Top 10 Guest Photos of 2016

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Happy New Year everybody! We love this annual photography competition – every year we gather around a couple of big screens and let the imagery soak in, over a hot cuppa. It’s truly inspiring to see the adventures and creativity from all our travellers. And it’s safe to say, debates ensue as we do our best to select a winner. That’s why we always select the top 10 photos, so you get a chance to see how difficult our decision is.

Once the winner is chosen (read on below to find out who that was…), one of our team get the lucky task of letting them know they’ve just won a 2 for 1 deal on any of our Active Adventures – that’s here in New Zealand, Nepal, Europe and throughout South America. If you’re coming on an adventure with us in 2017 be sure to take your camera, because you may be the next winner!

See the 2013 Top 10 // See the 2014 Top 10 // See the 2015 Top 10

Here’s our top 10 for 2016, in no particular order:

1. Stan Jacobson, Patagonia Hiking Adventure ‘Condor‘ trip

Stan is no stranger to our annual photography competition, as a finalist in 2014 with his group photo at Taquile island, as part of his ‘Jaguar’ trip. All of his photos are amazing, in fact one of his Patagonia images made it to the cover of our new South America brochure, whilst another is the cover on our Facebook page.

2. Boris Diskin, Ultimate Dolomites Adventure ‘Dolomiti‘ trip

Our 9-day ‘Dolomiti’ trip offers up some of the most stunning mountain views anywhere in the world. But it’s more than just a pretty face, as our clients discover the “inside mountain” experience of the World War I tunnels of Lagazuoi.

3. Dennis Wilson, Everest Base Camp Trek ‘EBC‘ trip

Just when you think the views can’t get any better, you’ll venture round the next corner, and you’ll have to reassess your thinking all over again.

4. Rebecca Washlow, Ultimate Peru Adventure ‘Jaguar‘ trip

A great selfie, under a blue sky canvas, whilst hiking the Lares Inca Trail in Peru.

5. Mitch Pfeiffer, South Island Explorer ‘Kiwi‘ trip

The world’s only alpine parrot – the native “Kea” is found in most mountain areas in the South Island. We often have to warn our clients to not leave their socks on their room balconies, as these cheeky birds steal them!

6. Eugene Ngo, Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure ‘Tortuga‘ trip

Iguana aerobics session in full swing on San Cristobal in the Galapagos.

7. Louise Burpee, Mont Blanc Circuit ‘Tour du Mont Blanc‘ trip

Sweeping meadows, cows, delicious wine and cheese… Oh, and incredible mountain vistas – that’s the Mont Blanc region. The hiking isn’t too bad either!

8. Jeremy Chambers, Essence of the South Island ‘Tui‘ trip

You’d be forgiven for thinking this shot of Milford Sound was an oil painting. A trip here is an assault to the senses. We’ve used this image countless times on our website, it’s just so perfect. Kudos to Jeremy and congratulations on being the 2016 Active photography winner! 

9. Ed Dahlberg, New Zealand Biking Adventure ‘Weka‘ trip

The many moods of Lake Pukaki at the foot of Aoraki Mount Cook – rolled into one fine image.

10. Eugene Ngo, Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure ‘Tortuga‘ trip

On the chase or being chased? A dramatic shot, captured in one epic split second!
10 Quick Facts about Machu Picchu
Our first ‘Dolomiti’ trip

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Rocket Launches That Didn’t Go as Planned

One of the greatest human achievements in aviation is the creation of the rocket engine. It’s propelled us faster than the speed of sound and taken us to the moon. But when rockets fail, they fail spectacularly.

Although many rocket failures are often tragic accidents—whether in loss of human ingenuity or even human life—some can actually be, dare we say, funny? We hunted for some of the most bizarre, weird, and laughable rockets to every go awry. 3…2…1…whoops.

Jennifer Lopez and Drake Share Kiss on Stage – Report

Courtesy of WENN Newsdesk

Jennifer Lopez and Drake continued to spark romance rumors by reportedly sharing a kiss at an event in Los Angeles on Thursday.

The 47-year-old singer was first linked to 30-year-old Drake earlier this month, when the “Hotline Bling” star attended two of Lopez’s Las Vegas concerts back-to-back and hosted an intimate party she attended.

On Thursday, Lopez and Drake attended a fake winter wonderland-themed “prom” and were crowned the king and queen of the event. While on stage together waiting to be crowned, the two reportedly shared a kiss. They then spent the rest of the night dancing and laughing together and also posed for a picture after Lopez made a wardrobe change.

The prom event came a day after the mother-of-two shared a picture of herself with Drake on her Instagram page.

In the shot, Drake embraced Lopez, who closed her eyes as she clasped the rapper’s hands around her.

Lopez didn’t add a caption to the picture, but many fans considered it confirmation of her new romance with Drake, who shared the same caption-free snap seconds later.

Rumors of a relationship between the pair were fueled once again when eagle-eyed Instagram users noticed that Rihanna, who has had a lengthy on-off relationship with Drake, had unfollowed Lopez on the photo-sharing site.

According to reports, Rihanna was upset that Lopez, a close friend, was dating her ex.

“People in Rihanna’s circle are saying she is very unhappy about the whole thing,” a source told The Sun newspaper. “Only a few months ago she and Drake were still together. Jen is one of her friends in the industry which made her all the more surprised.”

The post Jennifer Lopez and Drake Share Kiss on Stage – Report appeared first on Your Daily Dish.

Endangered Amphibians, Birds, Reptiles, Insects of America

If we do not make well organized, urgent interventions, these endangered frogs, salamanders, birds, turtles, lizards, bees, and beetles will be wiped out from the North American continent sooner during your lifetime.

Hawaiian yellow-faced beeHawaiian yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus longiceps)

Shenandoah salamanderShenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah)

Kirtland's warblerKirtland’s warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii)

Yellow-shouldered blackbirdYellow-shouldered blackbird (Agelaius xanthomus )

Green sea turtleGreen sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Loggerhead sea turtleLoggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)

Mountain yellow-legged frogMountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa)
Spotted Turtle
Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata )
Mona ground iguanaMona ground iguana (Cyclura cornuta stejnegeri )

Blunt-nosed leopard lizardBlunt-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia silus)
Desert tortoiseDesert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)
Gopher tortoiseGopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

Fringe-toed lizardFringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata)

San Esteban Island chuckwallaSan Esteban Island chuckwalla (Sauromalus varius)

Olive ridley sea turtleOlive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)

Salt Creek tiger beetleSalt Creek tiger beetle (Cicindela nevadica lincolniana)

PREVIOUS: Endangered canids, felids, birds, butterflies, molluscs and rodents of America

 

Endangered Amphibians, Birds, Reptiles, Insects of America

If we do not make well organized, urgent interventions, these endangered frogs, salamanders, birds, turtles, lizards, bees, and beetles will be wiped out from the North American continent sooner during your lifetime.

Hawaiian yellow-faced beeHawaiian yellow-faced bee (Hylaeus longiceps)

Shenandoah salamanderShenandoah salamander (Plethodon shenandoah)

Kirtland's warblerKirtland’s warbler (Setophaga kirtlandii)

Yellow-shouldered blackbirdYellow-shouldered blackbird (Agelaius xanthomus )

Green sea turtleGreen sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Loggerhead sea turtleLoggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)

Mountain yellow-legged frogMountain yellow-legged frog (Rana muscosa)
Spotted Turtle
Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata )
Mona ground iguanaMona ground iguana (Cyclura cornuta stejnegeri )

Blunt-nosed leopard lizardBlunt-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia silus)
Desert tortoiseDesert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii)
Gopher tortoiseGopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus)

Fringe-toed lizardFringe-toed lizard (Uma inornata)

San Esteban Island chuckwallaSan Esteban Island chuckwalla (Sauromalus varius)

Olive ridley sea turtleOlive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea)

Salt Creek tiger beetleSalt Creek tiger beetle (Cicindela nevadica lincolniana)

PREVIOUS: Endangered canids, felids, birds, butterflies, molluscs and rodents of America

 

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome

Marijuana legalization has eventually contributed to increased emergency department visits for the consequences of chronic marijuana use, such as the cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. A particularly concerning trend in emergency care for central nervous system depression has increased in pediatric visits for unintentional marijuana exposure.

Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS) is characterized by recurrent episodes of difficut to control nausea and vomiting in patients who have been using natural or synthetic cannabis one or more times per week over at least one year. Most common clinical signs and symptoms include: abdominal pain, compulsive bathing in hot water with symptom relief, age younger than 50 years, morning predominance of symptoms, and resolution of symptoms with cannabis cessation. Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome is most often confused with cyclic vomiting syndrome. Patients with cyclic vomiting syndrome are more likely to have a history of psychiatric illness and a personal or family history of migraines.

Cannabis

Patients with CHS are usually unaware that cannabis use is the cause of their symptoms. CHS may be difficult to diagnose because cyclic vomiting syndrome and cannabis withdrawal syndrome have (CWS) a similar signs and symptoms, though with important differences. Cannabis withdrawal syndrome is associated with nausea and vomiting after abrupt cessation of cannabis use. Patients presenting with CWS usually have other symptoms in addition to nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain such as irritability, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, or depressed mood. Cases of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome that resulted in acute kidney injury have also been reported.

Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is seldom responsive to traditional antiemetic therapies and treatment is supportive. Symptomatic relief with lorazepam, butyrophenones or intravenous haloperidol is still in research stage.

References

  1. Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome. Chelsey King, MSc and Andrew Holmes, MD. CMAJ. 2015 Mar 17; 187(5): 355.
  2. Successful Treatment of Suspected Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome Using Haloperidol in the Outpatient Setting. Jennifer L. Jones, and Karen E. Abernathy Case Rep Psychiatry. 2016; 2016: 3614053.
  3. Colorado Cannabis Legalization and Its Effect on Emergency Care. Howard S. Kim, MD* and Andrew A. Monte, MD Ann Emerg Med. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2016 Jul 11.

Hairy Frogfish

The Hairy frogfish (Antennarius striatus), also known as striated frogfish and striped anglerfish, can grow up to 25 cm in length with a round, expandable body, covered with small skin extensions which resemble hairs and aid camouflage among corals, sponges and sea weed. Individual frogfish may be yellow, beige, or brownish with zebra-like striping. But there are also white, orange, green, bluish, gray, and black relative to its immediate surroundings. Hairy frogfish are quite rare and always yellow-brownish. The unusual appearance of the frogfish is designed to conceal it from predators and sometimes to mimic a potential meal to its prey. Their camouflage can be so perfect, that sea slugs have been known to crawl over the fish without recognizing them.

Hairy Frogfish

These frogfish are found in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and Red Sea coast, the Hawaiian Islands, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. In the Americas they ae distributed from New Jersey to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

Males are much smaller than females but have stronger coloration and more dermal extensions on the body.

References: File # 113

Blue Glaucus

The sea slugs are a very diverse and successful group of animals. Over 3,000 species have been identified. Many species are grazers, while others are active predators.

The Blue Glaucus (Glaucus Atlanticus ), also known as Blue Dragon, is a very odd looking animal. It spends all its time upside down and the camouflage patterns are found on its front. The mollusc is boldly colored with a blue and blue-and-white back (which helps camouflage it from sea birds) and a silvery underside (which may disguise it from predatory fish beneath). The animal sucks air into its stomach to keep it at the surface.

The body is elongate measuring up to 3 cm and is flattened. The head is small and blunt with a pair of small oral tentacles near the mouth. It can grow to 3 cm in length and has dozens of so-called “cerata,” outgrowths that give the creature a nasty sting.

Blue GlaucusBlue Glaucus

Using its very sensitive organs, this sea slug can detect the presence of the Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia utriculus) or one of its close relatives. It recycles their venomous cells and deploys them to the tips of its cerata for
its own defense. If the prey is small Glaucus will swallow it in one mouthful.

The beautiful appearance of this animal is attractive to marine aquarium keepers, but a single slug can kill all the fish inhabitants.

References: File # 112

Aye-Aye

The Aye-aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) is one of the most unique primates in the world. It has several features that enables him to exploit food resources unavailable to most other animals in Madagascar. His behavior also distinquishes him from most other lemurs. It is also the most unusual-looking primate, but it is best known for its extraoridunary, elongated middle finger. It also has continuously growing front teeth, abdominal nipples, claws on all digits, and a “third eyelid.” It has one of the largest hand relative to the body length of any primate. Weighing 2.5 to 3 kg, it is much larger than other nocturnal primates.

Aye-AyeAye-Aye

The aye-ayes are only found on the island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. Their diet includes seeds, larvae, fungus, and nectar. They use chisel-like teeth and middle finger to gain access to wood-boring larvae and hard-coated seeds.

The female aye-aye grooms, plays, travels and sleeps with her single offspring for up to two years. Often the young are weaned before 18 months of age, but remains with the mother for the additional time.

Habitat degradation and cultural beliefs are two the most important threats to aye-aye populations. Villagers kill aye-aye in accordance with the local taboos (anyone who touches an aye-aye will die within one year). Aye-ayes are killed by the locals to prevent bad luck.

References: File # 111

Unusual and Weird Animals

Axolotl

The Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum) is a common name for the tadpole form of the yellow-spotted, brown salamander found in Mexico and the western United States. It is unusual in that it attains maturity and reproduces in the tadpole stage of life. It does not have the hormone that helps other amphibians change from larvae into adults. Instead, the axolotl stays in the water and keeps its gills, undeveloped legs, and finned tails for its entire life. The tadples grow eventually to reach 30 cm in length in a process called neotony.

Purple frog

The Indian purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis) is a unique burrowing frog that spends most of its life underground. It is so different fro all other frogs that it belongs to a family of its own. The Indian purple frog is able to spent eleven months in a burrow, has a small distribution range and is critically endangered. It is restricted to the Western Ghats complex of Southwestern India, a known biological diversity hotspot.

Anglerfish

Instead of scales like most fish have, deep-sea Anglerfish have thin skin. It is so thin that it slips right off if a person tries to pick up the fish. Anglerfish have weak, floppy muscles. The smallest anglerfish is less than one-quater inch (64 mm). The largest may grow up to six feet (2 m) in length. The shape of the anglerfish’s is more like a cone instead of an oval or sphere.

Elephant Hawk Moth

The Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila elpenor) gets its name from the caterpillar’s resemblance to an elephant’s trunk. It is a large, strong-flying moth, attractively colored pink and green. Colors seem to shimmer when the moth is in flight. This species has good night vision, and feeds at night on nectar from flowers such as honeysuckle. It is most active at night.

Dumbo octopus

The Dumbo octopus from genus Grimpoteuthis is known after the Disney elephant who could fly with his ears.

Giraffe Weevil

The Giraffe Weevil is a baked bean-sized beetle. Its long neck, tiny head and furry antennae makes it look like nothing else on Earth.

Fennec Fox

The Fennec Fox is the cutest canid on earth. Learn about how superbly it is adapted to the life in places where no other creature would survive.

Giant Isopod

The Giant Isopod is the largest known isopod species of deep-sea bottom-feeding crustaceans. This impressive predator has large anterior eyes with a wide binocular field.

Kakapo

The critically endangered New Zealand Kakapo is a flightless nocturnal parrot which has some asolutely unique features.

Pink Handfish

Using its fins to walk, rather than swim, along the ocean floor, the Red Handfish reminds of a cute cartoon character. This critically endangered species needs urgent intervention to be saved from extinction.

Shoebill

The Shoebill is an uncommon waterbird from Africa threatened by pet trade. This giant gray bird looks like a massive stork, except that its beak is like a Dutch wooden clog with sharp edges and hooked tip.

Aye-Aye

The Aye-Aye is one of the most unique primates in the world. It has several features that enables him to exploit food resources unavailable to most other animals in Madagascar. His behavior also distinquishes him from most other lemurs.

Blue glaucus

The Blue glaucus is a very odd looking animal. It spends all its time upside down and the camouflage patterns are found on its front. It also consumes deadly poisonous animals without being harmed.

Hairy frogfish

The unusual appearance of the Hairy frogfish is designed to conceal it from predators and sometimes to mimic a potential meal to its prey.