National Geographic Travel Photo Contest: As the winners are announced, here are our favourite shots

13th Jun 19 | Lifestyle

Tai chi, vultures, and fiery Spanish showjumping.

Tender Eyes

Renowned for their fine photography, it’s no surprise National Geographic managed to attract a seriously high calibre of candidates to their 2019 Travel Photo Contest.

The $7,500 (£5,900) grand prize was contested by thousands of photos across three different categories – cities, nature, and people.

The winning snap is called Greenlandic Winter, and it’s just as chillingly ethereal as you’d expect…

Greenlandic Winter, Chu Weimin

(Chu Weimin/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest/PA)

The Grand Prize (and first place in the cities category) was won by Chu Weimin, for a stunning portrait of Upernavik, a fishing village in West Greenland.

“Historically, Greenlandic buildings were painted different colours to indicate different functions,” said Weimin, “from red storefronts to blue fishermen’s homes – a useful distinction when the landscape is blanketed in snow.”

Showtime, Huaifeng Li

Show Time
(Huaifeng Li/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest/PA)

Huaifeng Li scooped the top prize in the People category, with this image of actors preparing for an evening performance in Licheng County, China.

“I spent the whole day with these actors, from make-up to [stage].” said Li. “In China’s Loess Plateau, local residents dig holes in the loess layer, and use the heat preservation properties to survive cold winters. This series records the life, entertainment, belief, labour, and other [daily] scenes of the people living in the caves.”

King of the Alps, Jonas Schäfer

King of the Alps
(Jonas Schäfer/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest/PA)

An honourable mention in the Nature category went to Jonas Schäfer, for this shot of a herd of ibexes in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland.

“Ibexes are ideally adapted to live at dizzying heights,” said the photographer. “The continuing ridge path and rising fog show their natural habitat. After a few hours of observing the animals, I spotted the herd on one side of the ridge. Several ibexes stopped at the transition [to view the world around them].”

Horses, José Antonio Zamora

(José Antonio Zamora/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest/PA)

Every year Spain celebrates Las Luminarias – the ceremony of the purification of the animals – allowing José Antonio Zamora to capture this remarkable shot, and third place in the People category.

“In the province of Avila, horsemen jump over bonfires in the ritual maintained since the 18th century,” said Zamora, “and the animals [are not hurt]. To get this photo, I moved from Seville to San Bartolomé de Pinares, because I’m very interested in photographing ancestral rites.”

Tender Eyes, Tamara Blazquez Haik

Tenderness in the Eyes
(Tamara Blazquez Haik/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest/PA)

The winning entrant in the Nature category, this image of a griffon vulture soaring the skies was snapped by Tamara Blazquez Haik in Spain’s Monfragüe National Park.

“How can anyone say vultures bring bad omens when there’s such tenderness in this vulture’s eyes?” the photographer said. “Vultures are important parts of the environment, as they take care of dead matter. They’re noble and majestic animals – looking at them flying we should feel humbled, and admire them.”

Daily Routine, Yoshiki Fujiwara

Daily routine every morning
(Yoshiki Fujiwara/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest/PA)

This shot was taken at sunrise in Choi Hung House in Hong Kong, securing Yoshiki Fujiwara second prize in the People category.

“When I visited during the afternoon, it was very crowded,” he said, “but when I visited at sunrise it was quiet, and a different place. The area is [reserved] for neighbourhood 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.”

© Press Association 2019