National Geographic's best photos of 2013 revealed

After 15,000 entries from photographers across the globe, Wagner Araujo's picture - "Dig Me River" - was crowned the grand-prize winner of the 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.

Mr Araujo, from Brazil, won a 10-day National Geographic Expedition to the Galapagos Islands where he will experience close-up encounters with unique species such as domed giant tortoises, sea lions and marine iguanas.

Max Seigal came second for his image “Thunderstorm at False Kiva”, while third place went to Yanai Bonneh for his image of cheetahs, captioned “Say Cheese.”

Contestants submitted photographs in four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments.

Judges based their decisions on creativity and photographic quality.

Dig me river by Wagner Araujo Credit: Wagner Araujo/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Thunderstorm at False Kiva by Max Seigal Credit: Max Seigal/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Say cheese by Yanai Bonneh Credit: Yanai Bonneh/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
The TataHonda sect by Gergely Lantai-Csont. Credit: Gergely Lantai-Csont/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Sakura by Hideyuki Katagiri Credit: Hideyuki Katagiri/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Children of Reindeer by Michelle Schantz Credit: Michelle Schantz/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Piano play at sunset by Nikola Smernic Credit: Nikola Smernic/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl by Graham McGeorge. Credit: Graham McGeorge/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Guanjiang Shou by Chan Kwok Hung Credit: Chan Kwok Hung/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Lady in Water by Marcelo Salvador Credit: Marcelo Salvador/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
Another perspective of the day by Dody Kusuma Credit: Dody Kusuma/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

The National Geographic Traveler magazine editor in chief, Keith Bellows, said:

Every year the task of judging the contest gets tougher. The quality of photos increasingly gets better — and the range of imagery more diverse. It’s exciting to see the emergence of such huge numbers of imaginative photographers.

– Keith Bellows

The winning images will appear in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.

To read more on the Traveler Photo contest visit the National Geographic website