Ask Harriet: Say cheese and snap the perfect shot

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then there are novels to be written about the photographs taken by Grand Circle travelers. This is one of my favorite months, because it’s when we get to see your favorite memories captured in time—and share them with like-minded travelers—when we announce the winners of our annual photo contest. We’d like to thank all of you who entered the competition, our 20th annual! Those of us reviewing them in our Boston office, including our Photo Manager, Meredith Gausch, greatly enjoyed reviewing your submissions, some hilarious, some joyous, and others artistic. To see the lucky winners, including our Grand Prize Photographer and winner of a free trip for two, click here.

If you didn’t win, use it as an excuse to keep traveling in 2013—and keep your camera close at hand. We’re already accepting submissions to our 2013 contest, and Meredith shared some helpful tips if you’d like to read up before your next trip. We also asked her to weigh in on this month’s question, which we’ve been hearing more and more frequently in this digital age.

Q: What limitations exist, if any, regarding photo editing or manipulation? Examples would be cropping and/or sharpening.

—Carol Weiss, Plainsboro, N.J.

A: In the digital age of photography, there are certain creative manipulations a photographer may like to do on their own image for personal taste such as cropping, or color enhancement. Photoshop is, in many ways, a part of the process of taking a photo. While there are no specific limitations regarding photo manipulation, we do not recommend overdoing the corrections, as they may not necessarily reproduce well in print or on the website.

Grand Circle prefers documentary-style photographs, so we are most drawn to images with the least amount of manipulation. The best type of manipulation is when you are unable to tell that it's been done. Thank you, and good luck in the contest!

Letters to Harriet

Alan and I recently sat down to a mouth-watering Argentinian dinner, and the verdant hue on his steak's chimichurri sauce was an escape for me on a cold winter's night here in Boston. The herb-filled accompaniment reminded me of Argentina’s flavorful culture, apparent in its color, delicious cuisine, and spicy, passionate tango. I love hearing about travelers who have the same passion about their experiences abroad. This month’s letter comes from a traveler on our Discover South America: Chile & Argentina trip.

This tour exceeded our expectations. The great service on LAN airlines from Miami to Santiago, etc. and the delight with fellow travelers made this a memory that will never fade. Great hotels, clean luxury buses, well-thought-out itinerary, and beautiful scenery made the tour extraordinary.

Our Program Director, Luis Percker, was fantastic. We do not know how anybody could have made the trip more enjoyable. We learned to expect the unexpected and surprises and reveled in them. Volcanoes, ash-covered areas, and environmental concerns and issues fascinated us all. Tips on good restaurants, local customs, and history were all so well-appreciated and wonderful to experience.

Do not miss the experience of walking with the dogs on Santiago’s streets. You will be sorry if you skip the tango show in Buenos Aires. The steaks and dancing were an adventure.

We were pleasantly surprised at the fun and interest at La Concepcion School. The children and teachers were very gracious and friendly showing their appreciation for the visit and contributions to this school. We look forward to our next GCT adventure. Thank you, Grand Circle, and especially Luis!

—Louis & Mary Terminello, 2-time travelers, Hollywood, Florida

Hi Louis and Mary, thanks so much for taking the time to write and tell me about your fabulous vacation. We’re glad you both enjoyed the itinerary, such a diverse cross-section of Latin America. It’s always valuable to hear feedback from travelers like you, especially when it’s about our Program Directors. Scenery and culture make every trip memorable, but it’s always the people that make them unforgettable.

To that end, I’m also happy you had fun meeting the children and teachers at Conception School. Grand Circle Foundation, and travelers like you and Mary, have helped raise $91 million for schools and causes like this all over the world. But bringing school supplies and interacting with the people who work and are educated there are learning experiences for all involved—and learning, at Grand Circle, is the true meaning of travel.

We are glad you’re enthused about exploring more, and can’t wait to welcome you back in 2013!

Do you have questions for me about trips you’re taking or vacations you would like to go on with Grand Circle Cruise Line? I’d love to hear from you. Please email me at I look forward to sharing what you have to say!