National Geographic recently announced the winners of their annual Travel Photographer of the Year contest.
This year, the winning photograph was selected from over 15,000 entries from photographers in more than 30 countries.
Mexican photographer, Sergio Tapiro Velasco took the title of the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year for an incredible image he shot in 2015.
In his winning photograph, Velasco captured Mexico’s Colima Volcano, one of Latin America’s most active volcanoes.
He said: “I was in the town of Comala when I suddenly saw incandescence above the volcano’s crater and started shooting. Seconds later, a powerful volcanic explosion expelled a cloud of ash particles and a massive lightning bolt illuminated most of the dark scene. It was one of the most exciting moments of my life.”
Velasco also told the magazine that when he took the image, all he could do was stare.
“What I was watching was impossible to conceive, the image showed those amazing forces of nature interacting on a volcano, while the lightning brightened the whole scene. It’s an impossible photograph and my once in a lifetime shot that shows the power of nature.”
You can explore more winning photos in this year’s National Geographic best travel photo contest over here:
Honorable Mention, Nature: In a remote village in the Tamba region of Japan, twinkling fireflies light up the Forest of the Gods on a summer evening.
Honorable Mention, Nature: The Marble Caves of Patagonia.
People’s Choice Winner, Nature. A buff-tailed coronet feeds on flower nectar in the Ecuadorian forest, a paradise for hummingbirds.
Second Place Winner, People. A crowd of spectators stand in front of Rembrandt’s masterpiece, Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild, at Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
Third Place Winner, People. Under the Wave:
Third Place Winner, Cities. In Norway’s Lofoten Islands, the Henningsvær football field is considered one of the most amazing in Europe. This photo was taken during a sailing trip from Tromsø to the Lofoten Archipelago.
First Place Winner, People. Beams of light filter through a historic building in Konya, Turkey.
Honorable Mention, Nature. Mount Bromo, a small but active volcano on East Java, Indonesia.
Honorable Mention, People. The man’s stare:
Honorable Mention, People. A father and son dressed in traditional white clothing sit at a mosque in New Delhi, India, under a blue sky on Eid al-Fitr, the conclusion of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
This feature also appeared on TheSouthAfrican.com