The winners of the 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest have just been announced. National Geographic received more than 15,500 submissions from talented photographers around the world taken in amazing locations ranging from Brazil to New Zealand. The prize winning photos collected here today show everything from electrifying lightning storms to animals in their natural habitats.
Second Place Winner: Thunderstorm at False Kiva
First Place Winner: Brazil Aquathlon
I was in Manaus, Amazonas, during the Brazilian Aquathlon (swimming and running) championship. I photographed it from the water and my lens got completely wet, but there was so much energy in these boys that I just didn’t worry about that. —Wagner Araujo
Rio Negro, Ponta Negra Beach, Manaus, Amazon, Brazil by Max Seigal
Third Place Winner: Say Cheese
Merit Winner: Sakura
Masai Mara national park, Kenya by Yanai Bonneh
Cherry blossom is called Sakura in Japanese.Cherry blossom is Japanese symbolic flower.There are various kinds in a cherry tree and an especially old cherry tree has many kinds called Edo-Higan. The trees of the cherry tree exceeding hundreds of years are located in a line with a nebula this temple, and if spring comes every year,can looks at a powerful spectacle can do it. This photograph focused on Edo-Higan and photographed Beni-Sidare which is back together. —Hideyuki Katagiri
Seiunji-temple, Arakawa, Saitama, Japan by Hideyuki Katagiri
Merit Winner: Lady in Water
Merit Winner: Guanjiang Shou
Guanjiang Shou troupes are one of Taiwan most popular activities that may be seen all over Taiwan at traditional folk religion gatherings. With their fiercely painted faces, protruding fangs and powerful, choreographed performances, they are easily recognized, They may be described as underworld police or gods’ bodyguards. —Chan Kwok Hung .
Taichung, Taiwan by Chan Kwok Hung .
Merit Winner: The Tata Honda Sect
The photographer could get inside of an enclosed sect named Tatahonda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ladies are preparing for their religious ceremony. —Gergely Lantai-Csont
Democratic Republic of the Congo by Gergely Lantai-Csont
Viewers’ Choice Winner: Another Perspective of the Day
Merit Winner: Piano Play at Sunset
Streets of Queenstown, New Zealand at the end of one more day filled with adrenaline. Calming and doleful scene with piano sound in the background. —Nikola Smernic
Queenstown, New Zealand by Nikola Smernic
Merit Winner: Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl
Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey. —Graham McGeorge
Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, USA by Graham McGeorge
What’s your favorite photo?