Best Of The Best: Winners Of The 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-2015-8

The annual National Geographic Photo Contest produces some of the best pictures from around the world, and the 2015 results are perhaps some of the most awe inspiring of all. The competition has been held for 27 years now, and is open to submissions from both professional and amateur photographers.

Over 17,000 photo entries from every corner of the Planet were submitted to the 2015 categories for Travel Portraits, Sense of Place, Outdoor Scenes and Spontaneous Moments.

The first place winner of the 2015 National Geographic competition was photographer Anuar Patjane Floriuk. His photo of divers swimming near a humpback whale and her calf off the western coast of Mexico wowed judges enough to earn the winning title. The first place prize is a photo expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two.

Floriuk, who lives in Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico, said, “The photo wasn’t planned. 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.”

Check out Floriuk’s photos as well as other winners from the 2015 National Geographic Traveler photo contest below.

First Place Winner: Whale Whispers

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-2015-8Photo Credit: Anuar Patjane

Second Place Winner: Gravel Workmen

The gravel-crush work place is always swirling with sand and dust. These hardworking gravel workmen stare through a dirt-coated window at their place of work in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-2015-7Photo Credit: Faisal Azim

Third Place Winner: Camel Ardah

Camel Ardah is a traditional style of camel racing where two camels ridden by experienced men race to the finish line. Interestingly, the faster camel loses, meaning there is a great deal of control involved. The sport is focused on emphasizing the beauty of camels and the skills of the riders.

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-2015-6Photo Credit: Ahmed Al Toqi

Merit Winner: White Rhinos

This photo was taken at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Uganda. The photographer explains, “The night before this photo, we tried all day to get a good photo of the endangered white rhino. Skulking through the grass carefully, trying to stay 30 feet away to be safe, didn’t provide me the photo I was hoping for. In the morning, however, I woke up to all three rhinos grazing in front of me.”

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-2015-2Photo Credit: Stefane Berube

Merit Winner: Catching A Duck

Two young boys attempt to catch a duck at the stream of a waterfall in Nong Khai Province, Thailand.

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-2015-10Photo Credit: Sarah Wouters

Merit Winner: A Night at Deadvlei

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-2015-3Photo Credit: Beth McCarley

Merit Winner: Kushti, Indian Wrestling

Kushti is the traditional form of Indian wrestling. After the workout ends the wrestlers lean up against the sides of the walls and cover themselves from head to toe in the clay, salt, lemon and ghee mixture to soak up sweat and prevent catching a cold.

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-2015-1Photo Credit: Alain Schroeder

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Merit Winner: Sauna In The Sky

This sauna is located at 2,800 meters high in the heart of Dolomites. Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps.

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-2015-5Photo Credit: Stefano Zardini

Next Up: 21 Of The Best Nature Photo Entries From The 2014 National Geographic Photo Contest