NatGeo Travel Photo Contest Winners 2019 Revealed:See Striking Photos

Do you love watching photographs? Then, here is a treat for your eyes! Yes, look at these stunning photos which took the top awards at Nat Geo's Travel Photo Contest of 2019. They are amazing!

5 years ago
NatGeo Travel Photo Contest Winners 2019 Revealed:See Striking Photos

To acknowledge talented photographers from around the world, National Geographic opens its creative doors through the National Geographic Travel Photo Contest and similar competitions each year.

Recently, National Geographic has revealed the winners of its annual Travel Photo Contest 2019. Well, must say these photos are stunning!

The annual contest received thousands of entries in three different categories: Nature, Cities, and People and was judged by a panel of expert National Geographic staff and photographers.

The Official Prizes at the Photo Contest 2019

As the grand prize, $7,500 is given. And apart from the winning amount, their winning photograph will be featured on the @natgeotravel Instagram account. Moreover,

  • $2,500 is awarded for first place winners.
  • $1,500 is for second place winners.
  • $750 is given to third place winners.

Also, the photographs won prizes according to categories. So, let’s see all the winning photographs by categories:

The Grand Prize: The One That Took 1st Place in the Category ‘Cities’

Source = Gannett-cdn

And, after choosing out of thousands of entries, the grand prize went to Weimin Chu for his photo "Winter in Greenland." This picture of him won both titles; one is of The Grand Prize and the other of 1st Prize Winner in the ‘Cities’ category.

The picture exhibits a snowy, scenic view of the fishing village of Upernavik in western Greenland. He not only won $7,500 but also won an Instagram post on the National Geographic Travel account, which has around  31 million followers.

This picture is of Upernavik, a fishing village on a tiny island in west Greenland. He stated that this place had Greenlandic buildings which were painted in different colors to indicate different functions. According to Weimin, this photo was taken during his three-month personal photo project to showcase life in Greenland.

His words were,

“Upernavik is a fishing village on a tiny island in west Greenland. Historically, Greenlandic buildings were painted different colors to indicate different functions, from red storefronts to blue fishermen’s homes — a useful distinction when the landscape is blanketed in snow. This photo was taken during my three-month  personal photo project to present life in Greenland.”

Story Behind the Grand Prize Winning Picture

Weimin Chu said in an interview,

“Just when I started leaning into photography, my photo was selected as an editors’ choice in the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest. It [really] motivated me, and photography [has become] part of my life since that time.”

While talking about Upernavik’s picture, Chu said its remoteness made an impression on him. He added,

 “I could only see a pure white land covered by ice and snow during my entire flight. But I suddenly saw a big, warm dot in [the] far distance—it was Upernavik. The beauty of this tranquil village was really beyond my imagination. It was a wow moment for me.”

How Weimin Got the Idea for the Photograph

Later he said that he had visited the island to capture its austere landscapes for years. Around, in 2019, he started to document Greenland’s communities and people, first visiting Upernavik in March. It is a small, northwestern fishing village, which is home to about 1,000 residents—making it the 13th largest village in the country. Weimin initially planned to stay there for two days but later stretched his trip.

He says,

“I had to stay for one week because there were no flights. I was lucky, because I took this winning image on my sixth day in Upernavik. If I only spent two days there, I [probably] wouldn’t have found this location this year.”

For photo opportunities as well as getting to know the locals at stores and the main harbor, Chu spent six days scouting Upernavik’s surroundings. He positioned himself far enough from the street to unobtrusively photograph the activities of daily life because he hoped to capture sweeping views of the city.

Chu opened his ISO and aperture after making a few images in the dusk light, hoping to freeze people’s movements; just then, a family came out from their home, and he snapped the moment.

He added,

“It felt so harmonious. The whole land was covered by white, cold snow, and the blue tint at dusk made it even cooler. But the light from the windows, street lights, and the family of three made the world warm again. I love the contrast and mood of this scene. I was busy taking continuous pictures at that time, trying to capture the best moment.”

After three years working as an engineer, Chu began photographing during his university travels and set out to focus on his photography. Further, he entered the National Geographic Photo Contest, without any plan or strategy, just randomly.

Weimin recalls,

“Just when I started leaning into photography, my photo was selected as an editors’ choice in the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest. It [really] motivated me, and photography [has become] part of my life since that time.”

Weimin has also fed his passion for outdoor adventure while spending two months packrafting in southern Greenland fjords. Now to focus his photography on Greenlandic communities, he plans to continue returning to the island and also to maintain residents’ relationship with the environment.

Weimin said,

“Modern life has different impacts on the cultures in these different areas.”

He also strives to further develop his photo projects in the hills of China and Pakistan, fusing his passion for photography with outdoor adventure.

 “I’d like to share some incredible but lesser-known snowy mountains with people.”

Isn’t this picture pleasing?

2nd Place Winning Picture, Category: Cities

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We never knew a mere airplane could be this pretty! Amazing, right? Well, this picture won second place, which was snapped by photographer Jassen Todorov. Jassen described his winning picture by saying,

“There are four runways at San Francisco's International Airport (SFO). This is a rare look at the approach end of runways 28 left and right. I had dreams of documenting the motion at SFO and [arranged] permission to fly directly overhead. What a windy day it was. Winds at SFO were 35-45 miles per hour, which meant a bumpy flight, and it was much harder to control the plane while photographing. The flight was challenging, but it was also so thrilling that I couldn't sleep for several days.”

3rd Place Winning Picture, Category: Cities

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We always heard prayers are wonderful. And it's proved today! The picture which won third place in the ‘Cities’ category was clicked by Sandipani Chattopadhyay. He described his picture as,

“People pray on the street in Dhaka, Bangladesh during Ijtema. Bishwa Ijtema is one of the major Islamic religious gatherings which is [observed] annually in Dhaka and millions of Muslims visit [during this time]. Dedicated prayer grounds are not [large] enough to handle this huge number of people, so large numbers of people come to [Tongi], the main street of Dhaka. All the ground transportation and [pedestrian crossings] are suspended during that time.”

In the ‘Nature’ Category, 1st Place Goes to

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I loved this picture too! It is just a stunning view of a vulture. Yes, after the ‘Cities’ category, this picture of Tamara Blazquez won the first place in the ‘Nature’ category. He described his picture as,

“A gorgeous griffon vulture is seen soaring the skies in Monfragüe National Park in Spain. How can anyone say vultures bring bad omens when looking at such tenderness in this griffon vulture's eyes? Vultures are important members of the environment, as they take care of recycling dead matter. Vultures are noble and majestic animals—kings of the skies. When looking at them flying, we should feel humbled and admire them.”

This Picture Won 2nd Place in the ‘Nature’ Category

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Another wonder of nature! This picture won third place in the ‘Nature’ category presented by Danny Sepkowski. He described his picture by saying,

“What happens before a wave breaks? That question has been my assignment this past year. On this particular day, I decided to shoot the sunset on the east side of Oahu, Hawaii. About 100 photographers were out in the morning, but I had the evening to myself. The textures from the trade winds [created] subtle colors from the west and blended well using my 100mm lens. I had to look into my viewfinder while this wave was breaking. Not an easy task when a wave is about to crush you.”

Amazing it is!

Below Picture Won 3rd Place, Category: Nature

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Photographer Scott Portelli captured Dusky Dolphin and won third place in the ‘Nature’ category. He described his picture as,

“Dusky dolphins often travel together in great numbers in the deep canyons of the Kaikoura, New Zealand in search of food. They glide through the ocean effortlessly, coming up only to breathe. Dusky dolphins are fast and will often keep pace with a speeding boat. I waited on the bow of the boat as the Dusky dolphin almost broke [through the surface]. Their elegance and streamlined bodies are built for speed and maneuverability—accentuated by the smooth, clear water of the New Zealand coastline.”

1st Prize Winning Picture in ‘People’ Category

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And, the last category was ‘People.’ The picture which was submitted by Huaifeng Li won first place in the ‘People’ category. He described his picture as,

“Actors prepare for an evening opera performance in Licheng County, China. I spent the whole day with these actors from makeup to [stage]. I’m a freelance photographer, and the series “Cave Life" is a long-term project of mine. In China's Loess Plateau, local residents dig holes in the loess layer [to create cave living spaces, known as yaodongs] and use the heat preservation properties to survive cold winters.”

2nd Prize Winning Picture in ‘People’ Category

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This photo, which won second place in ‘Nature’ Category was snapped by Yoshiki Fujiwara. He explained his work as,

“This photo was taken at a public park at Choi Hung House in Hong Kong. When I visited during the afternoon, it was very crowded with many young people taking pictures and playing basketball. But when I visited at sunrise, it was quiet and a different place. [The area] is [designated] for neighborhood residents in the early morning, and there was a sacred atmosphere. I felt divinity when I saw an old man doing tai chi in the sun.”

3rd Prize Winning Picture in ‘People’ Category

Source = Gannett-cdn

Third place in the ‘People’ category was clicked by José Antonio Zamora. He explained his photograph as:

“Every year on the feast of Saint Anthony the ceremony of the purification of animals, called Las Luminarias, is celebrated in Spain. In the province of Avila, horses and horsemen jump over bonfires in the ritual that has been maintained since the 18th century. The animals [are not hurt], and it is a ritual that is repeated every year. To make the photo, I moved from Seville to San Bartolomé de Pinares because I am very interested in photographing ancestral rites.”

Two more photos won the prizes as Honorable Mentions. One is in the ‘Nature’ category, and the other is in the ‘People’ category!

Honorable Mention in ‘Nature’ Category

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Navin Vatsa, who took this picture, described it as:

“I captured this layered moment during sunrise along the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi, India. This boy was thinking silently, and visitors were enjoying the loud musical chirping of thousands of seagulls. The early morning golden light from the east mixed with the western blue light, creating a [ethereal atmosphere]. I am a regular visitor [here] and have photographed this place for the past three years. Now, many national and international photographers have begun visiting [too].”

Honorable Mention in ‘Nature’ Category

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Jonas Schäfer, who won the honorable mention for this picture, explained:

“A herd of ibexes in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland cross a ridge above Lake Brienz. Their powerful and impressive horns show who the king of the Alps are. Ibexes are ideally adapted to live at dizzying heights. The continuing ridge path and the rising fog show the natural habitat of these animals. After a few hours of observing the animals, I spotted the ibex herd on one side of the ridge. Several ibexes stopped at the transition [to view the world around them].”

The Bottom Line

So, we have seen the winning pictures of the National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2019.

Let us know which of the winning photographs you liked the most in the comment section.

Enjoy Photography!


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