July 22, 2024

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The best travel photographs from around the globe

7 min read

(Image credit: Armand Sarlangue)

Iceland

The winners of the annual International Travel Photographer of the Year were just announced. Here are the most striking images.

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From the morning mist suspended above a lake to the unspoken friendship between a rescued pangolin and her caretaker to a molten galaxy of fire spewing from a volcanic crater, photographs have the power to inspire, captivate and haunt us.

For the past 21 years, amateur and professional photographers from around the globe have been capturing the world’s richness, beauty and diversity through a lens as part of the annual International Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) awards. This year’s competition saw photographers from more than 150 countries submit more than 20,000 images to judges, who have just announced the winning shots. 

Here is a selection of the winning images, along with a few words from the photographers. The winning photos will also be displayed at The Photography & Video Show in Birmingham, England, from 16-19 March.

(Credit: AndreJa Ravnak)

Travel photographer of the year: AndreJa Ravnak (near Pienza, Italy)

“Early in the spring, the first rains allow wheat to grow in the rolling fields. Due to the cold nights, the landscape is often shrouded in beautiful mists on clear mornings during this period. This agricultural landscape is sparsely populated, with land being used to its fullest potential. Farms are located on the top of individual hills.”

(Credit: AndreJa Ravnak)

Travel photographer of the year: AndreJa Ravnak (South Moravia, near Kyov, Czech Republic)

“In early spring, the soil is still too cold for growth. An interesting pattern occurred while a new orchard was planted on the slope of the hill, making the scene very abstract.”

(Credit: Caden Shepard Choi)

(Credit: Caden Shepard Choi)

Young travel photographer of the year winner overall: Caden Shepard Choi, USA, age 14, (Chinle, Arizona, USA)

“The sheep are herded back to their pen at the entrance of the canyon. They walk through a dust cloud formed by the steady kick of their hooves. The sheep are initially reluctant to enter the mouth of the canyon, but when returning home, they show no resistance. After a long day steering sheep, the two herding dogs now playfully trail behind.”

(Credit: Caden Shepard Choi)

(Credit: Caden Shepard Choi)

Young travel photographer of the year winner overall: Caden Shepard Choi, USA, age 14, (Chinle, Arizona, USA)

“The women dived for hours. I followed them with my lens as they disappeared and reappeared from the sea, the only constant was their orange buoys. I took this image of a Haenyeo just as she plunged back into the ocean with perfect form, as if it were her first dive of the morning. Yellow flippers in the air and a small splash create the foreground. The sea appears so unperturbed around the Haenyeo. In the distance, waves crash over strips of volcanic rock. A light fog rolls in, veiling parts of a small island in the background. The clouds loom mysteriously overhead.”

(Credit: Lilly Zhang)

Young travel photographer of the year (15-18 age group): Lilly Zhang, age 17 (Exton, Pennsylvania, USA)

“Gold mist is suspended on the still lake surface, and amid this dreamy scene is the coexistence of a fisherman and a duck. Seeing this unlikely duo at Marsh Creek State Park, I knew that I had to capture the scene in a photo.”

(Credit: Matthew Armett)

Joint runner-up young travel photographer of the year (15-18 age group): Matthew Armett, age 18 (Solomon’s Temple, Buxton, United Kingdom)

“The moon lined up with the silhouette of Solomon’s temple and one of my friends for scale. It was a challenge to get the line up just right, but it was all the more satisfying once I’d captured this shot with the setting moon.”

(Credit: Arthur Cech)

Joint runner-up young travel photographer of the year (15-18 age group): Arthur Cech, age 15 (Ifrane National Park, Morocco)

“These wild monkeys climb freely on the majestic Atlas cedars in the Moroccan Middle Atlas and it’s just great to spend hours and hours watching them. I tried to capture the special atmosphere of the forest and the life of the monkeys: calm, peaceful, cosy, familiar.”

(Credit: Zayan Durrani)

Young photographer of the year (14 years and under): Zayan Durrani, age 14 (Litli-Hrutur volcano, Iceland)

“My father and I took a trip to Iceland to visit an ongoing volcanic eruption. I was able to witness the formation of new earth right in front of my eyes. We hiked for 10 miles through rough, mountainous hills and desert, never stopping to rest, just so that we could reach the eruption before it became dark. We were in a race against time because a thick, noxious fog was rolling in and we were told that we would have to evacuate the area. I finally got up close to the fiery eruption. I was able to capture this picture using a drone.”

(Credit: Armand Sarlangue)

(Credit: Armand Sarlangue)

Landscape and environment portfolio winner: Armand Sarlangue (Svinafellsjokull, Iceland)

“This 360-degree panorama was captured with a drone. It shows the whole path of glacial waters, from the Skaftafellsjokull glacier, to the glacial lake, to the glacial river, then to the ocean in the background.”

(Credit: Tim Bird)

Landscape and environment portfolio runner-up: Tim Bird (Obama Onsen, Nagasaki prefecture, Japan)

“The onsen (hot springs) in and around the town of Obama Onsen in the Nagasaki prefecture in Japan are often wrapped in a steamy cloud. These landscaped gardens near the springs were magically obscured by sudden snow flurries. I had to shoot fast – my camera wasn’t weather-proof, and the snow didn’t cling for long. A fleeting, delicate image…”

(Credit: Kasuaki Koseki)

Landscape and environment portfolio commended: Kasuaki Koseki (Lake Shirakawa, Iide Town, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan)

“For a period from the end of winter to early summer, Lake Shirakawa is filled with water from melting snow and a ‘submerged forest’ appears. The water in the lake changes colour between light blue and light green, and mist, combined with the reflections which look like a submerged forest create a fantastic landscape. In March, Lake Shirakawa, covered with deep snow, was changing little by little. It was a beautiful morning wrapped in mist and light. A beautiful light shone through the misty trees for a short time.”

(Credit: Sam Turley)

Nature, wildlife and conservation portfolio runner-up: Sam Turley (Wild is Life Sanctuary, Harare, Zimbabwe)

“Every day, Mateo and Marimba the pangolin walk together in search of termites and ants. If Mateo can see that Marimba is struggling to dig through the hard soil, he will often help her out and provide her with an easy meal. Marimba, a ground pangolin, was around a year old when her mother was poached for her scales. Marimba was simply too young to fend for herself and so the decision was made to take her to Wild is Life Sanctuary in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she met her full-time caretaker, Mateo. Pangolins are notoriously difficult to look after in captivity, requiring particular and personal care. Mateo’s gentle nature seemed like a perfect fit, and a remarkable relationship was born. Marimba and Mateo have spent ten hours a day together for the past 13 years, and it shows – they are inseparable. Many attempts have been made to rewild Marimba, but she always finds a way back to Mateo who refers to her as his last-born child.”

(Credit: Roie Galitz)

Nature, wildlife and conservation portfolio highly commended: Roie Galitz (Tarangire National Park, Tanzania)

“The Last Embrace: a young female lioness feeds on a dead female elephant. This is a huge feast for the entire pride, that will provide them with nutritional intake while the surrounding environment of Tarangire National Park suffers from draught. For predators each meal is a huge and risky battle. This series shows four mammalian predators from four continents, facing the same challenges as the climate changes.”

(Credit: Athanasios Maloukos)

(Credit: Athanasios Maloukos)

People and cultures portfolio winner: Athanasios Maloukos (Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia)

“Shaman Aleksandr in an ice cave by the cliffs of Olgoi Island. Ice caves are considered the refuges of the middle-world spirits where humans live, while the ‘upper world’ is reserved for good deities and the ‘lower world’ for the dark forces.”

(Credit: Jack Lawson)

Best single image in a people and cultures portfolio winner: Jack Lawson (Lagos, Nigera)

“Four members of The Special Eagles, Nigeria’s national amputee football team, stand looking out into the ocean at a day on the beach.”

(Credit: Sun Bin)

Special mention: Sun Bin (Zhuomulang Village, Yunnan, China)

“[The] Yi family in their centuries-old house.”

(Credit: Shyjith Onden Cheriyath)

(Credit: Shyjith Onden Cheriyath)

Special mention: Shyjith Onden Cheriyath (Al Qusais Cattle Market, Dubai, UAE)

“Camels are a vital part of the culture and economy in the United Arab Emirates, and ensuring their proper nutrition is crucial. Camel feed mixing at the Al Qusais Cattle Market involves the blending of various ingredients to create a balanced and nutritious diet for the camels. This process takes into account the specific dietary needs of camels, which often includes a combination of grains, legumes, hay and other essential nutrients.

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