Ask any grown-up who went through school before the advent of the Internet, and they will tell you that National Geographic was the go-to source for reports and essays on lands far and wide. Expanding on its commitment to bringing the world to our mailbox, the magazine started a Traveler Photo Contest in 1988. Judges for this year had the daunting task of whittling the crop of 12,000 entries (sent in from 6,615 photobugs in over 150 countries) down to just eleven finalists.
The first-place shot went to “Butterfly,” taken by photographer Cedric Houin in the Afghanistan’s Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor, a desperately remote area at a whopping 14,000 ft. elevation. On the winning entry, NatGeo contributing photographer and judge Alexandra Avakian said, “The location is hard to reach and off the beaten path for most travelers, and therefore of educational as well as aesthetic value.” Visit National Geographic for more information about each photograph.