Some years ago, I traveled solo from St. Petersburg, Russia all the way via Mongolia to Beijing, China. On board the Trans-Siberian Express, we covered 6,000 miles through forests, mountains and lakes. Many travellers tick this off their bucket list by just sitting on the train from beginning to end.
But for me – the real adventures happened when I got off the train. I would stay a few days in a place, explore the surroundings and hop on the next train to continue the journey. In Krasnoyarsk, Eastern Siberia,I happened to hop off the train.
The guy working at the reception of the guesthouse I was staying asked me what my plans were. “I don’t really have any”, I responded. “Do you want to go hiking with me in the forests?”, he asked. Sure, why not!
I had no idea where we were going and what we were about to do. When we reached deep inside the forest, he told me to give him my camera. And to start climbing a rock. I looked up to the rock outcrop – hell no! But he insisted and pointed out the route where I could summit it. Then he hurried off.
I decided to trust him and started climbing. It was a hair-raising climb in which my sneakers were slipping away and I was basically just hugging this huge rock. When I finally reached the top, I noticed him sitting on another hill. And he took this shot.
This picture taken on a ferry ride from Stockholm to Helsinki is one of my favourite pictures I have ever taken. I have always liked the harmony of sunsets and water since I worked on a cruise ship and I will never miss the change to see a sunset at sea if I can.
I love how the island is breaking the water for a minute and it just feels special with that little lighthouse on it. It is also a perfect depiction of the landscape in this part of Europe. There are so many little islands and houses spread all around. I also love how the colours play together and the harmony they create in this picture.
Since this was during the summer in the Scandinavian countries it was late around 10 pm and it was cold, but the light made everything feel warm for a moment. You can see how the light is slowly disappearing on the right while it is still there on the left. I took many different pictures during this sunset, but this is the one that grabs my attention every time and the ones I keep coming back to. Hope you love it as much as I do, and it makes you imagine some special moment.
The drive though the fjords from Bergen to Gudvangen was a beautiful one, but the most interesting part of the journey of Norway In Nutshell was still waiting for me and that was the ferry ride from Gudvangen to Flam.
This fairy is of 2 hours and treats you the whole time with beautiful fjords, waterfalls, water bodies and mountains around you. The weather is always cold in this region and the continuous blowing wind adds to it. The seagulls add to the beauty of these fjords. You can fight with this cold with a sip of hot chocolate which is available on board. Every time I have visited this place and been on this ferry ride, I have seen hundreds of seagulls giving some fantastic clicks for tourists on the ferry and of course I was also one of them.
This particular photo was taken from this same ferry and somehow it turned out to be the best one I have clicked till now capturing all three major highlights of this journey i.e. water body, mountains and the seagulls. I loved the way I could hold them in the frame with their wings inaction. The water ripples add to the beauty of the photo. As much as I wanted this ferry ride to go on and on but the next and last part of the Norway In Nutshell tour – The Mountain Train Ride was already calling me.
I absolutely love this picture that I captured from Havasu Falls in Arizona for so many reasons. It’s no small venture to take on getting to this spot and once you get there, it’s not hard to capture it’s natural beauty. Not only is Havasu Falls incredibly beautiful and yes the water is that blue, it’s also incredibly difficult to get to. This makes getting to the beautiful Havasu Falls even more worth it in the end.
In order to get to this location, you first must have a permit months in advance and no day hikes are allowed. Then when you get to the location for the hike, you must walk 10 miles down into the Grand Canyon to the Havasupai Village then two more miles to the waterfall and camp grounds.The other thing you’ve got to know are that you have to carry everything in and out with you. As you hike 12 miles, you’re carrying your pack with everything you need overnight. So, when I say it’s difficult to get there, it really is!
After hiking for 4 hours, you reach this beautiful spot and are able to explore four different waterfalls in the area that are all incredibly beautiful. This photo to me shows the hard work my friends and I had to go through to get to this incredible spot! It’s so beautiful and worth every sore muscle, blister, and sweat. Nature is amazing!
Our trip to Iceland was magical and we did a lot of planning in advance so we could have an idea of what we wanted to see and do! One of the guidebooks we read told of a place called Hrisey Island – known as Eyjafjörður’s pearl of nature! It is a small island located off the north coast of Iceland and it is accessed by ferry.
We were set to visit nearby Akureyri in the North so we felt visiting Hrisey would be a great way to spend an afternoon. It is an island known for its bird watching and June, during our trip, was nesting time. Our ferry ride was brisk yet uneventful and when we stepped onto Hrisey we weren’t sure what to expect. As we wandered through the main village and up past the colourful houses, the lupins and mountain views overtook us! It was out of a fairy tale!
There are three marked routes you can take during your visit which range from 2.3km to 5km and we suggest to gauge how much time is required based on activity level and which ferry run back to the mainland you want to catch. There is a popular restaurant and a store located in the main village and also a sightseeing tour via tractor you can do! For us, the view pictured here made the trip worth it – we chose to do a self-guided stroll on our own and we were rewarded with one of the most gorgeous views of our entire trip!
During our family trip to Hawaii’s Big Island we visited Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, a destination that inspired us to explore our adventurous side. We’re no experienced hikers yet we had our mindset on the Kilauea iki Trail. This 4-mile loop trail takes hikers through the lush rain forest surrounding the Kilauea volcanoes’ side-crater (Iki means small).
The path starts out fairly easy and offers various viewpoints from where you can see the crater. Once you get closer to the crater floor, the hike gets more challenging because of slippery steps and lava rocks.Inside the crater, you find yourself in a surreal landscape dotted with steam vents, massive cracks and colorful ohia trees. When you touch the soil, you can literally feel the heat. And then it hits you that you’re actually standing inside the crater of an active volcano.
It’s the most fascinating and thrilling travel experience we’ve had so far. It made us feel so powerful yet, at the same time,so small and vulnerable. That’s why this picture is so meaningful for us as a family. When we heard the news about the Kilauea eruption about 2 weeks after our visit, this adventure became even more memorable. I wonder how much the landscape has changed since the eruption and can’t wait to plan another trip now that most areas of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have been reopened to the public.
In the fall of 2016, I traveled to Nepal for two months. Tucked at the foot of the Himalayas, it’s almost impossible to go to Nepal without trekking at least one trail. The monsoon was over and I decided to trek the Tamang Heritage Trail in the Langtang region, somewhere at the border with Tibet.
The Tamang Heritage Trails lasts five to six days. In the third day of the trek, we stayed in Tatopani village (meaning ‘hot springs’ in Nepalese) overnight. Before leaving the village in the following morning, we passed a little boy playing in a courtyard. He seemed very busy that morning. He was chopping up a wooden stick with his knife. But when he noticed me, his eyes twinkled and he stopped right away. It didn’t matter anymore what he was doing. He quickly leaned forward and gently put his hands together, then he greeted me with the traditional ‘Namaste.’
I tried to find out his name but he didn’t speak English at all. That’s why when I look at this photo, I remember the smiling face of my ‘Namaste’ Boy. Even if the language barrier cut any means of communication between us, his curious face says a lot about his simple thoughts. “Who are you?, What are you doing here? Where are you from?” are some of the questions he would have liked to ask me if he had spoken little English. The Tamang Heritage Trails sees fewer tourists and this is why a ‘white face’ is a novelty for the local people, and especially for a little curious boy.
After an hour of driving through the Venezuelan Andes, the bus stops to let us off and acclimatize to the altitude. We file, one by one, out of the bus and into the South American sunshine. The air is warm on my skin, but I know it will become cooler as we continue our journey to the peak of the mountain.
As the rest of the travellers head into the artisan market we’ve stopped outside of, I feel a pull to wander off in a different direction. I’ve only walked a few metres when this view stops me in my tracks. I snap this photo and continue to stare, in awe of the picture perfect mountain town before me.
Two of my friends make their way out of the market and over to where I’m standing. The three of us soak in the view together, talking about how lucky we are to be in the middle of this experience. We’ve each made a temporary move to Venezuela for different reasons, from different parts of the world, and we were lucky to find each other. We’ve become the closest of friends and made unforgettable memories.
As we gaze out at the postcard-worthy scene before us,we reminisce on the last two months we’ve spent together, and how we’ll be sure to stay in touch after it’s time for us to leave the country.
For me, this photo represents not only the beauty of a troubled country, but also the beauty of the vulnerability that comes with travelling alone, which allows for such strong connections to be made between people.
This photo of me scuba diving with sharks is one of my favourite travel photos for a few reasons. First, I like to promote local travel and the idea that you don’t have to board a plane to go on an adventure.There are gems in your backyard. And I found one of the best in mine that day.This photo was taken at Cherubs Cave, just a day trip from the city where I live, Brisbane. In the nearby waters, you can snorkel or dive around beautiful coral reefs with turtles, sharks and even manta ray. My underwater images have surprised more than a few local friends about the beauty hidden in the bay.
Second, I love these Grey Nurse Sharks. They were highly endangered and killed by people who believed they were man-eaters. But they’re actually placid and would never attack a human! They are doing fantastic conservation work on the East Coast of Australia to increase the almost lost population. Humans made them suffer for no reason,but we may have helped their recovery, and it gives me hope for the many other threatened species.
Third, this was my 100th dive. Although I love scuba diving almost more than anything else nowadays, it wasn’t easy to get there. My curiosity pushed me to try scuba diving, but I was actually scared of the ocean and rarely swam before. I am glad I didn’t let my anxiety stop me as I discovered a fascinating world and tripled the number of places I want to explore on Earth.
Travel photography is such a great hobby because every single photo you take can suddenly become your favourite. But it can also be so difficult to choose which one you love most after travelling for so long. I think, my most impressive photo came unexpectedly, I was on holiday with my family in Bali, it was during that time when Mt Agung was erupting a little bit, so tourists were less than usual. The sun had just set and we were about to leave the beach for dinner. The sky had turned a light shade of purple, and the clouds parted slightly to reveal the volcano in the distance. This was on the second night of our stay and the previous day I hadn’t seen the volcano at all! So I was definitely a little bit in shock.
I honestly didn’t know what to do except gawk, but then I remembered I am a photographer and I should probably take advantage of this moment. Quickly, I grabbed my brother (AKA my tripod), and set up the shot. I set the timer, and ran to take my place in the ocean. Despite the fact that I was taking a photo, it honestly didn’t feel like it. To me, I was just standing in front of the ocean, surrounded by a lilac sky and facing off with a monstrous and volatile volcano. In all honesty, it was kind of humbling, because I could see a little bit of smoke coming out of the top.
After only checking into the hostel hours before, I set out to explore the ancient city centre of Kotor, Montenegro. I slipped out of my bus clothes into a cute dress, ready to wander aimlessly through the medieval cobblestone streets until dusk. Walking within the city walls of Kotoris like being transported in time, a time of royalty, medieval knights,antiquated architecture. The fortress looming above, nestled in to the mountainside only furthers this aesthetic. You can’t help but feel like you may have been transported to a Lord of the Rings-esque town walking through Kotor, especially after dusk when the throngs of cruise ship tourists have left for the day.
As the sun began to dip lower in sky, I headed back to the hostel where I ran into some fellow hostel mates I had conversed with earlier. “We’re gonna hike up to the fortress to watch the sunset, wanna come?” I looked down at my dress and definitely not made for hiking boots and asked if the hike was hard or not. “Nah you’ll be fine! We’re taking the back way,” the group echoed.
Narrator: She would not be fine.
I’ll spare you the grimmy details of the tumultuous hike up through a trail intended for proper hikers adorned by steep inclines and massive boulders the entire way. But let’s just say that once I finally reached the top, my dress looked like I had jumped into a pool and my water bottle was long depleted. However, even though my personal state of being was a tad disheveled, the views we had come for were not. And my god were they some of the best views I had ever seen in my then 24 years of living. The sun falling behind the mountains painting the sky in orange hues made me forget any discomfort the trek had brought and allowed some of the best photos of my entire trip.
Moral of the story: if you plan to hike to the top of the Kotor Fortress (specifically the much more difficult back trail), dress appropriately and bring lots of water.
very first paddling course almost a decade ago, I loved the experience of being
so close to nature, discovering the incredible archipelago and accessing places
where only a kayak could fit. Last year I joined my first longer paddling trip
– three nights in Lake Saimaa in Eastern Finland. I did probably all the
mistakes of a beginner: way too much gear, not the most suitable equipment, lack
of practice… the list could go on endlessly. It was raining, and my muscles
were hurting, and I couldn’t get sleep in the tent. I felt miserable after the
first night but kept on going and in the end vowed I’d do it again!
Fast forward to this summer and with much better preparation, I embarked on my second three nights paddling trip on Lake Puula. The weather was perfect, I was much better prepared and brought along only the essentials. On the second evening we arrived on an island where we set our camp, bathed in the sauna, swam in the lake, and enjoyed dinner outdoors in the midnight sun. Suddenly, we were surrounded with perfect peacefulness and tranquility. Time seemed to stand still as we gazed the view that looked like it was from an artist’s paintbrush. Looking at this photo from that night still brings back the feelings of happiness, achievement and above all thankfulness of life’s special moments. As the stars started to light up in the sky it was time to go dreaming of future paddling adventures. Just a few months later, I found myself living those dreams and kayaking in the Atlantic Ocean in Lagos, Portugal.