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National Geographic photographer moved by the beauty of Guam

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A picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, 90 cents. One familiar site on Guam found its way on an international first class stamp.

For over 25 years, photographer Michael Yamashita has been traveling the world as a shooter for National Geographic. His spectacular and breathtaking images have made him one of the most followed photographers on Instagram with over 1.2 million followers. According to National Geographic, Yamashita specializes in Asia, covering everything from Vietnam and the Mekong River, Marco Polo's journey to China, the Great Wall, the DMZ between North Korea and South Korea, as well as almost every aspect of Japanese culture from samurai to fish markets.

Yamashita says he had the opportunity to visit the island a few times for assignments in the late 90's and early 2000's. It was during one of those assignments where he snapped a picture of Hagatna Bay at sunrise. I asked him what prompted him to take that particular photo - he said it was just so beautiful.

"I work for National Geographic and course we try to get the best light so for sure I always have a sunrise, and the best light of course is what we call magic hour - sunrise and sunset - the half-hour before and the half hour after," he explained.

He adds the lighting was perfect, adding, "The beach was just deserted and luckily for me what makes that photograph decided to come across and run through my frame just at the right time and I clicked and got a great photo with the beautiful light and the amazing clouds that you have."

That image would be selected to appear on a stamp. On June 1, 2007, the Hagatna Bay, Guam $0.90 International Rate Stamp was issued nationwide as part of the Scenic American Landscapes series and honored the territory of Guam. To date, it is his most published photo, with over 100 million printed. When speaking with him, Yamashita had nothing but kind words about the island, as he said, "I spent quite a bit of time photographing personalities, as well as the tourism scene and went to a bunch of festivals. It was really a lot of fun. And I got to spend enough time there where I got to know the place there. Nothing but good memories of Guam."

With all the talk of a possible North Korea attack, recently, Yamashita's image of Hagatna Bay was posted on National Geographic's Instagram page. The caption reads "He says it is his vision of Guam - a tropical island paradise populated by friendly folks - a most unlikely place to be the start of a nuclear war."

Yamashita said, "Of course, we are all hugely worried when this guy Trump starts threatening and then the North Koreans come back with something even more threatening and putting a target - meaning you guys - I was just astounded. I mean, why Guam?"

Next week, Yamashita leaves to China and then heads to Japan. "I'll be in China again on the Silk Road and November I am in India - always on the road looking for a picture."

He hopes that road will eventually bring him back to Guam. "The focus of photography is scenery and what physical beauty there is...but it's always the people that make it," he shared.

To see more of Yamashita's work, you can visit his website at michaelyamashita.com.

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