Winners & Honorable Mentions of the 2015 National Geographic Photography Competition

Dirt by James Smart

Grand Prize and Nature Winner. Photo and caption James Smart / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “DIRT” Jaw-dropping, rare anti-cyclonic tornado tracks in open farm land narrowly missing a home near Simla, Colorado.

The winners and honorable mentions of the 2015 National Geographic Photography Competition have just been announced, and as usual it’s an astonishing collection of brilliant images captured around the world from the streets of Iran to the skies above Spain. The grand prize winner is “DIRT” by Australian photographer James Smart who photographed a dusty tornado as it just barely misses a house in Colorado. We’ve gathered our favorites here, but to see a few more honorable mentions and explore tens of thousands of submissions, head over to National Geographic.

Asteroid by Francisco Mingorance

Places Winner. Photo and caption by Francisco Mingorance / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Asteroid” On the occasion of the preparation of a report on Ríotinto from the air, I decided to include phosphogypsum ponds located in the marshes of red and whose radioactive discharges has destroyed part of the marsh. As an environmental photojournalist had to tell this story and report it but had to do with an image that by itself attract attention of the viewer. I discovered this on a low-flying training that caught my attention for its resemblance to the impact of an asteroid on its green waters. Location: Cardeñas, Andalusia, Spain.

At the Play Ground by Joel Nsadha

People Winner. Photo and caption by Joel Nsadha / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “At The Play Ground” Bwengye lives in a slum called Kamwokya in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. He cherishes his bicycle more than anything else. He brings it to this playground in the slum every evening where he watches kids playing soccer. Location: Kampala, Central Region, Uganda.

Hill of Crosses by Hideki  Mizuta

Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Hideki Mizuta / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Hill of Crosses” There are many hundreds of thousands of crosses, the Hill of Crosses has represented the peaceful resistance of Lithuanian Catholicism to oppression. Standing upon a small hill is the place where many spirits of the dead lives. When I visited this place, a girl in the pink dress ran through as if she brought the peace, hope, love. Location: Šiauliai, Siauliu Apskritis, Lithuania.

Overlooking Iraq from Iran by Yanan Li

Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Yanan Li / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Overlooking Iraq from Iran” There are relics left along the Iran-Iraq borders. A group of Iranian female students play around an abandoned tank. Among them, one girl stands on the tank with her arms open. Location: Shalamcheh, Khuzestan, Iran.

Changing Shifts by Mohammed Yousef

Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Mohammed Yousef / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Changing Shifts” In Masai Mara, the cubs of the famous cheetah called Malaika became young enough to start hunting. They moved from one hill to another scanning the lands. Here, they seemed to change shifts as one cheetah leaves the hill while the other takes her place. Location: Masai Mara, Rift Valley, Kenya.

Colorful chaos by Bence Mate

Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Bence Mate / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Colorful chaos” White-fronted Bee-eaters getting together on a bough before going to sleep to their burrows, scraped into a sand wall. I was working on this theme for 18 days, as there were only 5-10 minutes a day, when the light conditions were appropriate, 90% of my trying did not succeed. I used flashlights to light only the ones sitting on the branch, and not to the others, flying above. When in the right angle, the backlight generated rainbow colouring through the wings of the flying birds. Location: Mkuze, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Nothing to Declare by Lars Hübner

Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Lars Hübner / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Nothing to Declare” In the countryside, the funerals are usually accompanied by local chapels. When a family member dies, their body is kept in the house, or in a tent built specifically for this purpose. After a set period of time, the deceased, accompanied by a funeral procession is buried. Location: Douliu, Taiwan, Taiwan.

Surrealist painting in nature by Tugo Cheng

Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Tugo Cheng / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Surrealist painting in nature” As the largest mountain ranges in Central Asia, Tian-shan (‘sky-mountain’ in Chinese), has one of the best collections of natural landscapes in the world and is seen by many as a paradise for outdoor adventures. Thanks to the richness of sediments compounded with the power of erosion by rivers flowing down the mountains, the north face of Tian-shan is carved into stunning plateaus and colorful canyons hundreds of meters deep, resulting in this surrealist painting in nature.

Acrobat of the Air by Alessandra Meniconzi

Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Alessandra Meniconzi / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Acrobat of the Air” A flocks of Alpine choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus), mountain-dwelling birds, performs acrobatic displays in the air. I was able, during a windy day, to immortalize their impressive flight skills.

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