The 24th annual photo contest, National Geographic Traveler magazine received more than 12,000 entries from 6,615 talented photographers in 152 countries around the globe. Using the power of photography. Taken in locations ranging from Afghanistan to Vietnam, the winning pictures show everything from peaceful landscapes to unexpected moments. However, all of them depict the beauty of the places and people that make traveling memorable. Did your favorites make the cut? See who won!
Entries were judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of photographic experts, including National Geographic contributing photographer Alexandra Avakian. Official prizes include: a National Geographic Galápagos Photography Expedition; a Santa Fe Workshop; a National Geographic Traveler Seminar; and $200 gift certificates to B&H Photo.
1.First Place Winner: Butterfly
This image was shot in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor. The intimacy of this everyday life moment, shot inside of a family yurt, is in total contrast with the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live in. On the right we notice a television and a sound console. These tribes live weeks away from any village by foot. In spite of being located at an altitude of 4,300 meters in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan they are equipped with solar panels, satellite dishes and cellphones. Ancestral ways of living, with touches of modernity.
National Geographic contributing photographer Alexandra Avakian, one of this year’s judges, shares her thoughts on the first place winner:
2.Second Place Winner: My Balloon
H’mong children play with their balloons on a foggy day in Moc Chau, Son La province, Vietnam; photographed January 2012.
National Geographic contributing photographer Alexandra Avakian, one of this year’s judges, shares her thoughts on the second place winner:
This picture is like a dream, and it’s timeless not only because it’s black and white and there’s no sense of modernity, but also because it depicts an activity that children everywhere on the planet do with balloons. The fog and soft background make it feel like a memory. It’s every bit as good as the photographs in the seminal black-and-white photo book, “The Family of Man.” Sometimes the best scenes to shoot are not in the obvious places for travelers but can be found anywhere from a farflung location such as this remote Hmong village to just the around the corner from a big event.
3. Third Place Winner: Devotees
During the Easter holy celebration called “Misteri” in Trapani, the devotees carry the scenes of Christ’s passion on their shoulders all night long. When the day comes they take a break.
National Geographic contributing photographer Alexandra Avakian, one of this year’s judges, shares her thoughts on the third place winner:
4.Merit Winner: Looking into Another World
This is the great Japanese maple tree in the Portland Japanese Gardens. I tried to bring a different perspective of this frequently photographed tree.
5.Merit Winner: Lost in Time – An Ancient Forest
Near the city of Morondava, on the West coast of Madagascar lies an ancient forest of Baobab trees. Unique to Madagascar, the endemic species is sacred to the Malagasy people, and rightly so. Walking amongst these giants is like nothing else on this planet. Some of the trees here are over a thousand years old. It is a spiritual place, almost magical.
6.Merit Winner: Underwater Surf
Taken at Cloud Break at an outer reef in Fiji, a surfer duck dives his board to clear the rolling waves of the raw ocean.
7.Merit Winner: Bagan Bliss
More than 2,000 Buddhist temples and pagodas fill the plains of Bagan. Once the capital of the Pagan Empire, farmers now raise their livestock within the centuries old complex. The best way to see Bagan, apart from a ride on a hot air balloon, is by bicycle. It’s easy to get off the beaten path and live out your wildest Indiana Jones fantasy.
8. Merit Winner: Old Men with Djellaba
The Last Supper Of Da Vinci? No, They are just some old men of Chefchaouen with djellaba, sitting and talking each other.
9. Merit Winner: The Village of Gásadalur
The village of Gásadalur and the island of Mykines in the background.
Until a tunnel was built in 2004, the 16 residents living in Gásadalur had to take a strenuous hike or horseback over the steep 400 meter mountain in order to make it to the other villages.
It was a rare sunny day in the Faroe Islands and I had to wait until the clouds rolled in to provide some softer light. I decided to go with a long exposure (1 minute 10 seconds) to illustrate the force of the wind and a serene sea among the isolated islands.
10. Merit Winner: Swimming in the Rain
My sister in the south of Chile. We are sitting at home next to the fireplace in our southern lake house when it suddenly began to pour uncontrollably. Had to rush into the lake to take this snapshot!
11. Viewers’ Choice Winner: Huset
A lonely cabin is illuminated under the Northern Lights in Finnmark, Norway.
Rest of the photographs:
Source: National Geographic