Friday, October 4, 2013

Capture the Color 2013: The Bright Colors of Asia

Once again, I am joining in on the fun at this year's Capture the Color Photoblogging Competition organized by Travel Supermarket. I normally shy away from photography competitions because most involve popularity contests (likes, retweets, etc.) or a long list of requirements. This one does not involve either.

The instructions are simple. In your travel blog, post five travel photos which capture the colors blue, red, green, white, and yellow. Nominate five other travel bloggers. Submit your entry. That is it! Five esteemed judges, whose work I already admire, will then choose five category winners (one color, one category) and one overall winner after the competition period ends.

Collage for Capture the Color 2013
Capturing the bright colors of Asia

The prizes? Category winners can choose from an iPad, a Fujifilm digital camera kit, or a £750 shopping voucher with Arc'teryx (manufacturer of outdoor and sporting goods and clothing). Meanwhile, the overall winner gets £3,000 in travel funds. To find out more about the prizes, the judges, and the T&Cs of the competition, do head over to this page. Note that submission of entries ends on October 9, 2013.

Without further ado, here are my entries:

Blue: Kawah Ijen

Sulfur mines at Kawah Ijen, East Java, Indonesia
The sulfur mines of Kawah Ijen burn bright blue at night.

First is a photo I captured in the crater lake of Kawah Ijen in East Java, Indonesia. The lake inside this volcano crater, found at an elevation of 2,800 meters above sea level, has become an odd tourist attraction because of its open sulfur mine. Trekking up here during the day gives you vistas of the stunning crater lake. Meanwhile, trekking up here during the night, you see miners extracting the sulfur from the crater walls. They light them on fire, thus burning bright blue, in order to melt the sulfur away. When it solidifies into big chunks, they then carry them down the mountain, 40 to 50 kilos on their shoulders per trip. Jaw-dropping does not even begin to describe the things I saw in my trip up here. Story about my trek to Kawan Ijen to be posted soon!

Red: Durbar Square of Kathmandu

Kathmandu's Durbar Square in the mornings
Mornings in the Durbar Square of Kathmandu

Nepal is easily one of the most enchanting places I have traveled to. The country's great outdoors dominated and shaped by the Himalayas are one strong reason. Then, you have the country's fascinating cultures and religions, too. Above is a photo of Kathmandu's Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bright red colors here strongly struck my eyes as soon as I walked in. Red was in the bricks walls, the accents of the pagodas, the pagodas themselves, the paint on the ground and at times, the stain splashes on the monuments. What a place!

Green: El Nido, Palawan

Big Lagoon in El Nido
The beautiful waters of tropical paradise El Nido

Traveling in the countryside in my home country, the Philippines, I found myself constantly surrounded by green. The Philippines is after all a tropical country filled with lush rainforests, verdant paddy fields, fertile islands, and of course, crystal-clear waters. The photo of the green lagoon above was taken in El Nido in Palawan province. To me, it is the definition of a tropical paradise. What was once a destination solely reached via muddy roads or aboard cargo ships is now slowly developing and growing to be a choice destination among local and foreign travelers in the country.

White: Halong Bay

A white junk boat in Halong Bay
A white junk boat sails through the waters of Halong Bay in a cloudy late afternoon.

I have said my piece about Halong Bay, Vietnam. As far as karst limestone vistas are concerned, it is not the best one I have seen. Asia has an abundance of such landscapes after all. El Nido above is one example. However, there is one thing about Halong Bay that has everything else beat. It beautifully plays with colors depending on the weather you see it in. I have seen it bathed in blue, yellow, and even pink. Here, a white junk boat sails through a cloudy late afternoon. Around it, you see a palette of colors which, although muted, made for one stunning scenery. A little white on white photography over here.

Yellow: Yi Peng Lantern Festival

Magical lanterns at the Yi Peng Lantern Festival
Thousands of lanterns float in the dark night sky at the Yi Peng Lantern Festival.

Prior to coming to the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I had already been already told that photographing the festival would be quite a challenge. Taking photos of things in the dark was one thing. Having only mere 20 seconds before the mass of lanterns float away was another. I welcomed the challenge, of course, and it did prove difficult. Thankfully, I was able to capture those little yellow blobs of light as they floated away in the dark night sky. It was one of the most magical sights I have ever seen.

There you have it. Now, my nominations: (1) Bino of I Wander; (2) Marcos of Ambot Ah; (3) Marky of Nomadic Experiences; (4) Jipp of Jipp's World; and, returning the favor from last year (5) Mark of Migrationology. Good luck to you, guys. (Of course, not too much luck.)

Have these photos captured the colors? Think you can do better? Post your own photos in your travel blog. No need to be nominated!

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