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Best of the World

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Published Oct 10, 2015 | View the Assignment | Features Photos From 15 Contributors

    15 photos selected by

    Maggie Zackowitz
    Editor in Chief, National Geographic Traveler Magazine
    Leigh Borghesani
    Acting Design Director, Traveler Magazine
    Carol Enquist
    Acting Director of Photography, Traveler Magazine

    This image was made in Salto Corumbá, which is a waterfall 70 meters high located 116 km from Bra...

    #brasil #yourverticalworld #landscape #letsexplore #protecttheselands #lookoutside #waterfall

    Editors' Update: Congratulations to Victor Lima for his winning photo of a waterfall in Goiás, Brazil—it’s the cover of National Geographic Traveler’s Best of the World issue! Read more about our first-ever member submitted cover on our blog.

    We'd like to give a huge thanks to everyone who submitted photos—34,268 of them!—to the "Best of the World" Traveler cover assignment. We're proud to have been a part of Your Shot's biggest assignment ever, and we're going to have an amazing cover to show you when the December/January issue comes out in mid-November.

    It seems like the assignment's most difficult challenge for you all was our requirement for a vertical orientation to fit the magazine cover format. We got many gorgeous photos that just wouldn't crop well from the horizontal. Another problem was our requirement for model releases for anyone whose face is identifiable in a photograph. It's one thing if you took a picture of your spouse or your kid—you can always get their permission. But we couldn't consider that beautiful shot you took of a stranger walking by while you were on vacation in some exotic place. We're as sorry as you are. Blame our lawyers!

    A solo traveler enjoying the nature and I too got lost in the nature but could not resist myself ...

    #solo #wild #himachal #travel #india #trekking #nature

    Editor's Note

    Who wouldn't want to be sitting in this beautiful and peaceful forest? The photo transports the v... More

    Leigh Borghesani
    Acting Design Director, Traveler Magazine

    Traveling through the Dolomites feels like quintessential alpine Europe. While taking a road trip...

    #lago_di_braies #dolomiti #italy #prager_wildsee #italia #europe #dolomites #alps

    Terrace rice paddies in Tu Le Valley, Yen Bai province, north Vietnam at the beginning of new sea...

    #landscape #rice #paddy #tule #yenbai #water #vietnam #terraced #terrain #agriculture #travel

    This magnificent dream, built of white marble and precious stones, is the most beautiful and impr...

    #architecture #uttar_pradesh #taj_mahal #culture #asia #travel #india #ngtravelhappy #history

    Editor's Note

    This is a different, unexpected view of a very familiar subject. I like that you can see the fine... More

    Carol Enquist
    Acting Director of Photography, Traveler Magazine

    I sat and waited with my camera as people walked by. A nice rainstorm fell and gave the street a ...

    #jaipur #bluehour #rain #india #hawamahal

    This photo was taken from the viewpoint on the Plitvice lakes, I took the leg from the tripod and...

    #summer #protecttheselands #coolit #natgeoinspires #croatia #plitvice #nature

    Expedition into the arctic wild of Svalbard yielded extraordinary ice cliffs and formations.

    #winter #landscape #travel2013 #ice #snow #glacier #explore #adventure #places #travel #nature

    Editor's Note

    This photo proves that a monochromatic color palette can still make a stunning image.

    Maggie Zackowitz
    Editor in Chief, National Geographic Traveler Magazine

    The shot entice visitors to explore further the Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan. Magical...

    #letsexplore #off_beaten_path #earthcanvas #japan #arashiyama #protectthesealands #landscapes

    Even though there were a lot of people in Ben Youssef, still here was more quiet and relaxing com...

    #benyoussef #morocco #marakkesh #pool #travel

    Tianmen Mountain National Park, Zhangjiajie, northwestern Hunan Province, China. An 11 kilometers...

    #zhangjiajie #hunan #china #road #tianmen

    St Arnaud is a small Alpine Village, surrounded by mountains and located beside Lake Rotoiti. T...

    #nelsonlakesnationalpark #sunrise #jetty #lakerotoiti #nz #lake #mist

    Waking up to this view is something many only dream of, away from the harsh noises and chaotic li...

    #sunrise #purenewzealand #camping #newzealand

    Editor's Note

    What gorgeous morning light! Great work here showing closeness and distance. Can you imagine waki... More

    Maggie Zackowitz
    Editor in Chief, National Geographic Traveler Magazine

    Gondola is the best way to visit Venezia

    #italy #gondala #venezia #chanel

    Taken while waiting for the famous super moon of the sept 5, turn' out that this picture was bett...

    #night #stars #late #beautiful #moon #lake #kayak #girl #forest #peaceful

    The assignment's biggest challenge for us was the sheer number of entries. Carol Enquist (our acting Director of Photography), Leigh Borghesani (our acting Design Director), and I all kept a constant lookout for images we liked on the Your Shot site itself during the three weeks the assignment was open. But we couldn't be on the site 24/7, and the photos were coming in so quickly and at such a volume, we needed to be sure that we'd seen ALL photographs in their entirety, not just the thumbnails, to make our final selection. I know from your comments that a lot of you were very concerned about that!

    So how did we go through that many images? Luckily, we had a surprise two days off from work here in Washington, D.C., when Pope Francis visited the city. Carol and Leigh spent those days at home looking again at ALL 34,000-plus pictures and noting about a hundred of their favorites. Once we were back at work, Leigh took those images and printed them out with the Traveler logo on top. Then we laid all those pages out side by side and slowly pared them down to just a few we thought worked the best. I think we ended up picking a great one. And when you finally see it on Traveler's cover, I think you will agree!

    The images above are the top 15 choices for the final cover of the Best of the World issue, in no particular order. Thank you for so many amazing submissions from around the world. This story is a visual representation of the diversity of our membership!

    About the Editors
    Maggie Zackowitz
    Maggie Zackowitz
    Editor in Chief, National Geographic Traveler Magazine
    Before taking over as Editor in Chief of National Geographic Traveler in April, I spent 31 years at National Geographic Magazine—a place where I learned just how important photography is to storytelling. Usually I just take pictures of my dogs, though. I attended Arizona State University but I am that ...
    Leigh Borghesani
    Leigh Borghesani
    Acting Design Director, Traveler Magazine
    Leigh Borghesani has been with Traveler magazine for 21 years. She is probably the only person on earth who is not on Facebook and is just fine with it.
    Carol Enquist
    Carol Enquist
    Acting Director of Photography, Traveler Magazine
    Carol Enquist has been a photo editor at Traveler Magazine for 30 years. Having traveled the world vicariously through the images of many extraordinarily talented photographers, her list of must-sees is long, but a road trip to the national parks of the western U.S. is number one.

    Photographers Published In the Story