I asked traveling and blogging friends to send their best travel pictures from 2015 and I made the subjective choice of those that I liked the most. I did not realize how difficult will be this task. Quite a lot of photos, most really nice, how can you choose just around twenty? At some point I regretted the idea. But in the end I have to admit that it was a cool experience and I was very pleased by a few photographic surprises.
Here are the best photos of Travel Year 2015 selected by their authors.
In the US lot of things are big. There are big buildings, big highways and big cars wandering on the road. Big burgers in fast food and no less cups filled with ice and Coca Cola. States can overwhelm. With size. When I first arrived at the place in the photo, I shouted: what a big carpet beating rack! Oh, memories of childhood, from the time before Facebook. (Muscle Beach, Santa Monica, California, USA)
Nearly the whole 2015 year I spent in New Zealand, which won my heart with its variety and the views that every photographer dreams about. The summit on the picture – Roy’s Peak – I have visited at least 3 times, and the views from it are some of my favorites in this country.
We like this image so much, because it is basically the essence of Cabo Verde. Beautiful colors, sun, water, people and animals in laid back atmosphere of the national motto “no stress”. Few photos can take us back to that island like this one. Furthermore the combination of colors of water and nets can be apprecieated by those sensitive on the subject. And the boy with a little monkey becomes an icing on the cake of captured moment. This is most definietly one of our favourite travel photos. [Cape Verde, Sal, Santa Maria]
Istanbul is a truly unique place. Someone once said, that it neither belongs to Europe, nor to Asia. When I got to the ferry on the Bosporus for the first time, I thought that this statement couldn’t be more true. Indeed, Istanbul is a bridge connecting this two continents. It’s the place, where time can stop for a moment and you can be suspended in your journey between the place you started from and your destination. And the best example of such a journey is taking… a ferry. I used to live in the city in a constant hurry and haste. And here – when I found myself on a ferry between Europe and Asia – all I could do was to enjoy my time. You cannot hurry, you cannot run. Whatever you will do, it’s not going to speed up or slow down the boat. This is when I finally learnt to take my time, look through the window and relax with a hot tulip-shaped glass of a finest, Turkish tea…
Photo without a history, but I incredibly like it. The photograph was taken in the first week of our stay in Mongolia. We rode with Marta from Russian Irkutsk, then we got into Mongolia and halfway between Ulan Bator and the border this road appeared! There are many long straight roads in Mongolia, but this one had something exceptional, unique, it was the one and all in all it’s hard to say why …
It is really hard to pick the best photo that I’ve taken in 2015, but I know which place was the most exciting that I’ve visited in 2015. Town I believe that everybody has heard about Western Wall situated in Jerusalem Old. It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, or how good at history you are. In the television, on photographs or in movies Western Wall looks just ordinarily. But when you are at this spot, just few centimeters from the wall hearing whispers of the prayer it is amazing. The feeling is much more exceptional when you are there on Friday evening when Sabbath starts. A lot of Jews is there to celebrate this very important time in the week. I was there to feel this atmosphere and to catch this moment. An amazing night.
The Genesis must have looked like that! Six o’clock in the Ngorognoro crater was magical time when the sun tried to rip through the clouds and it seemed to be a performance especially for us. I hesitated, not sure if I should try to capture the moment with my camera or just tuck my frozen hands deep into the pockets and admire the view that was unfolding in front of my eyes. The Ngorongoro crater is the world’s largest volcanic caldera that draws thousands of tourists eager for close-up meetings with lions, zebras, hippos or rhinos… However, come to the entrance at the crack of dawn and when you go through the gates you’ll get a moment before the crowds arrive – those minutes when the sun was playing with the clouds slowly illuminating grazing animals appeared to be the most perfect moment of my holidays!
A portrait of Cuba’s Icon: From every trip I bring the portraits, because for me, traveling is people. Accidental and planned. In the journey the first ones happens more. I meet the wise men and fools, those important and those less important. I pass them everywhere. Sooner or later. Even in the dry and hot desert, someone will bump into me. People come and go. I can drive and fly. All this to explore and discover the world. To take pictures for myself and others. To look at the beautiful views and take pictures of those. Even if I am one of the few who can stop on a winding road in the place where the shot is the best. What would be the world, what would be the sense of exploring it without a human being? For me, a man is what can stop me for longer. Portraits of people are the most beautiful views on my way and nothing is able to offer as much as they do. The mountain is there and will be there. And they? I do not know if they are still there, and yet I have not had time to unpack the backpack after returning from a trip.
During each trip, regardless of latitude, I am looking for interesting routes for running and cycling. This cottage charmed me during the first jogging in the vicinity of Gorlice, in the Malopolska province on one of the trails, which recently became one of my favorites in Poland. The hill with the cottage charmed me to the point that I’m coming back there almost every day, trying to get the perfect light, reflecting the atmosphere of the place. In the end I succeeded.
Dubai at night as seen from Burj Khalifa’s At The Top Observatory Deck
Getting a good spot in the observatory deck of the 124th floor of the iconic Burj Khalifa is not an easy task at rush hour. At sunset, when exposure of the sky and the earth are equal and lights begin to glow Dubai, hundreds of tourists climb to that terrace with the same goal as you: get a nice snapshot from the tallest building in the world. That said, one must be patient until his turn comes and you are finally good to be on the edge of the terrace, overlooking the endless city from above. In my case, because sunsets are rather fast in these latitudes, I had to settle for the night vision of the skyline of Dubai, one of my favorite things to do in Dubai.
Yangon, Midday. We were on our way to visit the temple Shwedagon, but it was so hot that when we saw a cinema, we hit upon an idea of seeing some movie and waiting out the worst heat. We bought the tickets and as we still had more than one hour until our movie, we went to the nearby train station. On a platform there was one train and inside it there were plenty of people looking out of the windows, probably to catch some fresh air. Everybody was staring at us, yet only this girl was bold enough not to look away when I pointed my camera at her. She was surprisingly serious and even the boy that was giggling next to her didn’t bring a smile to her face. That’s why I like this photo: the girl is not grinning stupidly to the camera, but at the same time she seems to be pleased that somebody paid attention to her.
Picture taken during the chair lift ride in Zawoja. November, strong wind called in Poland halny, great weather, high temperatures and incredible light – this mixture allowed to capture the real, Polish, mountain fall.
Rushing ahead, galloping horses in the Iceland interior are the part of the scene, which made us to remember the exciting route to Landmannalaugar for the long time. Landmannalaugar is a settlement located in Fjallabak nature reserve in the southern Iceland, in so called “rainbow mountains”. The Icelandic race of horses can be found only in Iceland and is carefully protected from the threats of disease from the European continent. Icelandic horses, when leaving out of the country, never go back home. Unlike us, who, after last year’s bike ride only through the southern part of Iceland feel quite unsatisfied. We will surely return on this amazing, green, friendly island.
Welcome in an abandoned London hotel, dear friends!
Or maybe not so abandoned… With any luck, you can meet there this very lady, light up a cigarette and chew the fat. She was foremely a colonel. And there is something incredibly noble in the way she moves and speaks. I travel for such moments. And I keep waiting to photograph them. It’s not one of those which Cartier-Bresson always talked about. But for sure this moment can also be called “decisive”.‘- You have such beautiful hands. – Really… ? You can take a picture.’ Tbilisi, Georgia
It was a long, but rewarding day. We did a trip around Yellowstone, managing to visit all the beautiful places, taking short hikes among geysers, forests and animals in their natural habitat. At the end, just before sunset we arrived at Grand Prismatic Spring – the largest hot spring in the National Park. Its colors match the rainbow dispersion of white light. The photo conditions were not so great though – thick fog coming from the spring was covering almost all of it, making the colors barely recognizable. Suddenly I noticed a man walking on a footbridge on the oposite side of the lake. I really liked the contrast between the majestic fog formation in the background and the “ordinariness” of the character. A second later I was releasing the shutter to take the picture. 2015 for me was an incredibly colorful year (mainly because the trips to Tenerife, USA and Greece), but this photo – one of my favourite in previous year – is black and white, focusing on the details. Moreover, the man walking through Yellowstone reminds me of my own trip there. And I’m definitely coming back there one day.
This photo proves that an incident often plays the leading role in photography. On that sunny day in August, after a longish travel through the English countryside, my friend and I were trying to make a decision where to go on our first walk in Patterdale. Patterdale is a tiny village with three or four buildings, while Glenridding, located nearby, is more lively and even has some pubs. In the end, we decided to just follow pretty landscapes around Patterdale. We were walking uphill on a narrow path when I suddenly saw this. Sunbeams forcing their way through the clouds, making the valley below look magical. I like this photo out of two reasons. First of all, it reminds of the lazy atmosphere of holidays and long walks through the English Lake District. Second of all, it motivates me to take my camera and go for a walk, since I often take the best photos spontaneously. It would be such a waste to miss out on moments like this one.
Sunday Market in Dong Van village, Ha Giang province, North Vietnam is an remarkable experience.
It’s very different from the other markets in Vietnam, commonly visited by tourists, and it’s one of the last traditional markets here in the mountains. Being set up the same way for many generations, it’s an significant event for the local community. Every Sunday hill tribe minorities get to come down from the mountains, trade handicraft, food, seasonal harvest and stock & share the simple joy of life with their relatives. Many of them have nerver seen any travelers before. I took this shot during one of those Sundays. The little boy was too scared to leave his comfy spot, near his momma, hiding behind geese. But he was also curious enough to look straight into my lens. We shared this very special moment for a few heart beats, before we finally broke the ice and he smiled at me.
The dusk was falling over the Mera Peak High Camp. The Jet Stream intensified. Sherpas were calling for a dinner. Other members of the group hid in the tents to enjoy the warmth of the sleeping bag. And myself, dressed in two down jackets staring fascinated at Mt Everest illuminated by the last rays of the sun breathing the frosty mountain air and pressing the shutter repeatedly. Exactly for such moments I hike in the mountains…
Flamingos in Southern Bolivia. This photo was taken during a 3 day tour in Southern Bolivia, which took us from the tiny town of Uyuni to the border with Chile. We passed by the largest salt flat in the world, lots of colourful lakes, deserts, mountains lightly covered in snow and lots of flamingos. There are two small, side by side lakes which are full of these amazing pink creatures. I like this photo in particular because of the symmetry – it looks like they were standing in formation just so I could take their photo! This area of Bolivia is one of the most beautiful and unique places on Earth and is a must-see while travelling in South America.
I took this picture almost a year ago in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s one of my favorite views in the entire world, I can admire it for hours and it still doesn’t get boring. It shows Sarajevo in a nutshell. In this very city East meets West, where culture and architecture of Central Europe and Ottoman Empire mingle together. In Sarajevo you can find a mosque, a Catholic cathedral, a synagogue and an Orthodox church standing next to each other, when you look closely you can actually see it on the picture. Unfortunately 20 years ago the whole world heard about the Sarajevo due to the tragic siege that lasted for almost 4 years and took lives of over 10 thousands inhabitants. Surrounding hills are full of cemeteries, where on every grave you can see the year of death between 1992 and 1996… The picture was taken next to one of these cemeteries, with a stunning view over Sarajevo.
That was the last stop of our Anatolian Road Trip – Karakaya Dam. We were crossing the bridge on Euphrates River when the sun was about to set. Suddenly I realized there is some interesting construction on the water’s surface. Yet I did not know those are fish farms. Immediately I asked my driver to pull over – short photo break was needed. After all my travels without doubt I can admit that this view was one of the best views in 2015.
Krafla volcanic area in northern Iceland is a place where you start to wonder what planet you are living at. Next to hardly solidified, still steaming lava the blue puddles of mud are bubbling and hissing. Amazing colors, dynamics and variety. Such was for us year 2015 – vivid ,full of dynamics and extraordinary wide variety of tastes, sights, visited places and people met.
“Huaorani’s village, Boanamo, Ecuador” I took this photograph in a small village of the Huaorani tribe in the middle of Amazon Jungle, many hours by boat from the closest city or even road, where we’ve lived for a couple of days with Otobo and his family. The photograph presents two of his kids in the interior of the biggest hut in the village, which serves as a kitchen, as well as bedroom and livingroom. This photograph is special for me, because living in the forest with a tribe that only 50 years ago was considered the most dangerous in the Amazon and until today lives in isolation, practicing old customs and traditions, was a really special experience. The story of that visit cannot be shown in just one picture, so if you want to learn more, take a look at our blog!
When I look at this picture I see two things. Beautiful, huge animal that made a great impression on me and was one of the main reasons why I visited the Philippines. But I also see an unpleasant story that is hidden behind this picture. Although reportedly the approach already changed in this country and care is taken of the whale sharks. Although before entering the water training is given on what is allowed and what not, despite the promises it is still business as usual, and the sharks are fed by locals. Meeting these creatures was for me a great experience, but I feel terribly disappointed by the fact that I was fooled by the changes that should have taken place in Oslob. I definitely want to meet whale sharks again, but this time I will check everything 100 times before I decide the place.
There are moments when you press the shutter and you are already convinced that the picture will be nice and successful. So it was in this case. I sailed along the island Kalsoy the Faroe Islands, when suddenly we were covered from the wind. Water from the rough turned to peaceful with reflections of leaden clouds. It whole looked like a spilled mercury.
Standing alongside I noticed a Fulmar flying over the water practically not flapping its wings. His profile reflected in the water and all together looked quite strange (after all the birds are usually watched from below not from above), I took a series of pictures trying to get various shots. Processing of this photograph is basically zero, no smudging of the background, no blurring – everything made by nature and the right light. It is worth having a camera with you always …
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