The best travel photos in the world: National Geographic announces winners of its prestigious 2013 Traveler Photo Contest
National Geographic Traveler Magazine has announced the winners of its 2013 photo contest, featuring breathtaking images that celebrate the earth's incredible diversity.
This year, more than 15,500 professional and amateur photographers from around the globe entered their works in the prestigious competition.
Photographer Wagner Araujo won the winner of the 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, now in its 25th year, and was awarded a 10-day Galápagos Expedition with National Geographic Expeditions for himself and a guest.
The winning entry featured the Brazilian Aquathlon championship in Manaus, Brazil, in which the participants had to swim and run in the Rio Negro, or Black River, so named due to the dark color of its waters.
'I photographed it from the water and my lens got completely wet, but there was so energy in this boys that I just didn't worry about that,' Araujo wrote in his submission.
Besides the exciting trip, Araujo's prized photo will be published in the Dec. 2013/Jan. 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine, and he will also receive a one-year subscription to the publication.
The range of entries is inspiring and shows just how diverse the world is, from an owl hiding in a tree to traditional Taiwanese performers painting their faces in preparation for a show.
'Every year the task of judging the contest gets tougher,' Keith Bellows, National Geographic Traveler magazine's editor in chief, said in a press release. 'The quality of photos increasingly gets better — and the range of imagery more diverse. It's exciting to see the emergence of such huge numbers of imaginative photographers.'
The second prize - a seven-day National Geographic Photography Workshop in Santa Fe – was awarded this year to Max Seigal, who hiked out to Canyonlands National Park, Utah, at night hoping to photograph ruins with the milky way in the backdrop, but instead captured a dramatic thunderstorm.
Yahai Bonneh became the lucky recipient of the third prize - a six-day cruise for two from Schooner American Eagle and Heritage - for his photo of cheetahs jumping on a jeep�in�Masai Mara National Park, Kenya.
The contest features images divided into four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. Judges review the submissions over two rounds, choosing the top three images along with seven merit choices. Another photo is selected by readers.
Money shot: The top prize went to photographer Wagner Araujo, who captured this incredible image while attending the Brazilian Aquathlon (swimming and running) championship in Manaus
Mystic haze: Max Seigal hiked out to these ruins at Canyonlands National Park at night hoping to photograph them with the milky way, but instead a thunderstorm rolled through creating this dramatic image
Merit prize: Marcelo Salvador captured this poetic image of a woman drawing water from a river near Bagan, Myanmar
What a hoot: The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best: blending into their surroundings
Little helper: Mikael Ande, a child of Sami reindeer herders, takes a break indoors after a long, cold day of rounding up the animals for vaccinations and slaughter
Timeless: Hideyuki Katagiri captured the blossoming of cherry trees, or Sakura, in Japan
Inside man: Gergely Lantai-Csont was allowed to photograph women of the secretive Tatahonda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as they prepared for a religious ceremony
Moment of peace: Queenstown, New Zealand, known as 'The Adventure Capital of The World,' draws adrenaline junkies who spend their days skydiving and and zip-lining, one of whom decided to take a break from all the action by playing a doleful tune
True colors: Guanjiang Shou troupes are one of Taiwan most popular activities that may be seen all over the country at traditional folk religion gatherings. With their fiercely painted faces, fangs and choreographed performances, they are easily recognized
As old as time: A fisherman is seen casting a net at Bira Beach, Indonesia, like generations of his ancestors