Winners of National Geographic Traveler’s annual photo contest

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First Place: Jay Dunn, Taiyuan, Shanxi, China

Jay Dunn, an educational consultant, lives in
China with his wife, Zhao Ting Ting. The couple recently traveled to
India for their honeymoon. Dunn took this photograph of a pilgrim’s
hands in the holy city of Nashik, in Maharashtra. "On a cool December
morning, I was drawn to this old man sitting quietly by the water,"
says Dunn. "His hands were so expressive in the soft morning light."
Every year, thousands of pilgrims travel to Nashik—on the banks of the
Godavari River—to perform a ritual cleansing. "In my photography, I
look for the dignity of people no matter what their circumstances,"
says Dunn. "I’ve spent almost six years in Asia, searching for moments
like these, visions, as it were, that not only speak for themselves,
but also to something greater, to our common humanity, and to the
dreams everyone has of something better."

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Merit Prize: Ralph Thompson, Westmount, Quebec

Ralph Thompson worked in the aviation industry his whole life. Before he retired, Thompson went on a business trip to Cape Town, and he and his wife took a two-week African safari. He snapped this photo of meerkats during their stay at Jack’s Camp, in the Kalahari Desert. "We arrived at the meerkat den, a maze of underground tunnels, just before sunrise," says Thompson. "The meerkats scrambled out of their holes as it got light. Because of predators, one meerkat always acts as the sentry. At the moment I took this photograph, the sentry had just twisted its head around to check me out."

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