We both follow the National Geographic and read their articles religiously and being featured in their printed magazine was a dream come true.

I (Kristina) took part in the National Geographic Traveller UK Photography competition back in September 2016 and by November 2016 I was holding a hard copy of their printed magazine in my hands, with my Hawaii photo on the last page. How amazing is that!

Exploring Hawaii was an incredible experience and it was my first ever tropical vacation across the world. Believe it or not, majority of my photos during our trip I took with my iPhone. That’s criminal when I think about it now! It wasn’t long before I invested in my first DSLR.

Luckily I had enough sense to take a few photos of the incredible ever changing Hawaiian landscape with my Panasonic Lumix camera, despite struggling to get along with it.

National Geographic Traveler Photography Competition

Every month, the National Geographic Traveller (UK edition) sets a theme and you send in a photo. Simple. Not only do you get to win amazing prizes, but also get to be featured in their monthly printed magazine.

You can too take part in the competition, it’s for amateurs, but just make sure your photo has a good resolution. Also, remember to be a little bit more adventurous with your photos. Think of what will excite the judges. If you have an unusual photo, even if it’s not technically correct, go for it. Sometimes those imperfect shots are what makes the photo stand out, especially if there’s a good story behind it.

The Photo Selection Process

To be able to participate in the competition, I had to choose a single shot from hundreds of photos I brought back from the tropics. The decision was tough. However, with Charlie’s help and being a massive fan of Nat Geo, I knew they were looking for something different, unusual even. Therefore I was looking for something they will really appreciate.

What do you imagine when you think of Hawaii? Lush palm trees reaching for the sky? Deep blue sparkling ocean, surfers catching the waves, pink sunsets? But there’s so much more to this hula hula land and I only learned about it fully when exploring.

lava flow on the big island hawaii

The entire island chain is the result of some crazy volcanic activity which is still the ongoing birth of Hawaii. This is especially visible on the Big Island. Seeing how the burning lava has destroyed entire villages was unbelievable.

But what’s even more incredible is that those villages are coming back to life. People are coming back home, reclaiming their land, rebuilding their lost homes. This had to be the winning story about Hawaii I thought.

 ‘The winning picture by Kristina Stamp caught our eye with its stark landscape and ‘rule of thirds’ considered composition. The metaphorical rising from the ashes is visualised with the new home and green plants emerging from the destructive lava’ – National Geographic Traveller.

The Prize – A Sony RX100 III Compact Camera

I was chuffed to receive Sony RX100 III, a compact sturdy camera praised by many users. It’s quite a change for me to get used to the wider angle lens after using my beloved 50mm lens for so long, but I am enjoying the learning process. It’s ideal for those ‘all you can see’ landscape shots.

Barbarossa Excursions, Malta

I am especially excited about the f/1.8 aperture which allows me to create crisp images when shooting close ups. Being so compact, it also lets me to be very discrete in cafes when taking photos of those delicious custard cream filled Italian pastries too.

The automatic features of this camera are fantastic, creating beautiful photos with reduced noise and blurriness even in the dark. It’s almost tempting to not even try learning manual mode. However, manual mode will allow you to play with shadows, intensity of colour and add more focus to your photos.

Having tested this tiny but sturdy camera for a couple of months and having taken endless rocky landscape shots of the Maltese islands where we are currently based, I really recommend this piece of equipment for travellers on the go and for those wanting to invest in a good quality camera other than DSLR. It does the job beautifully.

If you’d like to get one for yourself then check it out via our Amazon UK and Amazon US links here.

It helps us out a little with the hefty costs of running the blog and you’ll have our eternal gratefulness!

What’s your favourite camera/lens to take your travel photos with? Let us know in the comments below… 

Appearing in the National Geographic Traveller Magazine