The National Geographic travel photography contest 2016 has come to an end and it’s time to announce the winners! Chosen from more than 10,000 entries, below are the best travel photographs of the year.
The grand prize went to Anthony Lau from Hong Kong for his stunning photograph of a horseman in Inner Mongolia. Other winners included Hiroki Inoue who came first in the nature category for his stunning picture of foxes in Hokkaido, Japan; second place winner Yasmin Mund for her beautiful aerial shot of people sleeping on rooftops in Varanasi, India; and third place winner Victor Lima for his otherworldly image of Chile’s Atacama Desert. We’re just glad somebody else had to judge them because we’d give them all the grand prize!
1. Grand Prize Winner: Winter Horseman, Inner Mongolia
The winter in Inner Mongolia is very unforgiving. At a freezing temperature of minus twenty and lower, with a constant breeze of snow from all direction, it was pretty hard to convince myself to get out of the car and take photos. When I saw Inner Mongolia horsemen showing off their skills and commanding the steed from a distance. I quickly grabbed my telephoto lens and captured the moment when one of the horseman charged out from morning mist.
2. First Place Winner, Cities: Ben Youssef, Marrakesh, Morocco
Even though there were a lot of people in Ben Youssef, still here was more quiet and relaxing compare to the street outside in Marrakesh. I was waiting for the perfect timing to photograph for long time.
3. First Place Winner, Nature: Wherever You Go, I Will Follow You, Hokkaido, Japan
Romance is in the air. It was the time of day immediately following sunset. I heard a voice. “Wherever you go, I will follow you” the voice says.
4. Second Place Winner, People: Rooftop Dreams, Varanasi
I arrived at my guest house in Varanasi at 5:30am, I instinctively climbed the 7 sets of stairs to the rooftop (which happened to be the highest in the vicinity) to see the sunrise over the famous Ganges River. As the sun was rising I looked over the right hand side of the balcony and my jaw dropped with disbelief. Below were families – mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sister and dogs all sleeping on the top of their houses. It was mid summer in Varanasi and sleeping sans AC was difficult.
5. Honorable Mention, Cities: Divide, Manhattan, New York, United States
In the helicopter looking south on Central Park West – dividing the architecture and Central Park, on November 5th 2014, a day before my 27th birthday. The flight was my birthday gift.
6. Honorable Mention, Nature: Bears On A Berg, Nunavut, Canada
This photo was taken far out on the sea ice in the Davis Straight off the coast of Baffin Island. This mother polar bear and her yearling are perched atop a huge snow covered iceberg that got “socked in” when the ocean froze over for the winter. To me, the relative “smallness” of these large creatures when compared to the immensity of the iceberg in the photo represents the precariousness of the polar bear’s reliance on the sea and sea ice for its existence.
7. Third Place Winner, People: Remote Life At -21 Degree, Himachal Pradesh, India
Kinnaura tribal old women in remote village in Himachal Pradesh carrying big log back home to warm up her house.
8. Third Place Winner, Nature: Lagunas Baltinache (atacama Desert), Antofagasta, Chile
The Baltinache Ponds, also called Hidden Ponds are a set of seven salt ponds located in the area of the Salt Cordillera, near San Pedro de Atacama, in the second region of northern Chile, in the Atacama desert. After much research, I believe to be the first photographer to publish night photos of this place, but it is still necessary to confirm this information. Tech Details: Photography done in one shot. Foreground was illuminated by the moonlight.
9. Second Place Winner, Cities: Silenced, Guangdong Sheng, China
This photo was taken on my last trip to Guangzhou, China. This place is the school dormitories of South China Normal University. When I was hanging around, most of them were taking a break. After lunchtime, they needed to go back to study
10. Second Place Winner, Nature: Double Trapping, Brazilian Pantanal
Picture taken in the Brazilian Pantanal when I downloaded the CF did not want to believe it. The nature knows we always give magnificent events but sometimes extraordinary.
11. Third Place Winner, Cities: Celestial Reverie, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia
Lightning seemingly strikes Komtar Tower, the most iconic landmark of George Town, capital of Penang state in Malaysia. It is symbolic of the rejuvenation that the city, famous for a unique blend of centuries-old buildings and modern structures, has enjoyed in recent years. While many of its old neighbourhoods fell into neglect in the 1990s and early 2000s, UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2008 sparked a transformation, and today, they are all part of a vibrant tourist destination.
12. Honorable Mention,people: Muscle Beach Gym, Venice Beach, California, United States
A weightlifter lifts a barbell loaded with heavy plates while a bodybuilder performs an aerial handstand at the Muscle Beach Gym in Venice Beach, CA