he results are in for this year’s National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, and the photos are truly exceptional. They were selected from more than 17,000 global entries in the categories Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments.

Anuar Patjane Floriuk won first prize for his underwater shot of divers swimming close to a humpback whale near Roca Partida, an island off of the western coast of Mexico. The grand prize is an eight-day National Geographic Photo Expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two.

“The photo wasn’t planned,” said Floriuk, from Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico. “I was taking photos near the head of the whale, and all of a sudden she began to swim toward the rest of the diving team. The divers gave the whale and her calf space, and I just clicked at the moment when the flow and composition seemed right.”

The competition is in its 27th year, and both amateur and professional photographers are eligible to submit photos

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