National Geographic has unveiled the winning images for its illustrious 2017 Travel Photographer of the Year competition. A panel of judges picked winners from over 15,000 submissions from photographers in around 30 countries. Categories for the contest included: ‘Nature,’ ‘People’ and ‘Cities.’

National Geographic’s 2017 Travel Photography of the Year Contest

Taking the throne this year for Grand Prize Winner is Mexican photographer Sergio Tapiro Velasco whose truly incredible photo, The Power of Nature, features an eruption on the slopes of Mexico’s Colima Volcano with a perfectly-timed lightning strike.

On the image, Velasco said, “I was in the town of Comala when I suddenly saw incandescence above the volcano’s crater and started shooting. Seconds later, a powerful volcanic explosion expelled a cloud of ash particles and a massive lightning bolt illuminated most of the dark scene. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.”

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Second Place Winner in Nature went to Hiromi Kano for his depiction of swans gliding over the water in Kabukurinuma, Osaki, Japan dubbed To Live. One of our other favourites in the Nature category is Marble Caves by Clane Gessel, which show the beauty of one underground caves in Patagonia, South America.

Other winners include the likes of Levels of Reading by Norbert Fritz who won First Place in the Cities category; Natural light fills the modern interior of the city library in Stuttgart, Germany. With its stark white floors, open spaces, and large windows, it provides a unique atmosphere to broaden your knowledge.

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First Place in the People category went to F. Dilek Uyar for his image, Worship, which show a whirling dervish performing an ‘ecstatic dance’ in a historic building in Konya, Turkey; “ The ceremony represents a mystical journey of man’s spiritual ascent towards truth and love, and represents the constant revolution of all living things.

But our favourite image of the competition comes from Misha De-Stroyev and his image of the Henningsvær Football Field on Norway’s Lofoten Islands. On capturing the amazing photo, De-Stroyev said, “We were absolutely astonished to learn that the entire football field is heated, so after lying down and soaking in the warmth, I launched my drone and took this photo from a height of about 390 feet (120 meters).”

Check out the full list of winners for the 2017 Travel Photography of the Year Contest over at the National Geographic Website.

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