"The sheer beauty of Iraqi Kurdistan absolutely shocked me. Mountains unexpectedly surrounded us everywhere we went, and there was snow in those mountains! The snowcapped scenery certainly enhanced our photographic opportunities. Our guide, Balin Zrar, an affable, incredibly resourceful young man from Iraq, had a marvelous command of the English language, having lived in England for four years. He made life easy for the group at every turn, even sending us into a little shop along the way to pick out any treats that we might want for the trip.