National Geographic’s Top Photos Of 2016 Are Their Best Ones Ever.
Every year, National Geographic has an open call for the best travel photos in the world, prompting thousands of people to join in the competition. This year, it was between a mere 10,000 applicant, all competing for an incredible grand prize. The person in the top spot won a seven-day polar bear photo safari, completely funded by the magazine. For travel enthusiasts and photographers, this is not a competition to be taken lightly.
Of course, not all 10,000 applicants could win. NatGeo got it down to the top ten, including Hiroki Inoue's photograph of wild foxes romping in what appears to be a fairyland (but is actually Hokkaido, Japan), as well as Victor Lima's portrait of the Atacama desert. The winner of the grand prize captured a subject so mysterious and otherworldly, it will take your breath away. Find out who secured the top spots, and see their incredible photographs, below.
First Place Winner, Nature: Wherever You Go, I Will Follow You, Hokkaido, Japan
Romance is in the air. It was the time of day immediately following sunset. I heard a voice. “Wherever you go, I will follow you” the voice says.
Grand Prize Winner: Winter Horseman, Inner Mongolia
The winter in Inner Mongolia is very unforgiving. At a freezing temperature of minus twenty and lower, with a constant breeze of snow from all direction, it was pretty hard to convince myself to get out of the car and take photos. When I saw Inner Mongolia horsemen showing off their skills and commanding the steed from a distance. I quickly grabbed my telephoto lens and captured the moment when one of the horseman charged out from morning mist.
First Place Winner, Cities: Ben Youssef, Marrakesh, Morocco
Even though there were a lot of people in Ben Youssef, still here was more quiet and relaxing compared to the street outside in Marrakesh. I was waiting for the perfect timing to photograph for a long time.
Honorable Mention, Cities: Divide, Manhattan, New York, United States
In the helicopter looking south on Central Park West – dividing the architecture and Central Park, on November 5th 2014, a day before my 27th birthday. The flight was my birthday gift.
Honorable Mention, Nature: Bears On A Berg, Nunavut, Canada
This photo was taken far out on the sea ice in the Davis Straight off the coast of Baffin Island. This mother polar bear and her yearling are perched atop a huge snow covered iceberg that got “socked in” when the ocean froze over for the winter. To me, the relative “smallness” of these large creatures when compared to the immensity of the iceberg in the photo represents the precariousness of the polar bear’s reliance on the sea and sea ice for its existence.
Second Place Winner, People: Rooftop Dreams, Varanasi
I arrived at my guest house in Varanasi at 5:30am, I instinctively climbed the 7 sets of stairs to the rooftop (which happened to be the highest in the vicinity) to see the sunrise over the famous Ganges River. As the sun was rising I looked over the right hand side of the balcony and my jaw dropped with disbelief. Below were families – mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sister and dogs all sleeping on the top of their houses. It was mid summer in Varanasi and sleeping sans AC was difficult.
Third Place Winner, People: Remote Life At -21 Degree, Himachal Pradesh, India
Kinnaura tribal old women in remote village in Himachal Pradesh carrying big log back home to warm up her house.
Third Place Winner, Nature: Lagunas Baltinache (Atacama Desert), Antofagasta, Chile
The Baltinache Ponds, also called Hidden Ponds are a set of seven salt ponds located in the area of the Salt Cordillera, near San Pedro de Atacama, in the second region of northern Chile, in the Atacama desert. After much research, I believe to be the first photographer to publish night photos of this place, but it is still necessary to confirm this information. Tech Details: Photography done in one shot. Foreground was illuminated by the moonlight.
Second Place Winner, Cities: Silenced, Guangdong Sheng, China
This photo was taken on my last trip to Guangzhou, China. This place is the school dormitories of South China Normal University. When I was hanging around, most of them were taking a break. After lunchtime, they needed to go back to study.
Second Place Winner, Nature: Double Trapping, Brazilian Pantanal
Picture taken in the Brazilian Pantanal when I downloaded the CF did not want to believe it. The nature knows we always give magnificent events but sometimes extraordinary.