WASHINGTON (July 31, 2014)—Selected from more than 18,000 entries, a photograph of a dramatic storm cloud, taken by Marko Korošec of Sežana, Slovenia, has won the 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest grand prize. Korošec will receive an eight-day National Geographic Expedition to Alaska’s Inside Passage for two aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion or the National Geographic Sea Bird. Shot near Julesburg, Colorado, the winning photo is titled “The Independence Day,” because the spaceship-like cloud formation reminded Korošec of the 1996 movie.
“It’s such a beautiful structure created by Mother Nature and dangerous at the same time,” Korošec said. “I decided to submit this photo because it does look kind of surreal and gives a feeling of how small we are against nature.”
Agnieszka Traczewska of Krakow, Poland, placed second for her photo, “First Time.” She will receive a five-day National Geographic Photography Workshop for one in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The third-place photo, “Diver in Magic Kingdom,” was made by Marc Henauer of Geneva, Switzerland. He wins a six-day cruise for two on a Maine windjammer schooner. Seven merit-prize winners will receive a print of their photo, matted and framed by the National Geographic Imaging Lab, a $200 gift certificate to B&H Photo and “The Art of Travel Photography” course on DVD from National Geographic and The Great Courses. All of the winning photos may be viewed online on the Traveler Photo Contest website.
“Each year our entrants up the ante. Each year the quality of photos improves. Every day I checked the new posts and sent my favorites — and there were many — out on Facebook and Twitter,” said Keith Bellows, National Geographic Traveler magazine editor-in-chief and National Geographic Travel senior vice president. “What started as a contest that consisted of judging a relative handful of prints has grown into a digital colossus that has the staff energized around picking from a treasure trove of excellence.”
This year’s contest received over 18,000 entries from photographers around the world. Contestants submitted photographs in four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. Judging consisted of two rounds of evaluation based on creativity and photographic quality. Several of the judges will participate in a Google+ Hangout On Air on
Aug. 4, 2014, at 11 a.m. EDT to share a behind-the-scenes look at the contest. They will be joined by some of the winners to discuss what makes an award-winning shot.
As grand-prize winner, Korošec will embark on Alaska’s Inside Passage, a voyage by small expedition ship into the remote wilderness of southeastern Alaska to discover remarkable wildlife with a team of expert naturalists. The expedition is provided by National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the National Geographic Society, which offers a variety of trips all over the world, from active adventures and family trips to photography workshops and classic train journeys.
About National Geographic Travel
National Geographic Travel is the travel arm of the National Geographic Society, one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations, founded in 1888. National Geographic Travel creates, discovers and showcases meaningful and engaging travel experiences through National Geographic Traveler magazine; National Geographic Expeditions; travel books; maps; apps; digital travel content; the Adventure website; and travel photography programs. National Geographic Traveler (eight issues per year) is the world’s most widely read travel magazine and has 14 international editions. It is available by subscription, on newsstands in the United States and Canada, and digitally for tablets. National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the Society, offers a variety of unique travel experiences led by top experts to more than 60 destinations across all seven continents. Travel opportunities include family and student expeditions, active adventures, private jet trips and voyages on the six expedition ships in the National Geographic-Lindblad fleet, as well as photography workshops, expeditions and seminars. The National Geographic Travel digital group offers inspiring and authoritative digital travel and adventure content such as trip ideas, photo galleries, blogs and apps. National Geographic Travel Books bring readers curated travel advice and inspiration. Follow National Geographic Travel on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.