The images you’re about to see weren’t created artificially by Photoshop masters. They’re actual pictures taken by the winners of the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. The whale picture you see at the top of the page took home the grand prize. Taken near Roca Partida off the Mexican coast, the picture shows a mesmerizing landscape dominated by a large whale.

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“The photo wasn’t planned,” photographer Anuar Patjane Floriuk told National Geographic. “I was taking photos near the head of the whale, and all of a sudden she began to swim toward the rest of the diving team. The divers gave the whale and her calf space, and I just clicked at the moment when the flow and composition seemed right.”

In what follows you’ll see the contest’s winners, including Merit selections, as listed by Mashable.

First Place: Whale Whisperers

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-prize-1Image Source: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Second Place: Gravel Workmen

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-prize-2Image Source: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Third Place: Camel Ardah

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-prize-3Image Source: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Merit: A Night at Deadvlei

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-prize-4Image Source: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Merit: Catching a Duck

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-prize-5Image Source: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Merit: Kushti, Indian Wrestling

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-prize-6Image Source: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Merit: White Rhinos

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-prize-7Image Source: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Merit: Sauna in the Sky

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-prize-8Image Source: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Merit: Highlanders

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-prize-9Image Source: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Merit: Romania, Land of Fairy Tales

national-geographic-traveler-photo-contest-prize-10Image Source: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

More details about each picture are available at the source links.

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