Winners : National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2014

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Winners : National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2014 1 HAND PLAY

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First Place Winner: The Independence Day Photo and caption by Marko Korosec While on storm chasing expeditions in Tornado Alley in the U.S. I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching a storm near Julesburg, Colorado, on May 28, 2013. The storm was tornado warned for more than one hour, but it stayed an LP [low precipitation] storm through all its cycles and never produced a tornado, just occasional brief funnels, large hail, and some rain. National Geographic Traveler Director of Photography Dan Westergren, one of this year's judges, shares his thoughts on the first-place winner: "This winning photo of a supercell over the plains of eastern Colorado stopped the judges in our tracks. When we first saw the picture we guessed that the photographer probably had dedicated quite a bit of time chasing storms to capture such an amazing sight. But 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." Location: Julesburg, Colorado, USA Category: Outdoor Scenes 2

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Second Place Winner: Mea Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel Photo and caption by AGNIESZKA TRACZEWSKA Mea Shearim, the ultra-Orthodox district of Jerusalem. Newly married couple Aaron and Rivkeh will be alone together for the first time after their wedding ceremony. Their marriage was arranged by their families. The 18-year-olds met once to confirm the choice; since then they have been prohibited to meet or even talk. National Geographic Traveler Director of Photography Dan Westergren, one of this year's judges, shares his thoughts on the second-place winner: "Photography is a powerful tool for showing the ways that people around the world are clearly different but in many ways the same. The Orthodox fur hat and wedding dress are clues that this picture was taken in a very distinctive place. But the smile and laughter of the bride and groom indicate that these are teenagers reacting to a new situation. "When I look at the image I can't help but think about the nature of love and marriage around the world. Here is a scene that in many parts of the world could be a young couple on their first date. Because of the clothes they are wearing I know that this is not a lighthearted encounter but the beginning of a lifelong commitment. Any photograph that can make me think that much deserves to be a winner." Location: Mea Shearim. Jerusalem, Israel Category: Spontaneous Moments 4

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Third Place Winner: Diver in Magic Kingdom Photo and caption by Marc Henauer Green Lake (Gruner See) is located in Tragoss Austria. In spring snowmelt raises the lake level about 10 meters. This phenomenon, which lasts only a few weeks, covers hiking trails, meadows, and trees. The result is a magical diving landscape. National Geographic Traveler Director of Photography Dan Westergren, one of this year's judges, shares his thoughts on the third-place winner: "This shot at first seems like just another diver swimming by underwater. But after viewing it for a few seconds the truth begins to sink in. That is not an aquatic plant! How is it possible for a tree to grow leaves underwater? And that looks like a trail—what creature could create a hiking trail at the bottom of a lake? When we chose this picture we didn't know the particulars of why a view like this exists, but we really wanted to reward the photographer for bringing it to our attention." Location: Gruner See at Tragoss - Austria Category: Outdoor Scenes 6

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Merit Prize Winner: Light Source Photo and caption by Marcelo Castro A young monk finds a perfect light source to read his book inside of his pagoda in Old Bagan, Burma. Location: Old Bagan Category: Sense of Place 8

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Merit Prize Winner: End of the World Photo and caption by sean hacker teper This photo, taken at the 'end of the world' swing in Banos, Ecuador, captures a man on the swing overlooking an erupting Mt. Tungurahua. The eruption took place on February 1st, 2014. Minutes after the photo was taken, we had to evacuate the area because of an incoming ash cloud. Location: Banos, Ecuador Category: Spontaneous Moments 10

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12 Merit Prize Winner: A Well Earned Rest in the Sahara Photo and caption by Evan Cole This photo of Moussa Macher, our Tuareg guide, was taken at the summit of Tin-Merzouga, the largest dune (or erg) in the Tadrat region of the Sahara desert in southern Algeria. Moussa rested while waiting for us to finish our 45-minute struggle to the top. It only took ten minutes of rolling, running, and jumping to get back down. The Tadrat is part of the Tassili N'Ajjer National Park World Heritage area, famous for its red sand and engravings and rock paintings of cattle, elephants, giraffes, and rhinos that lived there when the climate was milder. Category: Sense of Place

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Merit Prize Winner: Divine Makeover Photo and caption by Mahesh Balasubramanian Taken during the Mayana Soora Thiruvizha festival, which takes place every March in the small village of Kaveripattinam the day after Maha Shivarathiri (the great night of Shiva). The festival is devoted to Angalamman, a fierce guardian deity worshipped widely in Southern India. Location: Kaveripattinam, Tamilnadu, India 14

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Merit Prize Winner: Ladies in Waiting Photo and caption by Susie Stern While exploring Burough Market in London, I was delighted to come across four lovely young women dressed in vintage white dresses, eating ice cream as the local shopkeeper looked on. Are they brides? Or bridesmaids. I don't know, but they are obviously enjoying a very special day. Location: Burough Market, London, England 16

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Merit Prize Winner: Foggy, Small Town Photo and caption by Duowen Chen This photo was captured at noon on December 25, 2013, from the castle which is located on the edge of the small town and is the perfect viewpoint for the panorama of the almost intact historical town. The fog and mist suffused and gave the town a sense of mystery. Location: Cesky Krumlov, South Bohemian, Czech Republic Category: Outdoor Scenes 18

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Merit Prize Winner: "Khotso" Peace at Devil's Knuckles Photo and caption by Byron Inggs On arrival at Jonathan's Lodge our horses took to celebrating liberation from their heavy burdens. With the backdrop of "The Devil's Knuckles" and the afternoon's glow, how could I not take advantage of these magnificent creatures rejoicing? This was the end of the first of a three-day horseback ride through Bushman's Nek, up the Drakensberg escarpment and into Lesothos' Sehlabathebe National Park. Location: Jonathans Lodge, Qachas Nek, Sehlabathebe National Park, Lesotho Category: Travel Portraits 20

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Viewer's Choice Winner: Among the Giants Photo and caption by James Eimmerman Capturing a brief moment of wonder and awe during a trip to Sequoia National Forest and the Trail of 100 Giants. Category: Outdoor Scenes 22 8/01/2014 ??? Kaohsiung Taiwan R.O.C All photos were taken from National Geographic THE END