The Most Astonishing Photos That Won Awards In 2014
The year did not disappoint for incredible photos of the awesome power of nature and glimpses into the human spirit. Take a look at some of the very best.
National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2014
Over 18,000 pictures were submitted to the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest, including images of ice caves, magical desert views, and intriguing scenes from cultures around the globe.
First place went to Marko Korošec's apocalyptic photo of a storm cloud near Julesburg, Colorado, US (below). National Geographic Traveler director of photography Dan Westergren said: "This winning photo of a supercell over the plains of eastern Colorado stopped the judges in our tracks.
"What makes the picture particularly strong is that except for the cloud, the rest of the scene is quite ordinary. The crazy UFO-looking shape gives the impression that it's going to suck up the landscape like a tablecloth into a vacuum cleaner. The unresolved tension in the image makes me want to look at it over and over."
Grand Prize - "The Independence Day" by Marko Korošec
Second place – "First Time" by Agnieszka Traczewska
Third place – "Diver in Magic Kingdom" by Marc Henauer
Merit – "Foggy Small Town" by Duowen Chen
Merit – "End of the World" by Sean Hacker Teper
Merit – "Ladies in Waiting" by Susie Stern
Merit – "A Well Earned Rest in the Sahara" by Evan Cole
Merit – "Divine Makeover" by Mahesh Balasubramanian
Merit – "Light Source" by Marcelo Castro
Merit – "Khotso Peace at Devil's Knuckles" by Byron Inggs
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2014
Two and a half thousand photos from amateurs and professional photographers were entered into this year's astronomy photography contest, run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
A luminescent aurora photographed in Iceland's Vatnajokull National Park was the overall winner, showing a vivid reflection of the green lights in the waters of the Jokulsrlon Glacier lagoon.
Overall winner – "Aurora Over a Glacier Lagoon" by James Woodend
Winner, Deep Space – "Horsehead Nebula (IC 434)" by Bill Snyder
Winner, Our Solar System – "Ripples in a Pond" by Alexandra Hart
Royal Horticultural Society Photographic Competition 2014
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) sought out the best garden photographer of the year with its annual contest, awarding first place to Alain Jouno for his atmospheric photo of a foggy winter’s morning in the Parc Botanique de Haute Bretagne, Brittany, France.
RHS Photographer of the Year winner – "The Parc Botanique de Haute Bretagne, Brittany" by Alain Jouno
"The View" by Christine Fitzgerald
Highly commended – "Roe Deer in a Bluebell Wood" by Don Hooper
Third place, Seasons – "Bluebell Wood" by David Shandley
Second place, Under 11 – "My Wildlife Picture" by Sara Hussain
Highly commended, Seasons – "Island Mist" by Robert Fulton
CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year 2014
The CBRE photo contest set out to find the most arresting urban images of the year, to "enhance its understanding of the built environment on a global scale by seeing urban areas through different eyes".
German photographer Marius Veith beat off 11,500 entries from 79 countries to claim first prize with his photo of a jeweller arranging her stock.
Overall winner – "Mask of Society" by Marius Veith
Winner, Asia-Pacific – "Net Mending" by Ly Hoang Long
Winner, Age 13–15 – "A Distant Silhouette" by Sarah Scarborough
Winner, Age 16–25 – "Christmas Tram" by Szabolcs Simo
"Morning Massage" by Arunava Bhowmik
"An Exhibition" by Manuel Paz-Castanal
"Sewage Worker" by Sujan Sarkar
Velux Lovers of Light Photography Competition 2014
Roof windows manufacturer Velux set out to celebrate the beauty of daylight in all seasons with this year's instalment of its annual contest. Graham Colling from Bloxwich, West Midlands, UK, won first place with his photo "Early Light" (below), taken while on a morning woodland walk.
Overall winner – "Early Light" by Graham Colling
Second place – "Carousel in the Myst" by Marko Stamatovic
Third place – "Winter Sunrise Over" by Stephen Banks
Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014
Now in its 50th year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition is run by two UK institutions: the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide.
Michael Nichols claimed first prize this year with his photo of the Vumbi lion pride in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Nichols’ image shows five females resting with their cubs, after he’d been following them for nearly six months.
The 51st Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is now open for entries.
Overall winner – "The Last Great Picture" by Michael Nichols
Winner, Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year – "Stinger in the Sun" by Carlos Perez Naval
Winner, Earth's Environments – "Apocalypse" by Francisco Negroni
Winner, World in Our Hands – "The Price They Pay" by Bruno D'Amicis
Finalist, Birds – "Feral Spirits" by Sam Hobson
Finalist, Underwater Species – "Jelly Fireworks" by Geo Cloete
Finalist, Earth's Environments – "Magic Mountain" by David Clapp
Finalist, Birds – "Touché" by Jan van der Greef
2014 National Geographic Photographic Contest
Photographers from over 150 countries entered this year's National Geographic contest, which has three categories: people, places, and nature.
A photo of a packed room lit with ghostly fluorescent light at the marine animal theme park Ocean Park in Hong Kong was this year's overall winner. Photographer Brian Yen said: "I feel a certain contradiction when I look at the picture. On the one hand, I feel the liberating gift of technology. On the other hand, I feel people don’t even try to be neighborly anymore, because they don’t have to."