Winners of the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
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.”
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.
- Whale WhisperersFirst Place Winner
Diving with a humpback whale and her newborn calf near the Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico.
This outstanding and unique place is full of pelagic life, so we need to accelerate its inclusion into UNESCO as a Natural Heritage Site to help protect it against the illegal fishing corporations that are destroying it.
- Gravel WorkmenSecond Place Winner
- Camel ArdahThird Place Winner
Camel Ardah, as it’s called in Oman, is a traditional style of camel racing between two expert camel riders, where the faster camel is the loser.
The main purpose of Ardah is to show the beauty and strength of the Arabian camels and allow the riders to demonstrate their skills, although it is considered to be quite risky, as camels can react unpredictably and may jump towards the crowd.
- A Night at DeadvleiMerit Winner
The night before returning to Windhoek, Beth and her friends spent several hours at Deadvlei. The moon was bright enough to illuminate the sand dunes in the distance, but the skies were still dark enough to clearly see the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds. Deadvlei means “dead marsh.”
The camelthorn trees are believed to be about 900 years old but have not decomposed because the environment is so dry.
- Sauna in the SkyMerit Winner
- Romania, Land of Fairy TalesMerit Winner
- Catching a DuckMerit Winner
- White RhinosMerit Winner
The day before this photo, Stefane had tried all day long to get a good photo of the endangered White Rhino at Uganda’s Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
Skulking carefully through the grass while staying 30 feet away to be safe, he didn’t manage to capture the photo he was hoping for.
The very next morning, however, Stefane awoke early, and to his delight, he discovered all three rhinos grazing in front of him.
- Kushti, Indian WrestlingMerit Winner
Kushti is the traditional form of Indian wrestling. Wearing only a well-adjusted loincloth (langot), wrestlers (pelwhans) enter a pit made of clay, often mixed with salt, lemon, and ghee (clarified butter).
At the end of a workout, wrestlers rest against the walls of the arena, covering their heads and bodies with earth to soak up any perspiration and avoid catching a cold. This relaxation ceremony is completed with massages to soothe tired muscles and demonstrate mutual respect.
- HighlandersMerit Winner