National Geographic’s Traveler Photo Contest 2015: Winners & more

The National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is an awe-inspiring source of wanderlust.


And after judges searched through nearly 17,000 entries, the winners are finally in. Anuar Patjane Floriuk of Tehuacán Puebla, Mexico is the first place winner of the contest. He wins the grand prize, an eight-day National Geographic Photo Expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two. “The photo wasn’t planned,” Floriuk said of his image showing divers near a humpback whale. “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.” 



Whale Whisperers

Photo and caption by Anuar Patjane

Diving with a humpback whale and her newborn calf while they cruise around Roca Partida … in the Revillagigedo [Islands], Mexico. This is an outstanding and unique place full of pelagic life, so we need to accelerate the incorporation of the islands into UNESCO as [a] natural heritage site in order to increase the protection of the islands against the prevailing illegal fishing corporations and big-game fishing.




Gravel Workmen

Photo and caption by faisal azim

[This] 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.




Camel Ardah

Photo and caption by Ahmed Al Toqi

Camel Ardah, as it [is] called in Oman, is one of the traditional styles of camel racing … between two camels controlled by expert men. The faster camel is the loser … so they must be running [at] 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 camel’s reactions are unpredictable [and] it may get wild and jump [toward the] audience.




Sauna in the Sky Photo and caption by Stefano Zardini

A sauna at 2,800 meters high in the heart of Dolomites. Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps


A Night at Deadvlei Photo and caption by Beth McCarley

The night before returning to Windhoek, we spent several hours at Deadvlei, in Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia. 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. Deadvlei


The power of few Photo and caption by Stefane Berube

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.


Kushti, Indian Wrestling Photo and caption by alain schroeder

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.


Catching a Duck Photo and caption by sarah wouters

Two boys are trying to catch a duck at the stream of the waterfall. Nong Khai Province, Thailand.


Highlanders Photo and caption by Bartłomiej Jurecki

Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to sort the hay.

Official Prizes

An eight-day National Geographic Photo Expedition: Costa Rica and the Panama Canal with airfare for two

A six-day National Geographic Photo Expedition: Winter Wildlife in Yellowstone for two

A six-day cruise from Schooner American Eagle and Heritage for two

More at Natural Geographic Travel 2015 Photo Contest






The 2015 Traveler Photo Contest judges reviewed nearly 18,000 photographs, and ten pictures won top prizes. Photographers entered pictures into four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. See all entries or browse our editors’ weekly top picks, and share your favorites.