National Geographic International Photography Contest 2009

The National Geographic has just announced the winners of its fourth annual global photography contest. After receiving more than 200,000 submissions, here are the winners of the International Photography Contest 2009:

Photo by Debra Jansen, USA

People Winner
A 97-year-old woman waits for the bus in her Sunday best in Chamblee, Georgia.

Judges' Comments
“We pass quiet moments like these each day and they go unnoticed,” says National Geographic design editor Darren Smith, “but the photographer found a great subject and composition in the seemingly mundane.” Freelance photojournalist Maria Stenzel loved that “the photo shows our own culture,” and was attracted by the “jarring juxtaposition of this dignified woman waiting at a bus stop.”

Photo by Hugo Machado, Portugal

Places Winner
Licancabur volcano is located on the border between Chile and Bolivia.

Judges' Comments
For Darren Smith, National Geographic design editor, “The cloud performs a delicate balancing act atop the mountain, making the two massive forces of geology and meteorology appear light. Clouds are often just garland in mountain photos, but here the cloud is an equal subject, casting shadows which help define the peak.”

Photo: William Goodwin, USA

Nature Winner
This peppermint shrimp is spending the day in a branching vase sponge about 75 feet deep in Bonaire's Margate Bay. Lighting was achieved with an HID torch shining on the outside of the sponge. The photographer, working upside down, had to carefully control buoyancy while approaching as close as possible, taking care not to touch the sponge with camera or light and to avoid disturbing the shrimp or the sponge.

Judges' Comments
National Geographic staff photographer Mark Thiessen “was drawn into its world by the circular shape of the sponge.” For freelance photojournalist Maria Stenzel, “the technically difficult shot was beautifully seen and executed in its own natural landscape.” National Geographic design editor Darren Smith agrees: “This image transports the viewer to another world. The technical execution is flawless, the spiraling composition frames the shrimp and draws us in, and the lighting and varied colors add dimension.”


Though they didn't win the grand prize, the photos below are my favorites:

A manatee photographed in Florida
Photo: Yusuke Okada, Japan. Nature Honorable Mention.

Shot in Namibia in August 2009
Photo: Laurent Mercey, France. Nature Honorable Mention.

A newly born gibbon gets some early discipline and love from his doting parents.
This baby gibbon was just about 12 hours old, born at the Columbus, Ohio Zoo in August of 2009.

Photo: Xen Riggs, USA. Nature Honorable Mention.

Links: International Photography Contest 2009 official website | Winners | Galleries

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jarring juxtaposition of this dignified woman waiting at a bus stop

I really dislike that rationale behind the photo. Waiting for a bus shouldn't be seen as not dignified. That's just another reason that the US is so behind providing transport as compared to other developed nations.
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I can't even look at the photo of the old woman. The mesh in the back hurts my eyes.
The manatee one is pretty neat though. I thought it was seaweed or some other kind of plant growing off of it at first glance, then I realized it was fish.
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