Grand Prize & 1st Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Jassen Todorov / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. Thousands of Volkswagen and Audi cars sit idle in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert. Models manufactured from 2009 to 2015 were designed to cheat emissions tests mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Following the scandal, Volkswagen recalled millions of cars. By capturing scenes like this one, I hope we will all become more conscious of and more caring toward our beautiful planet.
A panel of National Geographic photo editors have chosen the winners of the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest from a pool of over 10,000 entries. The grand prize winner, and top pick for the “Places” group is an aerial shot (above) by Jassen Todorov of a Volkswagen and Audi graveyard at the Southern California Logistics Airport in the Mojave Desert. The striking image shows a fraction of the 11 million cars that Volkswagen fitted with devices that could alter performance during emissions tests by the EPA. Todorov’s image uses a plane for scale to visually demonstrate a story of environmental issues. As the winner, Todorov earned $5000 and a feature on National Geographic’s Instagram.
Submitted across three categories (People, Places, and Wildlife), the other winning images and honorable mentions span the globe in terms of content and photographers. To read more about each image, check out their respective captions below, and head over to the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest website.
1st Place (People). Photograph and caption by Mia Collis / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. I was looking to do a series of portraits showing people wearing their Sunday best when I made this photo of David Muyochokera. It was taken on his last Sunday working as a photographer at Weekend Studio, in Kibera—a large shantytown in Nairobi, Kenya. My friend Peter, a local resident, had pointed me to the photo studio just as I was about to leave the area. It was a stunning space, with whimsical backdrops and natural light coming through the doorway. David had worked there for 37 years, but Weekend Studio was about to close permanently. Phone cameras were so common now, he said, and fewer people wanted studio portraits. David planned to retire and return home to the countryside. I was troubled by the studio’s imminent closure, so I eventually took over the rent. A portrait of David now hangs at Weekend Studio in his memory.
2nd Place (People). Photograph and caption by Todd Kennedy / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. On a family holiday driving from Sydney to Uluru, we stopped at a roadside motel in the small rural township of Nyngan, on the edge of Australia’s outback. The area is in the wheat belt, and it was unusually hot for that time of year—over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit and very dusty. Our daughter, Genie, is seen here enjoying a refreshing bath in a rubber ducky perched on the sink.
3rd Place (People). Photograph and caption by Avishek Das / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A Hindu devotee kisses his newborn baby during the Charak Puja festival in West Bengal, India. Traditional practice calls for the devotee to be pierced with a hook and sometimes swung from a rope. This painful sacrifice is enacted to save their children from anxiety. While covering the festival, I was able to view the religious practice from the perspective of Hindu devotees. I tried to capture the moment of love and bonding between a father and his child—and show a father’s concern for his little son.
2nd Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Nicholas Moir / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A rusting Ford Thunderbird is blanketed by red dust from a supercell thunderstorm in Ralls, Texas. The dry, plowed fields of the Texas Panhandle made easy prey for the storm, which had winds over 90 miles an hour ripping up the topsoil and depositing it farther south. I was forecasting and positioning a team of videographers and photographers on a storm chase in Tornado Alley—this was our last day of a very successful chase, having witnessed 16 tornadoes over 10 days. The target area for a storm initiation was just south of Amarillo, Texas. Once the storm became a supercell, it moved southbound with outflow winds that were easily strong enough to tear up the topsoil and send it into the air.
3rd Place (Places). Photograph and caption by Christian Werner / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. While on assignment for Der Spiegel, we made a road trip through Syria to document the current situation in major cities. When I first entered the Khalidiya district in Homs, I was shocked. I hadn’t seen such large-scale destruction before, and I had been to many destroyed cities. The area around the Khalidiya district was extremely quiet. No city sounds, cars—nothing. Only the chirping of swallows and the wind. We walked down the streets of Khalidiya, but the destruction was so large scale that you couldn’t have the big picture from the point of view on the street—you could only manage it with a view from above. To make this image, I asked a Syrian soldier in charge of the area if I could climb onto a ruin. The soldier agreed, allowing me to climb at my own risk. I climbed up the ruins of a former house—which was full of improvised explosive devices—and took the picture. I was very lucky to take the picture when I was on the rooftop. Without any sign of life, it would have been a dead picture. I can recall the memory vividly.
Honorable mention (Places). Photograph and caption by Rucca Y Ito / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. Japan’s Blue Pond in Biei-cho, Hokkaido, has become very famous for attracting tourists from around the world. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains and trees. This pond, frozen during winter, was artificially made to prevent river contamination from the nearby active volcano, Mount Tokachi. The accumulated pond water contains high levels of minerals, such as those containing aluminum. The alluring view of the blue pond can take one’s breath away. To make this image, I made the exposure longer to capture the way the snow was falling. At the same time, I lit up the strobe for a moment to capture the snowflakes that are reflecting in the foreground. I took as many photos as I could and chose the one I thought had the best balance of the falling snow and the unfocused snowflakes. I wanted to express how time is created in just one moment and, by tying together these moments, history is made.
1st Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Pim Volkers / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. It was early morning when I saw the wildebeests crossing Tanzania’s Mara River. The layering of dust, shade, and sun over the chaos of wildebeests kicking up water gives this picture a sense of mystique and allure. It’s almost like an old painting—I’m still compelled to search the detail of the image to absorb the unreal scene.
2nd Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Jonas Beyer / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. A few miles from Qaanaaq (Thule), Greenland, I was on a hike in search of musk oxen when I came upon a group of them. This ox was running on a hillside in deep snow, which exploded underneath it—an amazing sight. The photo came together in a few seconds. I was lucky enough to be at the right spot to observe them frolicking, and then I had the incredible experience of watching them closely for about an hour. I love photographing musk oxen against the wintry landscape: They’re extremely tough Arctic survivors. This photo shows their beauty and their power—and the snow they deal with for about eight months of the year.
3rd Place (Wildlife). Photograph and caption by Alison Langevad / 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest. As the late-night hours ticked by and my eyelids grew heavy, two southern white rhinoceroses appeared silently from the shadows to drink from a watering hole in South Africa’s Zimanga Game Reserve. On alert, they stood back to back, observing their surroundings before lowering their heads. I felt privileged to share this moment with these endangered animals. While I was well prepared technically, with my camera set correctly on a tripod, I underestimated the emotional impact the magnificent beasts would have on me. I had photographed them months earlier, and now both rhinos sported a new look: They had been dehorned to deter poachers. I had heard about this development but had not yet seen them. I was full of emotion—and horror—that poaching had such a devastating effect. It must have been a hard decision to dehorn their rhinos, and I am grateful for the reserve’s efforts.
Nature: Grand Prize Winner, “Mermaid” by Reiko Takahashi.
After sifting through nearing 13,000 submissions National Geographic has announced the winners, honorable mentions, and people’s choice of their 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year Contest (previously). This year’s grand prize was awarded to photographer Reiko Takahashi for her close-up image of a humpback whale calf she captured while snorkeling near Japan’s Kumejima Island. Other selected photographs include an aerial image of thousands of flamingos taking off from a lake in Tanzania, a dramatic shot of Northern Italy’s alien-like sand towers, and a dazzling immersive art installation that frames a running girl in a bright red dress. You can read the stories behind these images, and view more selections from the categories of Nature, People, and Cities, on National Geographic. (via Kottke)
People: People’s Choice, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” by Daniel Cheung.
Cities: Honorable Mention, “Alone in the Crowds” by Gary Cummins.
Nature: Third Place Winner, “Mars” by Marco Grassi.
Cities: People’s Choice, “Traveling to Heaven” by Trikansh Sharma.
Cities: Third Place Winner, “Reflection” by Gaanesh Prasad.
People: Second Place Winner, “Leida and Laella—I Will Lift You Up” by Tati Itat.
Nature: Second Place Winner, “Flamingos Take Off” by Hao J.
Nature: People’s Choice Winner, “Formation” by Niklas Weber.
Cities: First Place Winner, “Another Rainy Day in Nagasaki” by Hiro Kurashina.
Magical Sunrise, © Marcelo Portella, Brazil, Commended, Open, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Culled from nearly 320,000 entries from more than 200 countries, the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards (previously) have announced their shortlist of winners. We’ve selected highlights from several categories, ranging from architecture and travel to contemporary issues and portraiture. Winners will be announced on April 19th. Images courtesy of the World Photography Organization.
Tjentiste, © Anastasia Riakovskaia, Russian Federation, Shortlist, Professional, Architecture (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Enafrinat (‘the floured’), © Antonio Gibotta, Italy, Shortlist, Professional, Discovery (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
绽放, © Lin Chen, China, Commended, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Mammatus, © Mitch Dobrowner, United States of America, Shortlist, Professional, Natural World & Wildlife (2018 Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Braine Le Comte 2017 Belgium, © Paul D’Haese, Belgium, Shortlist, Professional, Discovery (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Team Italia, © Adam Pretty, Australia, Shortlist, Professional, Sport (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Perfect Toupee, © Wiebke Haas, Germany, Shortlist, Professional, Natural World & Wildlife (2018 Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
ANA’A BUILDING FACADE, SANA’A, YEMEN – 29 APRIL 2017: A building in the Yemeni capital damaged by ground fighting and gunfire during conflict in 2011. © Giles Clarke, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Professional, Current Affairs & News (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Cenote II, © James Monnington, United Kingdom, Shortlist, Open, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Bee Eaters Mating, © Petar Sabol, Croatia, Shortlist, Open, Wildlife (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Ballet, © Fredrik Lerneryd, Sweden, Shortlist, Professional, Contemporary Issues (Professional competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Patterns of Glacial River, © Manish Mamtani, India, Shortlist, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Black and White, © Valentina Morrone, Italy, Shortlist, Open, Portraiture (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Before sunrise, Mount Kilauea volcano © Joseph Anthony, United Kingdom, Commended, Open, Landscape & Nature (2018 Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Smoke and Mirrors, © Lucie Goodayle, United Kingdom, Commended, Open, Still Life (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Untitled, © Pavlo Nera, Ukraine, Commended, Open, Street Photography (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Walking, © Suphakaln Wongcompune, Thailand, Commended, Open, Travel (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
A Wave of Fish, © Eric Madeja, Switzerland, Commended, Open, Wildlife (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Sunset Double Exposure, © Poppy Cornell, United Kingdom, Commended, Open, Enhanced (Open competition), 2018 Sony World Photography Awards
Grand Prize, and 1st Prize Nature Category. Photo and caption by Sergio Tapiro Velasco. The power of nature. Powerful eruption of Colima Volcano in Mexico on December 13th, 2015. That night, the weather was dry and cold, friction of ash particles generated a big lightning of about 600 meters that connected ash and volcano, and illuminated most of the dark scene. On last part of 2015, this volcano showed a lot of eruptive activity with ash explosions that raised 2-3 km above the crater. Most of night explosions produced incandescent rock falls and lightning not bigger than 100 meters in average.
National Geographic just announced the winners and honorable mentions of the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year. The dramatic winning photo of a lightning bolt flashing atop the Colima Volcano in Mexico was captured by Sergio Tapiro Velasco. The awards and honorable mentions are defined across three categories: Nature, People, and Cities. Collected here are 10 of our favorites images, but can you see the rest on National Geographic.
Nature, 2nd place. Photo and caption by Hiromi Kano. To live. Swans who live vigorous even in mud.
Cities, 2nd place. Photo and caption by Andy Yeung. Walled City #08. The Kowloon Walled City was the densest place on Earth. Hundreds of houses stacked on top of each other enclosed in the center of the structure. Many didn’t have access to open space.This notorious city was finally demolished in 1990s. However, if you look hard enough, you will notice that the city is not dead. Part of it still exists in many of current high density housing apartments. I hope this series can get people to think about claustrophobic living in Hong Kong from a new perspective.
Cities, 3rd place. Photo and caption by Misha De-Stroyev. Henningsvær Football Field. This football field in Henningsvær in the Lofoten Islands is considered one of the most amazing fields in Europe, and maybe even in the world. The photo was taken during a 10-day sailing trip in Norway in June 2017. We arrived to Henningsvær after a week of sailing through the cold and rainy weather. Upon our arrival, the weather cleared up. I was really lucky that the conditions were suitable for flying my drone, and I managed to capture this shot from a height of 120 meters.
Nature, 3rd place. Photo and caption by Tarun Sinha. Crocodiles at Rio Tarcoles. This image was captured in Costa Rica when I was traveling from Monteverde to Playa Hermosa. As you cross over this river, you can stop and peer over the edge of the bridge. Below, reside over 35 gigantic crocodiles, relaxing on the muddy banks of the river. I wanted to capture the stark difference between the crocodiles on land and in the water. In the murky waters, the body contours of these beasts remain hidden, and one can only truly see their girth as they emerge from the river.
Nature, honorable mention. Photo and caption by Clane Gessel. Marble Caves. The marble caves of Patagonia.
Nature, honorable mention. Photo and caption by Yutaka Takafuji. Forest of the Fairy. Shooting in the forest This photograph was taken in the evening hours of a humid early summer day in the forest of a small remote village in the Tamba area of Japan. It beautifully captures the magical atmosphere of Princess fireflies carpeting a stairway leading to a small shrine revered by the local people.
People, 1st place. Photo and caption by F. Dilek Uyar Worship. Whirling Dervish in an historical place of Sille Konya, Turkey. The ‘dance’ of the Whirling Dervishes is called Sema and is a symbol of the Mevlevi culture. According to Mevlana’s teachings, human beings are born twice, once of their mothers and the second time of their own bodies.
People, 3rd place. Photo and caption by Rodney Bursiel. Under The Wave. I recently traveled to Tavarua, Fiji to do some surf photography with pro surfer Donavon Frankenreiter at Cloudbreak. I’m always looking for new angles and perspectives. The usual surf shots have all been done so we decided to get a little creative. Makes you look twice.
© Michael B. Hardie. All rights reserved. All photos courtesy Smithsonian.
Smithsonian just released the 70 finalists for their 14th annual photo contest and is currently accepting votes for their Readers’ Choice award. This year Smithsonian received some 48,000 submissions from photographers in 146 countries and territories from which they selected finalists in 7 categories: Natural World, The American Experience, Travel, People, Altered Images, Mobile, and Sustainable Travel. Selected here are some of our favorites, but you can see the rest and vote for your favs on their website.
© Lina Samoukova. All rights reserved.
© Sharon Castellanos. All rights reserved.
© Liam Wong. All rights reserved.
© rekha Bobade. All rights reserved.
© Luis Henry Agudelo Cano. All rights reserved.
© vickson dasan. All rights reserved.
© Pier Luigi Dodi. All rights reserved.
#1 (Grand Prize) Takayuki Fukada, Japan / All images courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase.
Since the 1990s, an intrepid group of aquascaping artists have gradually raised the bar of what’s possible with the design of a traditional aquarium. Using only natural elements, the aquariums you see here are years in the making to ensure plants and animals all exist in harmony while trying to achieve merits on an exhaustive list of aesthetic criteria. Over 2,000 participants from 60+ countries submit designs for the annual International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC) and here are some of our favorites from this year.
The 2016 winner was Takayuki Fukada (who also won last year’s grand prize) and you can see more photos on Facebook courtesy André Albuquerque of AquaA3.
#2 Chao Wang, China
#3 Junichi Itakura, Japan
#4 Katsuki Tanaka, Japan
#5 Adriano Montoro Nicácio, Brazil
#6 Yoyo Prayogi, Indonesia
#12 Yi Ye, China
#14 Yanfei Qian, China
#18 Wei Chen, China
#19 Yucheng Pan, China
#21 Hoai Nam Vu, Vietnam
#27 Juan Puchades Rufino, Spain
“Hitchhikers” (Lion’s Mane Jellyfish), St Kilda, off the Island of Hirta, Scotland, by George Stoyle
The British Wildlife Photography Awards just announced the 2016 winners of their annual competition in categories including Animal Behavior, Animal Portraits, Urban Wildlife, and an overall winner. The awards, established in 2009, aim to highlight photographers working in the UK, while also showcasing the biodiversity, species, and habitats found in Britain.
George Stoyle, overall winner of this year’s competition, found his subject off the Island of Hirta in Scotland. “I was working for Scottish Natural Heritage on a project to assess the current biological status of major sea caves around some of the UK’s most remote islands,” Stoyle told the BWPA. “At the end of one of the dives I was swimming back to the boat when I came face to ‘face’ with the largest jellyfish I’d ever encountered. As I approached cautiously I noticed a number of juvenile fish had taken refuge inside the stinging tentacles.”
You can see more UK habitats and animal portraits from 2016’s British Wildlife Photography Awards on their website, Facebook, and Twitter. (via Fubiz)
“Welcome to the Party” (Grey Seal), Farne Islands, Northumberland, England, by Adam Hanlon
“Free Bird,” London, England, by Chaitanya Deshpande
Common Weasel (Pic 1), North Yorkshire, England, by Robert E Fuller
“A Mountain Hare by an Ice Cave,” Highlands, Scotland, by Andy Rouse
“Grey Seal Pup in a Sandstorm,” Norfolk, England, by Jamie Hall
“Hello Ducky” (Brown Trout and Mallard Duck), Hampshire, England, by Paul Colley
Tadpoles, Bristol, England, by Jeanette Sakel
“Eye to Eye” (Emerald Damselfly), Cornwall, England, by Ross Hoddinott