It's back! The Independent has once again teamed up with Wanderlust magazine to present the Travel Photo of the Year competition. This is the UK's biggest amateur travel photo competition: last year it attracted thousands of entries. The winning photos, plus a selection of shortlisted shots, will be printed in The Independent and Wanderlust, as well as being showcased in a stunning exhibition at Destinations 2015, the UK's top holiday and travel show.
Entering the competition is simple. There are two categories: Amateur (open to amateurs only) and Portfolio (open to all). And there are some fantastic prizes for the winners.
WIN A TRIP TO GHANA OR SENEGAL
Mix together a healthy dose of soul, culture and mystery and you get West Africa. From the lively beaches, colonial architecture and elephant-rich savannahs of Ghana to the verdant jungles of Senegal, a visit here is an expedition.
Wander past wind-sculpted Saharan dunes, navigate sunburnt mangrove mazes and stand on salty coastlines – signs of the region's diversity. It is one of the hidden corners of our planet: a land of nomads, a haven for intrepid photographers.
Travel Photo of the Year 2013 winners
Travel Photo of the Year 2013 winners
1/12 Winner: Wildlife category.
Lion on the run (Masai Mara, Kenya) by Angela Osborne. "These elephants were unhappy to share their territory with the Marsh pride of lions. As they chased this large male away, I panned my camera to create this image of the lion fleeing."
2/12 Winner: Icon category
Pont Alexandre III (Paris, France) by Ulrich Lambert. "A long exposure night shot of the Seine and Eiffel Tower taken from the Alexandre III bridge."
3/12 Winner: People category
Careful, brother... (Kolkata, India) by Sandipan Mukherjee. "Travellers to the city may still seek out vestiges of the Kolkata of yore in the labyrinthine streets of Bagbazar. In some quaint little alley, one may even chance upon an itinerant kaan-saaf-wallah (ear-cleaner), armed with his strange array of tools, attending to a terrified customer."
4/12 Winner: Landscape category
Tornado cloud (Svalbard, Norway) by Andy Barnes. "I was on the bow of an Arctic expedition. We were nearing the open sea when suddenly the cloud formation appeared. As quickly as it arrived, it disappeared. I managed to take the picture but then it was gone, evaporating back into the atmosphere."
5/12 Runner-up: Landscape category
Starry night at Sennen Cove (Cornwall, England) by Matthew Longworth. "A beautiful summer night in Cornwall, where the stars shine bright over the sea."
6/12 Runner-up: Wildlife category
Great grey owl digging for voles (Kajanni, Finland) by Neville Turton. "These magnificent owls spend the winter here in order to find their favourite food – the vole. They sit in the trees waiting to dive into the snow to catch the voles that they can hear deep beneath. Finland in early February is a very cold place to stand motionless in the middle of a field but, having located an owl, we waited patiently together. It missed the vole on this occasion but then began trying to dig it out from the snow."
7/12 Runner-up: People category
Lototo Airia and her village (Turkana, Kenya) by Ben McRae. "I had been staying in Lototo’s village for a number of days. She was a happy woman who was always attending to me even when I needed nothing at all – as long as my camera stayed in my bag. Whenever I brought it out she would freeze up and give me an unhappy stare. On my final day I asked her to pose for me as the weather was moving in, giving me a moody backdrop to the arid surrounds. Her stare though was a cold as the approaching weather front."
8/12 Runner-up: Icon category
Sydney silhouette (Sydney, Australia) by Bart Brouwer. "The world-famous Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge on a dull winter day. A group of tourists enjoy the view while climbing along the bridge’s outer arch."
9/12 Highly commended: Wildlife category
Up close and personal (South Luangwa, Zambia) by Graham Love. "He’s a mean, green, fighting machine. And this hippo was none too friendly when my guide and I, on a walking safari, disturbed him lunching on water cabbage in a pond by the Luangwa River. I used a long lens to get up close and personal… before beating a hasty retreat."
10/12 Highly commended: Icon category
Peaceful life (Nan Paya temple, Bagan, Burma) by Maung Ni Oo. "The stone structure of Nan Paya temple is unique. Its decorative artworks adorn the four pillars of interior chambers, which date back to the 11th century. In the centre of the chamber is brick, devotional throne. The young monks practise their meditation there for an hour everyday, offering lights to Buddha. The lighting of candles represents the light of wisdom illuminating the darkness of ignorance. His life is peaceful world."
11/12 Highly commended: Landscape category
Glacier walking (Vatnajökull, Iceland) by Lisa Mardell. "On a trip to Iceland last February I spent a few days in the Skaftafell National Park. One afternoon I was out hiking, admiring the stunning colours and shapes of the distant Vatnajökull glacier, when I saw these three people walking on it. I loved the way they helped to give a sense of scale to a section of this enormous glacier. They seem so tiny against its vastness."
12/12 Highly commended: People category
Folk painter (Kolkata, India) by Kushal Gangopadhyay. "A folk painter from West Bengal seems to blend with the artwork on display in the background as she paints during Kolkata’s annual handicraft fair."
Photos entered in the Amateur category can be taken anywhere in the world, but must be a travel image and fit one of four categories: People, Wildlife, Landscape or Travel Icons. The Travel Icons category is designed to recognise shots of people, places and events that have achieved landmark status in the world of travel.
The Portfolio category is open both to amateur and professional photographers, with a top prize of £3,000. Entrants need to assemble a set of five eye-catching images, which together present an inspiring and unique insight into one of the four categories (People, Wildlife, Landscape, Travel Icons). The top prize will be awarded to the best portfolio for telling a cohesive and spectacular story.
All runners-up and highly recommended entrants will win Nikon cameras. The runners-up can get new perspectives with the Nikon D5300 and 18-55mm black kit, worth £719.99. It's packed with creative effects, a 3.2in swivel screen and a DX-format CMOS sensor.
Meanwhile, our Highly Commended entrants will become proud owners of the Nikon COOLPIX P600 (RRP £359.99) and the "Visitor's Vote" winner – selected by readers and travellers who visit Destinations 2015 – will clinch a Nikon COOLPIX S9700, worth £249.99. For more information, see nikon.co.uk.
For more details, including full terms and conditions, see travelphotooftheyear.co.uk or the September issue of 'Wanderlust' magazine, on sale now (£3.99). The closing date for entries is 31 October.