“A large, inquisitive, and almost dangerously playful female humpback whale calf measures me with her pectoral fin,” explains Matthew Draper, who took this photo in Tonga. “This image was captured on a very wide fish-eye lens, which doesn’t quite show how close she really is. By measuring how close I am she can determine if her tail is going to come in contact with me as she swims past.”

Photograph by Matthew Draper, National Geographic Your Shot

“I found that the real life of NYC can best be captured by pointing the lens straight down from high above. From above, you feel the energy and flow of the city—he constant stream of yellow taxis lining the avenues, the waves of pedestrians hurriedly crossing at the change of traffic signals, little figures disappearing into the subway stations, the chorus of honking horns and sirens. The feeling of a city from above completely changes from daytime through twilight and into darkness.

Photograph by Navid Baraty, National Geographic Your Shot


Traveling through Kilimanjaro’s Clouds -

After a night of rest at the Mandara Huts, my group woke up bright and early to continue our trek up Kilimanjaro. We were still in the rain forest and had to wear our rain gear due to the continuous fog/clouds that would not go away. I put my canon rebel t2i away for this part of the trip because it was too wet, my Gopro sufficed in its place. We climbed through the clouds for hours, about four in total, I got tired of being wet really quick. We left Mandara Huts at 8,923 ft or 2,720 m, where the rain forest followed us until about 10,000 ft or 3000 m, we were able to see the thick trees disperse and become the bushes of the Heather and Moorland plant life. 

After the change in scenery, we shortly found the top of the clouds. It was cloudy one moment and then the next it was clear sky. It was like walking through the mist of a water fall to the other side, refreshing and clear, I was utterly glad to see the sun. I had to remind My Trail Buddy to put on his sunscreen because he always forgets that the sun burns. Clouds would still roll by us every now and then but we didn’t have to worry about rain, it would be a welcomed shade from the sun. I saw beautiful flowers along the trail. I loved the amount of Golden Bushed Daisies I saw but my favorite flower was the Red Hot Poker. My guide Ben, informed me of the flowers name.

Around 12,204 ft or 3720 m, which is 965 ft higher than my local Mount Hood in the State of Oregon, we began to see the roof-tops of the Horombo Huts peeking through a rolling cloud. 

Stay following! - Continue to Horombo Huts.