Capturing Earth at its most vivid: The stunning pictures taking top prize in this year’s National Geographic Traveler contest

ByDM

The annual National Geographic Traveler photo contest asks photographers, both amateur and professional, to submit their most moving, shocking and all-around exquisite photos from every corner of the globe.

The 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest was the competition’s 27th year and the methods of photography used by the winners below have evolved considerably since the contest began.

This year’s winning photo was taken off the cost of Mexico and showed a humpback whale diving with her new born calf cruising around Roca Partida Island, in Revillagigedo.

The picture that came second depicted . Three gravel workmen are looking through the window glass at their working place. Taken in Chittagong, Bangladesh

Entries posted on National Geographic’s gallery of top images included captivating shots taken with drones, cell phones as well as more traditional methods. Each capturing Earth at its most vivid.

This year, the grand prize is an eight-day National Geographic Photo Expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two.

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First place: Diving with a humpback whale and her new born calf while they cruise around Roca Partida Island, in Revillagigedo, Mexico. This is an outstanding and unique place full of pelagic life so we need to accelerate the incorporation of this islands into UNESCO as natural heritage site in order to increase the protection of the islands against the prevailing illegal fishing corporations and big game fishing

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Romania, Land of Fairy Tales: Whitefrost over Pestera village in Romania

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Catching a duck:Two boys are trying to catch a duck at the stream of the waterfall. Nong Khai Province, Thailand

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Sauna in the Sky: A sauna at 2.800 mt high, in the heart of Dolomites. Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps

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White Rhinos: The night before this photo, we tried all day to get a good photo of the endangered white rhino. Skulking through the grass carefully trying to stay 30 feet away to be safe, didn’t provide me the photo I was hoping for. In the morning however, I woke up to all three rhinos grazing infront of me at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Uganda

See also: These 18 Incredibly Rare Historical Photos Will Leave You Speechless

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Runner-up: Gravel crush working place remains full of dust and sand. Three gravel workmen are looking through the window glass at their working place. Taken in Chittagong, Bangladesh

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A Night at Deadvlei: The night before returning to Windhoek, we spent several hours at Deadveli. The moon was bright enough to illuminate the sand dunes in the distance, but the skies were still dark enough to clearly see the milky way and magellanic clouds. Deadveli means ‘dead marsh.’ The camelthorn trees are about 900 years old, but have not decomposed because the environment is so dry

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Highlanders: Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to sort the hay

Capturing Earth at its most vivid
Kushti, Indian Wrestling: Wearing only a well-adjusted loincloth (langotâ), wrestlers or Pelwhansâ enter a pit made of clay, often mixed with salt, lemon and ghee (clarified butter). At the end of a workout, wrestlers rest against the walls of the arena covering their heads and bodies with earth to soak up any perspiration and avoid catching cold. This relaxation ceremony is completed with massages to soothe tired muscles and demonstrate mutual respect

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Third place: (Camel Ardah) As it called in Oman, its one of the traditional styles of camel racing between two camels controlled by expert men, the faster camel is the loser one, so they must be running by the same speed level in the same track

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