volcano lightning nat geo

The winner of the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year (2017) snapped a photo that doesn’t even look real. Sergio Tapiro Velasco won a 10-day trip for two to the Galapagos Archipelago and $2,500 with this shot.

volcano lightning nat geo travel winner

It almost doesn’t look real. And Velasco feels the same way. He calls it an “impossible photograph and my once in a lifetime shot that shows the power of nature.”

“When I looked on the camera display, all I could do was stare,” said Velasco. “What I was watching was impossible to conceive, the image showed those amazing forces of nature interacting on a volcano, while the lightning brightened the whole scene.”

Velasco was 12 kilometers away from the Volcán de Colima with his camera setup on a clear night in December 2015. Also dubbed the ‘Volcano of Fire,’ it earned every piece of its name that night. Velasco heard a shattering boom rip across the sky and watched the biggest bolt of volcanic lightning he has ever seen. It wasn’t until reviewing his photos that night did he see he managed to capture the incredible display.

Sergio calls it an ‘impossible’ photograph, but he’s no stranger to taking epic pictures. A quick glance at his Nat Geo profile shows two more stunning images. Here’s the same volcano during an extremely active period in July 2015.

And another volcanic lightning strike from January 2017.

Fantastic shots.

What camera did he use for his ‘impossible’ photograph?

The scene means a lot more than the camera capturing it, but I always like to see what other folks are using. The good news is, his Nat Geo profile includes photo details of his award-winning photograph.

Sergio used a Canon EOS 6D to capture the epic display of nature. Here are the rest of the details about the photo.

Focal length – 195mm
Shutter speed – 8/1 sec
Aperture – f/2.8
ISO – 3200

Check out Nat Geo for all the winners. Absolutely stunning photos in every category. Also, take a look at Sergio’s Instagram. There are plenty more stunning volcano photos over there.


Follow News Ledge


This post may contain affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you make a purchase using one of the affiliated links.