IBTimesUK presents the best of the best – the winners of some of the year's biggest photography competitions.
A dramatic photograph of a lightning bolt striking within the ash cloud of an erupting volcano earned Sergio Tapiro Velasco of Mexico the prestigious title of 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year. Velasco's photo was selected from over 15,000 entries from participants in more than 30 countries. Read more: National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 winners revealed.
A striking photo of an assassin standing over the body of Russia's ambassador to Turkey won the 2017 World Press Photo of the Year contest. Burhan Ozbilici's picture, which also won first prize in the Spot News Stories category, shows Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, a 22-year-old off-duty police officer, immediately after he had shot Andrey Karlov at an art exhibition in Ankara on 19 December 2016. Ozbilici is a staff photographer for The Associated Press, based in Istanbul. Read more: Assassin's grisly celebration wins 2017 World Press Photo of the Year.
A shocking photo of an endangered rhino that was shot and brutally butchered by poachers won one of the world's most prestigious photography competitions. Photojournalist Brent Stirton was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017 for his compelling image Memorial to a species, which focuses on a black rhino that had been shot and de-horned in South Africa's Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve. Read more: Shocking image of rhino butchered by poachers wins Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017.
Stephanie Sinclair was named as the winner of the 2017 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award, which celebrates women photographers whose work demonstrates bravery, dedication and skill, while reporting the news through images. The International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) created the award to honour the courage and dedication of AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed while reporting in Afghanistan in 2014. Read more: Winners of the 2017 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award for women photographers.
Russian photographer Alexander Vinogradov won the Open section of the Sony World Photography Awards for his portrait of a young girl, inspired by the French movie 'Léon'. Read more: Sony World Photography Awards 2017: Winners of the Open competition are finally revealed.
The Professional section of the Sony World Photography Awards was won by Frederik Buyckx, a freelance photographer for the Belgian newspaper De Standaard. Read more: Sony World Photography Awards 2017: Winners of Professional categories are announced.
Russian photographer Artem Mironov beat thousands of amateur and professional photographers from around the globe to win the title of Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017, run by the Royal Observatory Greenwich in association with Insight Investment and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. His image of the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud Complex was taken over three nights at a farm in Namibia. Read more: Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 winners revealed – and they're out of this world.
A photo of an orangutan crossing a river in Indonesia's Tanjung Puting National Park was selected as the grand prize winner of the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest. The photo, titled Face to Face in a River in Borneo, was captured by Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan of Singapore, and was chosen by the judges from more than 11,000 entries. Read more: Stunning wildlife, aerial, landscape and underwater images: Nature Photographer of the Year winners.
Tibor Kercz was named overall winner of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards for a series of photos of an owl losing its footing on a branch and desperately trying to claw its way back on to join its buddies. Read more: Winners of the 2017 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
The annual Nikon Small World Competition combines art and science as it recognises the best photos taken under a microscope. Dr Bram van den Broek of The Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) took first place for his photo of a skin cell expressing an excessive amount of keratin. He came across this peculiar but beautiful skin cell while researching the dynamics of keratin filaments with Andriy Volkov, a student in the Cell Biophysics group led by Professor Kees Jalink. Read more: Weird and wonderful microscope images reveal beautiful, hidden world.
A photo of a plane flying over icy sugar cube formations in Antarctica won the third Royal Society Publishing photography competition, which celebrates the power of photography to communicate science. The winning shot, by Peter Convey, a polar ecologist with the British Antarctic Survey, shows an Antarctic ice sheet being stretched in opposite directions with a Twin Otter plane flying overhead for scale. Read more: Science photo contest winners include Antarctic sugar cubes and killer whales with penguin audience.
Benjamin Graham was named as Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017 for his photo of sand formations at low tide in West Wittering, West Sussex. Read more: Britain's most beautiful and dramatic scenery: Landscape Photographer of the Year 2017 book.
Sebastian Tomada, a photojournalist based in New York City and the Middle East, won the grand prize in the 10th annual iPhone Photography Awards for his photo of children on a street in Qayyarah, Iraq, near fire and smoke billowing from oil wells set ablaze by Isis militants. Read more: The 2017 iPhone Photography Awards: The world's best mobile phone camera photos?
An atmospheric photo of Indonesian women praying at a mosque won the 14th Smithsonian magazine photography contest. The judges chose Pradeep Raja Kannaiah's picture of Ramadan prayers at Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta from more than 48,000 submissions from photographers in 146 countries and territories. Read more: Atmospheric Ramadan picture wins 14th Smithsonian magazine photo contest.
French diver Gabriel Barathieu was named as this year's Underwater Photographer of the Year, as his photo of a dancing octopus beat more than 4,500 underwater pictures entered from 67 different countries. Read more: Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017: Shipwrecks, killer whales and a giant octopus.
The Art Deco control room of a derelict Hungarian power station was chosen by the public as the winner of the Art of Building photography competition. Urban photographer Roman Robroek from the Netherlands took the winning image of Kelenfold Power Station in Budapest. Read more: The Art of Building 2016: Architectural photography competition winners.
Finally, Stian Nesoy won the title of Outdoor Photographer of the Year for an image of an arctic fox's footprints in the snow around hunters' cabins in Hardangervidda National Park, Norway. Read more: Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition: The winners revealed.