They received almost 20.000 entries and had to select the very best ones – but ultimately, a photograph of a dramatic storm cloud taken by Marko Korošec of Sezana, Slovenia won it all.Korošec has won an eight-day National Geographic Expedition to Alaska’s Inside Passage for two aboard the National Geographic Sea Lion or the National Geographic Sea Bird.

While on storm chasing expeditions in the Tornado Alley in USA I have encountered many photogenic supercell storms. This photograph was taken while we were approaching the storm near Julesburg, Colorado on My 28th, 2013. Meanwhile, the second place tells a much different story:

© Agnieszka Traczewska / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Mea Shearim, ultra Orthodox district of Jerusalem. Newly married, Aaron and Rivkeh after the wedding ceremony are to stay together for the very first time, alone. Their marriage was arranged by families. 18 years old candidates confirmed the choice in result of the one meeting only. Since then until the wedding day they were prohibited to meet or even talk. Location: Mea Shearim, Jerusalem, Israel. The third picture should be somewhat familiar:

© Marc Henauer / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

This is the Green Lake (Grüner See), located in Tragöss Austria. I won’t spoil the surprise, but you can read our article (highlighted above) to see how this park in Austria goes underwater 6 months a year.

© Sean Hacker Teper / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

This photo, taken at the ‘end of the world’ swing in Banos, Ecuador, captures a man on the swing overlooking an erupting Mt. Tungurahua. The eruption took place on February 1st, 2014. Minutes after the photo was taken, we had to evacuate the area because of an incoming ash cloud. Location: Banos, Ecuador

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© Duowen Chen / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

The picture was taken in Český Krumlov, South Bohemian, Czech Republic.

A well deserved rest! © Evan Cole / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

© Mahesh Balasubramanian / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Taken during “The Mayana Soora Thiruvizha” festival takes place every March in the small village of Kaveripattinam, the day after Mahashivarathiri (The great night of Shiva). The festival is devoted to Angalamman, a fierce guardian deity worshipped widely in Southern India. Location: Kaveripattinam, Tamilnadu, India.

© Susie Stern / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

While exploring Burough Market in London, I was delighted to come across four lovely young women dressed in vintage white dresses, eating ice cream as the local shopkeeper looked on. Are they brides? Or bridesmaids. I don’t know, but they are obviously enjoying a very special day. Location: Burough Market, London, England.

© Byron Inggs / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

On arrival at Jonathan’s Lodge our horses took to celebrating liberation from their heavy burdens. With the backdrop of “The Devil’s Knuckles” and the afternoons glow how could i not take advantage of these magnificent creatures rejoicing in the afternoons glow . This was the end of the first of a three day horse back ride through Bushman’s Nek, up the Drakensberg escarpment and into Lesothos’ Sehlabathebe National Park. Location: Jonathans Lodge, Qachas Nek, Sehlabathebe National Park, Lesotho

© Marcelo Castro / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Young Monk finds a perfect light source to read his book inside of his pagoda – Old Bagan, Burma Location: Old Bagan.