Posts Tagged ‘ National Geographic ’

The Beauty of China’s Rice Field Terraces


French photographer Thierry Bornier captures breathtaking landscape photos that highlight the rich splendor of China’s mountains, rivers, and rice field terraces. From the highest vantage point he can climb up to, he points his camera downwards and waits for weather and lighting conditions that are just right before he releases the shutter. His precise care and endless patience pay off, as evidenced by his stunning aerial shots that are filled with vibrant colors, incredible atmosphere, and intriguing hints of storytelling.

Looking at his dazzling images, it’s surprising to learn that Bornier is entirely self-taught when it comes to photography. With an MBA in finance, he spent most of his career working as the Chief Financial Officer for an international fashion company in New York. He ended up in China by chance when he was transferred there by his company eight years ago, but he soon found himself captivated by the land and the culture.

After a photo he had taken (just out of personal interest) was featured as National Geographic’s “Picture of the Day” in 2010, Bornier decided to leave his steady finance job and follow his passion for photography. He told us in an email, “I always felt that I wanted to do something more creative and artistic than finance and accounting, so I made up my mind, bought a new camera, and started to shoot anything in order to understand the concept of photography. Step by step, I improved my skills.” Since then, Bornier taught himself studio photography and has built a career shooting celebrities, fashion spreads, and advertising campaigns in China. These jobs allow him to continue doing what he loves best: venturing into the countryside to photograph spectacular nature scenes as well as local people.

The Yunnan-based photographer gave us some insight on how he captures images that are so gorgeously vivid, they’re almost surreal. Scroll down to read the key elements that go into his work.

STORY

All places I choose to capture must have a story to tell.

MOOD

I love fog and cloudy weather for some of my pictures because they give the place the feeling of a painting. I go during the right season, and sometimes I need to wait until I can capture the mood that I want. I don’t like to take photos of landscapes with a pure blue sky; that’s not my style at all.

LIGHT

The most important element of my photography is lighting. The beautiful landscape is there in front of you—nature did that for you, you didn’t have to do anything. So the next step is how to capture this beautiful landscape. In your mind, you must think through all the possible lighting scenarios and imagine what will create the best fine art photo. It’s that mental image.

SKY

The photographer should never be satisfied if the complete image can’t be captured perfectly. Let’s say your image includes the sky and clouds. I won’t just pay attention to what’s in my foreground and background because they can’t be changed, but the sky will always change from day to day. I consider the sky just as important as the rest of my image, so I will wait for the perfect sky in terms of lighting and clouds. The quality of the clouds is also very important in order to create a real three-dimensional look, making my images appear more like surreal landscapes.

SPIRIT

I believe each photographer should not only use what he sees, but he should also always use his heart and spirit to create something different. The picture is made with your heart, not your camera. Once you understand how to use your camera, I would advise you to focus more on learning how to use your eyes to read the beauty in front of you, and then using your heart to capture it.

To conclude, Bornier told us, “I guess the combination of all of these make my own style and my photos look very beautiful, almost surreal, or like Chinese paintings. But trust me, if you came to one of my workshops, you would see these amazing landscapes in real life because they actually exist and look so beautiful. China is a huge country and has many diverse landscapes. I always feel amazed by this beautiful country.”

The National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest


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As the final submission date of the 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest draws closer, the iconic publication have shared some of the most recent and most interesting entries. The photographs come from four categories – travel portraits, outdoor scenes, sense of place, and spontaneous moments, and include shots from all over the globe, from the Kalahari desert to metropolises like Tokyo.

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Box Jellyfish


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The infamous box jellyfish developed its frighteningly powerful venom to instantly stun or kill prey, like fish and shrimp, so their struggle to escape wouldn’t damage its delicate tentacles. Their venom is considered to be among the most deadly in the world, containing toxins that attack the heart, nervous system, and skin cells. It is so overpoweringly painful, human victims have been known to go into shock and drown or die of heart failure before even reaching shore. Survivors can experience considerable pain for weeks and often have significant scarring where the tentacles made contact. Box jellies, also called sea wasps and marine stingers, live primarily in coastal waters off Northern Australia and throughout the Indo-Pacific. They are pale blue and transparent in color and get their name from the cube-like shape of their bell. Up to 15 tentacles grow from each corner of the bell and can reach 10 feet (3 meters) in length. Each tentacle has about 5,000 stinging cells, which are triggered not by touch but by the presence of a chemical on the outer layer of its prey.

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Box jellies are highly advanced among jellyfish. They have developed the ability to move rather than just drift, jetting at up to four knots through the water. They also have eyes grouped in clusters of six on the four sides of their bell. Each cluster includes a pair of eyes with a sophisticated lens, retina, iris and cornea, although without a central nervous system, scientists aren’t sure how they process what they see.

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Moonwalk – Dean Potter Walks a Highline at Cathedral Peak


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The ultimate full moon shot. Dean Potter walks a highline at Cathedral Peak as the sun sets and the moon rises. Shot from over 1 mile away with a Canon 800mm and 2X by Michael Schaefer. This shot was part of a bigger project for National Geographic called The Man Who Can Fly.

20 Miraculous Photos.


Ever since I posted the spot about National Geographic and some of their most amazing photos, I’ve had people emailing me asking for more photos from that collection.  unfortunately a top 10 doesn’t really go past 10.  So what I did was search the net to find 21 more photos from all around the world that truly astounded me.  The photo above may just seem like 2 simple turtles, but a distinct depiction a pseudo-inspirational underwater scene is something most photographers have never shot before, which is why it stuck out to me.  So check the method below to see what other photos I thought stood out over the web, and let me know what you think.

10 Of The Best Photos From Around The World.


As a National Geographic photographer since 1995, Stephen Alvarez has explored our world in ways most of us can only imagine. His global stories have won him numerous awards and taken him to amazing places, much like our all-time favorite photographer, Steve McCurry.  Over the past fifteen years, Alvarez chronicled the world’s unseen landscapes and then called the series Earth from Below. His journeys took him to the world’s deepest cave in Abkhazia on the border with Russia and made him curious enough to explore the treasures right underneath his feet. Alvarez recently spoke about these incredible experiences at The Annnenberg Space for Photography. What I enjoy most about Alvarez’s photos is that, just like Steve McCurry, he can transport us into another time and place. Unlike McCurry, however, Alvarez gives us a different type of connection. Whereas McCurry’s photos make us appreciate our shared human experiences, Alvarez’s awe-inspiring photos give us a whole new appreciation for this earth – its natural beauty and, most importantly, its hidden gems.