Lonely Planet Writer

LP Pathfinders: top Instagrams from January 2017

January_Pathfinders

This month's round-up of photographs from our shutter-happy Pathfinders community shows us quiet garden respites in the middle of Tokyo, soft streams in Iceland, gorgeous architecture in Northern Ireland, ethereal landscapes in Eritrea and one jaw-dropping portrait of a young woman and her noble eagle. Fuel your wanderlust and treat your visual senses to these unforgettable images.

Tokyo, Japan

Japan has some of the world's most beautiful parks and gardens. Koishikawa Kōrakuen Garden is located in the heart of Tokyo, surrounded by busy roads and tall buildings. When we were strolling around the park, we felt like time had stopped – it was very still and quiet.’ – Aga Kozmic, @aga_amatteroftaste.

Why we like it: That red bridge really pops against the muted greens and greys of winter vegetation. A dialogue is sparked between the reflection and the placement of the mossy stones dotted throughout the water. It's hard to believe that such a peaceful spot is in the heart of busy Tokyo.

Belfast, Northern Ireland

‘There's plenty of beautiful architecture in Belfast but nothing is as impressive as the city hall at dusk.’ – Kathryn Burrington, @travelwithkat.

Why we like it: Choosing to photograph this building at dusk was an excellent idea. The cool purple lights that illuminate the city hall blend so harmoniously with the blue sky. Including the branches in the top left corner of the image to fill the frame adds balance to the overall composition.

Lowlands of Eritrea, on the Asmara-Massawa highway

A photo posted by Stephen Lioy (@slioy) on

Eritrea's mountainous landscapes are one of several tourist draws to the country, like this road that descends from high-altitude capital Asmara to the second city of Massawa at sea level on the Red Sea coast.’ – Stephen Lioy, @slioy.

Why we like it: No fear of being monochromatic! The grey-toned layers seem endless in this image and reveal the beauty and delicate nature of a colourless landscape.

Ölgiy, Bayan-Olgiy, Mongolia

A photo posted by Brooke Thio (@roamscapes) on

‘A young huntress with her eagle. While there is no restriction on girls taking on the Kazakh eagle hunting tradition, it's a lot tougher than it looks at the Golden Eagle Festival (which last year featured a record six huntresses). An eagle can weigh around 7kg and hunting is done for a living, not for fun – so it takes place even in the depths of winter, when temperatures can sink to -20°C’ – Brooke Thio, @roamscapes.

Why we like it: The soft natural light on her face is stunning and her far-off gaze elicits feelings of hope and optimism. The relationship between the young woman and the bird is also striking; she is the master of the animal yet because the bird rises above her head in a protective manner, a symbiotic aspect is revealed.

Iceland

‘Waterfalls aplenty in Iceland. The best ones to stop at are the unmarked ones with no names! This was taken last summer – I hear the scene is pretty different in winter!’ – Priya Vin, @outsidesuburbia.

Why we like it: Slowing down the shutter on the camera to make flowing water appear soft takes a little extra time and effort but it sure is worth it. Our eye is led through the image by the rocky cliff that angles in from the top left and the many small waterfalls in the lower portion of the frame.

For your chance to be featured in our next round-up, sign up to Lonely Planet Pathfinders – our programme for travel-loving bloggers and social content creators. In the meantime, you can get more Instagram inspiration by following @lonelyplanet.