explore Auckland’s Karangahape Road (K’Road) on a 2 hour self-guided walk.

photowalk group auckland 2013

Photo Walk Group Auckland (2013) — Photo taken and edited by Michael Loh (


Another pretty exciting month: Shortly after I joined the photo network Twenty20 to promote my best Instagram photos and make them available for purchase, I have been featured twice on their homepage and received enough audience votes in order to get my work published in their very first book about mobile photography.

People in Motion Finalist

My People in Motion submission of the SkyJump in Auckland. Thank you for your support!

Also in November I published my longest blog post ever: Thoughts On Google And How It Can Jump Start Photography Inspiration. It will probably be my longest blog post for years, haha. I got inspired to write this text after taking the online class Understanding Media By Understanding Google offered on the fabulous Coursera eLearning platform.

I guess my Professor was right when he said that the mobile revolution is changing our reading behavior and makes us less receptive as soon as the written word count hits a certain number (congrats if you made it till here today). I think that’s a pity! No other post of mine required so much thinking, research and writing time; still it’s the least read, liked or commented post on my blog. Just saying… I am still proud I wrote it all together and got my own thoughts sorted a bit.


On December 11th, Mr ae.i and I celebrated a small anniversary: Our first two years living and working in Auckland. In honour of the occasion I published a blog post about all the different lighting schemes of the city’s Sky Tower over the past 48 months (I managed to capture 19 different ones).

Auckland Skyline

View from a tall building in the CBD – the Sky Tower elevators travel at 18km per hour and the ride takes only 40 seconds

The end of December is going to be fun too! While you are reading this article I am travelling through Australia, discovering the Great Ocean Highway on a trip from Adelaide to Sydney in a campervan. Photos to come in January 2014 – promise!

For now, I’d like to thank each single of my followers here. I really appreciate your likes, comments and support throughout 2013 and I hope to see you all back in the coming year. Have a great holiday; enjoy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, Festivus or simply the season. I wish you all the best for 2014!