The winners of the 2018 National Geographic Photo Contest have been announced, with three Australian photographers scoring top spots.
US photographer Jassen Todorov is the grand-prize winner for his aerial photo, Unreal.
Jassen was piloting a 1976 Piper Warrior aircraft above the Volkswagen vehicle storage lot located in the Mojave Desert, just outside the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California.
The storage facility is usually for retired planes set for scrap metal. But since 2015 the German vehicles have been stored there, after Volkswagen was caught manufacturing cars which subverted emissions tests.
Models manufactured from 2009 to 2015 with 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engines subverted emissions tests mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Following the scandal, Volkswagen recalled millions of cars and established 37 storage facilities throughout the US.
Unreal also won the Places category
Sydney Morning Herald photographer and Oculi founder, Nick Moir, came second in Places for his photo, Thunderbird in the Dust.
The photo shows a Ford Thunderbird blanketed by red dust from a supercell thunderstorm in Ralls, Texas.
‘The dry, plowed fields of the Texas Panhandle made easy prey for the storm, which had winds over 90 miles an hour ripping up the topsoil and depositing it farther south,’ Nick wrote in his caption. ‘I was forecasting and positioning a team of videographers and photographers on a storm chase in Tornado Alley – this was our last day of a very successful chase, having witnessed 16 tornadoes over 10 days.’
Sydney photographer, Todd Kennedy, took out second place in the People category for his photo, Roadside Motel.
‘On a family holiday driving from Sydney to Uluru, we stopped at a roadside motel in the small rural township of Nyngan, on the edge of Australia’s outback,’ Todd wrote in the caption. ‘The area is in the wheat belt, and it was unusually hot for that time of year—over a hundred degrees Fahrenheit and very dusty. Our daughter, Genie, is seen here enjoying a refreshing bath in a rubber ducky perched on the sink.’
Queensland photographer, Alison Langevad, scored third place in the Wildlife Category for her photo, A New Look.
‘Late at night, two southern white rhinoceroses emerged from the shadows to drink at a watering hole in Zimanga Game Reserve,’ Alison wrote in her caption. ‘They were back to back, observing their surroundings before lowering their heads. I underestimated the emotional impact the incredible beasts would have on me. They had been dehorned to deter poachers. I was full of emotion—and horror—that poaching had such a devastating effect. It must have been a hard decision to dehorn them, and I am grateful for the reserve’s efforts.’