Winners of the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Out of the nearly 18,000 photographs submitted to this year’s National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, only 10 are selected by judges to be the top winners.

Submissions are accepted from around the world and are entered into one of four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, or Spontaneous Moments. You can browse all of the submissions here or just the editor’s top weekly picks here.

This year’s first-place winner is Anuar Patjane Floriuk for his underwater shot of divers swimming next to an enormous and beautiful humpback whale and her newborn calf off the western coast of Mexico. Anuar’s prize is an eight-day National Geographic photo expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two.

“The photo wasn’t planned,” said Anuar, who hails from Puebla, Mexico. “I was taking photos near the head of the whale, and all of a sudden she began to swim toward the rest of the diving team. The divers gave the whale and her calf space, and I just clicked at the moment when the flow and composition seemed right.”

Second prize is a six-day Winter Wildlife photo expedition in Yellowstone for two, and third prize is a six-day cruise from Schooner American Eagle and Heritage for two.

This marks the 27th year of the Traveler Photo Contest — a nature photography competition held annually by National Geographic which is open to both amateur and professional photographers worldwide.