Every year talented artists allow us to travel the globe through the lenses of their cameras, which capture breathtaking moments we would otherwise miss. The National Geographic's travel photo contesthonors these explorers and photographers by accepting global entries across three categories—Nature, Cities, and People. Here are the winners.
People’s Choice, Nature: ‘Couples Goals’ By Brian Larrosa
"Instead of taking the bus tour to Rainbow Mountain, I camped the night before, about an hour and a half away, to be the first up at sunrise. That morning was full of fog, and when I arrived, I could barely see the seven-color mountain. I waited an hour for the fog to clear, but it didn't. On my way down, I passed this lovely alpaca couple wearing the Aymara culture colors—which made the wait worth it."
People’s Choice, Nature: ‘Practice Makes Perfect’ By Taylor Albright
"With everything, practice makes perfect. That couldn't be more evident than when fishing for salmon atop Brooks Falls in Alaska. This brown bear was attempting to snag one mid-air, but his timing was a bit early causing the salmon to land like a slap across his face."
First Place, Nature: ‘Tender Eyes’ By Tamara Blazquez Haik
"A gorgeous griffon vulture is seen soaring the skies in Monfragüe National Park in Spain. How can anyone say vultures bring bad omens when looking at such tenderness in this griffon vulture's eyes? Vultures are important members of the environment, as they take care of recycling dead matter. Vultures are noble and majestic animals—kings of the skies. When looking at them flying, we should feel humbled and admire them."
People’s Choice, Nature: ‘Wildlife Under Lightning’ By Kelvin Yuen
"This was my very first trip visit to Africa. A group of rhinoceros drank water from a watering hole while lightning [thundered] at night. I captured over 10,000 photos to get this shot and show the relationship between nature and wildlife. Wildlife is a part of the environment and we should not treat them as a tool—we should protect them."
Honorable Mention, Nature: ‘King Of The Alps’ By Jonas Schäfer
"A herd of ibexes in Switzerland's Bernese Oberland cross a ridge above Lake Brienz. Their powerful and impressive horns show who the king of the Alps are. Ibexes are ideally adapted to live at dizzying heights. The continuing ridge path and the rising fog show the natural habitat of these animals. After a few hours of observing the animals, I spotted the ibex herd on one side of the ridge. Several ibexes stopped at the transition [to view the world around them]."
Third Place, Nature: ‘Dusky Dolphins’ By Scott Portelli
"Dusky dolphins often travel together in great numbers in the deep canyons of the Kaikoura, New Zealand in search of food. They glide through the ocean effortlessly, coming up only to breathe. Dusky dolphins are fast and will often keep pace with a speeding boat. I waited on the bow of the boat as the Dusky dolphin almost broke [through the surface]. Their elegance and streamlined bodies are built for speed and maneuverability—accentuated by the smooth, clear water of the New Zealand coastline."
People’s Choice, Cities: ‘Cat In The City Sky’ By Jonas Chan
"When are you traveling around the city, humans are not the only living species. When we look up at the sky, there are sometimes surprises."
People’s Choice, Nature: ‘Split Shot Taken Of Crabeater Seals’ By Rita Kluge
"A crabeater seal is seen trying to get a spot on the same ice floe as his buddy."
People’s Choice, People: ‘Beach – Chaung Thar, Myanmar’ By Maciej Dakowicz
"A quiet evening on the beach in Chaung Thar, one of Myanmar's most popular beach towns."
Honorable Mention, People: ‘Mood’ By Navin Vatsa
"I captured this layered moment during sunrise along the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi, India. This boy was thinking silently, and visitors were enjoying the loud musical chirping of thousands of seagulls. The early morning golden light from the east mixed with the western blue light, creating a [ethereal atmosphere]. I am a regular visitor [here] and have photographed this place for the past three years. Now, many national and international photographers have begun visiting [too]."