Photographer Sergio Tapiro Velasco had been tracking the activity of Volcán de Colima in Mexico for almost a month in 2015. Also known as the “volcano of fire”, it is one of the most active volcanoes in Latin America. On a cold December night when the volcano erupted, Velasco was a mere 12-km away – he heard a booming noise and saw the biggest volcanic lightning he had ever seen.
Velasco’s image of the erupting Volcán de Colima won him the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year award. The image was selected from over 15,000 entries sent in from 30 countries.
Velasco had no idea about what his camera would capture or if he was getting anything at all. “When I looked at the camera display, all I could do was stare,” he said. “It’s an impossible photograph and my once-in-a-lifetime shot shows the power of nature.”
The annual competition celebrates travel photography from all over the globe and has several categories like nature, cities and people.
Hiromi Kano from Japan won second place in the nature category for a photograph of swans gliding over water in a a protected wetland at Kabukurinuma, Osaki.
The third prize in the same category was bagged by Indian photographer Tarun Sinha. The photograph by Sinha was taken on his trip to Costa Rica’s Camaronal Wildlife Refuge, when he came across crocodiles lounging along River Tarcoles.
Sinha’s frame is neatly divided, with black sand on the left and muddy waters on the right. Both sides are dotted with crocodiles. “When our guide told us there would be 30 to 40 crocodiles in the river, we thought he was exaggerating,” said Sinha. “We walked along a narrow bridge and peered over the waist-high railing, where several crocodiles were moving in and out of the water. I wanted to capture the stark contrast between their partially covered bodies in the river versus their enormous size while on full display. In the murky waters, the body contours of these beasts remain hidden, and one can only truly see their girth as they emerge from the river.”
Another Indian photographer, Jobit George, received an honourable mention in National Geographic’s People category. His image Bridging Generation shows a father and son against a blue sky in crisp, white kurta-pyjamas and skull caps, sitting on the wall of a mosque in New Delhi on Eid al-Fitr, the conclusion of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The father is adjusting his son’s cap, their crossed ankles mirroring the other’s.
Another photograph which received an honourable mention, albeit in the Nature category, is Forest of the Fairy. Yutaka Takafuji’s image from a remote village in Tamba, Japan, seems right out of a fantasy tale. “The Princess fireflies carpet a stairway leading to a small shrine revered by the local people, creating a magical atmosphere,” writes Takafuji on National Geographic’s gallery page.
This gallery of images offers a glimpse into the different ways in which people approach the idea of travel.
It’s the new year and it’s already time to plan your next holiday
Here are some great destinations for you to consider.
Vacation planning can get serious and strategic. Some people swear by the save and splurge approach that allows for one mini getaway and one dream holiday in a year. Others use the solo to family tactic and distribute their budget across solo trips, couple getaways and family holidays. Regardless of what strategy you implement to plan your trip, the holiday list is a handy tool for eager travellers. After having extensively studied the 2018 holiday list, here’s what we recommend:
March: 10 days of literature, art and culture in Toronto
For those you have pledged to read more or have more artistic experiences in 2018, Toronto offers the Biblio-Mat, the world’s first randomising vending machine for old books. You can find the Biblio-Mat, paper artefacts, rare books and more at The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian bookseller. If you can tear yourself away from this eclectic bookstore, head over to The Public Library in Toronto for the Merril Collection of over 72000 items of science fiction, fantasy magic realism and graphic novels. With your bag full of books, grab a coffee at Room 2046 – a café cum store cum studio that celebrates all things whimsical and creative. Next, experience art while cycling across the 80km Pan Am Path. Built for walking, running, cycling and wheeling, the Pan Am Path is a recreational pathway that offers a green, scenic and river views along with art projects sprinkled throughout the route. You can opt for a guided tour of the path or wander aimlessly for serendipitous discoveries.
Nothing beats camping to ruminate over all those new ideas collected over the past few days. Make way to Killarney Provincial Park for 2-3 days for some quiet time amongst lakes and hills. You can grab a canoe, go hiking or get back to nature, but don’t forget to bring a tent.
If you use the long-weekend of 2nd March to extend your trip, you get to experience the Toronto Light Festival as a dazzling bonus.
June: 10 days of culinary treats, happy feet and a million laughs in Chicago
Famous for creating the deep-dish pizza and improv comedy, Chicago promises to banish that mid-year lull. Get tickets for The Second City’s Legendary Laughs at The UP-Comedy Club - the company that gave us the legendary Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Key & Peele. All that laughter can sure work up an appetite, one that can be satiated with Lou Malnati’s classic deep-dish pizza. For dessert, head over to the Ferrara Original Bakery for mouth-watering treats.
Chicago in June is pleasant and warm enough to explore the outdoors and what better way to soak in the sunshine, than by having a picnic at the Maggie Daley Park. Picnic groves, wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading – the park offers a plethora of activities for individuals as well as families.
If you use the long weekend of 15th June, you can extend your trip to go for Country LakeShake – Chicago’s country music festival featuring Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley.
August: 7 days in London for Europe’s biggest street festival
Since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has been celebrating London’s Caribbean communities with dancing, masquerade and music ranging from reggae to salsa. Watch London burst into colours and sparkle at the Notting Hill Carnival. Home to Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens Museum, London is best experienced by wandering through its tiny streets. Chance encounters with bookstores such as Foyles and Housemans, soaking in historic sights while enjoying breakfast at Arthur’s Café or Blackbird Bakery, rummaging the stalls at Broadway market or Camden Market – you can do so much in London while doing nothing at all.
The Museum of Brand, Packaging and Advertising can send you reminiscing about those old ads, while the Clowns Gallery Museum can give you an insight in clown-culture. If you’d rather not roam aimlessly, book a street-art tour run by Alternative London or a Jack the Ripper Tour.
October: 10 days of an out-of-body experience in Vegas
About 16 km south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, lies a visual spectacle. Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone, stands far away from the wild vibe that people expect in Las Vegas and instead offers a sense of wonder. Imagine seven pillars of huge, neon boulders, stacked up against one another stretched towards the sky. There’s a lot more where that came from, in Las Vegas. Captivating colour at the permanent James Turrell exhibit in Louis Vuitton, outdoor adventures at the Bootleg Canyon and vintage shopping at Patina Décor offer experiences that are not usually associated with Vegas. For that quintessential Vegas show, go for Shannon McBeath: Absinthe for some circus-style entertainment. If you put the holiday list to use, you can make it for the risefestival – think thousands of lanterns floating in the sky, right above you.
It’s time to get on with the vacation planning for the new year. So, pin up the holiday list, look up deals on hotels and flights and start booking. Save money by taking advantage of the British Airways Holiday Sale. With up to 25% off on flight, the offer is available to book until 31st January 2018 for travel up to 31st December in economy and premium economy and up to 31st August for business class. For great fares to great destinations, see here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.