This year, over 15,000 photographers participated in one of the most influential and recognizable photography competitions in the world. The National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest 2017. The competition accepted entries taken in the past 2 years from thousands of photographers around the world. The grand prize winner receives a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions. Following the grand prize, three winners are selected from each category. The categories are Nature, Cities, and People. First prize will be $2,500, second prize is $750, and third prize is $500.
Here are the winning entries:
Grand Prize Winner
(Sergio Tapiro/National Geographic Photographer of the Year)
A powerful eruption illuminates the slopes of Mexico’s Colima Volcano on December 13, 2015. I was in the town of Comala when I suddenly saw incandescence above the volcano’s crater and started shooting. Seconds later, a powerful volcanic explosion expelled a cloud of ash particles and a massive lightning bolt illuminated most of the dark scene. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
RANCHO DE AGUIRRE, COLIMA, MEXICO
Second Prize Winner, Nature
(Hiromi Kano/National Geographic Photographer of the Year)
Swans glide over the water in Kabukurinuma, Osaki, Japan, a protected wetland. Since many of Japan’s wetlands have been lost, this area has become a rare wintering place for birds and may be a last paradise for them. I was particularly impressed by the swans, and careful not to disturb them when taking pictures. I took into account wind direction and shutter speed to capture the strength and elegance of their flapping wings.
OINUKAKE, MIYAGI, JAPAN
Third Prize Winner, Nature
(Tarun Sinha/National Geographic Photographer of the Year)
American crocodiles gather along the bank of the Tarcoles River in Costa Rica. When our guide told us there would be 30 to 40 crocodiles in the river, we thought he was exaggerating. We walked along a narrow bridge and peered over the waist-high railing, where several crocodiles were moving in and out of the water. I wanted to capture the stark contrast between their partially covered bodies in the river verses their enormous size while on full display.
CAMARONAL, PUNTARENAS, COSTA RICA
First Prize Winner, Cities
Norbert Fritz/National Geographic Photographer of the Year
Natural light fills the modern interior of the city library in Stuttgart, Germany. With its stark white floors, open spaces, and large windows, it provides a unique atmosphere to broaden your knowledge.
Second Prize Winner, Cities
Andy Yeung/National Geographic Photographer of the Year
An aerial view of Whampoa Garden, Hong Kong, reveals its densely packed buildings. I drew inspiration from the Kowloon Walled City—once the densest place on Earth–which was demolished nearly three decades ago. Hundreds of houses were stacked on top of each other and there was very little open space. The Kowloon Walled City may be gone, but its legacy remains. It exists in Hong Kong’s modern architecture and stacked apartments, which have been built to accommodate the masses.
Third Prize Winner, Cities
Misha De-Stroyev/National Geographic Photographer of the Year
In Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the Henningsvær football field is considered one of the most amazing in Europe. This photo was taken during a sailing trip from Tromsø to the Lofoten Archipelago. After a week of cold and rainy weather, the sky finally cleared up enough to fly my drone. We were absolutely astonished to learn that the entire football field is heated, so after lying down and soaking in the warmth, I launched my drone and took this photo from a height of about 390 feet (120 meters).
First Prize Winner, People
F. Dilek Uyar/National Geographic Photographer of the Year
Beams of light filter through a historic building in Konya, Turkey, where a whirling dervish performs an ecstatic dance. The ceremony represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent towards truth and love, and represents the constant revolution of all living things. For example, the Earth itself is in a state of rotation as well as the atoms that make up everything on it.
KONYA, KONYA, TURKEY
Second Prize Winner, People
PHOTO AND CAPTION BY JULIUS Y.
Julius Y./National Geographic Photographer of the Year
A crowd of spectators stands in front of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. As I observed the scene I laughed when I realized that the people in the painting also appear to be curiously watching the visitors. I managed to take two shots before the audience moved away—one is out of focus, but this one was perfect.
AMSTERDAM, NORTH HOLLAND, NETHERLANDS
Third Prize Winner, People
Rodney Bursiel/National Geographic Photographer of the Year
I recently traveled to Tavarua, Fiji, with professional surfer Donavon Frankenreiter and captured this image at Cloudbreak. The usual surf shots have all been done, so we decided to get creative and looked for new angles and perspectives.
To see more about the chosen photographers and their work, and also to view those selected for honorable mention check out the National Geographic website.
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