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Winning Photos of the 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest

The winners and honorable mentions of the 2015 National Geographic Photography Competition have just been announced, and as usual it’s an astonishing collection of brilliant images captured around the world from the streets of Iran to the skies above Spain.  The grand prize winner is “DIRT” by Australian photographer James Smart who photographed a dusty tornado as it just barely misses a house in Colorado.

 

Grand Prize and Nature Winner: “DIRT” by James Smart

Photo and caption James Smart / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

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Jaw-dropping, rare anti-cyclonic tornado tracks in open farm land narrowly missing a home near Simla, Colorado. (Location: Simla, Colorado, United States)

Places Winner: “Asteroid” by Francisco Mingorance

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Photo and caption by Francisco Mingorance / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

On the occasion of the preparation of a report on Ríotinto from the air, I decided to include phosphogypsum ponds located in the marshes of red and whose radioactive discharges has destroyed part of the marsh. As an environmental photojournalist had to tell this story and report it but had to do with an image that by itself attract attention of the viewer. I discovered this on a low-flying training that caught my attention for its resemblance to the impact of an asteroid on its green waters. (Location: Cardeñas, Andalusia, Spain)

People Winner: “At The Play Ground” by Joel Nsadha

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Photo and caption by Joel Nsadha / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

Bwengye lives in a slum called Kamwokya in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. He cherishes his bicycle more than anything else. He brings it to this playground in the slum every evening where he watches kids playing soccer. (Location: Kampala, Central Region, Uganda)

Honorable Mention: “Overlooking Iraq from Iran” by Yanan Li

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Photo and caption by Yanan Li / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

There are relics left along the Iran-Iraq boarders. A group of Iranian female students play around an abandoned tank. Among them, one girl stands on the tank with her arms open. (Location: Shalamcheh, Khuzestan, Iran)

Honorable Mention: “Hill of Crosses” by Hideki Mizuta

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Photo and caption by Hideki Mizuta / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

There are many hundreds of thousands of crosses, the Hill of Crosses has represented the peaceful resistance of Lithuanian Catholicism to oppression. Standing upon a small hill is the place where many spirits of the dead lives. When I visited this place, a girl in the pink dress ran through as if she brought the peace, hope, love. (Location: Šiauliai, Siauliu Apskritis, Lithuania)

Honorable Mention: “The Game” by Simone Monte

the game

Photo and caption by Simone Monte / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

The game (Altinho) in Ipanema – Rio de Janeiro. (Location: Rio de Janeiro)

Honorable Mention: “Orangutan in The Rain” by Andrew Suryono

Orangutan in The Rain

Photo and caption by Andrew Suryono / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

I was taking pictures of some Orangutans in Bali and then it started to rain. Just before I put my camera away, I saw this Orangutan took a taro leaf and put it on top on his head to protect himself from the rain! I immediately used my DSLR and telephoto lens to preserve this spontaneous magic moment. (Location: Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia)

Honorable Mention: “Changing Shifts” by Mohammed Yousef

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Photo and caption by Mohammed Yousef / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

In Masai Mara, the cubs of the famous cheetah called Malaika became young enough to start hunting. They moved from one hill to another scanning the lands. Here, they seemed to change shifts as one cheetah leaves the hill while the other takes her place. (Location: Masai Mara, Rift Valley, Kenya)

Honorable Mention: “Nothing to Declare” by Lars Hübner

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Photo and caption by Lars Hübner / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

Taiwan – In the countryside, the funerals are usually accompanied by local chapels. When a family member dies, their body is kept in the house, or in a tent built specifically for this purpose. After a set period of time, the deceased, accompanied by a funeral procession is buried. (Location: Douliu, Taiwan, Taiwan)

Honorable Mention: “Acrobat of the Air” by Alessandra Meniconzi

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Photo and caption by Alessandra Meniconzi / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

A flocks of Alpine choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus), mountain-dwelling birds, performs acrobatic displays in the air. I was able, during a windy day, to immortalize their impressive flight skills.

 

Honorable Mention: “Colorful chaos” by Bence Mate

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Photo and caption by Bence Mate / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

White-fronted Bee-eaters getting together on a bough before going to sleep to their burrows, scraped into a sand wall. I was working on this theme for 18 days, as there were only 5-10 minutes a day, when the light conditions were appropriate, 90% of my trying did not succeed. I used flash lights to light only the ones sitting on the branch, and not to the others, flying above. When in the right angle, the backlight generated rainbow colouring through the wings of the flying birds. (Location: Mkuze, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)

Honorable Mention: “Surrealist painting in nature” by Tugo Cheng

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Photo and caption by Tugo Cheng / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest

As the largest mountain ranges in Central Asia, Tian-shan (‘sky-mountain’ in Chinese), has one of the best collections of natural landscapes in the world and is seen by many as a paradise for outdoor adventures. Thanks to the richness of sediments compounded with the power of erosion by rivers flowing down the mountains, the north face of Tian-shan is carved into stunning plateaus and colorful canyons hundreds of meters deep, resulting in this surrealist painting in nature.