Every year National Geographic has a photo competition which delivers some of the most breath-taking photos. 2015 was no exception and the entries produced some truly awe-inspiring shots.

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There were 13 000 submissions in the 2015 National Geographic photo competition of which an overall prize winner was chosen along with a winner in three categories, namely Nature, Places and People.

James Smart was the chosen as the overall winner as well as the winner in the Nature category. His photo, which is called Dirt, features a tornado ripping through the ground in Colorado.

A rare and jaw-dropping anti-cyclonic tornado touches down in open farmland, narrowly missing a home near Simla, Colorado.

The Australian-based photographer won $10 000 and a trip to National Geographic’s photography seminar in Washington.

The tornado was slowly getting bigger as it picked up the dust and soil from the ground on the farmland. It wasn’t moving very fast, so we kept getting closer as it tracked next to the home as you can see in the image.

Asteroid

This stunning shot, entitled Asteroid, is the winner of the Places category and was taken by Francisco Mingorance in Spain.

On the occasion of the preparation of a report on Ríotinto from the air, I decided to include phosphogypsum ponds located in the marshes of red and whose radioactive discharges has destroyed part of the marsh. As an environmental photojournalist had to tell this story and report it but had to do with an image that by itself attract attention of the viewer. I discovered this on a low-flying training that caught my attention for its resemblance to the impact of an asteroid on its green waters.

On the occasion of the preparation of a report on Ríotinto from the air, I decided to include phosphogypsum ponds located in the marshes of red and whose radioactive discharges has destroyed part of the marsh. As an environmental photojournalist had to tell this story and report it but had to do with an image that by itself attract attention of the viewer. I discovered this on a low-flying training that caught my attention for its resemblance to the impact of an asteroid on its green waters.

At The Playground

This cool black and white picture is the winner in the People category. The photo was taken by Joel Nsadha of a man called Bwengye in Uganda.

Bwengye livesin a slum called Kamwokya in Kampala, Uganda's capital city. He cherishes his bicycle more than anything else. He brings it to this playground in the slum every evening where he watches kits playing soccer.

Bwengye livesin a slum called Kamwokya in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. He cherishes his bicycle more than anything else. He brings it to this playground in the slum every evening where he watches kits playing soccer.

Hill Of Crosses

This striking shot was taken by Hideki Mizuta in Lithuania at a place called Hill of Crosses. What makes the photo so eerily beautiful is the contrast between the lively girl in the pink dress against the see of sullen and worn crucifixes.

This photo got an honorary mention in the Places category.

This photo was taken in Siauliai, Lithuania. There are about 100,000 crosses in the hill. Many people pray for god and mourned the death of people killed by war. When I visited here, a girl ran through the hill of crosses. It was a strange sight.

This photo was taken in Siauliai, Lithuania. There are about 100,000 crosses in the hill. Many people pray for god and mourned the death of people killed by war. When I visited here, a girl ran through the hill of crosses. It was a strange sight.

Orangutan in The Rain

Some of life’s most magical moments happen just when you’re about to look away. That’s exactly what happened when photographer Andrew Suryono was taking pictures and it started to rain. He was about to pack up and find shelter when this smart little guy fashion a makeshift umbrella out of a leave in Bali.

This photograph received an honorary mention in the Nature category.

I was taking pictures of some Orangutans in Bali and then it started to rain. Just before I put my camera away, I saw this Orangutan took a taro leaf and put it on top on his head to protect himself from the rain! I immediately used my DSLR and telephoto lens to preserve this spontaneous magic moment.

I was taking pictures of some Orangutans in Bali and then it started to rain. Just before I put my camera away, I saw this Orangutan took a taro leaf and put it on top on his head to protect himself from the rain! I immediately used my DSLR and telephoto lens to preserve this spontaneous magic moment.

Nothing To Declare

A strange but cool shot taken in Taiwan by Lars Hübner during a burial.

Taiwan - In the countryside, the funerals are usually accompanied by local chapels. When a family member dies, their body is kept in the house, or in a tent built specifically for this purpose. After a set period of time, the deceased, accompanied by a funeral procession is buried. http://larshuebner.com/book/nothing-to-declare-book/ http://larshuebner.com/book/ntd--selection/

In the countryside, the funerals are usually accompanied by local chapels. When a family member dies, their body is kept in the house, or in a tent built specifically for this purpose. After a set period of time, the deceased, accompanied by a funeral procession is buried.

Check out some of the other cool shots that got honorary mentions in this year’s competition:

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