Japanese photographer Reiko Takahashi is this year’s National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year. Shot from Japan’s Kumejima Island, his winning photo – Mermaid – captures the tail of a humpback whale calf.

Talking to National Geographic, Takahashi said: “It was a special scene for me, to be able to take a photo of the calf, completely relaxed in gentle waters.”

She continued: “I really cannot believe it. It was my dream to win. I am honoured and it will be the driving force for my future shooting.”

The diver and photographer’s photo was among over 13 000 entries submitted for this year’s competition – which offers a cash prize of  $10 000 – focusing on three categories, namely; cities,  people and nature, with Takahashi winning in the latter.

READ MORE: Gallery: Tribes of the Omo Valley

In second position in the same category was hao j.’s Flamingos Taking Off image, followed by Marco Grassi’s Mars photo.

In the people category, Alessandra Meniconzi took first place with Tea Culture, followed by Leïda and Laëlle — I Will Lift You Up by Tati Itat and MD Tanveer Hassah Rohan’s Challenging Journey photo in third position.

In the city category, Hiro Kurashina’s Another Rainy Day in Nagasaki photo took top position, with Enrico Pescantini’s Geometry of the Sun in second and Ganesh Prasad’s Reflection image coming in third position.

Photographer Gary Cummins received an Honorable Mention for Alone In the Crowds.
Here are the winning photos:
Image source: National Geographic

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