And the Winner of the 2018 Untours Photo Contest is…

Andrea SzyperSubmitted by
Untours photo contest winner

…Shy David, submitted by Nancy and Paul Gongloff.

Shy David, Florence

The Gongloffs have taken many Untours with us. Their most recent, of course, was a trip to Florence, where they encountered Michelangelo’s masterpiece David at the Galleria dell’Accademia.

They have also joined us for Untours in Barcelona, Holland, Paris, Salzburg, the German Rhine, Prague, Budapest, and Vienna over their many years of world travels.

Like all good stories, our photo contest involved a modicum of controversy when people asked about Photoshop. When I ask Mr. Gongloff about it, he said that his photographer friend did alter this photo a little to better align the sign. This was the same friend who crawled onto the museum floor to get just the right angle when he shot the photo.

I was fine with that and clarified our standards on the Untours blog in comments: There are no rules against photoshopping for our contest, so long as the people photographed were there, on site, in the places they photograph. (The images can be enhanced but cannot be fiction!) 

On recounting the story of their photo over the phone, the Gongloffs marveled that the museum was not overly crowded that day and laughed at the way their photographer friend’s wife needed to help him get up off of the floor. We also laughed at voters who defended their character and insisted they lacked the technical skills to photoshop anything.

The Gongloffs also shared the story of walking home from a choir concert with Helen, our Florence Untour staff person, and their friends. In their meanderings, they stumbled upon an Franciscan church and into its courtyard. In the church they found a chorus of 40 boys performing a capella and stayed to enjoy this second, impromtu concert of the day. They marveled at the beauty of the music and the church itself, its ceilings covered in frescoes.

“We love to get away from the tourists,” Paul told me. “We like the side streets.” He and Nancy agreed that traveling with Untours has lead them to these types of spontaneous experiences and memorable interactions in a way that normal tours or independent travel have not.

They recounted other stories of travels with their grandchildren, as they learned World War II history in a very personal way from intimate conversations and experiences. “We tell people to bring your grandchildren and to go while you can!”

That sense of adventure and discovery echoed through each and every image that was submitted for our photo contest. And each picture carried its own stories and memories.

I enjoyed each and every photo that was submitted, and as a staff, we all enjoyed looking them over and narrowing them down to our favorite 12. We got so many great pictures!

Thanks to all who submitted photos and all who voted in this contest. The Gongloffs have won an iPad, and I can hardly wait to see what creative things they will do with it on future trips.

Happy travels, everyone, and please keep sending those photos for next year’s contest!

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