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21 Best Travel Shots Of 2017 Nat Geo Competition That Will Take Your Breath Away

Published 3 months ago

The judges of the National Geographic 2017 Travel Photographer of the Year contest have spoken, which means that the rest of us now have 21 incredible photos to explore.

Every year (check out the winners from 2016) this competition celebrates the incredible diversity found across our planet and showcases it in the most breathtaking ways. This time the jury had 15,000 entries to chose from and award the first, second and third places in each of three categories (nature, people and cities) with $2,500, $750 and $500 respectively.

This year the Grand Prize went to Sergio Tapiro Velasco of Mexico for his stunning image of a lightning strike, shooting from a volcano’s ash cloud. The shot got Velasco not only the nomination for the best picture in the nature category but also a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Archipelago with National Geographic Expeditions.

Check out the winners below and let us know in the comments which one is the best for you!

More info: national geographic (h/t)

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#1 Grand Prize Winner: The Power Of Nature, Rancho De Aguirre, Colima, Mexico

A powerful eruption illuminates the slopes of Mexico’s Colima Volcano on December 13, 2015. I was in the town of Comala when I suddenly saw incandescence above the volcano’s crater and started shooting. Seconds later, a powerful volcanic explosion expelled a cloud of ash particles and a massive lightning bolt illuminated most of the dark scene. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

#2 Honorable Mention, Nature: Forest Of The Fairy, Tamba, Japan

In a remote village in the Tamba region of Japan, twinkling fireflies light up the Forest of the Gods on a summer evening. The fireflies carpet a stairway leading to a small shrine revered by the local people, creating a magical atmosphere.

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

#3 Honorable Mention, Nature: Marble Caves, Chile

My dad and I traveled to Patagonia earlier this year, and we wanted to see something off the beaten path. After a 10-hour drive and traversing a long, dirt trail, we finally came upon the marble caves. We chartered a boat to take us closer, and I waited for the perfect light to capture these intricate blue swirls. The extra effort it took to reach the caves was worth it.

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

#4 People’s Choice Winner, Nature: Buff Tailed Coronet, Ecuador

A buff-tailed coronet feeds on flower nectar in the Ecuadorian forest, a paradise for hummingbirds.

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

#5 Third Place Winner, People: Under The Wave, Tavarua, Fiji

I recently traveled to Tavarua, Fiji, with professional surfer Donavon Frankenreiter and captured this image at Cloudbreak. The usual surf shots have all been done, so we decided to get creative and looked for new angles and perspectives.

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

#6 People’s Choice Winner, Cities: Colorful Market, Bangkok, Thailand

As night falls over Bangkok, Thailand, rows of rainbow-colored market stalls come to life.

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

#7 Second Place Winner, People: Interesting Moment, Amsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands

A crowd of spectators stands in front of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. As I observed the scene I laughed when I realized that the people in the painting also appear to be curiously watching the visitors. I managed to take two shots before the audience moved away—one is out of focus, but this one was perfect.

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

#8 Third Place Winner, Cities: Henningsvær Football Field, Henningsvær, Nordland, Norway

In Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the Henningsvær football field is considered one of the most amazing in Europe. This photo was taken during a sailing trip from Tromsø to the Lofoten Archipelago. After a week of cold and rainy weather, the sky finally cleared up enough to fly my drone. We were absolutely astonished to learn that the entire football field is heated, so after lying down and soaking in the warmth, I launched my drone and took this photo from a height of about 390 feet (120 meters).

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

#9 First Place Winner, People: Workship, Konya, Turkey

Beams of light filter through a historic building in Konya, Turkey, where a whirling dervish performs an ecstatic dance. The ceremony represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent towards truth and love, and represents the constant revolution of all living things. For example, the Earth itself is in a state of rotation as well as the atoms that make up everything on it.

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

#10 Honorable Mention, Nature: Mt. Bromo, East Java, Indonesia

Mount Bromo is a small but active volcano on East Java, Indonesia. On January 17, 2016, I was nearby when an increase in seismic activity triggered an alert. This photo was taken from the patio of a local hotel, where I was waiting with my camera. Just as the volcano erupted, the ashes seemed to glow with light. This photo is very special to me—a rare eruption of Mount Bromo with excellent lighting.

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

#11 First Place Winner, Cities: Levels Of Reading, Stuttgart, Germany

Natural light fills the modern interior of the city library in Stuttgart, Germany. With its stark white floors, open spaces, and large windows, it provides a unique atmosphere to broaden your knowledge.

Image source: travel.nationalgeographic.com

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2017, best travel photos, nat geo, nat geo winners, National Geographic, National Geographic winners, photography contest, Travel Photographer of the Year, travel photos
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