The 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Winners

This summer, National Geographic Traveler magazine held their annual photo contest, and received over 18, 000 entries from around the globe. The lucky judges sifted through thousands of beautiful photos, transporting them from underground wonderlands to far-away cultures and dizzying cityscapes.

With a first place prize of an 8-day National Geographic Expedition to Alaska for two, we can see why so many of you sent in photos.

Below are the entry winners – do you agree with the first place pick?

1. Winner, Grand Prize – “The Independence Day”

The 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Winners - Winner Grand Prize - The Independence Day - 1 (Copy)

By: Marko Korošec
Location: Julesburg, Colorado, USA

“While on stormchasing expeditions in the Tornado Alley in the USA, I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching the storm near Julesburg, Colorado, on 28 May 2013. The storm was tornado-warned for more than one hour, but stayed an LP [low precipitation] storm through all its cycles and never produced a tornado, just occasional brief funnels, large hail, and some rain.” – Marko Korošec

2. Second place – “First Time”

The 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Winners - Second Place - First Time - 2 (Copy)

By: Agnieszka Traczewska
Location: Mea Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel

“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.” – Agnieszka Traczewska

3. Third Place – “Diver in Magic Kingdom”

The 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Winners - Third Place - Diver in Magic Kingdom - 3 (Copy)

By: Marc Henauer
Location: Grüner See at Tragöss – Austria

“Green Lake (Grüner See) is located in Tragöss 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.”- Marc Henauer

4. Merit – “Foggy Small Town”

The 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Winner - Merit - Foggy Small Town - 4 (Copy)

By: Duowen Chen
Location: Český Krumlov, South Bohemian, Czech Republic

“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.” – Duowen Chen

5. Merit – “End of the World”

The 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Winners - Merit - End of the world - 5 (Copy)

By: Sean Hacker Teper
Location: Banos, Ecuador
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.” – Sean Hacker Teper

6. Merit – “Ladies In Waiting”

The 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Winners - Merit - Ladies in Waiting - 6 (Copy)

By: Susie Stern
Location: Burough Market, London, England

“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.” – Susie Stern