Only four eligible, though somewhat abstract, categories were accepted: travel portraits, outdoor scenes, sense of place, and spontaneous moments. Take a look at the winners below.
Grand Prize - "The Independence Day"
Photo and caption by Marko Koroec / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
While on storm chasing expeditions in the Tornado Alley in USA I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching the storm near Julesburg, Colorado on My 28th, 2013. The storm was tornado warned for more than one hour, but stayed an LP storm through all its cycles and never produced a tornado, just occasional brief funnels, large hail and some rain.
AWARD: An 8-day National Geographic Expedition to Alaska for two.
Second Place - "First Time"
Photo and caption by Agnieszka Traczewska / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Mea Shearim, ultra Orthodox district of Jerusalem. Newly married, Aaron and Rivkeh after the wedding ceremony are to stay together for the very first time, alone. Their marriage was arranged by families. 18 years old candidates confirmed the choice in result of the one meeting only. Since then until the wedding day they were prohibited to meet or even talk.
Location: Mea Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel
AWARD: A 5-day National Geographic Photo Workshop for one in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Third Place - "Diver in Magic Kingdom"
Photo and caption by Marc Henauer / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Green Lake (Grner See) is located Tragss Austria. In spring snowmelt raises the lake level about 10 meters. This phenomenon, which lasts only a few weeks covering the hiking trails, meadows, trees. The result is magical to watch diving landscapes.
Location: Grner See at Tragss - Austria
AWARD: A 6-day cruise for two on a Maine windjammer schooner.
***NOTE: Merit winners are in no particular order***
Merit Winner - "Foggy Small Town"
Photo and caption by Duowen Chen / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
This photo was captured at noon, 25.12.2013, 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: esk Krumlov, South Bohemian, Czech Republic
Merit Winner - "End of the World"
Photo and caption by Sean Hacker Teper / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
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
Merit Winner - "Ladies in Waiting"
Photo and caption by Susie Stern / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
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
Merit Winner - "A well earned rest in the Sahara"
Photo and caption by Evan Cole / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
This photo, of Moussa Macher, our Touareg 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 10 minutes of rolling, running and jumping to get 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.
Location: Summit of Tin-Merzouga, Tadrat, Tassili N'Ajjer National Park, Algeria
Merit Winner - "Divine Makeover"
Photo and caption by Mahesh Balasubramanian / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Taken during "The Mayana Soora Thiruvizha" festival takes place every March in the small village of Kaveripattinam, the day after Mahashivarathiri (The great night of Shiva). The festival is devoted to Angalamman, a fierce guardian deity worshipped widely in Southern India.
Location: Kaveripattinam, Tamilnadu, India
Merit Winner - "Khotso Peace at Devil's Knuckles"
Photo and caption by Byron Inggs / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
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 afternoons glow how could i not take advantage of these magnificent creatures rejoicing in the afternoons glow . This was the end of the first of a three day horse back ride through Bushman's Nek, up the Drakensberg escarpment and into Lesothos' Sehlabathebe National Park.
Location: Jonathans Lodge, Qachas Nek, Sehlabathebe National Park, Lesotho
Merit Winner - "LightSource"
Photo and caption by Marcelo Castro / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Young Monk finds a perfect light source to read his book inside of his pagoda - Old Bagan, Burma
Location: Old Bagan
The seven merit winners will receive:
A $200 gift certificate to B&H Photo
A framed print of merit photo, matted and framed by the National Geographic Imaging Lab
The Art of Travel Photography Course on DVD
If you'd like to see more images from Traveler's photo contest, click here to view all the 2014 entries.
Copyright National Geographic Traveler 2014. All photos used with permission.
Which one of these would you like to frame in your home? Let us know in the comments below.