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The Most Astonishing Photos That Won Awards In 2015

It's been another year of awe-inspiring and goosebump-inducing photography. Take a look at the best of the best.

National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2015

The travel arm of the National Geographic Society received more than 17,000 entries, with one image making it to the top spot: a spectacular photo of divers suspended in the water as they swim near a humpback whale. It was shot by Anuar Patjane Floriuk, from Mexico, near Roca Partida, an island off the west coast of Mexico.

Titled "Whale Whisperer", Floriuk told National Geographic: “The photo wasn’t planned … I was taking photos near the head of the whale, and all of a sudden she began to swim toward the rest of the diving team. The divers gave the whale and her calf space, and I just clicked at the moment when the flow and composition seemed right.”

Grand Prize – "Whale Whisperer" by Anuar Patjane Floriuk

Second Place – "Gravel Workmen" by Ahmed Al Toqi

Third Place – "Camel Ardah" by Ahmed Al Toqi

Merit – "Kushti, Indian Wrestling" by Alain Schroeder

Merit – "Romania, Land of Fairy Tales" by Eduard Gutescu

Merit – "White Rhinos" by Stefane Berube

Merit – "Highlanders" by Bartłomiej Jurecki

Merit – "Catching a Duck" by Sarah Wouters

Merit – "Sauna in the Sky" by Stefano Zardini

Merit – "A Night at Deadvlei" by Beth McCarley

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2015

Now in its seventh year, the Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomy photo contest received a record number of entries: over 2,700 from 60 countries, across a range of categories.

The overall winner was French photographer Luc Jamet with his picture of the drama of the total solar eclipse of 20 March 2015, 100 metres above the wintry valley of Sassendalen in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard.

Overall Winner – "Eclipse Totality over Sassendalen", by Luc Jamet, France

Runner Up – "Sunderland Noctilucent Cloud Display" by Matt Robinson, UK

Highly Commended – "River of Light" by Martin Campbell, UK

Aurorae category

Winner – "Silk Skies" by Jamen Percy, Australia

Runner-Up – "April Aurora" by Kolbein Svensson, Norway

Highly Commended – "Sumo Waggle Adventure" by Arild Heitmann, Norway

Galaxies category

Winner – "M33 Core" by Michael Van Doorn, Netherlands

Our Sun category

Winner – "Huge Prominence Lift-Off" by Paolo Porcellana, Italy

Runner-Up – "Totality Ends" by David Wrangborg, Sweden

People and Space category

Winner – "Sunset Peak Star Trail", by Chap Him Wong, Hong Kong

Highly Commended – "Interaction" by Tommy Eliassen, Norway

Planets, Comets and Asteroids category

Winner – "The Arrow Missed the Heart" by Lefteris Velissaratos, Greece

Stars and Nebulae category

Winner – "The Magnificent Omega Centauri" by Ignacio Diaz Bobillo, Argentina

Joint Runner-Up – "Orion Mega Mosaic" by Tom O’Donoghue and Olly Penrice, Ireland

Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year category

Winner – "A Celestial Visitor", by George Martin, UK, aged 15

Runner-Up – "Mega Moon" by Ethan Chappel, USA, aged 15

Special Prize: The Sir Patrick Moore Prize for Best Newcomer

Winner – "Orion DT" by David Tolliday, UK

CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year 2015

The CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year competition encourages amateur and professional photographers to capture the essence of the urban environment through the brief of "Cities at Work". This year saw over 21,000 entries from 113 countries.

Oscar Rialubin from the Philippines was named the 2015 winner for his image "Xyclops", which shows a watch repairman at work in Doha, Qatar.

Overall winner – "Xyclops" by Oscar Rialubin, taken in Doha, Qatar

Americas Regional Winner – "Winter Work" by Christopher Martin, taken in Alberta, Canada

Asia-Pacific Regional Winner – "Poultry Prepared for Market" by Peter Graney, taken in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Europe, Middle East and Africa Regional Winner – "Couple Policemen" by Armen Dolukhanyan, taken in Kharkov, Ukraine

Mobile Category

Winner – "Blizzard Days" by Cocu Liu, taken in Chicago, USA

A selection of "Hourly Winners"

"Managing Influence" by Pedro Guimarães Lins Machado, taken in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

"General Compartment" by Sujan Sarkar, taken in Kolkata, India

"Waiting for Tourists" by Grzegorz Piaskowski, taken in Varanasi, India

"Crossroads" by Joshua Charow, taken in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, USA

"Morning Shift" by Jan Košťál, taken in Sitakunda, Chittagong, Bangladesh

"Sumo" by Lukasz Kazimierz Palka, taken in Tokyo, Japan

"Construction on Call" by Geoff Williams, taken in Birmingham New Street Station, UK

"Old School" by Goran Jovic, taken in New York, USA

"Cleaning the Western Wall" by Louis Capeloto, taken in Jerusalem, Israel

"Workers" by SHM Mushfiqul Alam, taken in Dhaka, Bangladesh

"Dog Walker" by Johanna Siegmann, taken in Malibu, California, USA

"In Between Work" by Ankit Narang, taken in New Delhi, India

"Underground" by Mario Pereda Berga, taken in Shinjuku Station, Tokyo

"Wine" by David Martin Huamani Bedoya, taken in Lima, Perú

"Mannequins" by Katia Morichetti, taken in Brescia, Italy

"Oriental Fast Food" by Marcos Sobral, taken in Beijing, China

Sony World Photography Awards 2015

The Sony World Photography Awards announced American photographer John Moore as the overall winner and professional photographer of the year with his photo project “Ebola Crisis Overwhelms Liberian Capital”.

Moore’s hard-hitting series centred on the human tragedy of the Ebola epidemic in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, the epicentre of the deadly disease. Other winners were awarded in 13 professional categories and also in open, youth, and student awards.

Current Affairs Photographer of the Year – "Sister's Grief" by John Moore

Current Affairs Photographer of the Year – "Blue Room" by John Moore

Travel Photographer of the Year – "Aerial Views Adria" by Bernhard Lang

Travel Photographer of the Year – "Aerial Views Adria" by Bernhard Lang

Campaign Photographer of the Year – "Shooting ball" by Sebastian Gil Miranda

Campaign Photographer of the Year – "Ball religion" by Sebastian Gil Miranda

People Photographer of the Year – "La Ville Noire – The Dark Heart of Europe" by Giovanni Troilo

Student Focus Photographer of the Year – "On the way to the edge" by Svetlana Blagodareva

Student Focus Photographer of the Year – "On the way to the edge" by Svetlana Blagodareva

Sport Photographer of the Year – "Las Valkyrias de Bolivia" by Riccardo Bononi

Sport Photographer of the Year – "Las Valkyrias de Bolivia" by Riccardo Bononi

Architecture Photographer of the Year – "Intimate Room, Targsor Penitentiary, Romania, 2011" by Cosmin Bumbut

Architecture Photographer of the Year – "Intimate Room, Tulcea Penitentiary, Romania, 2013" by Cosmin Bumbut

Arts & Culture Photographer of the Year - "Tweeting Prom" by Aristide Economopoulos

Arts & Culture Photographer of the Year – "Dance Floor" by Aristide Economopoulos

Contemporary Issues Photographer of the Year – "Butterflies chapter 3 photo 4" by Scott Typaldos

Contemporary Issues Photographer of the Year – "Butterflies chapter 3 photo 6" by Scott Typaldos

Landscape Photographer of the Year – "Mt Kenya 1934" by Simon Norfolk

Landscape Photographer of the Year – "Mt Kenya 1934" by Simon Norfolk

Lifestyle Photographer of the Year – "Ethnic Yi People Living in the Great Liangshan Mountains of China" by Li Fan

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015

The top spot for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition was taken by a photo of two foxes showing the struggle for life in the subarctic climes of Cape Churchill, Canada, beating more than 42,000 entries submitted from across 96 countries.

Winner – "A tale of two foxes", by Don Gutoski from Canada

Winner, Young Wildlife Photographer – "Ruffs on display" by Ondrej Pelánek from the Czech Republic

Winner, 15-17 years old – "Flight of the scarlet ibis" by Jonathan Jagot from France

Winner, Birds – "The company of three" by Amir Ben-Dov from Israel

Winner, Amphibians and Reptiles – "Still life" by Edwin Giesbers from The Netherlands

Winner, Underwater – "A whale of a mouthful" by Michael AW from Australia

Winner, From The Sky – "The art of algae" by Pere Soler from Spain

Winner, Urban – "Shadow Walker" by Richard Peters from the UK

Winner, Impressions – "Life comes to art" by Juan Tapia from Spain

World Press Photo 2015

The 58th annual World Press Photo Contest was won by Danish photographer Mads Nissen, a staff photographer for the Danish daily newspaper Politiken, represented by Panos Pictures.

Nissen’s picture shows Jon and Alex, a gay couple, during an intimate moment in St Petersburg, Russia. The photo is part of a larger project by Nissen called “Homophobia in Russia”, highlighting the increasing difficulties that lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people face in Russia, including legal and social discrimination, harassment, and even violent hate-crime attacks.

First Prize, Contemporary Issues – Mads Nissen, taken in St. Petersburg, Russia

First Prize, Portraits – Raphaela Rosella, taken in New South Wales, Australia

Second Prize, Daily Life – Åsa Sjöström, taken in Baroncea, Moldova

Second Prize Daily Life, Stories – Sarker Protick, taken in Bangladesh

First Prize, General News – Sergei Ilnitsky, taken in Ukraine

Second Prize, Contemporary Issues – Ronghui Chen, taken in Yiwu, China

Second Prize, Long-Term Projects – Kacper Kowalski

First Prize, Nature, Stories – Anand Varma

Second Prize, Contemporary Issues, Stories – Tomas Van Houtryve

Second Prize Nature Category – Ami Vitale, taken in Lewa Downs, Northern Kenya

First Prize, Long-Term Projects – "Family Love 1993-2014 – The Julie Project" by Darcy Padilla, taken in San Francisco, California

First Prize, General News, Stories – Pete Muller, taken in Freetown, Sierra Leone

Second Prize, General News – Massimo Sestini, taken off the coast of Libya

Second Prize, Spot News, Stories – Jérôme Sessini, taken in Kiev, Ukraine

Second Prize, General News, Stories – Glenna Gordon, taken in Abuja, Nigeria

First Prize, Spot News – Bulent Kilic, taken in Istanbul, Turkey

First Prize, Nature – Yongzhi Chu, taken in Suzhou, Anhui Province, China