Tag Archives: contests

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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Awesome Aquariums: Winners of the 2015 International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest 

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#1 (Grand Prize) Takayuki Fukada, Japan / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

While most people are satisfied with giving their pet goldfish some colorful gravel, a plastic plant, and maybe one of those bubbly treasure chests, the entrants to the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC) have turned aquarium design into an artform. The massive tanks require years of preparation and are focused almost entirely on the aesthetic presentation of plants using only natural elements.

The art of aquascaping is still a fledgling endeavor, first started in the 90s by Japanese wildlife photographer Takashi Amano. The annual IAPLC competition has grown dramatically since, with the 2015 contest seeing 2,545 entries from 69 countries. Japan, China, Brazil, and France dominate the top finalist spots (only 13 entries were from the United States). Finalists were announced in September.

The scoring of each aquarium is based on a complex matrix of six criteria: the recreation of natural habitat for fish; the creator’s technical skills; the long-term maintenance of the habitat; the originality and impression of the layout; presentation of natural layout; and the overall composition and planting ‘balance’. Participants face severe penalties for reconfiguring elements from their own past entries, stealing ideas from others, and using plants that may not last long-term in the environment presented.

This year’s grand prize winner was Takayuki Fukada from Japan with his aquarium titled Longing. You can see our previous coverage of the IAPLC here. All images courtesy IAPLC and AquaA3. (via Vice)

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#2 范博文, China / Courtesy IAPLC & AquaA3. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#4 Paulo Pacheco, Brazil / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#5 叶毅, China / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#7 刘勇, China / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#8 タナカカツキ, Japan / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#10 Luis Carlos Galarraga, Brazil / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#12 Ana Paula Cinato, Brazil / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#16 张大东, China / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#19 薛海, Taiwan / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#21 Andre Longarco, Brazil / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#22 Olivier Thebaud, France / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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#23 Michaël Leroy, France / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.

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Highlights from the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards Shortlist 

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© Ramil Gilvanov/Rimma Gilvanova, Russia, Shortlist, Lifestyle, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

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© Saeed Barikani, Iran, Shortlist, Smile, Open, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

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Ukrainian protester plays piano on a barricade in front of the riot police line during the continuing protest in Kiev, Ukraine on October 2, 2014. © Vladyslav Musiienko / UNIAN, Ukraine, Shortlist, Current Affairs, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

On the Tundra....
© Simon Morris, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Smile, Open, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

Pelican Feeding
© Melissa Little, Australia, Shortlist, Nature & Wildlife, Open, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

Blue Fields
The images were shot from a light aircraft flying at between 4,000 & 5,000ft. The height was crucial in order to flatten perspective by using long focal lengths. Time of day and cloud cover were also critical, the abstract effect being heightened by complete lack of signifying shadow. © Simon Butterworth, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Landscape, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Award

Underwater Grace
© Jonathan Yeap Chin Tiong, Singapore, Shortlist, Sport, Professional Competition, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

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© Alexander Klebe, Germany, Shortlist, Panormaic, Open, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

First Sight
West Bengal, India. October 21, 2013. Blind girls Sonia, 12, and Anita Singh, 5, are born into poverty with congenital cataract blindness. They must accompany their parents everywhere as they cannot be left alone without risk. The surgery to cure this is simple and takes 15 minutes but because of the level of poverty in this family they have been unable to pursue the necessary operation. India has more than 12 million blind, the majority of which suffer from cataract blindness. Poverty is the main reason these millions of people are trapped in this condition. Donor funding has recently enabled both sisters to finally go for this operation. This essay is an attempt to tell the story of their lives before surgery, during the operation to regain their sight and after as they begin to discover light. © Brent Stirton, South Africa, Shortlist, Contemporary Issues, Professional, 2015 Sony World Photography Awards

The World Photography Organization just announced the shortlist for the 2015 Sony World Photography Awards. Creating a shortlist was no small feat. This year submissions swelled to a record 173,444 photographs from 171 countries. Shortlisted images will be on view at Somerset House in London from April 24th through May 10th, and Winners are announced April 23rd. You can see all shortlisted photos online in three categories: Professional, Open, and Youth.

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Hotel That Inspired ‘The Shining’ Announces Contest to Design a 61,500 Square Foot Hedge Maze 

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The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, is famous for hosting celebrities, politicians and other notable figures over the last century, but perhaps no visitor was more significant than writer Stephen King, whose stay at the 140-room neo-Georgian hotel inspired him to write The Shining. While the movie adaptation wasn’t filmed at the Stanley, that hasn’t stopped the hotel from embracing their share of fame in association with the legendary book and 1980 horror film.

Now the Stanley plans to build a 61,500 square foot hedge maze, similar to the backdrop of the heart-pounding final moments in Kubrick’s adaptation. The maze will be built from 1,600 to 2,000 Alpine Currant hedge bushes, and the design will come from a (free) public contest. Anyone is invited to submit plans for the maze, they even have templates and detailed instructions about how to create your design. Submissions are open until January 31st, 2015. (via Neatorama)

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Highlights from the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards Shortlist 

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That’s dance. © Hasan Baglar, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards

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Lightsnake. © Holger Schmidtke, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards

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In your youth, nothing can stop you from enjoying time with your friends, especially not a simple matter of rain during summer fun. You may grow up and forget the names, but you’ll always remember the moments, the time on the dock with your friends during a surprise shower. © Samantha Fortenberry, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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A baby Orangutan peeking out from his mother’s embrace. © Chin Boon Leng, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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Homebound. © Ata Mohammad Adnan, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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In July each year, this heart-pounding scene of wildebeests migration repeats itself in Kenya. © Bonnie Cheung, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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Aerial image of river delta in Iceland. © Emmanuel Coupe, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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Pilgrims and devotees cross pontoon bridges at the Maha Kumbh Mela – the largest spiritual gathering on the planet, held every 12 years in India. © Wolfgang Weinhardt, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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An overhead view, from the skies above Poland. © Kacper Kowalski, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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Interior of an abandoned cooling tower. © Jan Stel, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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China, Jiangyin, Jiangsu. Rows of identical houses with a playground seen in the middle in the city of Jiangyin. © Kacper Kowalski, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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A muddy face from the mud bath, going into the lake. © Alpay Erdem, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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The knight and his steed, a tropical capture in Costa Rica. © Nicolas Reusens, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

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Disaster Zone. © Alison Crea, 2014 Sony World Photography Awards.

The World Photography Organization just announced the shortlist for the 2014 Sony World Photography Awards. This year’s contest received more than 140,000 entries from 166 countries. The judges will announce the final winners in March and April of this year, but for now here are a selection of highlights from the shortlist courtesy the World Photography Organization. (via Next Draft)

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An Illustrated Book by Dulk Wins 2nd Annual ‘Brussels in Shorts’ Graphic Short Story Competition 

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Now in its second year, Brussels in Shorts is an international graphic short story competition that invites illustrators and artist from around the world to create a predominantly visual story set against contemporary Brussels. The winners this year were graphic artist Antonio Segura Donat (a.k.a. Dulk) and brother Carlos out of Valencia, Spain who created this superbly illustrated short story titled Zomeravonden (Summer Evenings) based on sketches made while visiting the city center. This book and nine others were on view at the Belgian Comic Strip Center back in February. You can see much more of Dulk’s work over on Facebook. (via Behance)

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Winners & Honorable Mentions of the 2012 National Geographic Photography Competition 

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Grand Prize / Photo and caption by Ashley Vincent/National Geographic Photo Contest. The subject’s name is Busaba, a well cared for Indochinese Tigress whose home is at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Thailand. I had taken many portraits of Busaba previously and it was becoming more and more difficult to come up with an image that appeared any different to the others. Which is why I took to observing her more carefully during my visits in the hope of capturing something of a behavioural shot. The opportunity finally presented itself while watching Busaba enjoying her private pool then shaking herself dry. In all humility I have to say that Mother Nature smiled favourably on me that day!

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First Place for People / Photo and caption by Micah Albert/National Geographic Photo Contest. At the end of the day women are allowed to pick through the dumpsite.

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First Place for Places / Photo and caption by Nenad Saljic/National Geographic Photo Contest. The Matterhorn 4478m at full moon.

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Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by关嘉城/National Geographic Photo Contest. Dragon boating is a chinese traditional entertainment. As an acquatic sport to memorise qu yuan, a patriotic poet in ancient china, it is usually held in festivals, which can be traced back to two thousands years ago.

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Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by Eric Guth/National Geographic Photo Contest. Glacial ice washes ashore after calving off the Breiamerkurjˆkull glacier on Iceland’s eastern coast. During the waning light of summer this image was created over the course of a 4 minute exposure while the photographer backlit the grounded glacial ice with a headlamp for 2 of those 4 minutes.

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Viewers’ Choice for People / Photo and caption by Kai-Otto Melau/National Geographic Photo Contest. A race that follows in the path of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen brings the contestants to the Hardangervidda Mountainplateu, Norway. 100km across the plateau, the exact same route Amundsen used to prepare for his South Pole expedition in 1911 is still used by explorers today. Amundsen did not manage to cross the plateau and had to turn back because of bad weather. He allegedly said that the attempt to cross Hardangervidda was just as dangerous and hard as the conquering of the South Pole. The group in the picture used the race as preparations for an attempt to cross Greenland.

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Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by Micheal Eastman/National Geographic Photo Contest. With his exceptional hearing a red fox has targeted a mouse hidden under 2 feet of crusted snow. Springing high in the air he breaks through the crusted spring snow with his nose and his body is completely vertical as he grabs the mouse under the snow.

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Honorable Mention / Photo and caption by ulrich lambert/National Geographic Photo Contest. Stilt fishing is a typical fishing technique only seen in Sri Lanka. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole planted into the coral reef. This long exposure shot shows how unstable their position is.

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Viewers’ Choice / Photo and caption by Sanjeev Bhor/National Geographic Photo Contest. Everyday in mara starts with something new and different and day ends with memorable experiences with spectacular photographs. I was very lucky of sighting and photographing Malaika the name of female Cheetah and her cub. She is well known for its habit to jump on vehicles. She learned that from her mother Kike, and Kike from her mother Amber. Like her mother she is teaching lessons to her cub. Teaching lessons means addition of another moment for tourist. This is one of the tender moment between Malaika and her cub. I was very lucky to capture that moment.

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Honrable Mention / Photo and caption by Fransisca Harlijanto/National Geographic Photo Contest. I was surrounded by thousands of fish that moved in synchrony because of the predation that was happening. It was an incredible experience.


The winners have been announced for the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest which saw over 22,000 entries from 150 countries this year. The winners were selected by a panel of experts comprised of natural history photographer Christian Ziegler and documentary photographers Gerd Ludwig and Debbie Fleming Caffery. Three additional Viewers Choice awards were also given. Above are some of my favorites but you can see additional Honorable Mentions over on National Geographic. In a kind gesture National Geographic made all the winning photographs available as downloadable desktop images, as a fan of large numbers I’m personally going with Predation for a few weeks.

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