Colombia

Into the mist; Corcora valley

The world's tallest palm trees exist in only one valley in the world; the Corcora valley in Colombia. In order to get close to the palms there’s a short and beautiful hike up the valley. When I first hopped out of the jeep and started to walk, the sky was blue and I could see the huge trees from a distance. They’re not so impressive from far away, they actually look small and spindly. As I walked up the valley the clouds rolled in and the trees disappeared into the mist. I was worried I wouldn’t get a shot at all but as I got among the palms the low cloud made them even more impressive. The giant Wax palms are so tall the tops of the trees were disappearing completely into the mist. Except for the gentle swaying and creaking of the impossibly tall trees, there’s a stillness and a quietness in the Cocora valley. It’s a truly atmospheric place. 

Wax Palms grow to a height of 45 m (148 ft) — or rarely, even as high as 60 m (200 ft)

A Toucan in the Corcora valley

The Cover!

Strolling through the streets of Cartagena while on holiday was not the day I thought I would shoot an image which would go on to become a National Geographic cover. I glimpsed this woman on a street corner selling fresh fruit and knew straight away I wanted to photograph her. We spent some time chatting while she cut me some mango. I then asked if she would mind me taking her portrait. I only had the chance to take eight pictures before the genuine smiles faded away. The first shot is the one that was chosen. It was selected for the cover of National Geographic for the whole of Latin America.

National Geographic cover, December 2014, Latin America

Colombia image on National Geographic

One of my images from a recent trip to Colombia goes on the National Geographic website.

Colombia's lush Cocora Valley, part of Los Nevados National Park, is the principal home for the country's national tree, the palma de cera, or wax palm. The lanky tree is the world's tallest palm tree, reaching up to 200 feet tall.