The deadline to enter the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest is fast approaching—entries will be accepted until May 27, 2016. The grand prize winner will receive a seven-day Polar Bear Safari for two in Churchill, Canada. National Geographicwas once more kind enough to allow me to share some of this year’s entries with you here, gathered from three categories: Nature, Cities, and People. The photos and captions were written by the photographers.
Gelada (Theropithecus gelada), photographed near Debre Libanos, in Ethiopia.
A first-row seat on beaches along Argentina’s Valdes Peninsula brings with it an adrenaline-packed experience with Mother Nature unplugged. It is here in Patagonia where Orcas have learned the unique skill of intentionally stranding themselves on the beach to catch sea lion pups. We spent 2 weeks, 10 hours per day, sitting on the beaches of a private sheep ranch straddling the northern coastline of the Valdes Peninsula.
It was 5:29 in the morning. The man appeared to get the first train started. No customers were in the train or Aizu-Kawaguchi station in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Soon the train departed on time in the heavy snow.
His siblings are all gone, decimated by mange, a disease introduced by humans to control wild canines in the early 1900s. Hungry and weakened by that same parasitic infestation, the last remaining pup of the Lamar Canyon wolf pack is struggling across the soft snow of an unusually warm February in Yellowstone National Park.
In Cuba, we tried to stay off the beaten track and avoid typical ‘touristy’ tobacco farms. We randomly stumbled across Roberto's farm after his granddaughter came rushing out to greet us following a quick U-turn near their drive. So glad she did! Roberto had a fantastic story of generations of tobacco farming, the revolution—we spent a good hour sipping coffee and smoking cigars with him. Beautiful family in a beautiful country.
In Ladakh, India, my sherpa spotted a single cat about 8:30 a.m. We climbed up the hill to the highest spot facing the cat, 400 meters away and another 50 meters higher, and we could not get any closer. We remained there despite the weather—30 mph wind, snow flurries, and brief breaks of sunshine. By 6 p.m. as the light started to dim out, I was left alone on the peak. A few minutes later I heard a cat calling, following the sound a second cat showed up. To my surprise, they embraced each other, a mother and her 3-year-old cub.
During our road trip in Ireland, we made a stop at Connemara Park and we decided to climb Diamond Hill. The weather was really sunny and there was a lot of wind. For only one minute, we had this point of view with such epic colors, with the valley lit up. Three hikers was ready to disappear and I just had the time to take this picture which represents perfectly the very moment when we saw the beauty of the place.
To take this image I had to camp in the wilderness of Greenland about 90 kilometers away from Kangerluusuaq right at the border of the inland ice. After days of walking and looking trough my telephoto lens I finally found the Musk ox. I approached very slowly because Musk ox are extremely shy. Then I made a huge mistake, I moved too fast and they could hear me. Immediately they built a wall and the adults protected the juveniles—the perfect moment for this shot.
This photo was taken far out on the sea ice in the Davis Straight off the coast of Baffin Island. This mother and her yearling are perched atop a huge snow-covered iceberg that got “socked in” when the ocean froze over for the winter. To me, the relative “smallness” of these large creatures when compared to the immensity of the iceberg in the photo represents the precariousness of the polar bear's reliance on the sea and sea ice for its existence.
I was on a little airplane taking pictures of landscape in the amazing Donana while I saw a group of flamingos that just created a sort of marvelous blue painting while they were finding their food in the shallow water. I asked the pilot to make a turn positioning the plane perpendicular to the scene and I took this shot while they were taking off.
Taken in Lombok Indonesia, a traditional horse race held every year. The jockeys are children aged 8 to 12, riding without the use of protective helmets or saddle. I kept my camera on the ground for a low-angle shot. I’m lucky my camera was not trampled by the horses.
Leo Houlding and team sit atop the Mirror Wall in Arctic Greenland after making the first ascent of the main face of the peak. Climbing with Joe Möhle, Matt Pickles, Matt Pycroft, and Waldo Etherington, the team succeeded in climbing a new route on the main face of the 1,200-meter peak. Free climbing 23 of the 25 pitches, they spent 12 nights on the wall and topped out in an upwards snow storm at 4:20 a.m. on July 22, 2015.