Every photo tells a story, sometimes you just need to ask. Most folks don't realize this, but every time we run an Ori Photo Contest, we ask our participants to include a caption about where their photo was taken and what brought them to take their shot. While those descriptions aren't included in the Instagram voting process (alas, the app just doesn't like longform), we think each of these entries deserves its own limelight. That's why we're sharing the stories behind the photos—a look behind the lens of our inspiring community, and hopefully a little motivation to get out there this season. We hope you enjoy these stories as much as we did.

 

Carlos Jara, @carlosgjara — Madeira, Portugal

My wife and I didn’t know what to expect by going to Madeira, but we learned that letting yourself be surprised sometimes is a good thing. This view from Miradouro da Eira da Achada was one of those unexpected moments that thanks to our tour guide we were able to find, enjoy, and capture for the future.

 

 

Guy Olson, @guyolsonphoto — Coney Island, NY

Look, Manhattan is truly wonderful. It's everything someone visiting New York City wants it to be and much more. We know this. But what we aren't talking about enough is just how magical the outer boroughs are. As parts of Brooklyn are now, finally, getting their well-deserved recognition, it's high time to highlight the often overlooked boroughs and neighborhoods of NYC that New Yorkers already love and embrace. From the Greek neighborhood of Astoria, to the sun-drenched summer playground of Coney Island, allow me to shine a light on these overshadowed areas and gush about their unrivaled splendor. This is Coney Island shot on 35mm film.

 

 

Dan Bott, @gnardoggie — Kathmandu, Nepal

A man catches his breath on the stairs leading to Swayambhunath in Kathmandu, Nepal. The temple is home to holy monkeys, which occupy the northwest section of the building. These monkeys were deemed holy by Manjushri, the boddhisattva of wisdom and learning.

 

 

Kristina Vateva, @kristinavateva — Alaska

This is a shot from a plane above Alaska's massive glacier-filled valleys. The bird's eye perspective here offers an interesting view of these imposing rivers of ice.

 

 

Josh Poehlein, @joshuapoehlein — Key West, Florida

Behind this fence lies a Naval Base, off limits to the public, and what seems to my eye to be the actual Southernmost point of Key West. That would maybe make this the Southernmost tourist trap instead?

 

 

Colton Jacobs, @coltonandrewjacobs — Carbon Glacier, Washington

This was shot inside Carbon Glacier off of Mount Rainier in Washington, the lowest active glacier in the contingent United States at nearly 3500 feet.

 

 

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