Picture Perfect

The 2017 National Geographic Photography Contest

A picture speaks a thousand words. By freezing one moment in time, photography has the power to document, engage, edify, move and inspire the viewer. A photographer seizes that split-second to record what the lens sees and, much like a painter, adds his artistic spin to capture the underlying story. And when a photograph successfully communicates a story, it can alter perceptions and even change lives.

As for photos that transport us to unseen worlds, no publication does it better than National Geographic. The magazine, known for its extensive use of dramatic, award-winning photographs, captures the scenery as well as the people and creatures that inhabit those distant lands.

Long recognized for its exceptional standard of photography, National Geographic began an international photography competition. Now in its 11th year, the participants represent over 30 countries. A skill-based contest, the three judging criteria include: Creativity, Photographic Quality and Composition.

Here are some of the 2017 winning entries from each of the three categories: Nature, Cities and People. To view all the 2017 entries, visit www.travel.nationalgeographic.com/photographer-of-the-year-2017/

GRAND PRIZE WINNER
INTERESTING MOMENT
PHOTO AND CAPTION BY SERGIO TAPIRO VELASCO

A powerful eruption illuminates the slopes of Mexico’s Colima Volcano on December 13, 2015. 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.

SECOND PLACE WINNER, NATURE
TO LIVE
 PHOTO AND CAPTION BY HIROMI KANO

Swans glide over the water in Kabukurinuma, Osaki, Japan, a protected wetland. Since many of Japan’s wetlands have been lost, this area has become a rare wintering place for birds and may be a last paradise for them. I was particularly impressed by the swans, and careful not to disturb them when taking pictures. I took into account wind direction and shutter speed to capture the strength and elegance of their flapping wings.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNER, NATURE
BUFF TAILED CORONET 
PHOTO AND CAPTION BY HYMAKAR VALLURI

A buff-tailed coronet feeds on flower nectar in the Ecuadorian forest, a paradise for hummingbirds.

SECOND PLACE WINNER, PEOPLE
INTERESTING MOMENT
PHOTO AND CAPTION BY JULIUS Y.

A crowd of spectators stands in front of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. As I observed the scene I laughed when I realized that the people in the painting also appear to be curiously watching the visitors. I managed to take two shots before the audience moved away—one is out of focus, but this one was perfect.

THIRD PLACE WINNER, PEOPLE
UNDER THE WAVE
PHOTO AND CAPTION BY RODNEY BURSIEL

I recently traveled to Tavarua, Fiji, with professional surfer Donavon Frankenreiter and captured this image at Cloudbreak. The usual surf shots have all been done, so we decided to get creative and looked for new angles and perspectives.

PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNER, PEOPLE
SAND PORTER
PHOTO AND CAPTION BY MD TANVEER HASSAN ROHAN

This photograph was taken from the bank of The river Dhaleswari in Munshiganj, Bangladesh during sand porters were carrying sand to preserve them on a place near the river.

FIRST PLACE WINNER, CITIES
LEVELS OF READING
PHOTO AND CAPTION BY NORBERT FRITZ

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.

SECOND PLACE WINNER, CITIES
WALLED CITY #08
PHOTO AND CAPTION BY ANDY YEUNG

An aerial view of Whampoa Garden, Hong Kong, reveals its densely packed buildings. I drew inspiration from the Kowloon Walled City—once the densest place on Earth–which was demolished nearly three decades ago. Hundreds of houses were stacked on top of each other and there was very little open space. The Kowloon Walled City may be gone, but its legacy remains. It exists in Hong Kong’s modern architecture and stacked apartments, which have been built to accommodate the masses.

PEOPLE”S CHOICE WINNER, CITIES
COLORFUL MARKET
PHOTO AND CAPTION BY KAJAN MADRASMAIL

As night falls over Bangkok, Thailand, rows of rainbow-colored market stalls come to life.