Winners of National Geographic’s Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

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With vacation season dissipating as quickly as a layer of extra-crispy chicken-scented sunscreen, you may already be editing your travel photos. If so, the folks at National Geographic are a step ahead of you, having recently wrapped their 2016 Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Entries were accepted in three categories: People, Nature, and Cities. Here’s a sampling below.

And be sure and click through to the site — if not to compare your trip to others’, or to marvel at the challenge faced by Nat Geo’s photo editors, then to download some spectacular photo wallpapers for desktop or mobile.

Grand Prize Winner: Winter Horseman by Anthony Lau.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year - Grand Prize Winner: Winter Horseman by Anthony Lau.

The winter in Inner Mongolia is very unforgiving. At a freezing temperature of minus twenty and lower, with a constant breeze of snow from all direction, it was pretty hard to convince myself to get out of the car and take photos. When I saw Inner Mongolia horsemen showing off their skills and commanding the steed from a distance. I quickly grabbed my telephoto lens and captured the moment when one of the horseman charged out from morning mist.

Third Place Winner, People Category: Remote Life by Mattia Passarini.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year - Third Place Winner, People Category: Remote Life by Mattia Passarini.

An old woman in a remote village in Himachal Pradesh, India, carries a big log back home to warm up her house.

Entrant, People Category: Snowy Bride by Stephane Mangin.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year - Entrant, People Category: Snowy Bride by Stephane Mangin.

Brave bride getting wed in the only day of snow in Tokyo, winter 2014.


First Place Winner, Nature Category: Wherever You Go, I Will Follow by Hiroki Inoue.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year - First Place Winner, Nature Category: Wherever You Go, I Will Follow by Hiroki Inoue.

It was when I drove back home feeling disappointed with the fact that I had finished the day in vain without any anticipated subject that I heard the joyful voice from the car window like “quack, quack!” There they were: red foxes. Around the end of the winter, they meet the season of love; they care for and love each other enough to make us jealous.

Second Place Winner, Nature Category: Double Trapping by Massimiliano Bencivenni.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year - Second Place Winner, Nature Category: Double Trapping by Massimiliano Bencivenni.

I was in the Brazilian Pantanal along the Rio Negrinho. I realized that the river, at certain points of the loops, created places where there were many yacare caimans. I saw a yacare sink suddenly, and I immediately looked for the best location to photograph when it resurfaced. The whole thing lasted only a fraction of a moment.

Third Place Winner, Nature Category: Lagunas Baltinache (Atacama Desert) by Victor Lima.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year - Third Place Winner, Nature Category: Lagunas Baltinache (Atacama Desert) by Victor Lima.

The Baltinache Ponds, also called Hidden Ponds, are a set of seven salt ponds located in the area of the Salt Cordillera, near San Pedro de Atacama, in the second region of northern Chile, in the Atacama desert. This area of the desert was recently discovered and I only noticed about its existence after talking to native people, who adviced me to include it in my expedition. After a lot of research, I believe to be the first photographer to publish night photos of this place.


First Place Winner, Cities Category: Ben Youssef by Takashi Nakagawa.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year - First Place Winner, Cities Category: Ben Youssef by Takashi Nakagawa.

Marrakesh, Morocco, is an exciting city for any traveler, but I was tired of walking on the crowded street and being asked for money from local people, so I was looking for a place to settle down. Even though there were a lot of people in Ben Youssef Madrasa, it was still a more quiet and relaxing place than outside. Suddenly a beautiful reflection appeared.

Second Place Winner, Cities Category: Silenced by Wing Ka H.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year - Second Place Winner, Cities Category: Silenced by Wing Ka H.

This photo was taken on my last trip to Guangzhou, China. This place is the school dormitories of South China Normal University. When I was hanging around, most of them were taking a break. After lunchtime, they needed to go back to study.

Third Place Winner, Cities Category: Celestial Reverie by Jeremy Tan.

National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year - Third Place Winner, Cities Category: Celestial Reverie by Jeremy Tan.

Lightning seemingly strikes Komtar Tower, the most iconic landmark of George Town, capital of Penang state in Malaysia. It is symbolic of the rejuvenation that the city, famous for a unique blend of centuries-old buildings and modern structures, has enjoyed in recent years. While many of its old neighbourhoods fell into neglect in the 1990s and early 2000s, UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2008 sparked a transformation, and today, they are all part of a vibrant tourist destination.




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