The winning photo in National Geographic’s 2018 Travel Photographer of the Year is a quiet shot of a humpback whale calf, swimming in the deep blue waters of Japan’s Kumejima island.
After scouring more than 13,000 submissions, National Geographic‘s panel of experts has chosen the Travel Photographer of the Year for 2018. Meet Reiko Takashi, whose astonishing underwater photo of a humpback whale calf, took home this year’s prize of $10,000 USD.
The 2018 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year winner proves that pursuing your passion can bring great rewards. Japanese photographer Reiko Takahashi left her job as a semiconductor engineer last year to follow her dream of becoming an underwater photographer.
In an interview with National Geographic, the Japanese photographer explained what inspired her to pursue undersea photography full time and how that brought her to the winning image.
“I felt that life was finite and I wanted to use time for what I really love,” she told National Geographic. For her, that meant meticulously studying behaviors of ocean life, and spending what time she could to document them in their natural habitat. Her renewed dedication to photography paid off in February 2018, when she came across a mother whale and calf while snorkeling.
Below are some of the other highlights of this year’s contest.