Heart-Stoppingly Beautiful Pictures from National Geographic Traveler’s Annual Contest

By Noah Kaufman |

© Marc Henauer / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Good news for anyone who hasn’t had astonishing pictures to look at recently: National Geographic Traveler announced the winners of its annual photo contest this week. More than 18,000 people submitted pictures from some of the farthest reaches of the planet and a panel of judges sifted through all of them to pick the best.

Entries for the contest are accepted every year from March until June, so any photographers out there can start planning submissions for next year. Until then, here is a dose of I-want-to-go-to-there images to last you for a while. 

These are some of our favorites with captions provided by the photographers, but you can see all of the winners and the rest of the 18,000 entries here

© Marko Korošec / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest While on storm chasing expeditions in Tornado Alley in the U.S. I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching a storm near Julesburg, Colorado, on May 28, 2013. The storm was tornado warned for more than one hour, but it stayed an LP [low precipitation] storm through all its cycles and never produced a tornado, just occasional brief funnels, large hail, and some rain.

© Sean Hacker Teper / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest This photo, taken at the 'end of the world' swing in Banos, Ecuador, captures a man on the swing overlooking an erupting Mt. Tungurahua. The eruption took place on February 1st, 2014. Minutes after the photo was taken, we had to evacuate the area because of an incoming ash cloud.

© Marc Henauer / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Green Lake (Grüner See) is located in Tragöss Austria. In spring snowmelt raises the lake level about 10 meters. This phenomenon, which lasts only a few weeks, covers hiking trails, meadows, and trees. The result is a magical diving landscape.

© Marcelo Castro / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest A young monk finds a perfect light source to read his book inside of his pagoda in Old Bagan, Burma.

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