National Geographic Traveler magazine is celebrating its 30th anniversary this fall. To commemorate this milestone, we asked 12 of our longtime photographers to select their favorite images shot on assignment for Traveler throughout the past three decades.
Today, we hear from photographer Palani Mohan about the image above, which he shot for Traveler in 2006.
This image was shot while I was on assignment in Sri Lanka, in the far south of the island. It had been raining all night and the first light of the sun was soft and orange.
It must have been a long, rough night out at sea for the fishermen. Some of them sang as they pulled in the nets. Others were clearly exhausted. The catch had been small—one of the fishermen asked me for a cigarette and I still recall the disappointment on his face when I said I didn’t have any. We smiled at each other and I walked away.
Photo Tip: Some of the best images and light you’ll find are before and after a big storm. So the next time it’s pouring rain outside, you should get ready to start making amazing images. Fog, mist, rain, clouds, wind, and thunder bring with them enormous opportunities. It doesn’t last long, but when it does it’s ever so sweet!
See more of Palani Mohan’s work at PalaniMohan.com.
To see more great pictures from our past 30 years, check out the special photography feature published in our November 2014 issue, with 30 timeless Traveler images selected by our photo editors.