7 August 2014
Last updated at 03:15 ET
A photograph of a dramatic supercell near Julesburg, Colorado, taken by Marko Korosec from Sezana, Slovenia, has won the 2014 National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest. Selected from more than 18,000 entries, the winning photo is titled The Independence Day because the spaceship-like cloud formation reminded Korosec of the 1996 film.
Agnieszka Traczewska from Krakow, Poland, won second prize for her photo First Time. Taken in the Mea Shearim, the ultra-Orthodox district of Jerusalem, the photo shows newly married couple Aaron and Rivkeh just after their wedding ceremony. "Their marriage was arranged by their families," says Traczewska. "The 18-year-olds met once to confirm the choice; since then they have been prohibited to meet or even talk."
The third-placed photo, Diver in Magic Kingdom, was made by Marc Henauer of Geneva, Switzerland. "Green Lake [Gruner See] is located in Tragoss Austria. In spring, snowmelt raises the lake level about 10m [33ft]. This phenomenon, which lasts only a few weeks, covers hiking trails, meadows, and trees. The result is a magical diving landscape," says Henauer.
"A young monk finds a perfect light source to read his book, inside of his pagoda in Old Bagan, Burma [also known as Myanmar]," says Marcelo Castro of his merit-prize-winning photo entitled Light Source.
Sean Hacker Teper was also a merit-prize winner. He says: "This photo, taken at the 'End-of-the-World Swing' in Banos, Ecuador, captures a man on the swing overlooking an erupting Mount Tungurahua. The eruption took place 1 February 2014. Minutes after the photo was taken, we had to evacuate the area because of an incoming ash cloud."
"This photo of Moussa Macher, our Tuareg guide, was taken at the summit of Tin-Merzouga, the largest dune in the Tadrat region of the Sahara desert in southern Algeria," says, merit-prize winner, Evan Cole. "Moussa rested while waiting for us to finish our 45-minute struggle to the top. It only took 10 minutes of rolling, running, and jumping to get back down."
The photo Divine Makeover was made by Mahesh Balasubramanian during the Mayana Soora Thiruvizha festival, which takes place every March in the small village of Kaveripattinam, in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the day after Maha Shivarathiri.
"While exploring Borough Market in London, I was delighted to come across four lovely young women dressed in vintage white dresses, eating ice cream as the local shopkeeper looked on. Are they brides? Or bridesmaids. I don't know, but they are obviously enjoying a very special day," says Susie Stern, photographer of this image entitled Ladies in Waiting.
This photo was made by Duowen Chen at 12:00, 25 December 2013, from the castle located on the edge of the small town of Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic.
Byron Inggs was also awarded a merit prize for his shot of a horse at the Devil's Knuckles, Sehlabathebe National Park, Lesotho. Photographs courtesy National Geographic Traveller Photo Contest 2014.