Check out the world’s best travel photography

Travel photography is one of photography’s purest genres. A great travel photo can open minds and transport the viewer thousands of miles to a land unknown. Well, the very best travel photos from the last 12 months have been unveiled as the winning shots from the National Geographic 2019 Travel Photo Contest were announced. For any travel photography fans, the standard of the images will prove to be spectacular.

Picking up the honour of Grand Prize winner, and taking home a cheque for $7500 along with a post on the @natgeotravel Insta page, was photographer Weimin Chu. Chu’s winning image, which also took First Place in the Cities category was entitled; “Greenlandic Winter”. Taken with a Sony a7RIII the shot depicts the fishing village of Upernavik in northwestern Greenland and the photographer explained it was captured during a three-month, personal photo project to present life in Greenland.

Image by Weimin Chu/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest

Taking Second Place in the Cities category was an image entitled; ‘In The Age Of Aviation’, which was captured by Jassen Todorov, who commented; “There are four runways at San Francisco’s International Airport (SFO). This is a rare look at the approach end of runways 28 left and right. I had dreams of documenting the motion at SFO and arranged permission to fly directly overhead. What a windy day it was. Winds at SFO were 35-45 miles per hour, which meant a bumpy flight, and it was much harder to control the plane while photographing. The flight was challenging, but it was also so thrilling that I couldn’t sleep for several days afterward.”

Image by Jassen Todorov/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest

First Place in the Nature Category went to Tamara Blazquez Haik for a jaw dropping image entitled; ‘Tender Eyes’. The frame – captured on a Canon 60D – shows a close up of a griffon vulture, which Tamara explained; ‘A gorgeous griffon vulture is seen soaring the skies in Monfragüe National Park in Spain. How can anyone say vultures bring bad omens when looking at such tenderness in this griffon vulture’s eyes? Vultures are important members of the environment, as they take care of recycling dead matter. Vultures are noble and majestic animals—kings of the skies. When looking at them flying, we should feel humbled and admire them.”

Image by Tamara Blazquez Haik/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest

Taking Second Place in the Nature Category was Danny Sepkowski’s image entitled; ‘Dreamcatcher’ – a shot (captured on a Canon 1DX) that showed a spectacular wave, as Danny commented;. ‘What happens before a wave breaks? That question has been my assignment this past year. On this particular day, I decided to shoot the sunset on the east side of Oahu, Hawaii. About 100 photographers were out in the morning, but I had the evening to myself. The textures from the trade winds created subtle colors from the west and blended well using my 100mm lens. I had to look into my viewfinder while this wave was breaking. Not an easy task when a wave is about to crush you.’

Image by Danny Sepkowski/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest

First Place in the People category was awarded to Huaifeng Li for an image entitled; ‘Showtime’. Huaifeng explained the frame; ‘Actors prepare for an evening opera performance in Licheng County, China. I spent the whole day with these actors from makeup to stage. I’m a freelance photographer, and the series “Cave Life” is a long-term project of mine. In China’s Loess Plateau, local residents dig holes in the loess layer to create cave living spaces, known as yaodongs and use the heat preservation properties to survive cold winters. This series mainly records the life, entertainment, belief, labor, and other daily scenes of the people living in the caves.’

Image by Huaifeng Li/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest

Yoshiki Fujiwara was awarded Second Place in the People category for this reportage-style travel image, entitled; ‘Daily Routine’. ‘This photo was taken at a public park at Choi Hung House in Hong Kong. When I visited during the afternoon, it was very crowded with many young people taking pictures and playing basketball. But when I visited at sunrise, it was quiet and a different place. The area is designated for neighborhood residents in the early morning, and there was a sacred atmosphere. I felt divinity when I saw an old man doing tai chi in the sun,’ explained Yoshiki, who shot the frame on a Sony a7RIII.

Image by Yoshiki Fujiwara/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest

Given an Honourable Mention in the People category was this hypnotising frame by Navin Vatsa, who titled the frame; ‘Mood’ and captured it using a Sony a77. Navin explained the image; ‘I captured this layered moment during sunrise along the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi, India. This boy was thinking silently, and visitors were enjoying the loud musical chirping of thousands of seagulls. The early morning golden light from the east mixed with the western blue light, creating an ethereal atmosphere. I am a regular visitor here and have photographed this place for the past three years. Now, many national and international photographers have begun visiting too.’

Image by Navin Vatsa/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest