Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

For the 25th annual photo contest, National Geographic Traveler

magazine received more than 15,500 entries from skilled photographers

from around the globe. Taken in locations ranging from Brazil to Kenya,

the winning pictures show everything from quiet landscapes to surprising

moments. Here are the winning images.

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

First Place: Dig me river  - I was in Manaus/Amazon during the Brazilian Aquathlon (swimming and running) championship in . This river is called Rio Negro (Black River) due to water color. Rio Negro is the largest left tributary of the Amazon, the largest blackwater river in the world. While the name Rio Negro means Black River, its waters aren't exactly black; they are similar in color to strong tea. The dark color comes from humic acid from incomplete breakdown of phenol. I photographed it from the water and my lens got completely wet, but there was so energy in this boys that I just didn't worry about that.

Photo and caption by Wagner Araujo/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

Second Place: Thunderstorm at False Kiva  - I hiked out to these ruins at night hoping to photograph them with the milky way, but instead a thunderstorm rolled through creating this dramatic image.

Photo and caption by Max Seigal/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

Third Place: Say cheese  - Cheetahs jumped on the vehicle of tourists in Masai Mara national park, Kenya.

Photo and caption by Yanai Bonneh/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

 Merit: The TataHonda sect  - The photographer could get inside of an enclosed sect named Tatahonda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ladies are preparing for their religious ceremony.

Photo and caption by Hideyuki Katagiri/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

Merit: Sakura  - Cherry blossom is called Sakura in Japanese.Cherry blossom is Japanese symbolic flower.There are various kinds in a cherry tree and an especially old cherry tree has many kinds called Edo-Higan. The trees of the cherry tree exceeding hundreds of years are located in a line with a nebula this temple, and if spring comes every year,can looks at a powerful spectacle can do it. This photograph focused on Edo-Higan and photographed Beni-Sidare which is back together.

Photo and caption by Hideyuki Katagiri/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

Mikael Ande, a child of Sami reindeer herders, takes a break indoors after a long, cold day of rounding up the animals for vaccinations and slaughter. Children of reindeer herders learn to handle these animals and the land they thrive in from infancy - young Mikael here knew far more about the ways of nature than I could ever hope to learn.

Photo and caption by Michelle Schantz/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

Merit: Piano play at sunset

  - Streets of Queenstown, New Zealand at the end of one more day filled with adrenaline. Calming and doleful scene with piano sound in the background.

Photo and caption by Nikola Smernic/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

Merit: Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl  - Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey.

Photo and caption by Graham McGeorge/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

Merit: Guanjiang Shou  - Guanjiang Shou troupes are one of Taiwan most popular activities that may be seen all over Taiwan at traditional folk religion gatherings. With their fiercely painted faces, protruding fangs and powerful, choreographed performances, they are easily recognized, They may be described as underworld police or gods' bodyguards.

Photo and caption by Chan Kwok Hung/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

Merit: Lady in Water  - A lady collects water in the river by a village in Bagan, Myanmar, 2013.

Photo and caption by Marcelo Salvador/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Nat Geo Travel Contest Winners

Viewers Choice: Another perspective of the day  - The fisherman at Bira Beach.

Photo and caption by Dody Kusuma/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest