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Winners revealed: National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition 2016

Our judging panel whittled down over 2,000 entries across seven categories: Action, Nature, People, Urban, Mobile, Video and Portfolio.

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 4 Apr 2019, 14:33 BST, Updated 17 Feb 2021, 16:14 GMT
National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2016 grand prize winner
National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2016 grand prize winner
Photograph by Jeremy Flint, Launton

The level and diversity of photography submitted by our readers continues to amaze, and once again the range of themes is impressive, as is each individual’s take on their subject. Images range from puffins in flight on Skomer Island to leg-rowing fisherman on Inle Lake in Myanmar.

GRAND PRIZE WINNER — Balancing act 

Inle Lake, Myanmar — Jeremy Flint, Launton

Grand prize winner: Inle Lake, Myanmar
Photograph by Jeremy Flint

Jeremy Flint: "A leg-rowing fisherman demonstrates his technique while balancing on one leg. Seen through a cone-shaped fishing net, I wanted to capture a unique view of the fisherman at work. The image shows the incredible paddling skill and amazing sense of balance the fishermen develop at a very young age. The conical nets are submerged in the water and the fish that are caught are speared through a hole at the top."

What the judges said

Jeremy Flint’s image, shot on Inle Lake in Myanmar, features a leg-rowing fisherman — an Intha tradition that dates back to the 12th century. Swhype Media co-founder Andy Greenhouse said of the grand-prize winner’s image, “Jeremy’s picture has symmetry and focus, which resonates with the viewer because the depth of field and sense of peripheral vision is strikingly similar to the human eye. He ‘tells the story’ of a Burmese fisherman in an almost choreographed moment — pairing the beauty of nature with our direct connection to it.”

PORTFOLIO — By the roadside 

Cuba — Alan O’Riordan, London

Portfolio category winner: Cuba
Photograph by Alan O’Riordan

Alan O’Riordan: "I spent 10 days travelling around Cuba in November 2014. For me, the most interesting thing about the country, by a long distance, was its people. I’d wander around places like Havana and Trinidad, approaching people who caught my eye and establishing some sort of connection through my very broken Spanish. Everyone I spoke to was friendly, curious and chatty.

It occurred to me that these interactions were being made possible by the fact that Cubans spend a lot of time outside their houses and places of business, on the street, watching the world go by. This slower pace of life encourages eye contact, a smile and a story exchanged in a remarkably easy manner. 

For me, this is the essence of Cuba and I wanted to capture it through my portraits — before the inevitable change that increased tourism will bring."

What the judges said

“Alan’s outstanding series of portraits are as much about the backdrop as the subject being photographed, but in a good way,” said judge Carol Enquist, the senior photo editor at National Geographic Traveler (US). “As a group, the photographs immediately let us know we’re in Cuba. The striking, colourful settings and revealing details enhance the photographs rather than distracting from the subject. Each image invites you to study the surroundings — a shop with old radios, a market with meagre supplies, and intricate window grates on deteriorating buildings. With a straightforward style, the photographer’s subjects are conscious of the camera but appear natural and relaxed in their environment.”

URBAN — Bird’s-eye view 

Munich, Germany — Stanley Dellimore, London

Urban category winner: Munich, Germany
Photograph by Stanley Dellimore

Stanley Dellimore: "This photo was taken of Olympiapark from the Olympic Tower. I was fascinated by the shapes of Olympia Hall and its scale relative to humans. Luckily, I was there as a concert was finishing, which made the patterns of people leaving quite interesting. A low setting sun exaggerated the movement of shadows along the ground’s surface."

What the judges said 

Alastair Jolly, European manager for SmugMug, explained why this shot is a favourite: “I love how Stanley has composed the image, with the people creating a lovely diagonal through the frame. The monochromatic feel and texture of the shot really attracted me to it. The angle of view also made me feel as though I was looking at some flying insect eating a line of little ants. Great composition.”

PEOPLE — Ice cold

Yamal, Siberia — Simon Morris, Bridgend

People category winner: Yamal, Siberia
Photograph by Simon Morris

Simon Morris: "This image was taken in Yamal, Siberia in winter. The Evenki reindeer herders who live off the reindeer have to work very hard to get by in this harsh landscape. I stayed with this family for two weeks in their small tents and little wooden cabins."

What the judges said

Judge Steve Davey said, “The feeling of cold seeps from this shot, as does the man’s character — even though much of his head is covered. The photographer has placed the point of focus perfectly and brought out the expression of the eyes. With digital, the temptation is to ‘correct’ colour casts on images, but by preserving a blue palette Simon emphasises the harsh conditions. You can almost feel the man shivering.”

NATURE — Animal kingdom

Skomer Island, Wales — David Godfrey, Tonbridge

Nature category winner: Skomer Island, Wales
Photograph by David Godfrey

David Godfrey: "Last July, I took a trip to Skomer Island, off the coast of Pembrokeshire, to see the puffins, with the hope of photographing one in flight. This was taken from a clifftop path. This guy swooped up in front of me for just a moment before parachuting down into his burrow with his sand eel catch to feed the young."

What the judges said

Judge Steve Davey said: “If there was ever a perfect moment to photograph a puffin, it was this one. The photographer has caught the bird perfectly in mid-flight. All the important parts of the image are pin sharp and there’s even eye-contact. Amazing wildlife shot.”

ACTION — Dust cloud

 Bagan, Myanmar — Rachel A Davis, Tayport

Action category winner: Bagan, Myanmar
Photograph by Rachel A Davis

Rachel A Davis: "Waiting for sunset over the temples of Bagan, a farmer drove his cattle across the plain below. The low sunlight caught the dust as they marched, and in a moment they were gone."

What the judges said

Swhype Media co-founder Andy Greenhouse commented on Rachel A Davis's winning Action category image: “Rachel’s shot shows the scale and simplicity of this vast landscape, which rolls on for miles. Almost hidden in its mist are the temples, which pull the viewer further into the context of the moment. You feel like you could walk right into the picture and explore.”


 Lympne, England — Megan Lee, Shadoxhurst

Mobile category winner: Lympne, England
Photograph by Megan Lee

Megan Lee: "At Port Lympne in South East England, my fiance and I were on a safari tour truck and encountered these two zebras watching the turbulent horizon together. It’s intriguing because rather than the familiar within an exotic environment, this shot shows the exotic placed in a familiar environment. My favourite thing about this picture, taken on my iPad 2, is the swishing tails — I was so pleased with how that came out." 

What the judges said

Carol Enquist, of National Geographic Traveler (US), said of Megan Lee’s image: “This photograph makes me smile. The dramatic sky, the crisp detail of the zebras’ markings against the soft green grass, the swooshing tails and the sweep of the landscape all work together to make this photograph a winner.”


Iceland — Martin Kelly, Rochdale

Video category winner: Iceland
Photograph by Martin Kelly

Martin Kelly: "On a road trip around Iceland, here’s a taste of the country’s dramatic landscapes."

Watch Martin's video here



Grand-prize winner: Tanzania

A five-night Serengeti stay for the winner and a guest with luxury travel specialist Carrier and Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti. Includes a wildlife photography lesson from expert Paul Joynson-Hicks.

Photography: Iceland

Tatra Photography will take the winner to its new ‘travelling hotel’ in Iceland for a unique seven-night aurora photography workshop with tutor Mark Bauer.

Portfolio: Vietnam

Experience Travel Group will take the winner and a guest on an eight-day trip to Vietnam. This includes a tour of Hanoi, three nights at Mövenpick Hotel Hanoi, four nights at Mia Resort Nha Trang and flights with Vietnam Airlines.   

Mobile: Abu Dhabi

A four-day luxury holiday on Abu Dhabi’s Sir Bani Yas Island, courtesy of the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas. Includes flights with Etihad Airways. 

Video: Italy

Inghams Italy offers the winner and a guest a three-night trip to Ischia. Staying on a B&B basis in Hotel Excelsior Terme.


theprintspace specialise in archival fine prints and frames. From 3-15 March, its London gallery will display this year's shortlisted images.

The Judges

Alastair Jolly, European manager for SmugMug, a photo-sharing website and image hosting service. 

Steve Davey Freelance travel photographer and writer based in London. 

Carol Enquist, Senior photo editor, National Geographic Traveler (US)

Andy Greenhouse, Co-founder of Swhype Media, a creative motion agency based in London


The winning photos can also be seen in the National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2016 supplement, distributed with the April 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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