The winners of the Travel Photographer of the Year 2018 competition

Warbler birds, camels and a volcano erupting under a starry sky: The stunning winners of the Travel Photographer of the Year 2018 competition

  • Photographers from 142 countries submitted over 20,000 jaw-dropping pictures to the annual competition  
  • The overall winner and scooping the title of Travel Photographer of the Year 2018 is Italian Stefano Pensotti 
  • Young Travel Photographer of the Year 2018 is 14-year-old Isabella Smith, from the U.S 
  • MailOnline Travel was kindly granted permission to publish 30 of the 150 winning and shortlisted images 

The stunning winners and shortlisted images from this year’s Travel Photographer of the Year contest have been revealed – and they’re a glorious celebration of the beauty of the planet and its human and animal inhabitants.

Photographers from 142 countries submitted over 20,000 jaw-dropping pictures that were shot on everything from high-end professional cameras to mobile phones, in categories including ‘faces, people, cultures’; the natural world and the beauty of light.

With a portfolio full of fascinating images showcasing life around the globe, semi-professional Italian photographer Stefano Pensotti scoops the top prize and title of Travel Photographer of the Year 2018.

Young Travel Photographer of the Year 2018 is 14-year-old Isabella Smith. The young American won over the international panel of judges with her colourful portfolio of photographs taken in Morocco.

Amazing pictures to be commended by the judges include a stunning image of two warbler birds feeding on crops in China, a fascinating photo of a seal and a penguin in a blizzard in Antarctica and a volcano spewing lava in Guatemala.  

The winning images can be seen at the TPOTY exhibition, which is free, and will be on show at London Bridge City next Spring. MailOnline Travel was kindly granted permission to publish 30 of the 150 winning and shortlisted images. Scroll down to see our picks of the bunch…

The overall winner of the Travel Photographer of the Year contest is Italian photographer Stefano Pensotti. Pictured is one of his winning snaps, of camels on the salt pans of Lake Asale in Ethiopia. He said: ‘They have loaded the salt from the Dankalia open-air salt mines at 50m below sea level. Their journey will lead them to Agula on the Ethiopian plateau at 2,400m high’

Fuyang Zhou from China captured this stunning image of two warbler birds in China. He said: ‘The job of being a parent is a demanding one for this little warbler.’ This image helped Fuyang claim runner-up spot in the natural world portfolio category

Andrew James from the UK was named joint runner-up in the ‘hot/cold single image’ category for his shot showing a penguin and a seal in Yankee Harbour in Antarctica. He said: ‘This photo of an elephant seal and Gentoo penguin was taking in near-impossible shooting conditions. By the time I had finished I was more or less buried in the snow and absolutely frozen as I can’t work a camera with gloves on so had removed them earlier’

French photographer Florent Mamelle won best single image in the natural world category for this stunning shot of the Fuego Volcano near Antigua City in Guatemala. He said: ‘This picture of the Fuego volcano was taken from the summit of the Acatenango volcano. At 4,000m (13,100ft), the sky was extremely clear and the Milky Way was in the upper left corner’

American teenager Tevin Kim, who was runner-up in the young photographer of the year under-14 category captured this stunning image of Lake Louise in Canada. He said: ‘Parts of this image were just not visible to my eyes, like the different layers of the bark or the small patterns of the wood. These tiny details are much more distinct when looked through a lens’

Matjaz Krivic won the prize for the travel portfolio of the year. The Slovenian photographer captured this interesting image in Diafarabe, Mali. He said: ‘This boy’s only shoes were no longer wearable. With a sewing needle that I always carry with me and some dental floss, we patched them up’

Dutch photographer Marsel van Oosten, who was highly commended in the natural world category, shot this amazing image of two monkeys in China. He said: ‘The Qinling golden snub-nosed monkey is listed as Endangered by the IUCN as only some 3,800 individuals still exist. Most people have never seen these creatures’

Roie Galitz won a special mention in the natural world category for his heartbreaking image of a mother polar bear and her two young cubs in Svalbard, Norway, who are migrating north amid sea ice that’s melting quicker than previous years

Croatian photographer Petar Sabol won a special mention in the natural world single image category for this stunning picture of a kingfisher grabbing a fish underwater between Palovec and Mala Subotica in Croatia. He said: ‘It took weeks and thousands of attempts to get this image’

The morning mist rises mystically from the valley towards the small Yemeni village of Shugruf in the Haraz mountains in an eerie shot captured by travel category winner Matjaz Krivic

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Dutch photographer Marinka Masseus, who won the ‘faces, people, cultures’ portfolio prize, captured this image while in Tanzania. She said: ‘Besides the superstitions, people with albinism in Tanzania face another threat. Their skin and eyes are without pigmentation, which means that they have no natural protection against the harsh African sun’

A young boy stands among Suri women wearing copper bracelets in Kibish Ethiopia. The image was taken by Danny Yen Sin Wong of Malaysia who won the title of best single image in the ‘faces, people, cultures’ category

Fardin Oyan won the title of Young Travel Photographer of the Year aged 15 to 18. He impressed judges with this sweet shot of children playing in the rain in Sadar, Bangladesh. He said: ‘I covered my camera with a polythene bag. We danced, laughed and played in the rain’

Isabella Smith, from the US, was named young Travel Photographer of the Year. This shot of hers shows a boy playing in the street in Chefchaouen, Morocco. Isabella said: ‘This really grabbed my attention! I thought this local boy using oranges as balls was the opposite of kids in my country playing with expensive toys’

Travel Photographer of the Year, Stefano Pensotti, captured this image in Budapest. He said: ‘Széchenyi Baths, built in 1913, is the most popular among the inhabitants of Budapest, who come here to relax with friends’

A Sikh pilgrim performs his washing ritual in the lake in Amritsar, India, with the most famous place of worship for the Sikhs in the background. The picture was snapped by Matjaz Krivic, the travel portfolio winner

Chinese photographer He Jian captured this image, which won the ‘hot/cold single image’ category. It shows local people in Gannan, China, making a pilgrimage along a snowy road

UK-based Russell Moore was commended in the ‘beauty of light’ single image category for this atmospheric shot of a foggy sunrise at London’s Canary Wharf

Children play on the main minaret of the Grand Mosque in Bani during Eid al-Fitr in Burkino Faso. The image was snapped by travel portfolio category winner Matjaz Krivic

Young boys Taj and Akash, who travel every day from station to station with their mother, beg to make a living in Gazipur, Bangladesh. The image was captured by commended Italian photographer Mauro de Bettio

Italian photographer Mauro de Bettio was commended for his travel portfolio. One of his snaps includes a man honey hunting on Himalayan cliffs, which is a tradition passed down through the generations in Dhaulagiri in western Nepal

Italian photographer Luca Venturi was highly commended in the new talent award. This black-and-white image was shot at a horse race in Siena, Italy. He said: ‘The horses are selected and allocated by lot just three days before the race, riders must run bareback and there are only six trials before the main event. This image was taken during one of these trials from a balcony overlooking Piazza del Campo’

Jichang Liu captured this charming image of a swan and ducks swimming on a lake in China. The image landed him a highly commended honour in the ‘tranquility single’ category

British photographer Daniel Burton was named runner-up in the travel portfolio of the year category. One of his stunning pictures shows the island of Le Morne in Mauritius and its unique natural phenomenon, an ‘underwater’ waterfall. The illusion can be see on the right, with water seemingly pouring down towards the seabed

Photographer Marsel van Oosten won a special mention in the travel category. It shows the Grand Tsingy stone forest – a rare geological phenomena in Madagascar. He said: ‘The rocks are razor sharp. I climbed up during the night to be able to photograph this climber in the early morning’

American photographer Edward Graham was commended in the single shot, beauty of light category for his photo of Lake Baikal in Russia. He said: ‘To capture this image, I laid prone on the surface, aligning my camera with the ice block and setting sun in the distance. The ice block lit up with golden hues, emitting a visual warmth that belied the cold of this wonderful place’

Daniel Burton’s stunning image of Rio Lagartos, Yucatan, in Mexico. He said: ‘On the northern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula are the magical pink lakes of Las Coloradas. The area is actually a private salt mine adjacent to the Rio Lagartos biosphere’

Stephen King from Hong Kong was commended in the hot/cold single image category for this captivating shot of lava from the Kilauea Volcano flowing into the ocean in Hawaii

Daniel Burton, who was named runner-up for the travel portfolio award, captured this bird’s-eye view of the approach to the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana’s Okavango Delta region

Simon-James Smith from the UK shot this image of people in costume in Whitby, North Yorkshire. He said: ‘During the Whitby Goth Weekend, people dress up in Gothic and other Victorian attire/costume and walk around the historic Yorkshire seaside town, the town that was visited by Bram Stoker in 1880 and inspired him to later write the Gothic Vampire novel Count Dracula.’ Simon-James was highly commended in the new talent category


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