Returning to a world of travel seems daunting following the uncertainty and fear that the global pandemic has induced, meaning that many of us have had to miss out on anticipated adventures and cancel our travel plans to keep safe.
While there are still levels of risk and ambivalence surrounding the notion of travel, we can at the very least appreciate the spectacular images from the 2021 Travel Photographer of the Year Awards – and these awe-inspiring images will have you booking a flight in no time.
• Read more: Best travel camera
The overall winner of the 2021 Travel Photographer of the Year awards (TPOTY) is Italian photographer, Fortunato Gatto. This photographer has been based in Scotland since 2007 and his images portray a deep love of his adopted country. His work includes detailed abstract images of patterns in the sand from the Hebrides, a Scottish archipelago island chain, which form part of his winning selection. All images from this series were captured using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, with a 70-200mm lens.
Gatto received the top prize consisting of a Fujifilm X-T4 camera, a £1,000 (approximately $1340 / AU$1,890) cash bursary from the TPOTY competition, a personalized folio from Plastic Sandwich, a Lee Filter kit, print and digital copies of JRNY travel magazine, and a membership to the Royal Photographic Society.
Other winners of the competition included 18-year-old Jai Shet, winning the Young TPOTY contest with his series of forest images capturing the seasons. The image above was captured by Shet using a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, paired with a 24-105mm lens at f/16, a shutter speed of 0.7 sec, and ISO100.
Fellow American, 16-year-old Tevin Kim, won the 15-18 Year old category for images of homes and barns in ‘Mormon Row’, Wyoming. Kim used a Sony A7R III paired with a 28-70mm lens at f/5.6, 1/640 sec and ISO100.
For the third year in succession, 13-year-old Indigo Larmour from Ireland featured in the Young TPOTY roll of honor for a dynamic portfolio capturing the sport of camel racing in Sharjah. This young photographer used a Nikon D600 with a 24-85mm lens.
Jai Shet will receive £500 ($670 / AU$945) in winnings from the Young TPOTY competition, a Plastic Sandwich folio, a place on a Photo Iconic Photography course plus a year’s Royal Photographic Society membership, as well as a digital copy of JRNY magazine.
Other Italian photographers, Alessandro Bergamini and Beniamino Pisati, won their submitted portfolio categories, with Bergamini taking the Best Eight category and Pisati the People & their Stories. US photographer Jie Fischer was the winner of the Landscape & Adventure category, and The Living World category was won by British photographer Will Burrard-Lucas, using a self-developed Camtraptions camera system trap to capture unique images of leopards.
Other categories included the One Shot-themed winners. Mouneb Taim, from Syria, won the 'As Shot' title, with Johnny Haglund form Norway winning the 'Green Planet' theme, and the final One Shot Winner was Alain Schroeder from Belgium, in the 'Icons of Travel' category. The competition also had a 'Smart Shot Winner', granted to photographer View Van Tran from Vietnam.
The final two announced winners were the People's Choice, Dani Salvà from Spain, and the HD Video, Philip Lee Harvey from the UK, for the category Travel Shorts. The winners from all categories together present a diverse and glorious view of our planet, fitting the competition theme of 'Returning to a World of Travel'.
Some 20,000 images were submitted for this year's competition from photographers in 151 countries. The winning shots from all categories can be viewed in the online Winners’ Gallery, and are expected to go on display in a spectacular outdoor exhibition at Granary Square, London, England, in April through to May 2022.