Stunning Early Entries of the 2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer Contest

The 2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest has officially launched, in search of the most “awe-inspiring diversity of the world's people, places and cultures.” George Stone (the editor-in-chief of National Geographic Travel) says, “Our Travel Photographer of the Year program is a way to show that our readers are among the world's best travelers and photographers. We are passionate about visual storytelling and we hope that our contest will inspire our global audience to explore the planet and use photography to tell amazing stories.”

We're excited to see the best of 2016, which will be announced later this year. For now, entries are being accepted until May 27, 2016 at 12 PM EDT. The grand prize winner will earn the prestigious title of 2016 Travel Photographer of the Year, as well as a seven-day Polar Bear Photo Safari for two at Churchill Wild–Seal River Heritage Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. All of the other winners, in each of the three categories–Nature, Cities, and People–have a variety of prizes for First, Second, and Third Place.

Courtesy of National Geographic, check out some of the early entries, below, for a taste of what this fantastic competition has to offer.

Above: La Fournaise volcano
The last eruption of LA Fournaise Volcano. Runion Island
Location: Saint-Denis, Reunion, Reunion
Photo and caption by Gaby Barathieu / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Impala at Sunrise
Impala silhouetted as the sun rises in the Masai Mara, Kenya.
Location: Masai Mara, Kenya
Photo and caption by Kellie Netherwood / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Winding roads
In the Gorges du Dades there are some breathtaking bends between walls of rock
Location: Boumalne, Souss-Massa-Draa, Morocco
Photo and caption by Angiolo Manetti / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

God Shiva's Temple festival in Jejuri
Devotees carrying the palki, sedan chair, of Shiva. The Shiva's Temple, known as Khandoba locally, is a very famous temple situated in the town of Jejuri, in Maharashtra, India. Every year on the day of Somvati Amavasya – a no moon day – thousands of devotees arrives at the temple. The festival's main ritual is offering of turmeric powder by the devotees. Such large quantities of turmeric powder are used that all the devotees and the temple ground are covered in yellow colour of the turmeric.
Location: Jejuri, Maharashtra, India
Photo and caption by Aashit Desai / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Eid ul Fitr Prayer
This is a general view of Eid ul Fitr Prayer at Alamgir Mosque in Varanasi, Uttarpradesh, India. Eid prayers, also known as Salat al-Eid and Salat al-Eidain , is the special prayer offered to commemorate two Islamic festivals.This image depicts the Hindu–Muslim brotherhood exploring the dynamics of communal relations in Varanasi-a holy city of the Hindus.
Location: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Photo and caption by Sirsendu Gayen / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Face to Face
A polar bear on Wahlenbergfjorden off of Svalbard. I was in a zodiac off shore when he sauntered down to the beach to sniff us out. Soon losing interest, he retreated for a nap and we left him in peace.
Location: Haugen, Svalbard, Svalbard and Jan Mayen
Photo and caption by Ari Ross / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Peaks & Penguins in Antarctic Sunrise
Stunning peaks & thousands of King Penguins on South Georgia in soft early sunrise. The photography challenge was to resist shooting only Penguin close-ups (very tempting for sure) & step back occasionally to be equally amazed by the landscape in which they live. Special Bonus: It was 100 years to the month that Shackelton's boat (Endurance) finally went under the Antarctic pack ice (Nov 1915), precipitating his epic traverse of South Georgia, before finding help at nearby Stromness (1916).
Location: South Georgia
Photo and caption by Shivesh R. / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

The Snow Tree
During a snow storm I decided to head over to Bryce Canyon NP and enjoy the freshly fallen snow. Visibility was down to almost zero, but then I found this single tree right next to a snow drift and knew this would be my shot.
Location: Bryce Canyon, Utah, United States
Photo and caption by Yvonne Baur / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Bond Between Friends
Shot in Sakrebailu Elephant Camp, Shimoga, India. This camp works towards rehabilitating rescued elephants from circuses and human animal conflict zones. The elephants are trained here by experienced Mahouts and forms a lasting bond between the two. Every morning these Mahouts get their elephants for a bath in the nearby river. This is also when people are allowed to interact with the elephants.
Location: Shimoga, Karnataka, India
Photo and caption by Aditya D. / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

God is observing
Cachi – Argentina, Thomas 6 Years old helping his father cleaning his truck after a long day of work transporting horses from file to Cachi
Photo and caption by Giandomenico Cosentino / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Travel Photographer of the Year Contest: Website

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