NatGeos Travel Photography Contest Is Dripping With Wanderlust

For travel photographers, adventure is a day job. Their workflow includes wandering around the world in search of beauty, culture and all the wild things in between.

And National Geographic’s 2016 Travel Photographer of the Year Contest highlights just how lucky (and talented!) these photographers are. 

From Hong Kong’s dense glittering cities to the empty roads that creep along Moroccan cliffs, these photos have renewed our sense of wanderlust.

Below, scroll through a selection of submissions and captions written by the photographers for a healthy dose of travel inspiration. And, if you’re so inclined, dust off your cameras and passports — the contest is still accepting submissions until May 27.

  • South Georgia Islands
    Shivesh R.
    Title:Peaks & Penguins in Antarctic Sunrise

    “Stunning peaks and thousands of King Penguins on South Georgia in soft early sunrise. The photography challenge was to resist shooting only penguinclose-ups (very tempting for sure) and 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 in Nov 1915, precipitating his epic traverse of South Georgia, before finding help at nearby Stromness (a year later).”

  • Jejri, Maharashtra, India
    Aashit Desai
    Title: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 arrive 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 color of the turmeric.”

  • Boumalne, Souss-Massa-Draa, Morocco
    Angiolo Manetti
    Title: Winding Roads

    “In the Gorges du Dades there are some breathtaking bends between walls of rock.”

  • Hong Kong
    Julia Wimmerlin
    Title: Digital Panel of Hong Kong

    “This amazing stacked architecture of Hong Kong shows the housing of its rather dense population. It’s visually striking to understand that your whole horizon is built from people’s lit windows. It shocks you that each life — so big and important to the person himself and his close circle — looks just like a tiny star in a huge sky next to millions of the same stars.”

  • Haugen, Svalbard, Svalbard and Jan Mayen
    Ari Ross
    Title: 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.”

  • Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
    Sirsendu Gayen
    Title: 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.”

  • Longsheng, Guangxi Zhuangzu Zizhiqu, China
    Karen Morris-Lanz
    Title: Timeless Lunch

    “l was invited into the home of my guide and I stayed for lunch. This picture for me captures the comfortable relationship between the husband and wife and a thoughtful moment.”

  • Biei, Hokkaido, Japan
    Hiroki Inoue
    Title: Wherever You Go, I Will Follow You!!

    “Romance is in the air. It was the time of day immediately following sunset. I heard a voice. ‘Wherever you go, I will follow you,’ the voice says.”

  • Saint-Denis, Runion Island
    Gaby Barathieu
    Title:La Fournaise Volcano

    “The last eruption of LA Fournaise Volcano.”
  • Okavango Delta, Botswana, Africa
    Marja Schwartz
    Title:Lioness @ Sunset

    “Lioness, Panthera leo, at sunset in the Vumbura Concession.”

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