Stunning pictures capturing breath-taking beauty from all corners of the world have been revealed as part of a travel photography competition. From aerial photos of fishermen in Myanmar to hot air balloons during sunrise in Slovenia, these images will take you on a grand tour of some of the most beautiful places on earth. The images tell the stories of natural, coastal, mountainous and city landscapes from a wide range of countries. Only 50 travel photographs were selected out of 14,539 submissions in the ‘Travel2019’ photography competition by Agora Images. Scroll through to see these amazing images…

Entitled ‘The Famous One’, this stunning image was taken by French photographer and engineer Nicolas Prègre. It shows an eerie wave of mist floating in the air at Machu Picchu in Peru, South America.

This image from the Thar Desert in India was taken by professional photographer Pranab Basak. The desert is a large arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent

With the title ‘Terrace,’ this landscape scene taken in Kayah, Myanmar in Asia shows three people walking along the banks of rice fields.

‘Sunrise in Slovenia’ shows a beautiful sunrise in the European country and even captures a hot air balloon as it rises into the air. It was taken by Matt Cuzen.

This image entitled ‘Cikubang train bridge’ by Daniel Dahni from Indonesia shows railway tracks high in the air passing over rice fields in West Java, Indonesia.

Photographer Wilmer Valdez Hinojosa from the captured this stunning moment in the Dominic Republic of a plane taking off into the sunset.

‘Blue Bled’ by Sergio Saavedra Ruiz from Spain shows churches poking into the night’s sky in Slovenia.

This well-framed photograph with the title ‘Morning’ shows a woman driving down a passage of trees as the sun streams through the branches in Vietnam. It was taken by Nguyen Quang Thanh from Vietnam.

Aptly entitled ‘Loneliness’ this breath-taking photograph taken in an unknown location by Faten Hamouda from Switzerland shows a figure walking across the sand.

‘Smoked Out’ shows a mountainous region of Iceland enveloped in waves of cloud. It was taken by Jonny Rogers from the UK.

Maqsood Akhtar took this unusual image in Pakistan which shows an embellished lorry driving down a winding road.

‘On the edge’ by Corinna Juptner from Germany was taken in an unknown location but shows a person standing on the edge of a precarious ledge in a mountainous region.

‘Beautiful morning in Bromo’ shows Mount Bromo in Indonesia poking out from a blanket of cloud. The image was taken by Imam Primahardy.

This image entitled ‘Crossing’ was taken in Indonesia by Rian Bungsu and shows men on motorbikes crossing a wooden bridge.

Aung Thu Ya took this dramatic image named ‘Sculpture’ during his time travelling around Myanmar.

‘Airborne anymore’ by Vitor Esteves from Portugal shows an abandoned plane in the middle of a forest in Portugal.

‘Heart of the city’ taken by Jeet Khagram from India shows a young man surveying the city of Jaipur, India.

‘Golden Hour in Bagan’ was taken by Naing Tun Win in Myanmar. It shows hot air balloons rising over temples during sunrise.

Simply titled ‘Florence’ this city image was taken by British photographer Hugo Healy showing the sun beaming onto the side of the dome of Florence’s cathedral.

This modern image of Dubai’s metro was taken by Engr Hsn from Pakistan. It is one of the 50 photographs submitted for the competition.

‘Adventure’ by Jordi Sark from Spain shows two 4x4s crossing an icy location.

‘Backflip on a mountain top’ shows a man somersaulting off the side of a cliff on Mangart mountain in Slovenia. It was taken by Michael Harding from Austria.

This image of a woman standing at a train station was also submitted for the competition. It was taken by Eva Blanco in Madrid, Spain.

‘Travel alone’ by Francisco Paez from Argentina shows an abandoned boat in Cabo Sao Pablo, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.

This sunset picture was taken in Svaneti in Georgia by Nika Pailodze. It is called ‘To the sun’ and shows the shadow of a walker standing in the sun’s glare.

This woman skateboarding down a road was taken by Ricardo Bruning from Germany in Sweden. It is called ‘Sweden roadtrip’.

‘Jungle Life’ by Lee Mumford shows a river snaking through rain forest on Siargao island in the Philippines.

‘The grandeur of Kuala Lumpur’ taken by Patricia Soon from Malaysia shows sky scrapers in a dramatic black and white image.

This stark but beautiful image was taken by Bekir Yesiltas and shows a frozen lake in Turkey being crossed by a horse and carriage.

‘Vietnam view’ by Marco Vulinovic from Norway shows a rocky path leading up to a small temple overlooking amazing views.

This shot was taken by Nadege Delalieu from France in Cappadocia in Turkey. Cappadocia, a semi-arid region in central Turkey, is known for its distinctive ‘fairy chimneys,’ which are clusters of tall, cone-shaped rock formations. The image is called ‘Rose Valley, Cappadoce’.

You can see why these photos have been chosen to be in the top chosen photos for the travel competition photos. Great photography and amazing places. It amazes me to see so many wonderful new places that we haven’t seen before in pictures.
Daily Mail



Action photography is something that is around us all the time.  It is part of life.  We have action things happening to us, around us, and most of the time we don’t have our cameras ready, or, if we do, sometimes we miss it, or, we plan on catching the best photos EVER!!  I think this is where a photographer becomes a photographer, because they are always ready for action.  Things happening around them all the time.  I often carry two cameras with me, my cell phone camera, and then my ruggedized digital camera with me, just to have with me in case something happens.

So, what is action photography?  I remember when I took my first real college class in photography.  One assignment:  take an action photo.  So, I thought about something, maybe something different than everyone else.  And I took the picture of water splashing into water:

Timing had to be just right, and catch water and the ripples just right.  Yeah, got an A on that assignment.  Good action photo, but, not your everyday photo.  What we take everyday requires your camera to do something that not all cameras can do.  So, check out and see if you can do the following on your camera:

*  Change your shutter speeds

*  or Change Tv (time value)

*  Action mode ( simpler cameras)

*  Icon with a Person running

I was just checking my new cell phone camera, and sorry to say, it doesn’t have any of those settings.  Some cell phone cameras have something like that.  So, check your instructions or settings on your camera to see if you have some way to set for speed settings.

How can you catch someone running or jumping or do great action shots like this if you don’t have any way to freeze the action.  And that is why you need those settings on your camera.  If you don’t, the chance of them all being blurred pictures is the result.  If you can change your shutter speeds, then you use the faster shutter speeds, like 1/500th, 1/1000th or even 1/2000th of a second to freeze action.  But, remember, that to do that you have to have the subject in a lot of light.  The higher the shutter speed, the aperture on the camera will change the opposite direction to compensate for the faster shutter speed.  Just plan on having a lot of light when you do this kind of action photography.

Everyday photography is so much fun with your kids.  Catch them in their own play.  It will mean so much in a few years.  Notice in this picture the water and the action is all frozen there in time.  Every detail of the fun is there.

Now, this picture is another fun way to do action photography, and this is called “panning photography”.  You literally follow the subject with your camera while they are moving.  Still use a somewhat fast shutter speed (1/500th of a second is great)  and notice that you freeze the action of your subject but blur the background.  Makes for a great poster of your subject.  If you don’t have control of your shutter speeds, you can still do this with a camera that just gives you the other settings mentioned above for action photos.

Now this is a totally different panning photo, this time using a slower shutter speed.  You will just have to see if you like this type of photo or not.  But, this time you use a slower shutter speed, like 1/60th of a second and pan and follow your subject still.  You still keep the body sharp, but, everything else that moves is blurred, such as the feet, hands, and background.  Just a unique shot.  So, with your automatic cameras, take it off the action mode, and try it and see if it will work.  This shot will take practice to see if you can do it.  Nice thing with the new digital cameras, if you don’t like it, you can delete the picture until you get the desired photo.  Try different speeds, if you can to get the desired effect.

This is another form of action photography.  And it shows you exactly what happens to water at different shutter speeds.  OOOhhhh, this might make you want to get one of those bigger cameras that allows you to change shutter speeds so you can do this effect.  In this picture above, you can see what shutter speed they used, and what effect it had on the water.  What do you like?  Most people like the blurred water.  It gives it more of a dream effect, or smooth effect to the water.  See what a slow shutter speed can do to the picture below:

Have you ever seen the ocean waves look like that?  They don’t look like that.  But, you can make it look like that.  With using a slower shutter speed, BUT, you cannot do this photo without using a tripod with your camera.  No one has those kind of nerves of steel.  I remember the rule of thumb:  You can only hand hold a camera for a photo at 1/60th of a second or faster.  And some professional landscape photographers shoot all their photos with their camera on a tripod.  Standard equipment.

So, some of these photos on this subject today cannot be taken with your standard cell phone camera.  Maybe you can download an app that will help you do it.  But, a better digital camera or a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera will do everything you want.  And remember, at this point, I am not going to endorse any brand.  There are many good ones that can do this for you. The key is to learn what you can do with the camera you have.  And then experiment.  If you can’t do it, then don’t be discouraged.  Keep taking pictures.  Some day you can work towards getting a camera that can do these kind of spectacular photos.

Happy shooting !!

Photo by Dani Muchow on

Photo by Milena de Narvaez Ayllon on

Photo by Pixabay on


Wildlife photographers are a dedicated bunch.  They spend money to travel to exotic places, brave miserable conditions, deal with whatever light conditions are present at the time and then sometimes don’t even see the animals they came to photograph.  Pandas in China, tigers in India, lions on the Serengeti, polar bears in the frozen Yukon or maybe gorillas in the Congo.  You could spend a lifetime photographing wild animals in their native lands.

Bengal Bath – Photographed in the wilds of India or in a zoo? You tell me.

Or, you could take a cue from Simon and Garfunkel –

“Someone told me it’s all happening at the Zoo”

                     – “At the Zoo” – Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel

I’ll grant you, photographing a lion in the zoo doesn’t have the same thrill as being on safari. If you have the time and the money to do such things, by all means, go for it.  For many of us though, the zoo offers a chance to photograph animals we’d never see otherwise and, using the tips we’re about to cover, you can still make some very nice images.  You don’t have to tell your friends where you took them, right?

It’s hard to make a zoo photo look like it was taken in the wild with a chainlink fence in the background. Go with a wide aperture to throw the background out of focus if you can.


In the bush, the challenges of photographing wildlife are likely finding the animal you’re seeking and, depending on the species, perhaps trying not to get eaten.  At the zoo, there are cages, glass or at least barriers designed to separate you and the creatures.  Safer, yes, but also a little frustrating when you’re trying to make a nice photo.

Let’s look at some workarounds for zoo photography.

Sometimes this is what you encounter when trying to do zoo photography. When the animal is right up against the wire, there’s not much you can do.
Get a little separation between the animal and the cage, get close to the wire, use a large aperture, and you can do this. This could probably be cleaned up further with the cloning tool in post-production.


Zoos are getting better at designing structures so that the animals aren’t always behind bars or chainlink fences, but sometimes you will still have to deal with this.  If the animal is up close to the fence, you might have no choice but to include it in the shot.

But, if you can wait until the beast moves further away from the barrier, this trick can work.  Get close to the fence if you can, then use a wide aperture.  Zoom into and focus on the animal.  You may find that the limited depth of field pretty much renders the fence as a blur, barely showing up at all.  Often you can clean up what remains of the fence or bars when editing.

Having to work through the glass, the top image is straight out of the camera. But, with some editing, a pretty nice Panda Portrait results.
An aquarium is a zoo of sorts where all the animals will be behind glass. Note how I rescued the turtle image with editing and monochrome conversion.


Sometimes the barrier between you and the animal will be glass.  You’ll have to deal with grime, scratches, and reflections.  Carry a cloth in your bag when you go to the zoo and clean a spot on the glass where you’ll be shooting.  Get as close to the glass as you can, again with a wide aperture to help blur any scratches.  If reflections are a problem, consider throwing a jacket or cloth over your head or perhaps just the camera to help eliminate them.  Later in editing, the dehaze tool can be your friend with photos made through glass.


Many times I’m glad there’s some distance between the animal I’m photographing and I. (The Komodo dragon was a scary guy for sure!). The difficulty becomes making the animal in your photo more than just a speck in the shot.

You’ll have even more difficulty with this if you’re visiting a wild animal park where instead of the animals being in smaller cages or enclosures, they roam a wide area, and you drive through the park on a tour bus. There’s only one solution here – longer telephoto lenses.

More about lenses in a bit, just know that to get those nice portrait shots, you’re often going to need some bigger glass.

Frame tightly as you would with a human portrait, be sure the eyes are in focus and you’ll capture a more engaging image.


Though you’ll be photographing animals at the zoo, you’d prefer to have your images look like they were taken in the wild.  Your story about photographing zebra on the Serengeti plains will fall apart if there’s an obvious chainlink fence in the background.  So, a couple of possible options here:

  • Fill the frame with the animal, including as little of the background as possible in the shot.
  • Zoom in and use a wide aperture so the background blurs.
  • Consider your vantage point when composing your shot.  Could you move a little to put natural vegetation, rocks, or something not manmade in the background to better simulate the animals’ natural habitat?
Watch, wait and be ready, and you can capture animals behaving as they do in the wild

Capturing behavior

A photo of a lion just standing there might be okay, but a shot of a lion roaring…that’s the one you’d like.  Images that capture animal behavior are the prize winners.  The difference is waiting for the moment. Waiting, waiting, and perhaps waiting some more.

Perhaps you’re not up to being another Dian Fossey living with the mountain gorillas so you can get that unique photo.

Or there’s Guido Sterkendries, who spends weeks in the stifling heat of the Brazilian rainforest on a perch in the treetops to photograph poison dart frogs.

But, rather than just taking the minute or so the average zoo visitor views each exhibit, you might have to wait, watch, and be ready when the animal does something interesting.  Also, watch for animal interactions and make photos that tell a story.

Mamas and babies can make good photos. Look for animal interactions that tell a story.

Set up, be ready, and perhaps have continuous mode and servo-focus activated. Then, when it happens and the subject does that intriguing behavior, fire off a burst of shots to guarantee you’ve got that one really great shot.

After all, would you rather go home with a boring photo of every animal in the zoo or just one superb shot of one animal engaging in some really interesting behavior?

When to go

Sometimes you get to a particular animal exhibit at the zoo and the animal is nowhere to be seen. Or maybe he’s over in the corner, zonked out and sleeping – hardly a great photo subject.

Often the trick is to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it’s cooler, and the animals are apt to be more active.

Photographers are also quite familiar with the “golden hour.” Not only will the light be better during these times, but the animal’s up, about, and ready for their closeup. Feeding time can also provide some action.

If you can, talk with the zookeepers to find out the best time to come, especially if you have your sights set on shots of particular animals. They will be a great source of information.

Including people

Sometimes the action at the zoo can be on the other side of the cages, the antics of people reacting to or aping for the animals.  Keep an eye out for these kinds of behaviors too.  Sometimes people are the funniest animals.


If you’re going to spend a day at the zoo, you may not want to bring your whole photo kit. Firstly, it’s not much fun schlepping it around. Secondly, while you’re intent on making a shot, an unscrupulous bandit could help themselves to some of your gear.  Thirdly, you really don’t need that much for zoo photography.

Here are some things you might want:


Something with the ability to go manual if necessary and, of course, shooting Raw is almost always better.

Canon 100-400 zoom was a great lens to have to allow these bird portraits. Wildlife photographers use long lenses and at the zoo, they can help too.


You might very well be able to get by with a good wide-range telephoto for zoo photography. Something like a 70-200mm, or if you have something longer like a 70-300 or 100-400, better still.

You’re not apt to need a wide-angle lens at all.

The only other possibility is for zoos that have a butterfly exhibit where a macro could be useful.  One or two lenses should have you covered.

Sometimes zoos will have a butterfly exhibit. If where you’re going has one, take a macro lens.


You may find that some zoos prohibit tripods, so it would be a good idea to check before you go.  A monopod can be a good substitute.


Probably not.  Again, some zoos will prohibit them, they spook the animals, and you’re not apt to want a “flash look” anyway.

Polarizing filter

This can be a good idea.  The fur of many animals is shiny and a polarizer can help tame that, also giving you richer colors.


Cloth is great for cleaning the glass on animal enclosures that use that.


You will encounter a variety of lighting situations at the zoo, from dark animals lying in the shade to light animals in the sun, to the dreaded speckled light situation.

Some animals may barely move while others may leap wildly about.

There’s no substitute for knowing your camera and how to deal with varied conditions.  Often going fully manual, both for exposure and focus will be your best option.

Fences or glass in the foreground can too easily fool the autofocus, so be careful there.

Some zoos will have a walk-in aviary. If so, it’s a great opportunity for bird photography. Again, have a long lens and if you’ll be handholding the camera, keep the shutter speed high.

In general, a wide aperture to blur the background, coupled with a fast shutter speed to freeze any animal movement, is good.  You may also be dealing with a long focal length, and having to handhold is a recipe for camera shake/blur.

Try to keep the shutter speed as fast as possible.  Also, keep the ISO low to minimize noise.  In varied lighting conditions, you may also want to consider Auto ISO if you understand how it works with your particular camera.

Continuous mode can be a good option so that when an animal does something interesting, you can fire a burst of shots, helping guarantee you capture the moment.


If there’s any mistake I see beginners making, it’s not filling the frame with their subject. Of course, not every shot needs to be a tightly cropped “portrait,” but the problem comes in when the subject in the image is so small it’s barely identifiable. Alternatively, the shot is so cluttered with other things that one questions what the real subject is. This is where a long lens can help with zoo photography.

Real wildlife photographers must sneak up on their subjects in places where enclosures don’t restrict the animals. So, often they will use – really – long, (and really expensive), glass. You need not go to that extreme, but you do want to make the animal in your shot the star, so frame accordingly.

The eyes have it. You can have parts of the animal out of focus if you must, but the eyes need to be sharp.

As when making portraits of people, when photographing animals, keep the eyes in sharp focus. Having other parts of the animal out of focus or a very limited depth-of-field is forgivable, but if the eyes are not in focus, the shot is probably a candidate for the delete button.

Use manual focus or learn you use your focus points to force focus on the animal’s eyes. Simply using the default center-focus point will likely fail you almost every time. Be the master of your camera’s focus.

This is a tricky one because enclosures, cages, and places where the animal will be won’t always allow this, but where possible, try to get on the same level as the animal.  Looking down on the subject just won’t be as impressive.  Perhaps you’ll have to put your camera on the ground or use something like a Gorillapod, (appropriate for the zoo, yes?) but do what’s needed to improve your shot.

This could have been even better if I could have got down at the same level as the beast. Then again…


As with any photo editing, you want to use the tools and tricks in your editing program to improve your shot. Always consider whether a crop may help eliminate distractions or better highlight the animal. Use the exposure, highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks sliders (if editing with Lightroom), to bring out the color and detail of the animal.

The Dehaze option may help, especially where you made a photo through a glass enclosure.

The new Texture slider can also work wonders, bringing out details in an animal’s fur.

Monochrome can give a classy look and in the case of this cheetah, emphasize his spotted camouflage in his environment.

Don’t forget to take a look at going monochrome with some of your images.  Sometimes a black and white version of an animal image can be especially striking.

Go zoo it!

So grab your gear and get down to your nearest zoo.  You’ll have a great time, get some nice images, and if the song is right, “the animals will love it if you do.”

Do you have any other zoo photography tips? Share with us in the comments! Also, share with us your zoo photography photos.

The post Using Creative Zoo Photography for Awesome Animal Photos appeared first on Digital Photography School. It was authored by Rick Ohnsman.

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Here are some other great photos taken at the zoo:

* All photos courtesy of San Diego Zoo Safari ParkSo, hopefully, looking at these photos will give you an idea of how to be patient and wait for the perfect photo.  What I have found as I go to the zoo:  don’t take pictures of the sleeping animals, wait until next time.  Get pictures of the animals that are awake and up and moving around.  Who wants a picture of a sleeping animal?  Right?  I know you are thinking of you may not get that chance again to take a picture of this rare animal, but, no one wants to see that picture either.  It looks like a zoo picture then.  The goal is to make it look like it’s not a zoo picture, right?   So, have fun, enjoy the family, and enjoy the animals too.Thanks again for your support, and please…… SHARE !!!!