The amazing winners of the 2022 Travel Photographer of the Year awards

A rare rhino, penguin chicks hiding from predators and a mysterious volcanic cone: The astonishing winning shots in the 2022 Travel Photographer of the Year awards

  • This year, almost 20,000 travel-oriented images were submitted by photographers from 154 countries 
  • Slovenian photographer Matjaz Krivic has been crowned the overall winner. Two of his entries are below
  • The photos will go on display outside in Arnos Vale, Bristol, between May 1 and May 31 
  • Read more: Instagramming photographer’s awe-inspiring astronomy photos, from Australia to the U.S

Take an eye-opening world tour, courtesy of incredible images by some of the best photographers around. 

Their astounding work, said to ‘present a diverse and glorious view of life on our planet’, has deservedly been honoured in the 2022 global Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) contest.

This year, almost 20,000 images were submitted by amateur and professional photographers from 154 countries. Among the prize winners, there’s a heartwarming picture of a pair of polar bears embracing in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, a transfixing image of a cloud passing over ‘snow monsters’ – snow-covered trees – in Japan, and a shot of a cluster of penguin chicks hiding from predators in Antarctica.

However, it’s the work of Slovenian photographer Matjaz Krivic that has truly captivated the judges, earning him the title of Travel Photographer of the Year. His winning portfolio comprises poignant photographs of the two last remaining northern white rhinos in the world, as well as extraordinary pictures of a volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands.

TPOTY founder Chris Coe said: ‘Our latest winners form a fascinating collection of images. From the intensely powerful to the exquisitely subtle, sensitive and beautiful, they reach every corner of the world and cover every facet of travelling with a camera. Conservation and sustainability permeate the collection and illustrate the role that photography can play in creating awareness of the issues facing our planet.’ 

The winning shots can all be viewed in the online winners’ gallery at And the photos will go on display outside in Arnos Vale, Bristol, between the Royal Photographic Society and the Martin Parr Foundation between May 1 and May 31. Scroll down to see MailOnline Travel’s pick of the winners – with work by gold medal winner Krivic at the very bottom…

The overall winner of the ‘People’s Choice’ award and highly commended in the Water category, this fascinating picture by French photographer Romain Miot of a salt caravan – a herd of camels ferrying salt across the desert – was captured in the Sahara Desert in Mauritania. Miot says: ‘No roads lead to this place, so we navigated by compass. Hundreds of dromedaries [a type of camel] and their masters were present on this desert plain where nothing lives. Two wells had been dug to water the camels before the caravan left for Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso to sell the salt.’ Reflecting on how the photo turned out, he says: ‘When I returned from the trip, I realised that this image of a camel owner ordering the dromedaries looked like a conductor with an orchestra’

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A special mention in the ‘Deserts to Rainforests’ category goes to this stunning photograph of Mount Zao, which lies between the Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures in Japan. Describing the photograph, native photographer Kazuaki Koseki says: ‘A rare lenticular cloud – said to be the sign of bad weather – looms over the “snow monsters”, the snow-covered trees, on Mount Zao as night approaches’

British photographer John Seager turned his camera on the Cone of Arita, a peak formed by salt and black lava in Argentina’s Salar de Arizaro salt flats, for this mesmerising photograph. He describes the Cone of Arita as a ‘spectacular’ geological formation that ‘seems to be lost’ in the ‘vast desert’ of the salt flats. He adds: ‘Using a drone, I was able to capture the magnificent shadow of Arita on this beautiful, cloudless evening.’ The shot earns the gold medal in the single image section of the ‘Deserts to Rainforests’ category 

A snowy owl flies through falling snow in Connecticut in this spellbinding shot by Yaron Schmid, who says: ‘After watching her for a few hours from a safe distance, she finally flew into the snowstorm.’ The U.S photographer describes the picture – the recipient of a special mention in the Blue Planet, Green Planet category – as his ‘dream shot’

Earning a special mention in the Blue Planet, Green Planet category, this photograph shows Adelie penguin chicks finding refuge in an intricate tunnel system formed in icebergs in Antarctica. Australian photographer Scott Portelli explains: ‘Using these passageways to avoid predators, they group together for safety. Leopard seals patrol the surrounding waters, while skuas [predatory seabirds] survey the vulnerable chicks from above’

This beautiful photograph by Katy Gomez depicts a child of the Baka community in a jungle in southeast Cameroon. Describing this shot, which receives a special mention in the Cultures category, Gomez says: ‘A diminutive, graceful figure appears from the jungle, a faint accent of colour in a vanishing world.’ She continues: ‘For thousands of years Baka pygmies have lived in harmony with magnificent jungles in southeast Cameroon, but within a generation, much of their unique lifestyle will be gone forever due to deforestation and industrial interests’

This majestic photograph of Japan’s Sogi Falls was captured on a day when temperatures dipped below freezing point, Singaporean photographer Weizhong Deng reveals. He says: ‘I was initially disappointed to see the entire [waterfall] covered with a thick mist upon arriving before dawn… fortunately, when the sun rose, it lit up the falls beautifully and cleared away some of the mist.’ The picture is commended in the ‘Water’ category

This powerful shot by Polish photographer Artur Stankiewicz received a special mention in the ‘Art of Monochrome’ category. It shows wildebeest crossing the Mara river in northern Serengeti in Tanzania in truly dramatic style, kicking up a massive dust cloud as they rush into the water 

LEFT: A chimpanzee on Cameroon’s Pongo-Songo island is the subject of this hypnotising photograph by Spanish photographer Quim Fabregas Elias. He says: ‘Chimpanzees in Cameroon are under constant threat from poaching for bush meat, by deforestation and by the trafficking of the babies. Pongo-Songo island is a sanctuary on the Sanaga river, managed by [conservation group] Papaye International, France, where rescued injured and orphaned chimpanzees are able to roam freely and safely in their natural habitat.’ The picture received a special mention in the ‘Art of Monochrome’ category. RIGHT: This arresting picture by Chinese photographer Cui Zhoufan shows a horse in the Chinese province of Heilongjiang that has become panicked by a ‘fierce gale’ ripping through the landscape. Impressed, the judges have awarded the picture a special mention in the ‘Art of Monochrome’ category

Bagging a special mention in the ‘Art of Monochrome’ category, this picture shows a distinctive water feature at Dubai’s Expo 2020 event, an exhibition that featured immersive displays. Indian photographer Shyjith Onden Cheriyath, who was behind the lens, explains: ‘From the start of Expo 2020 Dubai, this unique water feature became one of the biggest attractions. Visitors stop off to dip their feet in the waterfall that crashes to the ground before disappearing into the stone. The water also dances to music as people frolic in the tumbling stream below’

Taken by U.S photographer Dana Allen, this shot – a ‘beetle’s eye view’ – homes in on the legs of an African elephant among a herd in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park. The picture is part of a portfolio of work that has been named a runner-up in the ‘Art of Monochrome’ category

Israeli photographer Roie Galitz was behind the camera for this emotive shot of two polar bears embracing. Titled ‘White Wedding’, it was captured on the Van Mijenfjorden fjord in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. Galitz says: ‘During this honeymoon, a blizzard and a whiteout made it very difficult for humans, but the polar bear couple didn’t seem to care.’ The picture is part of a series that snapped up the top prize in the ‘Art of Monochrome’ category

This striking shot of a heron with its lunch, snared on Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, has made Rohan Shah a runner-up for the ‘Young Travel Photographer of the Year 14 and Under’ award. Shah, 14, explains: ‘The grey heron managed to get hold of a very slimy skink [a type of lizard], by piercing the creature’s head. The heron flew away, showing off its large wingspan’

This atmospheric photograph helped 18-year-old British photographer Cal Cole earn a runner-up accolade for the ‘Young Travel Photographer of the Year 15 to 18 Years’ award. ‘I feel the contrast between nature and urban is very interesting,’ Cole says of the image, taken on a foggy evening in Prestwich, Greater Manchester, in woodland that lies next to a busy junction 

Behold one of the pictures that won Matjaz Krivic the title of Travel Photographer of the Year 2022. Captured in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki, Kenya, the poignant shot shows Najin, one of the last two northern white rhinos left in the world, resting in the heat of the afternoon with her caretaker Zachary Mutai. Krivic explains: ‘The northern white rhino is all but extinct. The two last males died several years ago. The two females are still with us, but [they’re] too feeble to bear babies.’ The photographer explains that the rhinos’ eggs are now being artificially fertilised by sperm from the late male northern white rhinos. This is done ‘in hopes that surrogate rhinos from another subspecies can carry the northern white back from the brink’

This, another image from Krivic’s impressive body of work, shows a ‘ravaged mountainside with a single tree withstanding the lava flow’ during the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma. The eruption, which continued for 85 days in late 2021, was the island’s longest-running volcano eruption ever. The photographer says: ‘Huge rivers of lava and enormous amounts of continuously falling volcanic ash have transformed this Spanish holiday paradise’

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