Breathtaking Pic From Nat Geo's Travel Photographer of the Year
It took Sergio Tapiro 20 nights of waiting to get the shot
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2017 2:36 PM CDT
"The Power of Nature" led to photographer Sergio Tapiro being named National Geographic's 2017 Travel Photographer of the Year.   (Sergio Tapiro, World Press Photo via AP)

(Newser) – In December 2015, photographer Sergio Tapiro spent 20 days lying in wait for Mexico's Colima Volcano to erupt, spending the nights in his truck or just a sleeping bag, National Geographic reports. Those long nights paid off for the photographer when he was named National Geographic's Travel Photographer of the Year this week. Tapiro's winning photo shows an erupting Colima spewing ash into the starry night sky. A massive lightning bolt leaps between the ash cloud and the volcano. According to Quartz, the scientific reason behind the ash cloud's lightning bolt is still up for debate. “This picture is a gift that nature has given to me,” Tapiro tells Nat Geo. “When I saw the camera display I was shocked—I didn’t believe it.”

Tapiro, who's been taking photos of volcanoes for 15 years, says snapping the winning photograph was one of the most exciting moments of his life. Nat Geo selected his photo as this year's winner from more than 15,000 entries from around the world, the Telegraph reports. Colima is one of the most active volcanoes in North America, and experts believe it's due for another major eruption—the first since 1913. Tapiro plans to be there to document it when that happens, even building a restaurant in the area to ensure he's nearby. “It is the passion of my life," he tells Nat Geo. "I love this volcano.”

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