FYI.

This story is over 5 years old.

See the Wild Winners of National Geographic's Traveler Photo Contest

Whales, wrestlers, and camel racers, oh my!
August 4, 2015, 3:10pm
Whale Whisperers; photo and caption by Anuar Patjane Floriuk / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest; Diving with a humpback whale and her newborn calf while they cruise around Roca Partida … in the Revillagigedo [Islands], Mexico. This is an outstanding and unique place full of pelagic life, so we need to accelerate the incorporation of the islands into UNESCO as [a] natural heritage site in order to increase the protection of the islands against the prevailing illegal fishing corporations and big-game fishing.

Photographers exploring the hottest deserts and deepest oceans in the world went head-to-head throughout National Geographic's 12-week Traveler Photo Contest. Yesterday, the winner was announced: photographer and SCUBA diver Anuar Patjane Floriuk, for his snapshot of a humpback whale family suspended off the Mexican coast. “The photo wasn’t planned,” Floriuk says. “I was taking photos near the head of the whale, and all of a sudden she began to swim toward the rest of the diving team. The divers gave the whale and her calf space, and I just clicked at the moment when the flow and composition seemed right.” Floriuk's moment of photographic intuition has landed him the competition's Grand Prize, an eight-day National Geographic Photo Expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two.

Second and third place go to Faisal Azim's photo of Bangaladeshi gravel workers and Ahmed Al Toqi's action shot of a camel race in Omar. Check out their images and the seven merit winners (in no particular order) below.

Gravel Workmen ; photo and caption by Faisal Azim / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest; [This] gravel-crush working place remains full of dust and sand. Three gravel workmen are looking through the window glass at their working place. Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Camel Ardah; photo and caption by Ahmed Al Toqi / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest; Camel Ardah, as it called in Oman, is one of the traditional styles of camel racing … between two camels controlled by expert men. The faster camel is the loser … so they must be running [at] the same speed level in the same track. The main purpose of Ardah is to show the beauty and strength of the Arabian camels and the riders' skills. Ardah [is] considered one of the most risky situations, since always the camels reactions are unpredictable [and] it may get wild and jump [toward the] audience.

A Night at Deadvlei; photo and caption by Beth McCarley / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest; The night before returning to Windhoek, we spent several hours at Deadveli. The moon was bright enough to illuminate the sand dunes in the distance, but the skies were still dark enough to clearly see the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds. Deadveli means "dead marsh." The camelthorn trees are believed to be about 900 years old but have not decomposed because the environment is so dry.

Catching a Duck; photo and caption by Sarah Wouters / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest; Two boys are trying to catch a duck at the stream of the waterfall. Nong Khai Province, Thailand.

Kushti, Indian Wrestling; photo and caption by Alain Schroeder / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest; Kushti is the traditional form of Indian wrestling. Wearing only a well-adjusted loincloth (langot), wrestlers (pelwhans) enter a pit made of clay, often mixed with salt, lemon, and ghee (clarified butter). At the end of a workout, wrestlers rest against the walls of the arena, covering their heads and bodies with earth to soak up any perspiration and avoid catching cold. This relaxation ceremony is completed with massages to soothe tired muscles and demonstrate mutual respect.

White Rhinos; photo and caption by Stefane Berube / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest; The night before this photo, we tried all day to get a good photo of the endangered white rhino. Skulking through the grass carefully, trying to stay 30 feet away to be safe, didn't provide me the photo I was hoping for. In the morning, however, I woke up to all three rhinos grazing in front of me. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Uganda.

Sauna in the Sky; photo and caption by Stefano Zardini / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest; A sauna at 2,800 meters high in the heart of Dolomites. Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps.

Highlanders; photo and caption by Bartłomiej Jurecki / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest; Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to sort the hay.

Romania, Land of Fairy Tales; photo and caption by Eduard Gutescu / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest; White frost over Pestera village.

Learn more on the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest website.

Related:

Student Photo Contest Births Mysterious Clouds and Balloon Lovers

Here's What Happens When Engineers Hold a Photography Contest

New Motion Photography Contest Invites Artists To Show Off Their

See Germany's Most-Monitored Areas in Collaged Surveillance Snapshots