Chronic travellers have dealt with Covid by either obsessively planning for when the international borders open again, or blocking out all foreign travel content until we can actually make use of it. Either way, the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) 2020 winners are here to remind you what the rest of the world looks like, and inspire your future travel plans.
Almost 25,000 images were submitted from photographers in 147 countries around the world — the subjects of which were everything from landscapes and wildlife, to night-time skies and underwater vistas, to harrowing shots from life under siege in Syria, to a small look into cultures around the world.
“Travel photography in a global pandemic, with numerous travel bans, has been challenging to say the least, but travel photographers are a resourceful breed, as the latest set of winners is a testament to,” said TPOTY founder Chris Coe in a statement.
“Interestingly, when our worlds feel like they’ve shrunk, the list of nationalities winning TPOTY and its categories has grown, with our first overall winner from Russia and other winning entries from Syria, Egypt and the Philippines for the first time, taking the total number of nationalities who have featured amongst our winners over the years to 45”.
The overall winner this year was Vladimir Alekseev, a photographer, traveller, journalist, publisher, and chief editor, as well as the first-ever Russian to win the overall award.
You can check out the full list of winners on the TPOTY website here, but here are some of my favourites (along with descriptions from the photograpghers who took them) to inspire your travel bug and make you gaze in wonder at the beauty of our world again.
#1 Greenland by Vladimir Alekseev
“Fog over the iceberg. A very rare natural phenomenon. This is a huge iceberg that swam past the coast, shrouded in fog”.
#2 Svalbard by Vladimir Alekseev
“The total solar eclipse in Svalbard on March 20, 2015 was one of the most important and impressive astronomical events. In the morning, a blizzard began, and the sky was covered with clouds. But literally an hour before the eclipse, the weather improved. And I managed to capture this amazing moment”.
#3 Plosky Tolbachik Volcano,Kamchatka, Russia by Vladimir Alekseev
“A volcanic eruption is best filmed at dusk. Then it is not too dark around, the sky has a beautiful colour, and the magma looks beautiful and glows. True, this can be very dangerous…”.
#4 Old city, Lahore, Pakistan by Indigo Larmour
“The Masjid Wazir Khan is open to worshippers from sunrise and sometimes people will hang around to chat with the caretaker who proudly guards this mosque, which is widely regarded to be one of the most beautiful in Pakistan, with its ornate archways leading from the main building out to the prayer yard”.
#5 Lincoln, New Hampshire, USA by Ben Skaar
“I slept in my car for two nights to get this shot. I drove up to the White Mountains hoping to capture the vibrant autumn colors [sic] of New Hampshire. I woke up at 4:30 that Sunday morning and, as the sun rose over the mountains, the colors [sic] seemed to be set ablaze”.
#6 Lone Pine, California, USA by Nayana Rajesh
“I took this photo in the summer of 2018 in Lone Pine, California during a trip with my dad and his friends. It was a thrilling experience for me to be under truly dark skies and to be able to see the night sky in all its glory”.
#7 Herrería Forest, San Lorenzode El Escorial, Madrid, Spain by Miguel Sánchez García
“A forest imagined, dreamed, but at the same time real. Multiple exposure taking four pictures turning the tripod head up. All images are saved in a single raw file”.
#8 Woodbury, South Island, New Zealand by Neil Shet
“Most of the landscape around me was rolling hills and there were plenty of sheep. The sheep stood out well against the grass and the light from the setting sun made it the perfect time to take pictures”.
#9 Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, South Australia by Scott Portelli
“Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre isAustralia’s largest salt-lake yet it is only covered with water every eight years on average. The vast salt plain dominates the landscape with patterns left behind by the receding water. Natural bore springs emerge across the plains, creating enormous patterns of pastel-blues, yellows and reds as water pushed up through the salt crust creates visual anomalies”.
#10 Simla, Colorado, USA by James Smart
“This ‘drill bit’ type of tornado is a rare anti-cyclonic tornado, which happens in around 2 percent of tornadoes. It touched down in open farmland, narrowly missing a home near Simla, Colorado as it tore up the ground, gathering the soil giving it is brown color [sic]”.
#11 Meteora, Greece by Richard Li
“We were so lucky that, after we arrived at Meteora, we had this beautiful view of the monastery on the top of the mountain in the sunset”.
(Lead Image: Vladimir Alekseev / www.tpoty.com)
Kassia is the Editor of AWOL, and a straight-up travel addict. She was born without a sense of direction, yet an intense desire to explore the world. As such, she's lost 90% of the time but she's learned to roll with it. You can catch her latest adventures on Instagram @probably_kassia.