This is the best traveler photos from last year in National Geographic editors choice.








Mount Assiniboine and Sunburst Peak on a beautiful autumn morning on the British Columbia/Alberta border in Canada. (Photo by Henry Liu/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


God’s Window: “This is a self portrait I shot while on a photographic assignment for WILD magazine in the Tankwa Karoo, Western Cape. I was humbled by the sense of space I felt looking down into the valley – the magnitude of nature and miracle of creation reminded me of how small we really are”. (Photo by Karin Schermbrucker/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


The Rainbow Man: “During my daily assignments as a local press photographer, I need to find an interesting images to improve my own photography skills. As I saw this beautiful colorful building, which is a hotel in the middle of Kuala Lumpur, a man suddenly appeared and looked out. Without wasting time, I grabbed my camera and waited for the right moment”. (Photo by Ahmad Izzrafiq Alias/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Spiral down: The beautiful spiral staircase in the Vatican Museum. (Photo by Syaza Mohammed Shakharulain/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Fly by: This photo was taken on the ice near Arctic Bay last month. As far as we know, it is the highest latitude passenger flight on a hot air balloon ever. It was quite the sight to see a hot air balloon fly between the iceberg columns – it is one iceberg but looks like two. (Photo by Michelle Valberg/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


African leopard jumping in a tree in the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya. (Photo by Juan Hernandez/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Reality: “I spotted this old beggar at the entrance of the Gadaladeniya Temple, Pilimathalawa, Kandy, Sri Lanka. He was so quiet, seated on ground very still and was staring at the temple with his deep eyes. Wrinkles on his face and his deep eyes tell the story of a life”. (Photo by Sachi Wickramage/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Underwater Surf: Taken at Cloud Break at an outer reef in Fiji, a surfer duck dives his board to clear the rolling waves of the raw ocean. (Photo by Lucia Griggi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Good Bye Old Friend: Elephants are legendary for their memory and intelligence including attributes associated with grief, making music, altruism and compassion. We came across this elephant whose corpse was overcome by vultures and jackals. From a distance we heard and then saw another elephant approaching at a fast pace. She was successful at chasing away the predators and then very slowly and with much empathy wrapped her trunk around the deceased elephants tusk. She stayed in this position for several hours guarding her friend. (Photo by John Chaney/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Stacked Supercell with Lightning: This huge mesocyclone supercell was near the Nebraska / Kansas border on the night of June 22nd, 2012. What a stunning structure! (Photo by Jennifer Brindley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Leading Lines: A slow shutter image of the Kuching Waterfront located in Sarawak, Malaysia. (Photo by Sharkawi Che Din/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Sunrise on Palouse Hills: The sun’s first rays warm the rolling hills of the Palouse Country in Eastern Washington. (Photo by Randall Roberts/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


“While working as a fishing guide in Tofino, British Columbia I had this humpback calf jump no more than 10 feet away from the boat. On our way in from fishing for halibut we noticed a few humpback whales playing in the distance and we stopped part way in to watch. It was quite an experience to see something completely airborne so close to the boat. The lucky thing was I got the photo I submitted. A fellow boat also got a picture of the whale close to mid air and it was also all caught on video. Was an amazing day”. (Photo by Matthew Thornton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Yosemite Valley: It was an early morning in April of 2011. I went to the Tunnel View of Yosemite National Park. Fog was floating in the Yosemite Valley, making it such a wonderful spectacle. (Photo by Hong Zeng/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Sun-Kissed Faces: A newly emerging paradise sits in the northwestern coast of Cebu, the Philippines’ tourist capital. First celebrated in 2008, the municipality of San Remigio commemorates its beautiful coastline with an annual event called the Lapyahan festival. Children dress in colorful sea-themed costumes that highlight the town’s pearly-white coastline, which is also the longest one in the island. The group portrait captures the well-coordinated and pompous nature of this event, as well as the sun-kissed faces of children immensely enjoying their presentation to tourists and travelers. (Photo by Erwin Choachuy/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Speeding Fall: “Since I discovered this road while driving around the Muskoka region of Ontario, Canada, I make sure I can go back any occasion I have to visit this cathedral space made by trees”. (Photo by Alessandro Cancian/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Lava Kiss: “My husband and I, along with a tour guide and a group of friends, hiked up to what was formerly the Royal Gardens subdivision above Kalapana, Hawaii, where the last standing house was just recently taken over by the active lava flow. While waiting for the rain to pass, we started taking back-lit portraits of each other in front of the lava flow after I set up my camera on the tripod. For the last photo, my husband spontaneously dipped me in a kiss. It was a truly once-in-a-lifetime moment”! (Photo by Dallas Nagata White/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Broken Home: “While storm chasing in the spring of 2011, I came across this unique spot as a hail storm was approaching. I only had 7 minutes to set up my gear before the storm slammed into me. Quarter-sized hail, tremendous lighting and strong winds accompanied this storm”. (Photo by Jeff Berkes/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Silky Floor: After a dive in the Bahamas, a group of curious silky sharks come to investigate our boat. (Photo by Jorge Cervera Hauser/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Flying over the Exuma Islands of the Bahamas in a twin engine canoe with wings, a mounted camera with a remote trigger allowed this photographer to capture the moment forever. (Photo by Leona Boyd/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)