10 Winning Photographs from the 2015 'National Geographic Traveler' Photo Contest
National Geographic Traveler just announced the 2015 winners of their annual photo contest. The competition, which includes submissions from thousands of images taken from all around the world over the course of 2015, awards the winner an eight-night Costa Rica and Panama Canal photo trip with airfare included for two. Second- and third-place winners receive vacations in Yellowstone National Park and a cruise from Schooner American Eagle and Heritage, respectively. Merit winners get a Nat Geo Masters of Photography course plus a $200 B&H Photo gift certificate.
Scroll through the gallery to check out some of the amazing winning photography.
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Grand Prize: Whale Whisperers
Photo and caption by Anuar Patjane Floriuk / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
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.
Second Place: Gravel Workmen
Photo and caption by Faisal Azim / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
[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: Camel Ardah
Photo and caption by Ahmed Al Toqi / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
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: A Night at Deadvlei
Photo and caption by Beth McCarley / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
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: Catching a Duck
Photo and caption by Sarah Wouters / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Two boys are trying to catch a duck at the stream of the waterfall. Nong Khai Province, Thailand.
Merit: Kushti, Indian Wrestling
Photo and caption by Alain Schroeder / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
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: White Rhinos
Photo and caption by Stefane Berube / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
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: Sauna in the Sky
Photo and caption by Stefano Zardini / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
A sauna at 2,800 meters high in the heart of Dolomites. Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps.
Photo and caption by Bartłomiej Jurecki / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to sort the hay.
Merit: Romania, Land of Fairy Tales
Photo and caption by Eduard Gutescu / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
White frost over Pestera village.