Art

Cities Are Stunning in NatGeo's Travel Photography Contest

See the Great Wall of China, Seoul's subways, and LA's neon highways from a new perspective.

Beckett Mufson

Beckett Mufson

Photo and caption by Jose Luis Vilar Jordán/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Arts and Sciences City. Location: Valencia, Spain

A new photographic perspective can completely change the way you see some parts of your city, whether it's the Golden Gate Bridge, the Great Wall of China, or simply a stack of high-rising condos. Travelers from around the world have been submitting their perspective-changing images of cities to the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Competition, capturing stunning frames of familiar landmark and exotic settlements with the hope of winning the grand prize, a seven-day Polar Bear Photo Safari for two at Churchill Wild–Seal River Heritage Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. 

It's no surprise that megacities like Hong Kong and San Francisco feature prominently in the selection National Geographic has released from entries currently under consideration, but you'll also enjoy fascinating glimpses into places you've never heard of, such as Siddhapur in India, Russian Hill in California, and Wadi Dohan in Yemen. National Geographic will be accepting entries through May 27, so if you think you can do better than this lot, through your hat into the ring here.

Photo and caption by Toby Harriman/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Above the Foggy Lineup. "Another favorite unique aerial shot I have of the Golden Gate Bridge. This time I was graced with some of the most beautiful sunrise fog I have ever seen. This was a morning I will remember for a long time." Location: Fort Winfield Scott, California, United States

Photo and caption by Toby Harriman/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Lombard Street - San Francisco Helicopter Aerial. "Lombard Street is known to be the most crooked street in the world. But Vermont Street, the other San Francisco street claimed to be the "most crooked" has seven turns instead of eight, but its hill is steeper than Lombard's." Location: Russian Hill, California, United States

Photo and caption by Alejandro Merizalde / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Beneath the Eiffel Tower. "During my recent trip to Paris, I wanted to take a photo that would show the Eiffel Tower from an angle that  would be a little bit less common. I chose to make it while standing directly underneath the structure and create an almost abstract—yet totally recognizable—point of view of this wonderful icon." Location: Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Photo and caption by Julia Wimmerlin/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Digital Panel of Hong Kong. "This amazing stacked architecture of Hong Kong shows the housing of its rather dense population. It's visually striking to understand that your whole horizon is built from people's lit windows. It shocks you that each life so big and important to the person himself and his close circle looks just like a tiny star in a huge sky next to millions of the same stars." Location: Hong Kong

Photo and caption by Aashit Desai / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Facades of Old Houses in Sidhpur. "The 19th and early 20th century Dawoodi Bohra neighbourhoods, or Bohrawads, of Sidhpur, Gujarat, have a strong European architectural character to it. Built by the Dawoodi Bohras, a Shia Muslim trading community from Gujarat, they have a very distinct history and identity. The residences are rows of narrow, deep houses, about three to four stories high. Their houses in Sidhpur have a strong European character with gabled roofs, ornate balconies, pilasters, columns and decorated doors and window." Location: Siddhapur, Gujarat, India

Photo and caption by Paul Nevin/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Yemeni Fortress. "With my police escort I had arrived at my lodgings on dusk, perched on the edge of a massive escarpment in Wadi Dohan. In the fading light and on the valley floor I could see this fortress like village. Having imagined how it might present under a rising sun, I was up at first light and below me, shepherds and their goats making the only sounds . The sun rose, bathing the escarpment in golden light, it seemed like an eternity before it finally gilded the top of the fortress like village magic." Location: Wadi Dohan, Yemen

Photo and caption by S. Kowalski/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. We'll Touch the Sky. "In Spain I watched the sun set over the old quarter of Seville from atop the largest wooden structure in the world, the Metropol Parasol. The piece is controversial to some due to its hefty price tag and modern presence in a sea of historic buildings and clanging cathedrals. I found this juxtaposition between the old and new to be exactly what inspired me most. While the past sat rigid and rooted to the ground, this organic wave of art lifted the city to new heights and into the future." Location: Sevilla, Andalusia, Spain

Photo and caption by Mohsin Abrar/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. An Evening in Dubai. "Dubai - A city made out of undaunted vision and sheer passion....from a desert to the most revered city around the globe." Location: Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Photo and caption by Chris McCann/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Infinity Intersection. "Los Angeles has long been synonymous with traffic jams on the freeway. Here is a snapshot of one of these LA freeway interchanges as seen from above, allowing the viewer to gain a full appreciation for the bustling motions of the city." Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

Photo and caption by Argus Paul Estabrook / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Read Between The Metro Lines. "I remember thinking, could that be me? Is that a glimpse of my future self? We were caught in reflection, inside of a reflection and amid the busy metro of Seoul, South Korea." Location: Seoul, South Korea

Photo and caption by Maria Holzinger/ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. The Dictator's Dream. "The 'palazzo della civiltà italiana,' was imagined and built as a great symbol of fascism for the world. Like many of Rome's iconic buildings, this relic of dark hours that came and passed is now part of the Eternal City's stone memory. Today, growing inequality, lack of economic growth, unemployment, war and terrorism foster populism and may threaten our democratic ideals. Is memory enough?" Location: Roma, Latium, Italy

Photo and caption by Andy Yeung / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Urban Jungle. "Hong Kong is a great city, but lurking beneath the prosperity is a severe housing problem that depresses every dweller in this city living in horrid conditions." Location: Hong Kong

Photo and caption by David Wu / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Early Morning on The Great Wall of China. "Visiting the Great Wall of China on an early winter morning while it was devoid of tourists and covered in a light fog made for a unique atmosphere." Location: Beijing, China

Photo and caption by Wing Ka H./ National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest. Childhood. "A boy enjoys the moment while playing basketball after school." Location: Hong Kong

Learn more about the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest here. Click here to submit your own entry.

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