Vans and National Geographic come together to celebrate 130 years of the never-ending quest to explore. Choose from a gallery of National Geographic photographs to create your very own Vans Customs. From the depths of outer space to the plains of Africa, get inspired by the beauty of nature and unleash your creativity on classic Vans styles.

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A tradition since 1966, the creativity is still in your hands.
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THE VANS FAMILY X NAT GEO CHALLENGE

Do you enjoy taking photos of the places you visit but can't travel right now? You still can, all it takes is some creativity. Use one of the photos below and make your own version at home. Or invent your own faraway place. Give it a try and share it with us - you could win a big 'ol prize.

GET STARTED1) choose the National Geographic photo you want to recreate.2) make your own version and upload it on Vans Family contest with a brief story.
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Here's what other people are doing.
MEET THE JUDGES
RAY BARBEE

PROFESSIONAL SKATEBOARDER, PHOTOGRAPHER, MUSICIAN

KEITH LADZINSKI

PHOTOGRAPHER, FILM DIRECTOR, SKATEBOARDER

RAY BARBEE

PROFESSIONAL SKATEBOARDER, PHOTOGRAPHER, MUSICIAN


When the skateboarding world was formally introduced to Ray Barbee via Powell Peralta’s big-box video, Public Domain (1988), he exuded a finesse that immediately stood out. Since then, his inherent fluidity, spontaneity, and modesty have become the cornerstones of a career that has reached beyond skating.

As a creative, Barbee has pursued photography and music as diligently and effectively as he’s changed the face of skateboarding. Introduced as the next generation of Powell Peralta’s “Bones Brigade”, Barbee progressed street skating with not only his incorporation of step-hops and endless lines, but also as one of the first African-American street pros in history.

RAY’S TOP 3 PHOTO TIPS

1. Spend one month with one camera and one lens. The goal is to become more and more familiar with the camera and the focal length of choice, which allows you to start the process of anticipating what your composition can look like before bringing the camera to your eye. Also, the fewer choices you have to make, the more attention you can give your subject.

2. Staying with the theme of simplicity, concentrate only on black-and-white for a month. If you shoot digital, then either set your camera to b/w or convert it in the computer. If you shoot film, then only use b/w film. When viewing your images, you’ll be able to see how well you’re progressing towards the goal of creating pleasing compositions. By getting rid of the color, you’ll be left with only the light and dark, shapes and forms of the image.

3. Speaking of light and dark, my third tip is something that I hear painters (but few photographers) talk about—figure-to-ground relationships. The goal is to be very conscious about your subject reading well. If your subject is black and the background is black, then you have a very poor figure-to-ground relationship that does not read well or pop in your photograph. So my tip is to make sure that your subject is the opposite of the background or setting. Light against dark ... or dark against light. Again, it’s easier to develop that ability when shooting in black-and-white; and once learned, will serve you well when shooting in color.

Ray's Bio

When the skateboarding world was formally introduced to Ray Barbee via Powell Peralta’s big-box video, Public Domain (1988), he exuded a finesse that immediately stood out. Since then, his inherent fluidity, spontaneity, and modesty have become the cornerstones of a career that has reached beyond skating.

As a creative, Barbee has pursued photography and music as diligently and effectively as he’s changed the face of skateboarding. Introduced as the next generation of Powell Peralta’s “Bones Brigade”, Barbee progressed street skating with not only his incorporation of step-hops and endless lines, but also as one of the first African-American street pros in history.

RAY’S TOP 3 PHOTO TIPS

1. Spend one month with one camera and one lens. The goal is to become more and more familiar with the camera and the focal length of choice, which allows you to start the process of anticipating what your composition can look like before bringing the camera to your eye. Also, the fewer choices you have to make, the more attention you can give your subject.

2. Staying with the theme of simplicity, concentrate only on black-and-white for a month. If you shoot digital, then either set your camera to b/w or convert it in the computer. If you shoot film, then only use b/w film. When viewing your images, you’ll be able to see how well you’re progressing towards the goal of creating pleasing compositions. By getting rid of the color, you’ll be left with only the light and dark, shapes and forms of the image.

3. Speaking of light and dark, my third tip is something that I hear painters (but few photographers) talk about—figure-to-ground relationships. The goal is to be very conscious about your subject reading well. If your subject is black and the background is black, then you have a very poor figure-to-ground relationship that does not read well or pop in your photograph. So my tip is to make sure that your subject is the opposite of the background or setting. Light against dark ... or dark against light. Again, it’s easier to develop that ability when shooting in black-and-white; and once learned, will serve you well when shooting in color.

KEITH LADZINSKI

PHOTOGRAPHER, FILM DIRECTOR, SKATEBOARDER


Keith Ladzinski is a National Geographic photographer and Emmy-nominated director known for his unique visual aesthetic and wide range of eclectic storytelling. His work primarily focuses on natural history, climate change, extreme sports, and advertising content, sending him to the furthest reaches of the seven continents multiple times over to extreme environments that range from the heights of Mount Everest to the icy waters of Antarctica. It’s here, in some of our planet’s harshest and remote environments, that he finds himself most at home.

Keith is a contributing photographer at National Geographic Magazine, a founding member of the SeaLegacy Collective, a Nikon ambassador and has worked for clients globally including Apple, Disney, Google, Oprah Winfrey Network, Toyota, Adidas, Discovery, Nike, Red Bull, The North Face, The New York Times, and National Geographic TV.

To see more of Keith’s work please visit www.ladzinski.com or on Instagram at @ladzinski

KEITH’S TOP 3 PHOTO TIPS

1. When it comes to composition, it’s best to move around, the best photos are rarely found at eye level. Don’t hesitate to get low or raise the camera higher to find a new perspective. Composition is more than point-and-shoot—look for elements to shoot through or incorporate into your frame with foreground or an interesting background.

2. When you’re taking photographs of people or wildlife, gesture will define the shot. Try to anticipate the moment through expression or movement from your subject—this will add additional emotion into the photograph. A passive posture is boring ... hold position until you see the shot!

3. If you want to make your photos feel more intimate, get in close. Shooting at closer proximity to your subject, be it people, wildlife or still life, will fill in the negative space of your photos and create a perspective that feels more personal.

Keith's Bio

Keith Ladzinski is a National Geographic photographer and Emmy-nominated director known for his unique visual aesthetic and wide range of eclectic storytelling. His work primarily focuses on natural history, climate change, extreme sports, and advertising content, sending him to the furthest reaches of the seven continents multiple times over to extreme environments that range from the heights of Mount Everest to the icy waters of Antarctica. It’s here, in some of our planet’s harshest and remote environments, that he finds himself most at home.

Keith is a contributing photographer at National Geographic Magazine, a founding member of the SeaLegacy Collective, a Nikon ambassador and has worked for clients globally including Apple, Disney, Google, Oprah Winfrey Network, Toyota, Adidas, Discovery, Nike, Red Bull, The North Face, The New York Times, and National Geographic TV.

To see more of Keith’s work please visit www.ladzinski.com or on Instagram at @ladzinski

KEITH’S TOP 3 PHOTO TIPS

1. When it comes to composition, it’s best to move around, the best photos are rarely found at eye level. Don’t hesitate to get low or raise the camera higher to find a new perspective. Composition is more than point-and-shoot—look for elements to shoot through or incorporate into your frame with foreground or an interesting background.

2. When you’re taking photographs of people or wildlife, gesture will define the shot. Try to anticipate the moment through expression or movement from your subject—this will add additional emotion into the photograph. A passive posture is boring ... hold position until you see the shot!

3. If you want to make your photos feel more intimate, get in close. Shooting at closer proximity to your subject, be it people, wildlife or still life, will fill in the negative space of your photos and create a perspective that feels more personal.