Sergio Tapiro Velasco, winner of the prestigious National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017, said his shot of an erupting volcano was ‘an impossible photograph.’
The photo captures the Volcán de Colima in Mexico at the perfect moment when lightning strikes just as it was erupting.
Mr Velasco had been closely watching and tracking the volcano for over a month but when shooting the image during the night, he said he didn’t know if he captured the shot until he looked back at his photos.
He said: “When I looked at the camera display, all I could do was stare. What I was watching was impossible to conceive, the image showed those amazing forces of nature interacting on a volcano, while the lightning brightened the whole scene.
“It’s an impossible photograph and my once in a lifetime shot that shows the power of nature.”
As the overall winner he receives a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Archipelago alongside $2500 USD (approximately £1,850) prize.
There were 15,000 entries from 30 countries in the competition, which recognises spectacular photos taken within the last two years across three categories – Nature, People and Cities.
The above photo, ‘The Man’s Stare’ by Moin Ahmed, received honourable mention in the People category and also caught our eye.
It was taken on a rainy morning at Tongi Railway Station, Gazipur, Bangladesh. Ahmed was taking photos when a train from Dhaka pulled in.
He said: “I saw a pair of curious eyes looking at me through the misty window, and next to him a black umbrella shielded passengers from the rain. It created a dreamy moment.”
This photo of the city library in Stuttgart, Germany took the top prize in the City category.
Photographer Norbert Fritz said: “With its stark white floors, open spaces, and large windows, it provides a unique atmosphere to broaden your knowledge.”
See some of the other winning photos below.