Images with the power to transport us

Capturing the essence of place secured prizes in our annual travel photography competition

There are few places on Earth more atmospheric than Burma, a country once again on the tourist map following the lifting last year of the travel boycott requested by the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Dominic Burdon, a primary schoolteacher from Witney, captured its magic in his winning entry to this year's Insight Guides Travel Photography Competition, run in association with The Independent on Sunday. He wins a commission from Insight Guides worth £3,000 to photograph a forthcoming guidebook, plus an Olympus PEN Lite E-PL3 kit.

"The world is full of so many amazing things and, bit by bit, I'm trying to see as much as I can," says Dominic. "There are many reasons why I choose to visit some places before others, but one of the most important is its visual impact. When a scene leaves you in awe, it's incredible."

The judges were looking for three outstanding images that captured the essence of a place (or places). Dominic's winning set shows Burma's beauty at sunrise and sunset.

The second prize of an Olympus E-PM1 kit went to Lauri Hytti of Kingston, Surrey, with images taken in Turkey, Mauritius and Spain. Third prize of an Olympus XZ-1 was given to Steve Fabes from Oxford, who entered photographs taken on the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. Finally, the under-18 prize of an Olympus Tough TG-820 was given to Luke Faulkner, 17, of Ilfracombe in Devon for his images of Canary Wharf, east London.

The judging panel included Michael Pritchard, director-general of the Royal Photographic Society, photographer Kevin Cummins, Sophie Batterbury, picture editor of The Independent on Sunday and the managing director of Insight Guides, Katharine Leck. The winners were invited to a celebration dinner and an overnight stay at the Corinthia Hotel in London (, where they received their prizes from Olympus ( and Insight Guides (