18000! This is the number of photos that the magazine National Geographic Travel has received for this year’s 26th edition of its famous photography contest which is open to both professionals and amateurs. This goes to show that the choice might not have been an easy one. I have selected here, some of the best photos chosen by ourselves (and therefore very subjective, hehe). If you wish to have a look at the Top 10 pictures along with comments provided by each photographer, you could visit the National Geographic Traveler’s website.
“While on storm chasing expeditions in Tornado Alley in the U.S. I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching a storm near Julesburg, Colorado, on May 28, 2013. The storm was tornado warned for more than one hour, but it stayed an LP [low precipitation] storm through all its cycles and never produced a tornado, just occasional brief funnels, large hail, and some rain.”
Mea Shearim, the ultra-Orthodox district of Jerusalem. Newly married couple Aaron and Rivkeh will be alone together for the first time after their wedding ceremony. Their marriage was arranged by their families. The 18-year-olds met once to confirm the choice; since then they have been prohibited to meet or even talk.
Green Lake (Grüner See) is located in Tragöss Austria. In spring snowmelt raises the lake level about 10 meters. This phenomenon, which lasts only a few weeks, covers hiking trails, meadows, and trees. The result is a magical diving landscape.
A young monk finds a perfect light source to read his book inside of his pagoda in Old Bagan, Burma (Myanmar).
Merit Prize Winner: End of the World, by Sean Hacker Teper
“This photo, taken at the ‘end of the world’ swing in Banos, Ecuador, captures a man on the swing overlooking an erupting Mt. Tungurahua. The eruption took place on February 1st, 2014. Minutes after the photo was taken, we had to evacuate the area because of an incoming ash cloud.”
Merit Prize Winner: A Well Earned Rest in the Sahara, by Evan Cole
“This photo of Moussa Macher, our Tuareg guide, was taken at the summit of Tin-Merzouga, the largest dune (or erg) in the Tadrat region of the Sahara desert in southern Algeria. Moussa rested while waiting for us to finish our 45-minute struggle to the top. It only took ten minutes of rolling, running, and jumping to get back down.” The Tadrat is part of the Tassili N’Ajjer National Park World Heritage area, famous for its red sand and engravings and rock paintings of cattle, elephants, giraffes, and rhinos that lived there when the climate was milder.
“Taken during the Mayana Soora Thiruvizha festival, which takes place every March in the small village of Kaveripattinam the day after Maha Shivarathiri (the great night of Shiva). The festival is devoted to Angalamman, a fierce guardian deity worshipped widely in Southern India.”
See the full ranking here: National Geographic Traveler. Now consider the other photography that had not the chance to be selected by the jury, but not lack of interest.
Two mountain guides direct a helicopter into land high in the Swiss Alps on top of Mt. Gond. “I took this shot whilst shooting an extreme ski and snowboard competition – the Nendaz Freeride FWQ. I had been dropped just before on the peak and with the permission of the guides cowered down behind them to capture this shot when the remaining supplies were delivered. My lens took a bit of a battering and I could only hold myself in position properly for a few seconds as the rush of snow debris was insane at this point.”
“Capturing the Grand Canyon on this amazing night was a night I will never forget. I waited and waited long after dark telling my fiance and my student that we might get lucky. It paid off and when the first bolt struck, I yelled to the both of them to grab their tripods and I stayed and shot for over 2 hours. Was one of the best moments of my life as a photographer!”
“I captured this shot end of the day with this amazing color reflection in the water. Yuanyang Yunnan China.”
Oryx of Arabia, by Bo Fu
“In the afternoon, it was so hot at the bottom of the dune that the oryx ran to the dune top for coolness. When getting to the top, it stopped and posed for me to capture a shot. Sossusvlei National Park, Sossusvlei, Namibia. “