NatGeo Traveler Magazine announces winners of 2015 Photo Contest

NatGeo Traveler Photo Contest 2015 WINNERS
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NatGeo Traveler Magazine announces winners of 2015 Photo Contest

Grand Prize: Whale Whisperers 

Diving with a humpback whale and her newborn calf while they cruise around Roca Partida … in the Revillagigedo [Islands], Mexico. This is an outstanding and unique place full of pelagic life, so we need to accelerate the incorporation of the islands into UNESCO as [a] natural heritage site in order to increase the protection of the islands against the prevailing illegal fishing corporations and big-game fishing. (Photo and caption by Anuar Patjane Floriuk/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Second Place: 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. (Photo and caption by Faisal Azim/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Third Place: 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. (Photo and caption by Ahmed Al Toqi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Merit: 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. (Photo and caption by Beth McCarley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Merit: Catching a Duck

Two boys are trying to catch a duck at the stream of the waterfall. Nong Khai Province, Thailand. (Photo and caption by Sarah Wouters/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Merit: 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. (Photo and caption by Alain Schroeder/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Merit: 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. (Photo and caption by Stefane Berube/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Merit: Sauna in the Sky

A sauna at 2,800 meters high in the heart of Dolomites. Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps. (Photo and caption by Stefano Zardini/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Merit: Highlanders

Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to sort the hay. (Photo and caption by Bartłomiej Jurecki/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)

Merit: Romania, Land of Fairy Tales

White frost over Pestera village. (Photo and caption by Eduard Gutescu/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Over stunning 17,000 entries were submitted to the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, but one picture took the top spot. Anuar Patjane Floriuk of Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico, won the coveted prize with an underwater picture of divers swimming near a humpback whale.

"The photo wasn't planned," Floriuk told National Geographic. "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."

The "Whale Whisperer" photo was shot near Roca Partida, an island off the western coast of Mexico.

Floriuk wins an eight-day National Geographic Photo Expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two.

Second place went to Faisal Azim of Chittagong, Bangladesh for his photo "Gravel Workmen." He won a six-day National Geographic Photo Expedition: Winter Wildlife in Yellowstone for two. The third-place photo, "Camel Ardah," was shot by Ahmed Al Toqi of Muscat, Oman. Al Toqi will receive a six-day cruise for two from Schooner American Eagle and Heritage.

There were also seven merit-prize winners who will receive a $200 gift certificate to B&H Photo.

"National Geographic Travel celebrates and illuminates destinations around the globe, and it was exciting to see that same theme captured in the contest entries," said Maggie Zackowitz, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine. "I was blown away by the creativity of the photographers."

The 17,000 submissions were sorted into four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. Each photo underwent two rounds of evaluation based on creativity and photographic quality.

The winning photos may be viewed online on the Traveler Photo Contest website.

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