Volcanoes, sunsets and glaciers: 18 epic images from National Geographic's photo contest

Photographers from around the world capture the planet's beauty, from the beaches of Ireland to Iceland’s steaming geysers

National Geographic Traveller has announced the winners of its 2021 Photography Competition, with a portfolio of aerial images shot in Iceland claiming the top prize.

Captured on several small aircraft trips taken during summer and autumn, Andro Loria's Iceland series was deemed the overall winner in the competition. Loria's striking collection depicts deserts, volcanoes, glaciers, mountains, coastlines, rivers and lakes.

“What an incredible selection of landscapes, mixing abstract swirling colours with frozen geyser-filled vistas that are at once cohesive and distinct,” said the judges.

The travel publication's annual awards aim to highlight the best photography from around the world across six categories.

“From the abstract and mesmerising overhead shots taken from drones and airplanes to studied portraits of people and wildlife, together these images capture human behaviour, changing landscapes and nature’s beauty in a way that resonates with the National Geographic brand,” said Pat Riddell, editor of National Geographic Traveller in the UK.

A lone rabbit took the top spot in the always-popular wildlife category. Captured by photographer Mitchell Lewis in London's Richmond Park, the backlit image highlights the creature's delicate features.

In the Food and Travel category, photographers were invited to tell the story of a destination through its food culture.

Nic Crilly-Hargrave's Stallholders ready the catch for market in Veracruz, Mexico was deemed the best in the category.

“I took this image early one morning in a warehouse behind Veracruz market – it’s where meat is prepared and deliveries are unloaded, so it’s a hectic place to shoot," Crilly-Hargrave said. "It’s a race against time to get everything ready before shoppers arrive, so everyone’s pretty focused – but I spotted this moment of companionship between two men as they gutted fish. When they saw I’d taken their picture, one pointed to the other, uttering one word: ‘brother'.”

It is perhaps the people we meet on our travels who have the biggest impact on our experiences of the world, and the winning image in the People category depicts a lonely ice fisherman sheltering from the elements. Called Ice fishing on the frozen sea in Hokkaido, Japan, it was captured by Claire Waring.

“The angle is also fantastic, as it shows not just him fishing but the tools of his trade,” said the judges.

Other winning images include Clara Dip Wan Cheung's The Veles e Vents building in Valencia, Spain, in the Urban category, and Ozgun Ozdemir's Marble Hill Beach in Donegal, Ireland, which took the top spot in the Landscape category.

Updated: October 7th 2021, 1:22 PM