Travel Photo Contest 2019: Greenland scene wins top prize

  • Published

A photo of fishing village Upernavik on an island in west Greenland has won photographer Weimin Chu the grand prize in this year's National Geographic Travel Photo Contest.

An snow-covered view of a street in the fishing village Upernavik in GreenlandImage source, Weimin Chu

The photographer had been visiting Greenland for several years before deciding to document community life in 2019, starting with Upernavik village.

Mr Chu recalls the moment he arrived: "I could only see a pure white land covered by ice and snow during my entire flight. But I suddenly saw a big, warm dot in [the] far distance—it was Upernavik.

"The beauty of this tranquil village was really beyond my imagination. It was a wow moment for me."

Upernavik has a population of around 1,000 people, the 13th largest village in the country. Mr Chu spent six days scouting the village for photo opportunities when he came across the scene above, featuring a family walking under the street lights.

"It felt so harmonious. The whole land was covered by white, cold snow, and the blue tint at dusk made it even cooler."

Mr Chu's photo was selected as the overall winner from the Cities category. Here are other winners, with descriptions by the photographers.

2nd Place Cities: In the age of aviation, by Jassen Todorov

Image source, Jassen Todorov

"There are four runways at San Francisco's International Airport (SFO). I had dreams of documenting the motion at SFO and [arranged] permission to fly directly overhead.

"What a windy day it was. Winds at SFO were 35-45 miles per hour, which meant a bumpy flight, and it was much harder to control the plane while photographing." - Jassen Todorov

3rd Place Cities: Streets of Dhaka, by Sandipani Chattopadhyay

Image source, Sandipani Chattopadhyay

"People pray on the street in Dhaka, Bangladesh during Ijtema. Bishwa Ijtema is one of the major Islamic religious gatherings which is [observed] annually in Dhaka, and millions of Muslims visit [during this time].

"Dedicated prayer grounds are not [large] enough to handle this huge number of people, so large numbers of people come to [Tongi], the main street of Dhaka. All the ground transportation and [pedestrian crossings] are suspended during that time." - Sandipani Chattopadhyay

1st Place People: Showtime, by Huaifeng Li

Image source, Huaifeng Li

"Actors prepare for an evening opera performance in Licheng County, China. I spent the whole day with these actors from make-up to [stage].

"In China's Loess Plateau, local residents dig holes in the loess layer [to create cave living spaces, known as yaodongs] and use the heat preservation properties to survive cold winters." - Huaifeng Li

2nd Place People: Daily Routine, by Yoshiki Fujiwara

Image source, Yoshiki Fujiwara

"This photo was taken at a public park at Choi Hung House in Hong Kong. When I visited during the afternoon, it was very crowded with many young people taking pictures and playing basketball.

"But when I visited at sunrise, it was quiet and a different place. [The area] is [designated] for neighbourhood residents in the early morning, and there was a sacred atmosphere. I felt divinity when I saw an old man doing tai chi in the sun." - Yoshiki Fujiwara

3rd Place People: Horses, by Jose Antonio Zamora

Image source, Jose Antonio Zamora

"Every year on the feast of Saint Anthony the ceremony of the purification of animals, called Las Luminarias, is celebrated in Spain.

"In the province of Avila, horses and horsemen jump over bonfires in the ritual that has been maintained since the 18th century. The animals [are not hurt], and it is a ritual that is repeated every year." - Jose Antonio Zamora

People Honorable Mention: Mood, by Navin Vatsa

Image source, Navin Vatsa

"I captured this layered moment during sunrise along the banks of the Yamuna River in Delhi, India.

"This boy was thinking silently, and visitors were enjoying the loud musical chirping of thousands of seagulls. The early morning golden light from the east mixed with the western blue light, creating an [ethereal atmosphere]." - Navin Vatsa

1st Place Nature: Tender Eyes, by Tamara Blazquez Haik

Image source, Tamara Blazquez Haik

"A gorgeous griffon vulture is seen soaring the skies in Monfragüe National Park in Spain.

"How can anyone say vultures bring bad omens when looking at such tenderness in this griffon vulture's eyes? Vultures are important members of the environment, as they take care of recycling dead matter." - Tamara Blazquez Haik

2nd Place Nature: Dreamcatcher, by Danny Sepkowski

Image source, Danny Sepkowski

"What happens before a wave breaks? That question has been my assignment this past year. On this particular day, I decided to shoot the sunset on the east side of Oahu, Hawaii.

"I had to look into my viewfinder while this wave was breaking. Not an easy task when a wave is about to crush you." - Danny Sepkowski

3rd Place Nature: Dusky, by Scott Portelli

Image source, Scott Portelli

"Dusky dolphins often travel together in great numbers in the deep canyons of the Kaikoura, New Zealand in search of food.

"They glide through the ocean effortlessly, coming up only to breathe. Dusky dolphins are fast and will often keep pace with a speeding boat. I waited on the bow of the boat as the Dusky dolphin almost broke [through the surface]." - Scott Portelli

Nature Honorable Mention: King of the Alps, by Jonas Schafer

Image source, Jonas Schafer

"Ibexes in Switzerland's Bernese Oberland cross a ridge above Lake Brienz. Their powerful and impressive horns show who the Kings of the Alps are.

"Ibexes are ideally adapted to live at dizzying heights. The continuing ridge path and the rising fog show the natural habitat of these animals." - Jonas Schafer