The winners of the National Geographic Traveler Photo Competition have been announced after filtering through nearly 17,000 entrants.
Anuar Patjane Floriuk of Tehuacán Puebla, Mexico, won first place with the incredible prize of an eight-day National Geographic Photo Expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two.
Second place went to Faisal Azim with his breathtaking photograph of gravel workmen from Bangladesh and third place went to Ahmed Al Toqi.
View the rest of the finalists below with the photographers’ descriptions included.
“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.” – Anuar Patjane
“[This] gravel-crush working place remains full of dust and sand. Three gravel workmen are looking through the window glass at their working place.” – Faisal Azim
“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 the camels reactions are unpredictable [and] may get wild and jump [toward the] audience.” – Ahmed Al Toqi
“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.” – Stefane Berube
“Romania, land of fairy tales. White frost over Pestera village.” – Eduard Gutescu
“Two boys are trying to catch a duck at the stream of the waterfall.” – Sarah Wouters
“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.” – Alain Schroeder
“A sauna at 2,800 meters high in the heart of Dolomites.” – Stefano Zardini
“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.” – Beth McCarley
“Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to sort the hay.” – Bartłomiej Jurecki