The Most Breathtaking Photos of 2015 By National Geographic


It’s that time again!
Those of us who love photography consider this to be one of the greatest moments, when we can see the photos of the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest! Each of these images represents something different, yet familiar; something known, yet magical and curious.
Each year,  National Geographic releases the entries from its annual Traveler Photo Contest- and each year, I can barely contain myself. After patiently waiting and looking over the countless stunning entries in the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, it’s finally time to announce the winners! Selected from more than 17,000 global entries in the categories Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments, the grand prize went to Anuar Patjane Floriuk for his unbelievable underwater shot of divers swimming close to a humpback whale near Roca Partida, an island off of the western coast of Mexico.
“The photo wasn’t planned,” said the photographer, who hails from Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico. “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.”
Below are  the winning images, including second place, third place, and seven merit-prize winners, courtesy of our friends at National Geographic.
Grand Prize: Whale Whisperers – Photo and caption by Anuar Patjane Floriuk / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Diving with a humpback whale and her new born calf while they cruise around Roca Partida Island, in Revillagigedo, Mexico. This is an outstanding and unique place full of pelagic life so we need to accelerate the incorporation of this islands into UNESCO as natural heritage site in order to increase the protection of the islands against the prevailing ilegal fishing corporations and big game fishing.
Diving with a humpback whale and her new born calf while they cruise around Roca Partida Island, in Revillagigedo, Mexico. This is an outstanding and unique place full of pelagic life so we need to accelerate the incorporation of this islands into UNESCO as natural heritage site in order to increase the protection of the islands against the prevailing ilegal fishing corporations and big game fishing.
Second Place: Gravel Workmen 

Photo and caption by Faisal Azim / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Gravel crush working place remains full of dust and sand. Three gravel workmen are looking through the window glass at their working place.
The 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, its one of the traditional styles of camel racing between two camels controlled by expert men, the faster camel is the loser one, so they must be running by 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.

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.
Merit: Highlanders
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.
Here they are, the chosen few. Which one was your favourite and why? What do you see when you look into these images?
Written by Raven Fon

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