Lonely Planet Writer

Pathfinders: top Instagrams from September 2018

A lone springbok against the harsh landscape of the Skeleton Coast, Namibia © Anywhere We Roam

Framing vast, arid landscapes, natural phenomena and intricate architectural designs, our Instagramming Pathfinders sure have been snap-happy this month. From the wild west African coast to inner-city Berlin, here are the shots that made us look twice.

Bali, Indonesia

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A post shared by Odette Haye (@omnivagant) on

'Flying a drone sometimes almost feels like being a bird in the sky, looking down upon your next shot. It offers entirely new perspectives and angles, and makes the sites we visit even more spectacular. We had arrived at the Tegallalang rice terraces at 6.30am, right after the sun started to rise, and we had them all to ourselves. The water, pooled within the rice fields, acts as a mirror for the sky – this site is a true piece of art created by mother nature.' – Odette, @omnivagant

Why we like it: Rice terraces, with their complex, Tetris-like configurations, are always fascinating subjects for a photographer, but even more so when seen from above. Odette's skilled drone shot showcases the verdant greens and lush vegetation of this particular terrace, framing its intricate patterns; the eye is flawlessly drawn from the undulating curves at the image's top, to the tangle of lines it becomes at the bottom. Just as Odette herself points out, the sky reflecting in the pooling water brings the image to life, as light dances across it.

Berlin, Germany

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A post shared by Sven Koster | Travel Blogger (@svenywhere) on

'I was so happy that I decided to visit Berlin's aquarium – I could watch the jellyfish here for the whole day. They look so magical and so unreal!' – Sven, @svenywhere

Why we like it: The Reichstag or the Brandenburg Gate it isn't, but Sven's Berlin jellyfish shot is pretty special in its own right. Sure, snapping creatures at close range lacks the drama of photographing wildlife on a safari or scuba dive, but we love the framing of these aquatic critters wafting around, seemingly swimming within the image itself. Sven's sharp focus on the jellyfish in the foreground creates a vibrant focal point, around which the tentacles and water particles appear to swirl.

Pas de Bellecombe, Réunion

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A post shared by Javi Lorbada | Spain 🇪🇸 (@javilorbada) on

'For half of the trip in Réunion we slept in the tent outside. We expected cold, windy and rainy nights, but in fact, the reality was different – mostly warm nights I could enjoy, once the clouds had disappeared. I knew the milky way was centered, however, the moon was in an early phase, which sometimes made the shots a bit more difficult. At the volcano Piton de la Fournaise, I struggled to find a proper composition during sunset, but after dark I found that these almost dead trees really caught my attention, and made a perfect foreground for the sky.' – Javi, @javilorbada

Why we like it: There's something celestially beautiful about a clear night sky, particularly when captured as expertly as Javi has here. The star-strewn backdrop to those eerily moonlit trees is of course the main event, but Javi adds an extra sprinkling of drama with his considered framing; the darkened vegetation that runs along the bottom of the image contrasting with the starlit brightness of the horizon.

Pattaya, Thailand

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A post shared by 🌏The Four Corners Travel Blog (@lawyerturnedgypsy_travel_blog) on

'Three months into our exploration of Southeast Asia, we arrived in Pattaya, en route to Bangkok. Pattaya has somewhat of a party reputation, but its Sanctuary of Truth is an exception. A carved wooden temple of mammoth proportions (2115 sq metres inside), its construction began in 1981 and continues to this day. It is an absolute masterpiece of Buddhist and Hindu carvings and this photo captures the ongoing work. A sign near the entrance explains the intended purpose of the temple, proclaiming that 'true happiness is found in intrinsic spiritual pleasure'. The temple, made as it is in wood, is considered to be reflection of this – wood deteriorates over time, but the spiritual importance of the soul remains inherent.' – @lawyerturnedgypsy_travel_blog

Why we like it: This is an image of two halves, and one that really tells a story. At the top of the frame, the intricate wooden carvings of the temple are a sturdy and well-crafted emblem of the past, but scanning over the scaffolding below, the eye is drawn to the mess of raw wood, dirt and building materials on the temple's floor. Good photography always comes with narrative, and this is the perfect example of a picture speaking a thousand words.

Skeleton Coast Park, Namibia

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A post shared by Paul & Mark (@anywhere_we_roam) on

'The Skeleton Coast Park in Namibia is a long, dusty road trip through a harsh, barren landscape. With gravel in every direction and only tiny pockets of small, silvery bushes, it’s amazing that anything can survive out here at all, but somehow, life manages to exist. We spotted this lone springbok eyeing us suspiciously as we drove by.' – Paul and Mark, @anywhere_we_roam

Why we like it: The landscapes of Namibia's Skeleton Coast are famously arid and expansive, something which Paul and Mark's image communicates immediately. Aside from the singular (suspicious) springbok, which provides a great focal point for the shot, the varying grey hues that graduate from dark to light throughout the image add a sense of vastness to the frame. This is a great example of subtlety in photography, which really pays off.

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