The Winners of National Geographic’s Photographer of the Year are Nothing Short of Amazing

Moments from around the world

An early morning hike in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China brought Anthony Lau the opportunity to capture this year’s winning photo for the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest.

Lau was on his way back to his hotel for breakfast when he and his travel buddies came across a team of horsemen showing off their skills.

“The snow was getting heavier, the wind was getting stronger, the morning snow was getting thinner and the light was moving away from its optimal position. I knew I only had a couple of shots to get the best out of this encounter. With a bit of luck, one of my final attempts managed to capture the moment when one of the riders charged out from the morning mist along with his horses.”

The result is a captivating photograph titled, “Winter Horseman”.

Check out the other remarkable winning photos and honourable mentions from 2016’s National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest below:

Grand Prize
Winter Horseman – Anthony Lau
“The Winter in Inner Mongolia is very unforgiving. At a freezing temperature of minus twenty and lower with constant breeze of snow from all direction, it was pretty hard to convince myself to get out of the car and take photos. Not until I saw Inner Mongolia horsemen showing off their skills in commanding the steed from a distance, I quickly grab my telephoto lens and capture the moment when one of the horseman charged out from morning mist.”

Nature First Place
Wherever you go, I will follow you!! – Hiroki Inoue
“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.”

Cities First Place
Ben Youssef – Takashi Nakagawa
“Even though there were a lot of people in Ben Youssef, still here was more quiet and relaxing compare to the street outside in Marrakesh. I was waiting for the perfect timing to photograph for long time.”

Nature Second Place
Double trapping – Massimiliano Bencivenni
“Picture taken in the Brazilian Pantanal… when I downloaded the CF did not want to believe it …. The nature knows we always give magnificent events but sometimes extraordinary”

People Second Place
Rooftop Dreams, Varanasi – Yasmin Mund
“I arrived at my guest house in Varanasi at 5:30am, I instinctively climbed the 7 sets of stairs to the rooftop (which happened to be the highest in the vicinity) to see the sunrise over the famous Ganges River. As the sun was rising I looked over the right hand side of the balcony and my jaw dropped with disbelief. Below were families – mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sister and dogs all sleeping on the top of their houses. It was mid summer in Varanasi and sleeping sans AC was difficult.”

Cities Second Place
Silenced – Wing Ka H
“This photo was taken on my last trip to Guangzhou, China. This place is a school dormitories of South China Normal University. When I was hanging around, most of them were taking a break. After the lunch time, they need to go back to study. The dormitories were smelly and messy.”

Nature Third Place
Lagunas Baltinache (Atacama Desert) – Victor Lima
“The Baltinache Ponds, also called Hidden Ponds are a set of seven salt ponds located in the area of the Salt Cordillera, near San Pedro de Atacama, in the second region of northern Chile, in the Atacama desert. After much research, I believe to be the first photographer to publish night photos of this place, but it is still necessary to confirm this information. Tech Details: Photography done in one shot. Foreground was illuminated by the moonlight.”

People Third Place
Remote life at -21 degree – Mattia Passarini
“Kinnaura tribal old women in remote village in Himachal Pradesh carrying big log back home to warm up her house”

Cities Third Place
Celestial Reverie – Jeremy Tan
“Lightning seemingly strikes Komtar Tower, the most iconic landmark of George Town, capital of Penang state in Malaysia. It is symbolic of the rejuvenation that the city, famous for a unique blend of centuries-old buildings and modern structures, has enjoyed in recent years. While many of its old neighbourhoods fell into neglect in the 1990s and early 2000s, UNESCO World Heritage listing in 2008 sparked a transformation, and today, they are all part of a vibrant tourist destination.”

People Honorable Mention
Muscle Beach Gym – Dotan Saguy
“A weightlifter lifts a barbell loaded with heavy plates while a bodybuilder performs an aerial handstand at the Muscle Beach Gym in Venice Beach, CA.”

Cities Honorable Mention
Divide – Kathleen Dolmatch
“In the helicopter looking south on Central Park West – dividing the architecture and Central Park, on November 5th 2014, a day before my 27th birthday. The flight was my birthday gift.”

Nature Honorable Mention
Bears on a Berg – John Rollins
“This photo was taken far out on the sea ice in the Davis Straight off the coast of Baffin Island. This mother polar bear and her yearling are perched atop a huge snow covered iceberg that got “socked in” when the ocean froze over for the winter. To me, the relative “smallness” of these large creatures when compared to the immensity of the iceberg in the photo represents the precariousness of the polar bear’s reliance on the sea and sea ice for its existence.”