Antoine Collas (on Instagram @toinou1375) roams the globe with a camera in hand, and shares his travels with the world through Instagram. He brought himself—and his great photographic eye—to our attention by tagging this photo with #NatGeoTravelPic on Instagram. Here’s a peek at how Antoine got this winning shot in Java:
Tyler Metcalfe: Where are you from?
TM: I love the surreal nature of this image. Can you tell us what’s going on here?
AC: I took that picture near the top of Kawah Ijen, an active stratovolcano located on the island of Java, Indonesia, that’s known for emitting blue flames at night (the product of ignited sulphuric gas).
My friends and I were at the tail-end of a three-hour trek to get to the rim and had been very focused on the path ahead when, all of the sudden, the powerful smell of sulfur made the air difficult to breathe. This prompted me to stop walking and look at what was happening around me.
The landscape was desolate. There was nothing green at this point; the ground was yellow due to the sulfur and huge vapor clouds were escaping from the nearby crater, creating an otherworldly scene. It’s what I imagine being on the moon would be like.
TM: Did you make it to the top?
AC: Yes. When we finally arrived, our courageous guide told our group that we could walk along the rim of the volcano if we wanted. The combination of potent sulphur and unstable ground made the prospect a bit daunting. But for those of us who went, the risk was well worth it.
It’s safe to say that looking straight into Kawah Ijen was one of the more unbelievable things I’ve ever experienced.
TM: From your Instagram feed, I can tell you travel a lot. Any favorite places you can recommend?
I’ve been an avid traveler since I was young and feel quite lucky to have visited more than 45 countries at this point.
All of the places I’ve traveled to have amazed me. Each has unique treasures to discover—if you know where to look for them.
Want to see one of your photos featured on Intelligent Travel? Tag your Instagram photos with #NatGeoTravelPic.