Stunning images of National Geographic’s Travel Photographer of the Year awards

GRAND WINNER: A powerful eruption illuminates the slopes of Mexico’s Colima Volcano on December 13, 2015.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/SERGIO TAPIRO VELASCO

GRAND WINNER: A powerful eruption illuminates the slopes of Mexico’s Colima Volcano on December 13, 2015.

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.

GLIDE BY: Swans appear to float over the water in Kabukurinuma, Japan.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/HIROMI KANO

GLIDE BY: Swans appear to float over the water in Kabukurinuma, Japan.

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.

BLUE SWIRLS: The marble caves of Patagonia.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/CLANE GESSEL

BLUE SWIRLS: The marble caves of Patagonia.

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.

FAIRY LIGHTS: Fireflies carpet a stairway leading to a small shrine in Japan.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/Y TAKAFUJI

FAIRY LIGHTS: Fireflies carpet a stairway leading to a small shrine in Japan.

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.

EAT UP: A buff-tailed coronet feeds on flower nectar in the Ecuadorian forest, a paradise for hummingbirds.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/HYMAKAR VALLURI

EAT UP: A buff-tailed coronet feeds on flower nectar in the Ecuadorian forest, a paradise for hummingbirds.

COLORFUL MARKET: As night falls over Bangkok, Thailand, rows of rainbow-colored market stalls come to life.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/KAJAN MADRASMAIL

COLORFUL MARKET: As night falls over Bangkok, Thailand, rows of rainbow-colored market stalls come to life.

GLOWING ASH: A rare eruption of Mount Bromo with excellent lighting.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/REYNOLD DEWANTARA

GLOWING ASH: A rare eruption of Mount Bromo with excellent lighting.

WALLED CITY: An aerial view of Whampoa Garden, Hong Kong, reveals its densely packed buildings.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/ANDY YEUNG

WALLED CITY: An aerial view of Whampoa Garden, Hong Kong, reveals its densely packed buildings.

UNDER THE WAVE: Rodney Bursiel travelled to Tavarua, Fiji, with professional surfer Donavon Frankenreiter and captured ...

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/RODNEY BURSIEL

UNDER THE WAVE: Rodney Bursiel travelled to Tavarua, Fiji, with professional surfer Donavon Frankenreiter and captured this image at Cloudbreak.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?: A crowd of spectators stands in front of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, Syndics of the Drapers' ...

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/JULIUS Y

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?: A crowd of spectators stands in front of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

CITY LIFE: New buildings rise from the desert floor near Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/ANDRZEJ BOCHENSKI

CITY LIFE: New buildings rise from the desert floor near Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.

MAN'S STARE: A train coming from Dhaka pauses at Tongi Railway Station in Gazipur, Bangladesh, on a rainy morning.

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC/MOIN AHMED

MAN’S STARE: A train coming from Dhaka pauses at Tongi Railway Station in Gazipur, Bangladesh, on a rainy morning.


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