Above: The final cover of Ethad Inflight
I'm so excited to announce that one of my photos has been nominated as a finalist, in the Travel and Tourism Photography category at the 2015 Travel Media Awards.
The image was taken during an assignment on a live-aboard experience on Tiger Blue in Komodo National Park, and was used as the cover shot for Etihad Airways Inflight magazine.
Above: Tiger Blue, the ever-happy Rizal and a sunset swim for the live-aboarders
The indonesian guy up the mast is called Rizal, who's best descibed here (taken from the Etihad Inflight feature) by Jamie Lafferty;
"...it is Rizal who quickly becomes everyone’s favourite. He performs many roles on board, from frontman of the ramshackle Tiger Blue Band to our snorkelling guide. The Sumatran has a face made of horizontal lines: lines at the corners of his eyes and mouth, lines the width of his forehead, a fat line for a moustache. When he smiles, which is often, the lines reconfigure themselves, turning this way and that to make a picture of weathered joy. This in turn makes everyone else smile and it is mutually profitable to make sure Rizal is having a good time.
The 45-year-old is lithe but strong-looking, as though every calorie he ingests is essential. He is a dedicated man of the sea, in and out of the water, with decades of experience that have given him what we foreigners quickly take for a sixth sense in spotting sea life. Experience has also taught him to carry a pink diving knife for every swim. “For sharks?” I ask. “No, bumphead parrot,” says Rizal, making biting and squealing noises, motioning that one of the beaked fish once had a peck at him. He smiles at the memory, and so do I.
Rizal’s job as my snorkelling guide is made easier by a moratorium on fishing inside the national park. The biggest beneficiary of this is, quite literally, the manta ray, several of which have taken up residence here, safe from poaching. (Though not widely eaten, like many of the planet’s great creatures, they are occasionally killed for bizarre Chinese remedies.)"
The awards will take place on the 9th November at my favorite building in London, the forboding St.Pancras Renaissance hotel.