The winners of the 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest have been announced, with Japanese photographer Reiko Takahashi taking the prestigious grand prize.
Takahashi won the $10,000 prize after her photo of a humpback whale calf, titled Mermaid, was selected by a panel of National Geographic judges from more than 13,000 entries. The image was taken off the coast of Japan’s Kumejima Island.
Takahashi left her long-time office job to pursue her passion for underwater photography, and traveled to Kumejima Island to photograph humpback whales with their calves.
“It was a special scene for me, to be able to take a photo of the calf, completely relaxed in gentle waters,” said Takahashi. “I really cannot believe it. It was my dream to win. I am honored and it will be the driving force for my future shooting.”
The National Geographic Travel Photographer contest is open to both amateur and professional photographers, with entries accepted in three categories: Nature, People and Cities. Winning photos were selected in each of the categories, with Takahashi’s photo winning the Nature category.
You can see some of the winning and commended images below, and all of the winning and honorable mention photos can be viewed at National Geographic's website.