Every December, Britain’s Tate Modern debuts its much-anticipated Christmas tree. Designed by a different contemporary artist each year, the famed museum’s trees are both yuletide decorations and works of modern art. This year, Iranian installation artist Shirazeh Houshiary has quite literally turned the tradition on its head with her upside-down evergreen. Suspended by its trunk, the tree hovers above the main entrance’s stunning spiral staircase.
First Place Winner: Dig Me River
It’s finally time to announce the winners of the 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest! Out of more than 15,500 entries, this year’s first place winner is Wagner Araujo for this energetic black and white shot of the Brazilian Aquathlon (swimming and running) championship. As Aruajo stated about that moment, “I photographed it from the water and my lens got completely wet, but there was so much energy in these boys that I just didn’t worry about that.”
National Geographic Traveler Director of Photography Dan Westergren, one of this year’s judges, shared why this entry nabbed the top spot:
"This photo really captures my attention because of the peak action it depicts. I love the horizontal tension caused by the main subject on his way out of the picture to the right. Classic photographic rules of composition say that you should not have subjects moving out of the frame, but this shot shows that sometimes the most exciting photo can be made by breaking the rules. I also love the body language of the main subject; he’s trying to lean forward but still holding back to get his last breath before plunging into the water. Finally, the addition of the tall buildings along the waterfront makes this more than just a sports picture; it's also a portrait of Manaus, Brazil."
Below are the rest of the winning images, which you’ll find in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine. (Still love that hidden owl.)
Second Place Winner: Thunderstorm at False Kiva
I hiked out to these ruins at night hoping to photograph them with the Milky Way, but instead a thunderstorm rolled through, creating this dramatic image.
Photo and caption by Max Seigal/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Third Place Winner: Say Cheese
Cheetahs jumped on the vehicle of tourists in Masai Mara national park, Kenya.
Photo and caption by Yanai Bonneh/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Merit: The TataHonda Sect.
The photographer could get inside of an enclosed sect named Tatahonda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ladies are preparing for their religious ceremony.
Photo and caption by Gergely Lantai-Csont/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Cherry blossom is called Sakura in Japanese.Cherry blossom is Japanese symbolic flower.There are various kinds in a cherry tree and an especially old cherry tree has many kinds called Edo-Higan. The trees of the cherry tree exceeding hundreds of years are located in a line with a nebula this temple, and if spring comes every year, can looks at a powerful spectacle can do it. This photograph focused on Edo-Higan and photographed Beni-Sidare which is back together.
Photo and caption by Hideyuki Katagiri/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Merit: Children of Reindeer
Mikael nde, a child of Smi reindeer herders, takes a break indoors after a long, cold day of rounding up the animals for vaccinations and slaughter. Children of reindeer herders learn to handle these animals and the land they thrive in from infancy – young Mikael here knew far more about the ways of nature than I could ever hope to learn.
Photo and caption by Michelle Schantz/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Merit: Piano Play at Sunset
Streets of Queenstown, New Zealand at the end of one more day filled with adrenaline. Calming and doleful scene with piano sound in the background.
Photo and caption by Nikola Smernic/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Merit: Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl
Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey.
Photo and caption by Graham McGeorge/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Merit: Guanjiang Shou
Guanjiang Shou troupes are one of Taiwan most popular activities that may be seen all over Taiwan at traditional folk religion gatherings. With their fiercely painted faces, protruding fangs and powerful, choreographed performances, they are easily recognized, They may be described as underworld police or gods’ bodyguards.
Photo and caption by Chan Kwok Hung/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Merit: Lady in Water
A lady collects water in the river by a village in Bagan, Myanmar, 2013.
Photo and caption by Marcelo Salvador/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Viewers Choice: Another Perspective of the Day
The fisherman at Bira Beach.
Photo and caption by Dody Kusuma/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
To see more amazing photography, check out last year’s winners, here.