National Geographic Announces The Winners Of Its 2015 Traveler Photo Contest

Published August 5, 2015
Updated January 17, 2018
2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

“Whale Whisperers” by Anuar Patjane Floriuk. Says Floriuk, “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.”

Our favorite time of the year is here at last. This week, National Geographic presented the winners of the 2015 Traveler Photo Contest to the world, and we’ve been ogling ever since.

This year, National Geographic staff had to sift through over 17,000 submissions in order to select the lucky photographer who would win the competition and receive the grand prize, an eight-day expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama canal. The winning photo is presented above. Below are the remaining National Geographic top picks. Enjoy!

Second Place Winner: “Gravel Workmen,” Faisal Azim

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Bangladesh

“[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.” – Faisal Azim

Third Place Winner: “Camel Ardah,” Ahmed Al Toqi

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Oman

“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 camels reactions are unpredictable [and] it may get wild and jump [toward the] audience.” – Al Toqi

Merit Winner: “Sauna in the Sky,” Stefano Zardini

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Alps

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

Merit Winner: “Romania, Land of Fairy Tales,” Eduard Gutescu

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Romania

“Romania, land of fairy tales. White frost over Pestera village.” – Gutescu

Merit Winner: “A Night at Deadvlei,” Beth McCarley

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Namibia

“The night before returning to Windhoek, we spent several hours at Deadvlei. 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 means “dead marsh.” The camelthorn trees are believed to be about 900 years old but have not decomposed because the environment is so dry.” – McCarley

Merit Winner: “The power of few,” Stefane Berube

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Uganda

“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.” – Berube

Merit Winner: “Kushti, Indian Wrestling,” Alain Schroeder

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Wrestling

“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.” – Schroeder

Merit Winner: “Catching a Duck,” Sarah Wouters

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Thailand

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

Merit Winner: Highlanders,” Bartłomiej Jurecki

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Poland

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