2016 Travel Photographer of the Year

These stunning photographs from around the world will be sure to inspire your next adventure.

The winner of the National Geographic Travel Photographers Award was announced this week. With an influx of such high quality and creative photos, no doubt the judges struggled to chose a winner. However, one amazing shot stood out from the rest. Anthony Lau is a photographer from Hong Kong who was traveling through the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China when he came across a group of riders. Lau explained that conditions weren't ideal but he knew that if he got it just right the shot could be amazing. And he was right. 

The other photographs were put into categories of nature, people or cities and each category had a winner, second place, third place and an honorable mention. 

With thousands of amateur and professional photographers submitting photos to National Geographic each day, this is a truly admirable accomplishment. 

Grand Prize: Winter Horseman – Anthony Lau

The Winter in Inner Mongolia is very unforgiving. At a freezing temperature of minus twenty and lower with constant breeze of snow from all direction, it was pretty hard to convince myself to get out of the car and take photos. Not until I saw Inner Mongolia horsemen showing off their skills in commanding the steed from a distance, I quickly grab my telephoto lens and capture the moment when one of the horseman charged out from morning mist. [Photo and caption by Anthony Lau / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

 

Nature First Place: Wherever you go, I will follow you!! – Hiroki Inoue


Romance is in the air. It was the time of day immediately following sunset. I heard a voice. “Wherever you go, I will follow you” the voice says. [Photo and caption by Hiroki Inoue / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

 

Cities First Place: Ben Youssef – Takashi Nakagawa

Even though there were a lot of people in Ben Youssef, still here was more quiet and relaxing compare to the street outside in Marrakesh. I was waiting for the perfect timing to photograph for long time. [Photo and caption by Takashi Nakagawa / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

 

Nature Second Place: Double trapping – Massimiliano Bencivenni


Picture taken in the Brazilian Pantanal… when I downloaded the CF did not want to believe it …. The nature knows we always give magnificent events but sometimes extraordinary. [Photo and caption by Massimiliano Bencivenni / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

 

People Second Place: Rooftop Dreams, Varanasi – Yasmin Mund

I arrived at my guest house in Varanasi at 5:30am, I instinctively climbed the 7 sets of stairs to the rooftop (which happened to be the highest in the vicinity) to see the sunrise over the famous Ganges River. As the sun was rising I looked over the right hand side of the balcony and my jaw dropped with disbelief. Below were families – mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sister and dogs all sleeping on the top of their houses. It was mid summer in Varanasi and sleeping sans AC was difficult. [Photo and caption by Yasmin Mund / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

 

Cities Second Place: Silenced – Wing Ka H

This photo was taken on my last trip to Guangzhou, China. This place is a school dormitories of South China Normal University. When I was hanging around, most of them were taking a break. After the lunch time, they need to go back to study. The dormitories were smelly and messy. [Photo and caption by Wing Ka H / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

Nature Third Place: Lagunas Baltinache (Atacama Desert) – Victor Lima



The Baltinache Ponds, also called Hidden Ponds are a set of seven salt ponds located in the area of the Salt Cordillera, near San Pedro de Atacama, in the second region of northern Chile, in the Atacama desert. After much research, I believe to be the first photographer to publish night photos of this place, but it is still necessary to confirm this information. Tech Details: Photography done in one shot. Foreground was illuminated by the moonlight. [Photo and caption by Victor Lima / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

People Third Place: Remote life at -21 degree – Mattia Passarini

Kinnaura tribal old women in remote village in Himachal Pradesh carrying big log back home to warm up her house. [Photo and caption by Mattia Passarini / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

Cities Third Place: Celestial Reverie – Jeremy Tan

Lightning seemingly strikes Komtar Tower, the most iconic landmark of George Town, capital of Penang state in Malaysia. It is symbolic of the rejuvenation that the city, famous for a unique blend of centuries-old buildings and modern structures, has enjoyed in recent years. While many of its old neighbourhoods fell into neglect in the 1990s and early 2000s, UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2008 sparked a transformation, and today, they are all part of a vibrant tourist destination. [Photo and caption by Jeremy Tan / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

People Honorable Mention: Muscle Beach Gym – Dotan Saguy

A weightlifter lifts a barbell loaded with heavy plates while a bodybuilder performs an aerial handstand at the Muscle Beach Gym in Venice Beach, CA. [Photo and caption by Dotan Saguy / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

Cities Honorable Mention: Divide – Kathleen Dolmatch

In the helicopter looking south on Central Park West – dividing the architecture and Central Park, on November 5th 2014, a day before my 27th birthday. The flight was my birthday gift. [Photo and caption by Kathleen Dolmatch / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

Nature Honorable Mention: Bears on a Berg – John Rollins


This photo was taken far out on the sea ice in the Davis Straight off the coast of Baffin Island. This mother polar bear and her yearling are perched atop a huge snow covered iceberg that got “socked in” when the ocean froze over for the winter. To me, the relative “smallness” of these large creatures when compared to the immensity of the iceberg in the photo represents the precariousness of the polar bear’s reliance on the sea and sea ice for its existence. [Photo and caption by John Rollins / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest]

 

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