Winners revealed: National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition 2017

We are excited to showcase the best entries from the annual National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition.

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 4 Apr 2019, 14:40 BST, Updated 17 Feb 2021, 16:12 GMT
National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2017 grand prize winner
National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2017 grand prize winner
Photograph by Dunluce Castle

Having whittled down nearly 2,000 entries across six categories, we’re excited to present the best images and videos from National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2017, in partnership with CEWE PHOTOBOOK. With submissions covering the globe — from Kyrgyzstan to Mexico — here are this year’s illustrious finalists and well-deserved winners


Rashid Khaidanov — Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

Nature category winner: Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland
Photograph by Rashid Khaidanov

Rashid Khaidanov: “At County Antrim’s Dunluce Castle, I had to move very quickly because the last train home left me little time. I found a very narrow rock with enough room for a tripod and just enough space to stand close to the camera, with a sharp fall just behind me. While I quickly changed the filters and took pictures, I was so caught up in the moment I forgot about the drop and didn’t notice the cloudy sky. I went home disappointed that I hadn’t come away with a better shot, but when I inserted the memory card into the computer later, I saw this image. Suddenly, I remembered why this is one of my favourite places in Northern Ireland.”

What the judges said

National Geographic Traveller art editor, Chris Hudson, said, “Rashid’s image was the judges’ favourite across all of the categories. He’s managed to capture an amazing level of detail and light, in a brooding composition that showcases the rugged landscape and its exposure to the sea.”


Marco Pozzi — Jaipur, India

People category winner: Jaipur, India
Photograph by Marco Pozzi

Marco Pozzi: “I’m fascinated by people going about their daily life in their own environment. Being at the train station is a key moment for many people and a second-class carriage is where one can better appreciate the adaptive nature of the locals. I spent two mornings going from one train to the other at Jaipur, in Northern India, and these men willingly let me take their photo. I find people are generally very generous, curious and helpful. This is the result.”

What the judges said

Matty Graham, judge and former managing editor of Digital Photo Magazine, said, “People pictures aren’t always about smiles. Marco’s image invites the viewer to question the subject’s situation. Why the sober expression? Why the bars on the window? At times like this, the photographer usually has just a few moments to line up a candid composition and Marco did well to keep the subject’s eyes pin-sharp. A considered edit has ensured even and balanced tones within the frame that catch the eye without being over-saturated.”


David Candlish — Singapore

Action category winner: Singapore
Photograph by David Candlish

David Candlish: “This man is one of a troupe of fire breathers who deliver a breathtaking performance. For 20 minutes I stood mesmerised by their display, shooting photo after photo. I’d never seen such an athletic, intense show. Because the action is so fast and furious, I knew getting a good shot would be a little hit and miss, but this conjures the feeling of an exotic, primal experience.”

What the judges said

Judge Matty Graham said, “There’s a saying in photography: ‘If your image isn’t interesting enough, get closer!’ David’s photo places the viewer so close to the incendiary action you can almost feel the heat and chaos of this incredibly well-executed capture. With images like this, there’s no second chance to get the timing right, but David has kept a cool head and achieved a balanced composition.”


Ben Goodwin — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Urban category winner: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Photograph by Ben Goodwin

Ben Goodwin: “It was the end of a long day of sightseeing and I’d reached the top of Corcovado, only to be greeted by thick cloud as far as the eye could see. After a couple of hours waiting, between rain showers and with the light fading, I’d almost given up hope of seeing the classic vista across to Sugarloaf Mountain. Suddenly, the clouds parted to reveal Rio de Janeiro in all its glory — and then it was gone again.”

What the judges said

Neil Freeman, judge, photographer and training manager at Nikon, said of the winning image: “I really like the use of light and the composition of this image. The shadow created by the Christ the Redeemer statue gives a different view of a classic scene.”


Miguel de Freitas — Nambiti Game Reserve, South Africa

Portfolio category winner: Nambiti Game Reserve, South Africa
Photograph by Miguel de Freitas

Miguel de Freitas: “It was early morning when our game ranger informed us of mating activity among a pride of lions. When we found them, a sudden torrential downpour brought a halt to the lions’ activity, but created a different photographic opportunity. The big cats were completely exposed to the elements, with no nearby shelter on offer. Camera at the ready, it was only a matter of time before they would do what they could to keep themselves dry.” 

What the judges said

Jael Marschner, judge and former photo editor of Time Out said, “Each image is striking and strong on its own, but as a portfolio series this tells a story and shows that Miguel has a talent for composition and an eye for capturing the perfect moment.”


Timur Tugalev — Lost in Kyrgyzstan

Video category winner: Lost in Kyrgystan
Photograph by Timur Tugalev

Timur Tugalev: “The seams of the mountains of Kyrgyzstan, drawn by a gentle black pencil and the white sands that embrace alpine lakes lashed by the September breeze create a magnificent sight that leaves you breathless.”

What the judges said

“Lost in Kyrgyzstan is a beautiful portrait of a broadly unseen country,” said judge Andy Greenhouse of Swhype Media. “Magnificent aerial drone shots and time-lapse footage record its striking landscape, punctuated with snippets of culture and animals. The precise editing and sweet sound mix work perfectly to tell a visual story.”

Watch Timur's video here


In association with: CEWE PHOTOBOOK

Prize sponsor: Manfrotto

Prize sponsor: Rickshaw Travel

Prize sponsor: Tatra Photography

Photography exhibition at: Intrepid Travel

The winning photos can also be seen in the National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2017 supplement, distributed with the April 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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