Winners of the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

The winners of the 27th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest have just been announced. Winning first prize, Anuar Patjane Floriuk of Tehuacán, Mexico, will receive an eight-day photo expedition for two to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for a photograph of divers swimming near a humpback whale off the western coast of Mexico.

Here, National Geographic has shared all of this year’s winners, gathered from four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. Captions by the photographers.



Grand Prize: Whale Whisperers
Diving with a humpback whale and her newborn calf while they cruise around Roca Partida … in the Revillagigedo [Islands], Mexico. Photo and caption by Anuar Patjane Floriuk / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 



Second Place: Gravel Workmen
[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. Photo and caption by Faisal Azim 



Third Place: Camel Ardah
Camel Ardah, as it called in Oman, is one of the traditional styles of camel racing between two camels controlled by expert riders. The faster camel is the loser, so they must be running at the same speed level in the same track. Photo and caption by Ahmed Al Toqi



Merit: A Night at Deadvlei
The night before returning to Windhoek, we spent several hours at Deadveli. 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. Deadveli means “dead marsh.” The camelthorn trees are believed to be about 900 years old but have not decomposed because the environment is so dry.
Photo and caption by Beth McCarley



Merit: Catching a Duck
Two boys are trying to catch a duck at the stream of the waterfall. Nong Khai Province, Thailand.
Photo and caption by Sarah Wouters 



Merit: Kushti, Indian 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.
Photo and caption by Alain Schroeder



Merit: White Rhinos
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. Photo and caption by Stefane Berube 



Merit: Sauna in the Sky
A sauna at 2,800 meters high in the heart of Dolomites. Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps. Photo and caption by Stefano Zardini 



Merit: Highlanders
Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to sort the hay.
Photo and caption by Bartłomiej Jurecki /2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest



Merit: Romania, Land of Fairy Tales
White frost over Pestera village. Photo and caption by Eduard Gutescu / 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest