A lightning strike on an erupting volcano has provided the winning moment for National Geographic’s Travel Photographer of the Year awards.
Sergio Tapiro Velasco won the Nature award and the overall prize from more than 15,000 entries worldwide. Velasco won a 10-day trip for two to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions after capturing “one of the most exciting moments” of his life in the town of Comala, 12km away from Mexico’s Colima Volcano.
To enter the awards, photos had to be taken in the past two years and entered in one of three categories – Nature, Cities and People. Here are a few of the winning entries and other standouts.
Hiromi Kano’s “To Live” entry was second in the nature category.
Kano captured swans gliding over the water in Kabukurinuma, Osaki, Japan.
“I took into account wind direction and shutter speed to capture the strength and elegance of their flapping wings,” Kano told National Geographic.
Clane Gessel’s “Marble Caves” and Y Takafuji’s “Forest of the Fairy” both picked up honorable mentions in the nature category.
Gessel travelled to Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia and charted a boat to get close enough to the caves.
“I waited for the perfect light to capture these intricate blue swirls. The extra effort it took to reach the caves was worth it,” said Gessel.
Takafuji’s entry captured fireflies in a remote village in the Tamba region of Japan.
“The fireflies carpet a stairway leading to a small shrine revered by the local people, creating a magical atmosphere.”
You can view the full collection at National Geographic here.