From Japanese monkeys huddled in a group to a 2022 World Cup stadium in Qatar hiding under the clouds, winners of the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest 2018 will make anyone's jaw drop.
Ten winners were announced for images clicked in three categories —Nature, Cities and People — from a total of 13,000 entries.
For the final prize, photographer Reiko Takahasi was named the Grand Prize winner and awarded first in the Nature category for an image titled "Mermaid" (above), which shows a humpback whale in the waters near Japan's Kumejima Island.
"I was really longing to see the bond between a humpback whale and her calf," Takahashi recalled. Fascinated by the close relationship between whales and their young, Takahaski, who was working as a semiconductor engineer until recently, committed herself to study the animals further.
The judges for the contest included ocean and adventure photographer Andy Mann and polar photographer Camille Seaman, CNN reported. "I was amazed at the quality of images and the sensibility towards subject in all three categories for this competition," Seaman said. "Looking at hundreds of images choosing the winners was a daunting task. The images that stood out did so based not solely on their technical execution but also a sensitivity for a feeling of the moment and originality."