National Geographic has published a gallery of the best travel photos of 2015, featuring 50 superb images from around the globe.
IBTimes UK presents 12 of the winning photos here. You can see the rest, plus more great photography, on the National Geographic site.
Highlights include the northern lights swirling in the night sky above Iceland, fishermen using lanterns to attract eels, and a young woman gasping for breath as she is crushed by crowds in Pamplona. The winning photos were submitted to
Your Shot, a forum where members can take part in photography assignments, get expert feedback, get published, and more.
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. Photograph by Gleb Tarro, National Geographic Your Shot. The Cuernos (Horns) del Paine grab the early morning light in Chile's wild Torres del Paine National Park. Once the haunt of a few stalwart climbers, the park now attracts more than 100,000 visitors a year
Gleb Tarro, National Geographic Your Shot
Northern Lights Over Iceland. Photograph by Daniele Boffelli. The aurora borealis sets the Iceland sky alight with an otherworldly glow. This phenomenon is triggered when the sun sends charged particles coursing to Earth. The best time to see the light show in Iceland is on a clear night in winter – visibility improves the colder it gets
San Rafael Falls, Ecuador. Photograph by Ivan Kashinsky, The New York Times/Redux. The Coca River roars over the San Rafael Falls, the largest waterfall in Ecuador. Tucked into a cloud forest, San Rafael is near Baeza in the country's northeast
Ivan Kashinsky, The New York Times/Redux
Night Fishermen, Japan. Photograph by The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images. Fishermen wait for glass eels to be drawn to the bright lights they're shining on Japan's Yoshino River. When the eels are close, the fishermen scoop them up. This type of traditional fishing is best done on the darkest nights
The Asahi Shimbun/Getty Images
Kota Bharu, Malaysia. Photograph by Duratul Ain D, National Geographic Your Shot. Fresh produce and baskets of fish surround a woman at the Siti Khadijah market in Kota Bharu, Malaysia. The city is close to the Thai border
Duratul Ain D, National Geographic Your Shot
Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph by Philip Grube. "I took this picture at an amusement park down by the [Victoria and Alfred] Waterfront in Cape Town," says Philip Grube, who entered the 2015 Traveller Photo Contest. "It was a clear blue sky when I saw these kids crawling, running, and trying to balance themselves in these shiny plastic bubbles in a pool of water. The reflection of the water in combination with the effect of the bubbles under the blue sky looked somehow surreal."
Lake Bogoria National Park, Kenya. Photograph by Martin Harvey, Corbis. Lesser flamingos take flight over Lake Bogoria in Kenya. The alkaline waters of Bogoria and other Rift Valley lakes support the cyanobacteria that the birds feed on
Martin Harvey, Corbis
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, St Petersburg. Photograph by Sasse, laif/Redux. An elaborate mosaic under the central dome in the Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood in St Petersburg, Russia, draws the eye up. The church contains nearly 1.9 acres of mosaics
La Réunion National Park. Photograph by Spani Arnaud, Hemis/Corbis. Under a stormy sky, hikers round a small lake in La Réunion National Park, located on the French island of Réunion in the southwest Indian Ocean. Added to Unesco's World Heritage List in 2010, the 247,000-acre park features dramatic, rugged landscapes and valuable ecosystems – including cloud forests, subtropical rain forests, and heaths— home to many threatened and endangered species
Spani Arnaud, Hemis/Corbis
Binche, Belgium. Photograph by Sergi Reboredo, VWPics/Redux. The town of Binche, Belgium, takes its Mardi Gras silliness seriously, with street performances, costumed revellers, music, and dancing. The centuries-old event has been named by Unesco as a "masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity."
Sergi Reboredo, VWPics/Redux
Yellowstone National Park. Photograph by Jeff Vanuga, Corbis. Frost paints Yellowstone's Lower Geyser Basin white early one January morning. The world's first national park does not shut down during the long winter – cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are popular snowy activities
Jeff Vanuga, Corbis
Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Photograph by David Ramos, Getty Images. Space is tight for onlookers during opening day of the San Fermin Festival's Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Held since 1591, the event attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year for nine days of revelry, morning bull runs, and afternoon bullfights. The festival gained worldwide fame after appearing in Ernest Hemingway's 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises
David Ramos, Getty Images