National Geographic Traveler magazine announced the winners of it’s 2012 photo contest. They looked through over 12,000 photo’s from over 6,500 photographers in 152 countries around the world to determine the very best captures of the year.
Here is this years winner and runners-up who submitted inspiring photo’s in the categories of Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments.
Viewers Choice (Outdoor Scenes): Cabin under the Northern Lights in Finmmark, Norway.
Merit (Sense of Place): Near the city of Morondava, on the West coast of Madagascar lies an ancient forest of Baobab trees. Unique to Madagascar, the endemic species is sacred to the Malagasy people, and rightly so. Walking amongst these giants is like nothing else on this planet. Some of the trees here are over a thousand years old. It is a spiritual place, almost magical.
Merit (Travel Portraits): The Last Supper Of Da Vinci? No, They are just some oldmen of Chefchaouen with djellaba, sitting and talking each other.
Merit (Sense of Place): My sister in the south of Chile. We are sitting at home next to the fireplace in our southern lake house when it suddenly began to pour uncontrolably. Had to rush into the lake to take this snapshot!
Merit (Outdoor Scenes): The village of G·sadalur and the island of Mykines in the background. Until a tunnel was built in 2004, the 16 residents living in G·sadalur had to take a strenuous hike or horseback over the steep 400 meter mountain in order to make it to the other villages. It was a rare sunny day in the Faroe Islands and I had to wait until the clouds rolled in to provide some softer light. I decided to go with a long exposure (1 minute 10 seconds) to illustrate the force of the wind and a serene sea among the isolated islands.
Merit (Outdoor Scenes): This is the great Japanese maple tree in the Portland Japanese Gardens. I tried to bring a different perspective of this frequently photographed tree.
Merit (Sense of Place): More than 2,000 Buddhist temples and pagados fill the plains of Bagan. Once the capital of the Pagan Empire, farmers now raise their livestock within the centuries old complex. The best way to see Bagan, apart from a ride on a hot air balloon, is by bicycle. It’s easy to get off the beaten path and live out your wildest Indiana Jones fantasy.
Merit (Sense of Place): Taken at Cloud Break at an outer reef in Fiji, a surfer duck dives his board to clear the rolling waves of the raw ocean.
Third Place (Travel Portraits): During the Easter holy celebration called i?Misterii? (mistery) in Trapani, the devotees carry the scenes of Christi?s passion on their shoulders all night long. When the day comes they take a break.
Second Place (Outdoor Scenes): H’Mong minority children were playing their ballons on the foggy day in Moc Chau – Ha Giang province Viet Nam Shooting time Jan 2012.
First Place (Sense of Place): This image was shot in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor. The intimacy of this everyday life moment, shot inside of a family yurt, is in total contrast with the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live in. On the right we notice a television and a sound console. These tribes live weeks away from any village by foot. In spite of being located at an altitude of 4,300 meters in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan they are equipped with solar panels, satellite dishes and cellphones. Ancestral ways of living, with touches of modernity.