On Tuesday I headed to the Royal Geographic Society, in London, to view this year's Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition.
More than 200 fabulous travel photographs are displayed in the exhibition, which extends beyond the RGS's gallery and out onto the terrace and garden of this famous establishment.
After taking a look at the photos I spoke with Chris Coe, the Travel Photographer of the Year's founder, to find out more about the awards.
"I think the 2012 awards were our strongest year ever. It was an amazing diversity of imagery that we received and high quality imagery across the board. It kind of felt like a coming of age for the awards," said Chris, himself an experienced travel photographer.
Given the exhibition's depth and geographical scope, I was curious to find out how many entries Chris and his team received and where they'd come from.
"I have to be honest, we stopped counting a long time ago," laughed Chris. "The quality speaks for itself but in terms of the countries, it's over 90 countries that we get entrants from now."
"The venue is quite magical. The gallery itself is the public front that people see, but when you come inside and out onto the terrace and then down onto the lawn, you get this wonderful backdrop of the building itself and the Royal Albert Hall," said Chris gesturing towards the famous landmark that people can also view from inside the Krygyz yurt that's set up on the terrace to function as a camera obscura.
"There's sunny spots and shady spots, you can sit and just relax, come to our cafe and have a wonderful couple of couple of hours in the exhibition. It's kind of like a little oasis," he added enthusiastically.
"The current awards, they close on the 1st October , so people have plenty of time. There are different categories. There are the main portfolio categories [these are 'Monochromal', 'Vanishing and Emerging Cultures' and 'Wild Stories'] which are sets of four pictures. Each has a different theme and you can find them on the website," explained the competition's founder.
"There's also a single image category and a beginners category, a category for kids and a category for photographers who are aspiring to turn professional. There's also an HD video category, which is stimulating a lot of interest; that's videos shot on stills cameras," he added.
So what advice would Chris offer for people interested in entering and also to people who want to go out and take better travel photographs?
"The first thing is 'have a go!' Don't be afraid to experiment with your pictures," he answered confidently.
"But think of it as telling a story. The best pictures - and this is true of the portfolio categories in the awards - are the sets of pictures that tell a story. They take you into a scene, they give you the overview, they give you the detail, they give you the personalities, they give you the mood; it's a story telling skill that's very important, whether you're a writer or a photographer. You only have to look in a magazine or a newspaper to see that there's formula there, a way of constructing s story that gives people a sense of the place," added Chris.
The Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition is open daily until to 18th August at the Royal Geographic Society (1 Kensington Gore, London, SW7 2AR). The entrance is on Exhibition Road, the same street that hosts the Natural History Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum and Science Museum. Admission to the exhibition is free of charge.
For further information about the Royal Geographic Society take a look at the RGS website:
This video by Jeremy Hoare provides insights into the Travel Photographer of the Year exhibition.