These Are the Winners of National Geographic’s 2017 Travel Photography of the Year Contest

National Geographic has revealed the winning images for its acclaimed Travel Photographer of the Year 2017 competition. Taking the throne is Mexican photographer Sergio Tapiro Velasco whose stunning photo dubbed The Power of Nature features an erupting volcano with a perfectly-timed lightning strike. A panel of judges rummaged through over 15,000 photo submissions from photographers in approximately 30 countries. Categories for the contest included: “Nature,” “People,” and “Cities.”

“When I looked on the camera display, all I could do was stare,” Velasco told Nat Geo. “What I was watching was impossible to conceive, the image showed those amazing forces of nature interacting on a volcano, while the lightning brightened the whole scene. It’s an impossible photograph and my once in a lifetime shot that shows the power of nature.”

Take a look at select images below and head over to Nat Geo’s official website to view the full list of winners.

The Winning Images of the Kennel Club’s Annual Dog Photographer of the Year Competition Are Here

The winning photos in The Kennel Club’s annual Dog Photographer of the Year competition are a treat for the eyes and the soul. The photo contest, which is hosted by the oldest recognized kennel club in the world, has a proven track record of making our hearts melt year after year, and this batch is no exception.

This overall winning photo perfectly captures the essential elements of the human-dog relationship: love, loyalty and companionship. The image, by Maria Davison of Portugal, also took home first place in the “Man’s Best Friend” category.

“This image was already close to my heart, and it is one of the photographs I am most proud of,” Davison said in a press release. “It was not only a beautiful, real and candid moment I got to capture, but also a demonstration of the strong bond between one of my closest friends and her dog, Yzma.”

In the “Dogs at Work” category, Sarah Caldecott from Yorkshire, England took the top prize with this photo titled “On the Move,” featuring a perfectly focused pointer in mid-air.

“The photograph of Rita was taken during a training day in February this year on the moors in County Durham. The weather hadn’t been kind and the light was fading fast,” Caldecott said.

The wondrous expression on the man’s face and the obvious gentle nature of the dog made a winning combination for this photo, which took first place in the “Assistance Dogs” category. Alasdair MacLeod from Ayrshire, Scotland, took this candid shot of a retired greyhound named Megan from Canine Concern Scotland and nursing home resident Duncan, a 95-year-old Royal Air Force veteran.

This powerful black-and-white image titled “Always by my side” won second place in the “Assistance Dogs” category.

“This particular photo was taken at a local park during a session with a fellow photographer. Reno, who is pictured with his owner, a double amputee never left his side,” said photographer John Ferrett of the U.K. “I wanted to capture the true bond between them. His owner tells me that he has trained Reno himself to assist him in everyday life and shared with me that Reno is a Godsend and is a massive part of his life.”

On a more light-hearted note, this photo of Tyson the baby boxer won first place in the “Puppy” category. Titled “Full Concentration,” it was taken by Netherlands-based photographer Mirjam Schreurs.

“Dogs are loyal friends, and I love them a lot, that’s why I focus on dog photography,” said Schreurs. “The picture of Tyson was … made at the end of the shoot, [when] the dog sat down and had a wonderful concentration to his owner. This was a wonderful moment.”

Rodrigo Capuski of Brazil won second place in the “Dogs at Play” category for this soft and sunny photo of Leica playing in a chamomile field. (The first place “Dogs at Play” photo is at the top of this page.)

“This photo was taken a week before the chamomile harvest, on a weekend we decided to look for new locations to photograph,” Capuski said. “The chamomile field is 50 km from Curitiba, Brazil, in a rural location with several varieties of plantations. It was a day when Leica had a lot of fun and went back home yellow and smelling like chamomile.”

Looking at the above photo, would you have guessed it was taken by an 8-year-old? The Kennel Club competition’s “Young Pup Photographer” category is open to children age 11 and under. Dylan Jenkins from Swansea, Wales, won first place with this photo of Mosey.

“I love taking photos and videos of Mosey because she is so funny, gentle and sleepy,” said Jenkins. “I also like taking photos and videos of the birds. … I took this photo in my garden. We had some cake and Mosey came to sniff it. I took about 20 photos and this was the best and the funniest.”

The “Rescue Dog” category is one of The Kennel Club’s newest categories, and entries are supposed to promote “the positive attributes of rescue dogs either currently living in a shelter or at home with their new family.” The photo above fits the former category and features Chloe looking up with fixed, expectant eyes at a kind shelter worker.

“Chloe [and her sister] came to Bath Cats and Dogs Home when their owner died,” said photographer Alexandra Robins of Wiltshire, England. “I had the pleasure of photographing the sisters while they were playing in one of the grass paddocks, when I captured this special moment between Chloe and her carer.”

Thankfully, many of those shelter stories have a happy ending — and such is the case with Joshua, the pit bull terrier in the above photo, which won third place in the “Rescue Dog” category. Titled simply “Home,” it was taken by Kaylee Greer of the U.S. about 12 hours after she adopted Joshua from a shelter. His huge smile says it all.

“The next morning after adopting him, only 12 hours or so since he left his well-worn place in his shelter cage, we went on our first walk together as human and dog, and I was lucky enough to capture this moment,” Greer says. “This is the definitive, tiny slice of time in which the joy can only be measured by the size of his perfect smile. A moment in which Joshua discovered he was finally home.”

It’s worth noting Greer had two winning photos in this competition, as her image at the top of this page won first place in the “Dogs at Play” category.

You can see all the winning photos and learn more about each photographer on The Kennel Club’s website.

Apple Just Launched a New Website to Teach You How to Take Better iPhone Photos

Apple just launched a website that features a series of videos teaching users how to take the best photos using their iPhone. Full of informative tips and tricks, the site offers advice on how to capture action photos, low-light photos, unique angles, a backlit photo and much more. With a ton of scenarios, you’ll surely learn a tip or two on how to improve those Instagram shots. Check out the full site here.

This Creepy App Lets You Take Selfies With Dead Relatives

File this under: Creepy Tech. South Korean company Elrois Inc. is developing a new app that lets users 3-D scan their relatives and turn them into virtual avatars so they can talk and take selfies with them when they’re away — or dead.

“With Me”, showcased this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, uses 3-D photo-realistic technology and artificial intelligence to help recreate the image and persona of a relative, friend, or even a celebrity. Users can have conversations with the avatars and tell them things such as “I love you,” and the avatar can reply with, “I love you, too.”

Avatars will also respond to certain face expressions when taking selfies and recognize emotional change. If you were to pucker up, the avatar will turn to the side and pretend to kiss you. If you were to open your mouth in disbelief, the avatar would do the same.

“Users put personal information when starting this app, the avatars remember the user from that time and recognizes if there’s some change in appearance and emotion, and mentions it, such as ‘you look younger today, what is your secret?’” Eunjin Lim, spokesperson for Elrois Inc., told Vocativ.

“With Me” is clearly morbid since it’s aim is to use a dead person as a form of entertainment, but it could also potentially help people cope with depression or anxiety when they go long periods of time (perhaps forever) without seeing a loved one’s familiar face.

Lim said the app can not only help for who have had loss in their family but also disabled or elderly people who have trouble moving. “We think the avatars can be the new way to overcome their wounded-heart with a good function of new technology. That also means it can be definitely be used for various healthcare fields,” he said.

The app is in its early stages and requires people to visit a 3-D scanning photo booth in order to create their avatar. Elrois hopes the app will be more accessible in the future, as phones include 3-D scanning technology.

“Some people told us that our app reminds them of ‘Black Mirror,’” Lim said. “However, when we think about the reason why we take a picture or video, I could say, people want to leave their memories by what we can see forever. Also, people do everything to remember some precious person to them, or try to move on.”

Instagram Users Can Now Upload Up to 10 Photos, Videos at Once

Instagram users will now be able to upload up to 10 photos and videos per post. Followers can view the stories by swiping through a carousel of images. In a press release, the company explained that the new features will allow for more complex stories and an easier user experience: “You no longer have to choose the single best photo or video from an experience you want to remember,” the company said. “Now, you can combine up to 10 photos and videos in one post and swipe through to see them all.” This also solves the common Instagram problem of users uploading many separate posts, and clogging up your Instagram feed. We all know that one person who just can’t stop posting photo after photo of their dog/baby/favorite new coffee shop.

The ability to upload multiple images and videos into one single post is actually not that new to Instagram. In fact, Instagram has had the feature for years, but it was only available to their advertisers. The company hinted at bringing the carousel feature to regular users, and today they’ve finally made the feature available to everyone. The Verge explains how to use it:

To create a carousel, you tap a new icon that mimics a photo stack. From there, you select the photos and videos you want to include. To change the order of the posts, you tap, hold, and drag. You can edit your photos and videos individually or as a group, but you only get one caption and location tag for your post. (Likes and comments are all grouped under the complete post, too.)

You can view Instagram’s Instagram post on the subject below, and experience the new feature for yourself. It’s pretty neat—anything that makes the social media experience slightly less annoying is okay with us.

Polaroid Kicks Off Their 80th Anniversary With A Modern Take On Their Instant Camera

Polaroid is celebrating its 80th Anniversary this year and to mark the occasion they’re releasing a new instant camera called Pop. The camera builds on their use of the ZINK Zero Ink printing technology and simplifies it into a simple, compact device that prints photos in their signature 3×4 format.

The camera is backed by a 20 megapixel sensor and has a 3.97″ touchscreen LCD. You’ve also got Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so you can connect to your phone and edit your photos or even print existing images from your library. Pricing has yet to be announced though you can expect the camera to hit shelves later this year.

Vine Is About to Make Its Official Exit, Will Become a Camera App

Back in October 2016, Twitter announced that it was shutting down the popular 6-second video sharing service Vine. The company has now announced that the video service app will be officially discontinued on January 17. To take its place, the Vine camera app will provide a similar service allowing users to make 6.5 second looping videos that can be saved or posted to Twitter. The app won’t support social sharing to the Vine community as we know it, instead functioning essentially as an offline creation-oriented app. Users will have until January 17 to download their Vines. After that, vine.co will become an archive of clips, allowing you to view all of the Vines ever created.

Royal Caribbean Will Pay You to Quit Your Job, Travel The World and Take Instagrams

Have you ever spent the day scouring your city for that perfect shot, when the sky is a dreamy pink and the setting sun bounces off the glowing skyscrapers in just the right way? Then, after a days worth of work and only a few dozen likes to show for it, you think to yourself “Damn. If only had gotten paid for that.” If so, then put down your smartphone, and listen up.​

Royal Caribbean is looking to hire a master Instagrammer for a paid summer “intern-ship,” for which you’ll be required to snap and post eye-popping shots from a three-month trip around the world. Okay, now that you’ve regained consciousness, here’s how it works:

If you’re over 21 and have “extensive knowledge of all 23 filters,” you can earn £3,000 (almost $3,700) as an amateur photographer on three cruise ships that’ll take you all over the globe—for free. All you have to do is position yourself as a “hybrid between a photographer, documentary maker and a storyteller” to land the summer job of your dreams.

If the panel of travel experts happens to choose you, you’ll be tasked with posting three photos on Instagram each day; one of a breathtaking view, one of an awesome person found on board, and one of a mind-blowing experience. If that sounds like something you’d be into, just post your most incredible travel photos from now until January 31 and include @RoyalCaribbeanUK and #ExtraordinaryExplorer in the caption. 

Just make sure you send us a postcard. 

’Tis The Season: We Want Photos Of Your Kid’s Mall Santa Claus Nightmare

It’s that time of year again, when parents inform their offspring that they’re being taken to meet a mystical bearded stranger who, if they’ve been good, has the potential to make all their dreams come true. Instead, these children find themselves face-to-face with a red-suited nightmare from which they want desperately to escape.

And when the often hilarious result is caught on camera, we want to give you the opportunity to share those moments with the world.

• Do your folks have great pics of that time you tried to rip the Big Guy’s beard off during a screaming fit?

• Did your child try to flee the premises immediately upon seeing jolly old St. Nick?

To send us your photos:

1. Send the pic as an email attachment to 863magazine@gmail.com with the subject line SCARY SANTA 2016.
2. Include your child’s first name & age in the email. If it’s an old photo, tell us the age at the time the pic was taken. You must be the parent or guardian of the child in the photo (or it must be a photo of you as a child).
3. Be sure to include any fun anecdotes about the experience.

These Are the Most Instagrammed Places and Cities of 2016

Instagram currently has 500 million active users, making it one of the most popular social media platforms out there today. With profiles full of pictures of food and travel, it’s no wonder users love to share their travel journeys. Thanks to a study by CNN, turns out the most geo-tagged city of 2016 is New York City, which is home to three of the world’s top 10 most Instagrammed locations. Take a look below at the most Instagrammed places followed along with the most geotagged cities:

Top 10 Instagrammed Locations of 2016

10. Vystavka Dostizheniy Narodnogo Khozyaystva (Moscow, Russia)
9. Brooklyn Bridge (New York City, New York)
8. Santa Monice Pier (Santa Monica, California)
7. Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas, Nevada)
6. Louvre Museum (Paris, France)
5. Eiffel Tower (Paris, France)
4. Times Square (New York City, New York)
3. Central Park (New York City, New York)
2. Universal Studios Theme Parks (Global)
1. Disney Theme Parks (Global)

The Top 10 Geotagged Cities of 2016

10. Jakarta, Indonesia
9. Istanbul, Turkey
8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
7. Saint Petersburg, Russia
6. Los Angeles, California
5. Paris, France
4. São Paulo, Brazil
3. Moscow, Russia
2. London, United Kingdom
1. New York, New York