National Geographic has long been the leading periodical when it comes to photography – a magazine that all photographers around the world strive to be featured in.
As such, their annual photo contest is a prestigious and hotly-contested event, with judges having thousands of breathtaking images to choose from, to find the eventual winners.
This year’s grand prize winner was Jassen Todorov, a violinist and professor of music at San Francisco State University, whose aerial shot shows a vast boneyard in Southern California’s Mojave Desert. “I have flown and explored the Mojave Desert area quite a few times,” Jassen said about the winning shot. “There are several airports in the Mojave and at least 3-4 of them have large boneyards, which I have explored and photographed. It was my first photo flight over Southern California Logistics Airport. I had done some research using google maps, so I had a general idea of the position of the cars in relation to the airport.”
Other winners in the contest included Pim Volkers’ epic capture of wildebeests crossing Tanzania’s Mara River, which took the Wildlife prize, while Mia Collis’ portrait of a Kenyan photographer took first place in the People category.
You can scroll down below to check out all the winners below, and don’t forget to upvote and comment on your own favorites!
1 Enduring Spirit, Derek Jerrell
The iconic American Bison is a symbol of strength, freedom and endurance. This shot captures the daily struggle bison face during the winter; extreme temperatures and deep snow. Their thick skin and heavy coat protect them from the frigid temperatures and their large heads allow them to push snow back and forth so they can forage for food. This shot wasn’t easy to capture, it was -15f and I had to wade through waste deep snow to find a vantage point that wouldn't alter the bison's behavior.
2 Smoky Mountain, Michael Fung
A funny shape of lenticular cloud formed above the famous mountain in Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile. The shot was taken in the evening with rapid change of weather.
3 Night Statics, Hernando Alonso Rivera Cervantes
Volcanic eruption of the volcano of fire of Colima, the most active in Mexico and one of the most active in America during a cold winter night
4 Firefall In Yosemite Valley, Sarah Bethea
Each February, the sunset hits the right angle over yosemite valley to light up horsetail falls, resulting in a spectacular effect looking something like a lava-flow. we were fortunate enough to see this event two years ago during a clear break in an otherwise rainy day.
5 Under Ice, Viktor Lyagushkin
Diving in White sea. Russia
6 Tree, Slawek Kozdras
Lonely tree in the desert
7 Discovering The Hidden Face Of Yucatán, Guillaume Néry
A cenote is a natural deep pit of crystal clear water that is found especially in Central America. There were once considered by the Mayan people as sacred. In the heart of the Yucatàn jungle, a freediver was joining the surface of the cenote with the sun's rays as a guide when the light behind him formed the illusion of an underwater face.
8 Grand Prize Winner: Unreal, Jassen Todorov
Thousands of Volkswagen and Audi cars sit idle in the middle of California’s Mojave Desert. Models manufactured from 2009 to 2015 were designed to cheat emissions tests mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Following the scandal, Volkswagen recalled millions of cars. By capturing scenes like this one, I hope we will all become more conscious of and more caring toward our beautiful planet.
9 People's Choice: An Astonishing Chase, Thomas Vijayan
After many days of following a cheetah on the second last day of my trip this cheetah target a gazelle cub and started running towards the gazelle exactly the way i wanted and I was able to capture it running in between the black grass with a dust forming behind its legs creating a magical frame. But the end was more astonishing. The cheetah started playing with the gazelle fawn like its own cub and then after sometime set it free to its mother. Even the animals value the life of other animals.
10 A New Challenge, Alessandra Meniconzi
At the feet of the Altai mountain, that I met the Berkutchi, which in Kazakh language means “hunters with Golden Eagle”. They are men that with extreme patience and dedication have domesticated to their advantage the different qualities of the Eagle. The raptor, with its untamable courage, its fast flying abilities, acute vision and hearing capabilities has become man’s hunting companion that cannot be substitute. But this boy after train his eagle decide to try to domesticate two chick hawk.