London – A striking photograph of a boy in a bear costume as part of a New Year’s ritual in Romania has won this year’s National Geographic Traveller (UK) annual photo competition.
Shot by Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi, the candid image freeze-frames the angular expression of a young boy as he dons – or removes – his bear head hood.
“Participants dress in furs which have been preserved for hundreds of years – they are not from bears killed as part of the “ritual” nor were they killed especially for it. The bear is a symbol for Romania, and when I discovered this tradition, I was fascinated,” she explained.
The winner in the animal category is Barry Robertson, whose picture entitled Gentoo Penguins was photographed on the Falkland Islands.
“I dug a small hole in the sand so as to not startle the penguins on their route back to their nest. I lay in wait for hours before these curious chaps came over to see who I was – I couldn’t help but think they were posing for me,” said Robertson.
The winner in the action category was Yanick Targonski who captured a train meandering through serpentine paths in the Sri Lankan midlands.
“Overcrowded trains often leave local travellers with no other choice than to stand in the open door or even hang outside. I quickly discovered that this is a photographer’s dream,” said Targonski.
This year, for the first time, the shortlist of the winning images will also be available for purchase as high-quality prints.
Winning shots will also be on display at theprintspace in London between February 20 and March 4.
View the winning photos at www.natgeotraveller.co.uk/photo-competition-2015/winners/