The votes for the 2017 Travel Photographer of the Year contest for National Geographic have been tallied and it is finally time to announce the winners. This annual competition highlights all the magnificent natural wonders of the planet we call home – Earth. By showcasing the natural wonders and the Earth’s inhabitants, the winning photographers produced yet another year of awe-inspiring shots.
More than 15,000 entries were reviewed by the judges, sent in from travelers around the world. The three categories that contestants could enter were people, cities, and nature.
Sergio Tapiro Velasco of Mexico took home the prestigious grand prize for his captivating image which featured a lighting strike shooting from a volcano’s ash cloud. His image also took home first place in the nature category.
Other award winners include Norbert Fritz of Hungary who took the top prize in the category of cities for his photo “Levels of Reading,” and F. Dilek Uyar of Turkey who took home the prize in the category of people for his image “Worship.”
Each prize offered a monetary reward: $2,500, $750, and $500 for first, second, and third places, respectively. The grand prize winner, Velasco, also received a courtesy 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Archipelago with National Geographic Expeditions.
It is only fair that the grand prize winner gets his photo showcased first in our lineup. Velasco said he was in the town of Comala when he saw the powerful eruption illuminating the slopes of Mexico’s Colima Volcano.
This photo was taken somewhere off the beaten path in Torres Del Pain, Magallanes, Chile. The image captures the pure colors found within a hidden marble cave, with intricate blue swirls lining the walls.
Mt. Bromo, a small but active volcano in Indonesia, seems to just glow with light as the volcano erupts. The photographer just happened to be in the area when an increase in seismic activity triggered an alert.
This photo of a bluff tailed coronet captures the pure beauty and delicacy of a bird as it feeds on the flower nectar.
F. Dilek Uyar took his first-place prize in People with this photo of beams of light flowing into a historic building in Konya, Turkey. The image also captures a whirling dervish performing an ecstatic dance in the center of the building.
In an attempt to capture a new angle on a surfing trip, this photographer captured a breathtaking photo of professional surfer, Donavon Frankenreiter in Tavarua, Fiji.
Captured from the bank of the river Dhaleswari in Munshiganj, this stunning image showcases sand porters carrying sand to preserve them on a place near the river.
The first-place winner in Cities, Norbert Fritz, captured a bright image that showcases the beauty of natural lighting as it fills the interior of a modern city library in Stuttgart, Germany.
The third-place winner in Cities, Misha De-Stroyev, submitted an interesting image of one of the most amazing football fields in Europe – the Henningsvær football field. Taken from a drone, the image captures a rare view of the entire football field from right above it.
Light illuminates from this photo as the rainbow-colored market stalls come to life when night fall comes over Bangkok, Thailand.
The festival of Qoyllur Rit’i draws around 80,000 pilgrims high in the Peruvian Andes to celebrate Inca and Catholic rituals. They head up the holy glaciers to perform initiation ceremonies and at dawn they begin their descent back down.
Previously known as the densest place on Earth, Kowloon Walled City was finally demolished in the 1990s. However, this photo still captures the life that still lives within the city. It is not dead, as many high-density housing apartments still exist.
Taken from The Zenith in Busan, the highest residential building in Asia, this shot captures the true glow of the city lights. However, safety measures had to be taken to achieve this photo – it isn’t an experience for the faint of heart!
Sea fog anchors around the harbors at the Kwai Chung Container Terminal in Hong Kong as the warm winds bring a promise of spring and mingles with the ocean’s last remnants of winter.
This shot allows you to imagine what the legendary Count Dracula might have seen on his nocturnal flights over the road to Transylvania.