The Best Travel Photography of 2016

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Few things can inspire us to want to travel to a new destination like a great photo. Those of us who are lucky enough to hit the road on a regular basis for our adventures often have a desire to capture the places we visit in stunning images that we can share with friends and family. In my case, I’m happy if I just don’t screw up the shot or inadvertently get my finger in front of the lens. Thankfully, there are others who are far more talented than I am to make up for my lack of skill. 

Some of the most talented of those photographers have submitted their images for the 2017 National Geographic Photo Contest, of which the finalists have recently been revealed. As you can imagine, the images are beautiful – sometimes haunting – with great shots captured at some of the best destinations around the globe, ranging from Botswana and South Africa, to Rio de Janeiro and Northern Ireland. Some of the images are landscapes, some are of the wildlife, and others are candid shots of the people that inhabit these places. All are colorful and mesmerizing. 
For those of us who aspire to be better photographers ourselves, the photos are a good reminder that taking a great shot isn’t just about the technical details. It’s also about capturing the moment, framing the image properly, and recognizing what is truly interesting about that snapshot of a moment in time. Too often we get caught up in just pointing and shooting with our cameras that we forget to truly take in the moment. But I’ve found that my best photos over the years have been taken when I slow down, observe the world around me, and look for the right combination of elements. My patience is usually rewarded at some point, and the image is one that means more to me long after I’ve returned home. 
The winners of the travel photo contest will be officially announced on February 28. To check them all out before that, click here
Kraig Becker