The results of the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest are now in, with grand-prize winner Sergio Tapiro Velasco set to receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Archipelago with National Geographic Expeditions, for his incredible shot of lightning striking the erupting Colima Volcano in Mexico. National Geographic was kind enough to allow me to share the winners and honorable mentions with you here, from three categories: Nature, Cities, and People. The photos and captions were written by the photographers, and lightly edited for style.

1. Under the Wave - 3rd Place, People. I recently traveled to Tavarua, Fiji to do some surf photography with pro surfer Donavon Frankenreiter at Cloudbreak. I'm always looking for new angles and perspectives. The usual surf shots have all been done so we decided to get a little creative. Makes you look twice.
Rodney Bursiel / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
2. The Power of Nature - Grand Prize and 1st Prize Nature Category. Powerful eruption of Colima Volcano in Mexico on December 13th, 2015. That night, the weather was dry and cold, friction of ash particles generated a big lightning rod of about 600 meters that connected ash and volcano, illuminating the dark scene. In last part of 2015, this volcano showed a lot of eruptive activity with ash explosions that raised 2-3 km above the crater. Most of the night explosions produced incandescent rock falls and lightning not bigger than 100 meters in average.
Sergio Tapiro Velasco / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
3. Al Ain - Honorable mention, Cities. New city on the desert.
Andrzej Bochenski / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
4. Marble Caves - Honorable mention, Nature. The marble caves of Patagonia.
Clane Gessel / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
5. Bridging Generation - Honorable mention, People. A father and son sitting in white traditional attire with beautiful blue sky on the day of Eid al-Fitr in a mosque in New Delhi, India. The photo shows the beautiful bond that these two generations have been building in a very simple and lovable manner.
Jobit George / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
6. Crocodiles at Rio Tarcoles - 3rd Place, Nature. This image was captured in Costa Rica when I was travelling from Monteverde to Playa Hermosa. As you cross over this river, you can stop and peer over the edge of the bridge. Below, reside over 35 gigantic crocodiles, relaxing on the muddy banks of the river. I wanted to capture the stark difference between the crocodiles on land and in the water. In the murky waters, the body contours of these beasts remain hidden, and one can only truly see their girth as they emerge from the river.
Tarun Sinha / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
7. Interesting Moment - 2nd Place, People. Museum visitors curiously watching Rembrandt's painting "Syndics of the Drapers' Guild" where it gave the illusion that the people on the paintings too are curiously watching the visitors.
Julius Y. / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
8. Levels of Reading - 1st Place, Cities. This photo depicts the modern interior of the city library in Stuttgart. With its wide-open space in the center, where natural light comes through the windows on the top, it has a very unique atmosphere, where you can broaden your knowledge.
Norbet Fritz / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
9. Forest of the Fairy - Honorable mention, Nature. This photograph was taken in the evening hours of a humid early summer day in the forest of a small remote village in the Tamba area of Japan. It beautifully captures the magical atmosphere of princess fireflies carpeting a stairway leading to a small shrine revered by the local people.
Yutaka Takafuji / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
10. Henningsvær Football Field - 3rd Place, Cities. This football field in Henningsvær in the Lofoten Islands is considered one of the most amazing fields in Europe, and maybe even in the world. The photo was taken during a 10-day sailing trip in Norway in June 2017. We arrived to Henningsvær after a week of sailing through the cold and rainy weather. Upon our arrival, the weather cleared up. I was really lucky that the conditions were suitable for flying my drone, and I managed to capture this shot from a height of 120 meters.
Misha De-Stroyev / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
11. The Man’s Stare - Honorable mention, People. The photo was taken on July 23rd 2016 at Tongi Railway Station in Gazipur, Bangladesh. I was there taking photos and waiting for a moment. A train from Dhaka toward another district stopped at the platform for 5 minutes for lifting passengers. It was raining a lot. Suddenly I found a pair of curious eyes looking at me through the window and on his left an umbrella has been put to protect from the rain. I got the moment.
Moin Ahmed / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
12. Worship - 1st Place, People. This photo was taken in Konya. Whirling Dervish in the historical site of Sille, Konya, Turkey. The 'dance' of the Whirling Dervishes is called Sema and is a symbol of the Mevlevi culture. According to Mevlana's teachings, human beings are born twice, once from their mothers and the second time from their own bodies.
F. Dilek Uyar / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
13. To Live - 2nd PLace, Nature. Swans who live vigorously even in mud.
Hiromi Kano / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
14. Walled City #08 - 2nd Place, Cities. The Kowloon Walled City was the densest place on Earth. Hundreds of houses stacked on top of each other enclosed in the center of the structure. Many didn’t have access to open space.This notorious city was finally demolished in the 1990s. However, if you look hard enough, you will notice that the city is not dead. Part of it still exists in many of the current high-density housing apartments. I hope this series can get people to think about claustrophobic living in Hong Kong from a new perspective.
Andy Yeung / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
15. Mt. Bromo - Honorable mention, Nature. Mount Bromo volcano is a small, but active volcanic cinder cone in Java, Indonesia. In early 2016, I happened to be in Mt. Bromo during the increase of seismic activity and triggered the alert status to the second highest.
Reynold Riksa Dewantara / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
16. In Your Face - Honorable mention, Nature. Caribbean reef sharks are usually shy so I placed my camera on a rock where I know they frequent and used a remote trigger to click away as they came in and bumped my camera around.
Shane Gross / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
17. Colorful apartment - Honorable mention, Cities. This building is an apartment complex in Gifu Prefecture of Japan. It is very colorful, but it is an ordinary housing collective where ordinary people can live.
Tetsuya Hashimoto / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
18. Blessings at Besakih - Honorable mention, People. Besakih Temple has been known as Bali's 'Mother Temple' for over 1000 years and is perched 1,000 meters high on the southwestern slopes of Mount Agung. Here Balinese often come to offer up prayer and take blessings from the temple priests or "Pemangku" who reside there.
Michael Dean Morgan / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest