2019 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year winners

CNN  — 

A snowy fishing village in Greenland, a vulture soaring through the sky in Spain, and a trio of actors gearing up for an opera performance in China all make up the award winners in the 2019 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year awards.

Judged by a panel of expert photographers and National Geographic staff, the annual contest received thousands of entries in three different categories: Nature, Cities and People.

Weimin Chu was named Grand Prize winner and also took first place in the Cities category for his stunning image “Greenlandic Winter,” which showcases the colorful fishing village of Upernavik, in northwestern Greenland, covered in snow.

Stiff competition

"Showtime" by Huaifeng Li won the 1st prize in the People category of the 2019 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest.

As for the People category, Huaifeng Li took first place with a beautiful photograph, entitled “Showtime,” of a group of actors getting ready for an opera performance in Licheng County in China’s Shanxi Province.

The freelance photographer says he spent all day with the performers in order to capture the shot.

Meanwhile, Tamara Blazquez Haik scored first place in the Nature category for her image, named “Tender Eyes,” depicting a griffon vulture circling the skies in Monfragüe National Park in Spain.

“How can anyone say vultures bring bad omens when looking at such tenderness in this griffon vulture’s eyes?” she says of her image.

There were nine winners in total, three in each category, as well as two honorable mentions.

Eclectic selection

Tamara Blazquez Haik's image "Tender Eyes" was the first prize winner in the Cities category of the the 2019 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest.

Chu’s “Greenlandic Winter” was taken during a three-month visit to Greenland, the world’s largest island, earlier this year.

“I love the contrast and mood of this scene,” Chu says of the stand out image.

“Historically, Greenlandic buildings were painted different colors to indicate different functions, from red storefronts to blue fishermen’s homes – a useful distinction when the landscape is blanketed in snow.

“I was busy taking continuous pictures at that time, trying to capture the best moment.”

The freelance photographer received a $7,500 prize as well as a post on National Geographic Travel’s Instagram account, @natgeotravel, while Blazquez Haik and Li will receive $2,500 respectively.