Reiko Takahashi of Japan was named contest winner with this spectacular underwater photo of a humpback whale. (National Geographic: Reiko Takahashi)
A bask of crocodiles, a metropolis bustling with people, a flamboyance of flamingos and a bridge to nowhere were just some of the subjects featured among the winners of National Geographic’s 2018 travel photographer competition.
From the 13,000 entries, the grand prize was awarded to a photograph of a humpback whale calf’s tale titled Mermaid.
The hand behind the shot, Reiko Takahashi of Japan, took the photograph while on her first day snorkelling near Japan’s Kumejima Island.
The long-time photographer left her office job to pursue her passion for underwater photography and travelled to the island on a mission to photograph humpback whales with their young calves.
“It was a special scene for me, to be able to take a photo of the calf, completely relaxed in gentle waters,” Ms Takahashi told National Geographic.
“At one point, the calf began jumping and tapping its tail on the water near us — it was very friendly and curious.
“Finally, the mother, who was watching nearby, came to pick up the calf and swim away. I fell in love completely with the calf and it’s very energetic, large, and beautiful tail.”
This gentle moment of a humpback whale and its mother were captured on the same dive as Ms Takahashi’s award-winning photo. (National Geographic: Reiko Takahashi)
Ms Takahashi was awarded a $US10,000 ($13,500) prize.
“I really cannot believe it. It was my dream to win. I am honoured and it will be the driving force for my future shooting,” she said.
In addition to the grand-prize winner, top photos were selected in each of three categories: Nature, People and Cities.
See the first, second and people’s choice prize winners in all the categories:
Second place winner, Nature
Thousands of flamingos are seen taking off from the colourful Lake Natron in Tanzania. (National Geographic: Hao J)
People’s choice, Nature
“When we arrived at the Rio Grande de Tarcoles in Costa Rica, I saw a fantastic formation of the sharp-mouthed crocodiles. I couldn’t help myself, and I started … to photograph them from the air.” (National Geographic: Niklas Weber)
First place winner, Cities
This is a view of the main street from a tram in Nagasaki on a rainy day. The tram is vintage, but retrofitted with modern ticketing equipment. (National Geographic: Hiro Kurashina)
Second place winner, Cities
“I planned my visit to Teotihuacan [Mexico] at sunrise, to get a combination of golden sunlight, play of shadows, and few crowds around.” (National Geographic: Enrico Pescantini)
People’s choice, Cities
A traveller is seen riding across Ram Jhula bridge in India. (National Geographic: Trikansh Sharma)
First place winner, People
In Mongolia, tea isn’t just a drink, but a mix of tradition, culture, relaxation, ceremony, and pleasure. (National Geograhpic: Alessandra Meniconzi)
Second place winner, People
Twin sisters Leida and Laelle dream of becoming models and teachers as a way of earning money to bring their relatives from Haiti to Brazil. (National Geographic: Tati Itat)
People’s choice, People
“This light illusion is created by artwork that uses an accumulation of light points to create a sculptural body.” (National Geographic: Daniel Cheung)
National Geographic, a science, exploration, and adventure magazine featured all of the winners and honourable mentions on its website.