With over 17.000 global entries the judges had to make some tough decisions in the categories Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. But after many hours, probably days, of reviewing and consulting, the 10 winners were chosen. The grand prize winner is Anuar Floriuk with his incredible “Whale Whisperers” underwater shot.
“The photo wasn’t planned,” said the photographer, who hails from Tehuacán, 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.”Anuar Patjane Floriuk He wins a eight-day photo expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two.
Below you can find the winning images, including second place, third place, and seven merit-prize winners. Photo’s and captions are all courtesy of National Geographic.
First Place Winner: Whale Whisperers
Diving with a humpback whale and her new born calf while they cruise around Roca Partida Island, in Revillagigedo, Mexico. This is an outstanding and unique place full of pelagic life so we need to accelerate the incorporation of this islands into UNESCO as natural heritage site in order to increase the protection of the islands against the prevailing ilegal fishing corporations and big game fishing.
Second Place Winner: Gravel Workmen
This gravel-crush working place remains full of dust and sand. Three gravel workmen are looking through the window glass at their working place. Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Third Place Winner: Camel Ardah
Camel Ardah, as it called in Oman, is one of the traditional styles of camel racing … between two camels controlled by expert men. The faster camel is the loser … so they must be running [at] the same speed level in the same track. The main purpose of Ardah is to show the beauty and strength of the Arabian camels and the riders’ skills. Ardah [is] considered one of the most risky situations, since always the camels reactions are unpredictable [and] it may get wild and jump [toward the] audience.
Merit Winner: A Night at Deadvlei
The night before returning to Windhoek, we spent several hours at Deadveli. 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. Deadveli means “dead marsh.” The camelthorn trees are believed to be about 900 years old but have not decomposed because the environment is so dry.
Merit Winner: Catching a Duck
Two boys are trying to catch a duck at the stream of the waterfall. Nong Khai Province, Thailand.
Merit Winner: Kushti, Indian Wrestling
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 cold. This relaxation ceremony is completed with massages to soothe tired muscles and demonstrate mutual respect.
Merit Winner: White Rhinos
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. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Uganda.
Merit Winner: Sauna in the Sky
A sauna at 2,800 meters high in the heart of Dolomites. Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps
Merit Winner: Highlanders
Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to sort the hay.
Merit Winner: Romania, Land of Fairy Tales
White frost over Pestera village.