Photo enthusiasts from across the world submitted 10,000 snapshots into 2015’s National Geographic Travel Photographer Competition in three categories–people, places, and nature. All shots had to be taken in the last two years.
The collection of winning photos span into far corners of society and nature from Chilean salt ponds at night that more closely resemble asteroid potholes to rooftop-turned-bedrooms of Varanassi, India families trying to keep cool during summer.
The panel of seasoned judges included National Geographic Travel Director of Photography, Anne Farrar; National Geographic Contributing Photographer, Corey Arnold; and filmmaker and photographer Foster Huntington.
Besides the recognition, the photographers were competing for the grand prize of a seven-day polar bear photo safari. Among the most serious contenders there was Hiroki Inoue who photographed wild foxes chasing each other in a fairytale-like background in Hokkaido, Japan. And Victor Lima chipped in with his otherworldly portrait of the Atacama desert. But the winner of the grand prize was Anthony Lau with Winter Horseman where he captured a moody and surreal scene of horse herding in Inner Mongolia.
Below we present to you 10 of the very best photos.
Want more international photography? Check out Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos’ vibrant photo commentary on Persian culture and ethnography in social media.