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The Winners Of National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Will Blow Your Mind

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PERMITTED USE: This image may be downloaded or is otherwise provided at no charge for one-time use for coverage or promotion of 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest and exclusively in conjunction thereof. No copying, distribution or archiving permitted. Sublicensing, sale or resale is prohibited.REQUIRED CREDIT AND CAPTION: All image uses must bear the copyright notice and be properly credited to the relevant photographer, as listed below, and must be accompanied by proper caption. Any uses in which the image appears without proper copyright notice, photographer credit and a caption referencing the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest are subject to paid licensing.Mandatory requirements for photo use:1. Include proper photo credit and caption as listed below2. Reference the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year ContestProvide prominent links to the contest URL (If photos are displayed in a gallery, there must be at least one link to our site with each image): Please note, Credit and Captions are required, the location and link notations are optional.IMAGES MAY BE FOUND HERE:

Lovers of travel and photography, be prepared to burn with envy. The winners of the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest have just been revealed, showcasing some of the most incredible scenes of wildlife, natural wonder, and culture found on our strange little planet.

The grand prize was taken home by Reiko Takahashi for her tail-side photograph (above) of a humpback whale calf cruising the seas off Japan’s Kumejima Island, aptly titled “Mermaid.” Along with the title and glory, Reiko also pocketed a $10,000 prize. Not bad, especially considering she recently left her office job to pursue her passion for underwater photography.

“It was a special scene for me, to be able to take a photo of the calf, completely relaxed in gentle waters,” explained Reiko. “Most of the time, the calf stayed close to her mom. At one point, the calf began jumping and tapping its tail on the water near us—it was very friendly and curious. Finally, the mother, who was watching nearby, came to pick up the calf and swim away. I fell in love completely with the calf and it’s very energetic, large and beautiful tail.”

Along with the grand prize, top photos were selected in each of the three categories. Reiko was the winner in the Nature category, while Hiro Kurashina of Japan won the “Cities” category for his photo titled “Another Rainy Day in Nagasaki, Kyushu”, and Alessandra Meniconzi of Switzerland swept the honors of the “People” category for her image “Tea Culture.” They both also took home a $2,500 prize.

You can check out a selection of the winners and runner-ups. Be sure to read the photographs captions for further insights, all of which are written by the photographer themselves.


FLAMINGOS TAKING OFF: Thousands of flamingos are seen taking off from the colorfulLakeNatron in Tanzania. Before taking off, flamingos need to take a short run on water to build up some speed. At that moment, their long, red legs create a series of water ripples on the surface of the lake. Looking down from the helicopter, these ripple lines look like giant aquatic plants flowing in the water. This photo was taken from a helicopter. hao j./ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
MARS: These natural sand towers, capped with large stones, are known as the Earth Pyramids of Platten. They are situated in Northern Italy’s South Tyrol region. Formed centuries ago after several storms and landslides, these land formations look like a landscape from outer space and continuously change over the years and, more accurately, over seasons. This natural phenomenon is the result of a continuous alternation between periods of torrential rain and drought, which have caused the erosion of the terrain and the formation of these pinnacles. As the seasons change, the temperatures move between extremes and storms affect the area, pyramids disappear over time, while new pinnacles form as well. Marco Grassi/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Geometry of the Sun: Teotihuacan means ‘the place where the gods were created,’ and that’s the exact feeling visitors have when they walk along the Avenue of the Dead at this Mexican archeological site. This pyramid was dedicated to the god of Sun, and I found it mesmerizing how the rising sun in the picture conquered just half the image, while the other half is in the shadows.I have always loved archeology and ancient civilizations, so I couldn’t wait to visit Mexico and explore the remains of the pre-Columbian civilization. I planned my visit to Teotihuacan at sunrise, to get a combination of golden sunlight, play of shadows, and few crowds around. I flew my drone to see if the image I had in my mind was really out there: luckily for me, this frame was just waiting for my camera! Enrico Pescantini/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest


REFLECTION: On an early morning, I wanted to photograph the fog, which is epic in Dubai every year from December to January—and almost every photographer’s dream in this part of the world. Sadly, I could not get access to the rooftop and so I peeped through the glazed window on a lower floor. I was overwhelmed and excited to see how beautiful the city looks, and my excitement was quadrupled as soon as Isaw the reflection of the road and building on the building that I was in. I immediately opened the window to the maximum permissible amount and clicked a single shot with stretched hands. Gaanesh Prasad/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
ALONE IN THE CROWDS: In this photo, I tried to bring the intense and stacked living conditions thatHong Kong is famous for into perspective for the viewer. With so many people living in small spaces, it’s strange to see all these amenities empty. As a solo traveler, I’m often alone in crowds and this photo resonates with me. I barely scratched the surface of this incredible urban environment, but this image really summarizes my experience here. Gary Cummins/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
CHALLENGING JOURNEY: This photograph was taken from Dhaka’s airport rail station during the Eid vacation. People were returning to their village homes to spend Eid with families, and the rush at the last hour was immense. One man caught my attention: he was dangling on a train’s handle with his family, trying to get inside the train. At that time, rain started and the train began to slowly move. The family had tickets to board the train, but couldn’t get to their seats. There are many people like him, who come to Dhaka for work—leaving their families and home villages—so when they get vacation, they don’t want to miss the opportunity to spend time with dear ones, no matter what. MD Tanveer Hassan Rohan/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest


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