Winners revealed: National Geographic Traveller Photography Competition 2018

With submissions covering the globe, we present the winners from National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2018, in association with Billingham.

By National Geographic Traveller (UK)
Published 4 Apr 2019, 14:44 BST, Updated 17 Feb 2021, 16:11 GMT
National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2018 grand prize winner
National Geographic Traveller (UK) Photography Competition 2018 grand prize winner
Photograph by Renato Granieri


Renato Granieri — South Georgia

Nature category winner: South Georgia
Photograph by Renato Granieri

Renato Granieri: “I was walking through a vast colony of king penguins in South Georgia, looking for inspiration. I decided to focus on intimate behaviour, so I sat on the snow and waited patiently. Two of the penguins came within a few feet of me, and I soon realised I had the opportunity I was looking for. I took a few shots before the pair started chasing each other and disappeared into the throng.”

What the judges said

Chris Hudson, head judge, said, “This entry stood out from the first moment we saw it, probably because of the stark white background that forms the environment in which these penguins live. There is, however, an element of tenderness about it all to contrast this, and in the composition Renato has managed to capture a touching moment with the highest technical and compositional standards.”

Renato wins a six-night wildlife photography adventure in the Carpathian Mountains, courtesy of Tatra Photography


Daniel Burton — Elements

Portfolio category winner: Elements
Photograph by Daniel Burton

Daniel Burton: “My theme is based on the four classical elements of nature (earth, wind, fire and water). The images are designed to be viewed together as a set of four and have been arranged using colour theory, with red/green and yellow/blue diagonally opposite each other as per a colour wheel.”

What the judges said

Teagan Cunniffe, judge and travel photographer, said, “Capturing a series of images with a common thread is difficult. It takes skill and self-awareness to know what makes a strong portfolio.”

The Portfolio winner will experience a twin-centre break in Qatar, staying at the Souq Waqif Boutique Hotel and Banana Island Resort by Anantara.


John White — Lower Manhattan, New York

Urban category winner: Lower Manhattan, New York
Photograph by John White

John White: “I was lucky enough this year to have a work trip to New York. With my one spare day, I headed south from my hotel and just started walking, hoping to see something interesting — I had no idea that practically everything I saw would be photo-worthy, and pretty much fell in love with the city that day. Making my way back from the Williamsburg Bridge, I turned the corner of Elizabeth and Prince, and there it was — this huge dog, hilariously trying over and over again to get its head through the window to sneak a bite of a customer’s meal. I captured the shot just before the dog’s owner turned to get him down.”

What the judges said

Ben Hawkins, judge and group editor at Practical Photography magazine, said, “Great timing, gritty black and white, slapstick comedy — John’s shot has all the hallmarks of classic reportage. Think Cartier-Bresson, Robert Doisneau and Vivian Maier, and you’re in the right ballpark.”


Simon Morris — Western Mongolia

People category winner: Western Mongolia
Photograph by Simon Morris

Simon Morris: “I took this shot while staying with a Kazakh family in Western Mongolia for a week during winter. They hunt with a female golden eagle at this time of year; usually hunting foxes and, very occasionally, wolves. They treat the eagle as part of their family and care deeply for this majestic bird of prey. This image captures what to us seems rather incongruous — the hunter resting at home with his eagle on one side and the family cat on the other.”

What the judges said

Ben Hawkins, judge and group editor at Practical Photography magazine, said “Providing the viewer with a unique glimpse into a life that’s both alien and familiar — we all drink tea with eagles, right? — Simon’s image draws us into the hunter’s world, as all good environmental portraits should.”


Stuart Dunn — Svalbard, Norway

Action category winner: Svalbard, Norway
Photograph by Stuart Dunn

Stuart Dunn: “The temperature was incredibly low, somewhere in the region of -20C. I was attempting to photograph dog sledding using a snowmobile to track ahead of the dogs, which wasn’t working. The problem was that the snowmobile would leave tracks in the snow. In the end, I opted for racing ahead of the dogs and crouching in the snow while they charged towards me. I’d capture a few shots before diving out of the way, so as not to get run down. It was pretty scary, but well worth it.”

What the judges said

Teagan Cunniffe, judge and travel photographer, said, “More than just a fast shutter speed is needed here — great action photographs plunge you into the experience. One can feel the dogs’ exhilaration as they bound towards the camera, shadows forming active lines leading your eye towards the sled.”


Timur Tugalev — Lost in Cuba

Video category winner: Lost in Cuba
Photograph by Timur Tugalev

Timur Tugalev: “The smiles and contagious temperaments of locals I met on my trip felt like the true heart of the island. It’s a place of wonders and legendary colonial cities.”

Watch the full video here

What the judges said

Andy Skillen, judge and wildlife photographer, said, “One of the best things about this excellent short video by Timur (who was the winner of the Video category last year, too) is that, within seconds of it starting, I was utterly gripped by his use of iconic images and style.”

Winners in all categories will receive a Billingham bag. 


Headline sponsor: Billingham 

Prize sponsor: Tatra Photography

Prize sponsor: Visit Qatar


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