The National Geographic's Traveler photo competition produces some of the most exquisite examples of the natural world caught on film and is always a highlight on the yearly calendar. This year is no exception, with over 17,000 enthralling entries from photographers across the globe, in categories including 'Travel Portraits', 'Outdoor Scenes', 'Sense of Place' and 'Spontaneous Moments'. 

It is Mexico's Anuar Patjane who bags top honours for the 2015 edition of the competition, for his stunning – 'Whale Whisperers' – an underwater photo of divers and two humpback whales off the coast of Roca Partida. His prize is a trip for two on an eight-day National Geographic photo expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, where he is sure to capture more stunning frames of the natural world. 

"The photo wasn't planned. I was taking photos near the head of the whale, and all of a sudden she began to swim toward the rest of the diving team. The divers gave the whale and her calf space, and I just clicked at the moment when the flow and composition seemed right," said the winner of his opportunistic shot. 

Discover further entries via our gallery below...

Nat Geo

'A Night at Deadvlei' by Beth McCarley

Nat Geo

'Romania, Land of Fairy Tales' by Eduard Gutescu

Nat Geo

'Gravel Workmen' by Faisal Azim

Nat Geo

'Camel Ardah' by Ahmed Al Toqi 

Nat Geo

'White Rhinos' by Stefane Berube

Nat Geo

'Sauna in the Sky' by Stefano Zardini

Nat Geo

'Catching a Duck' by Sarah Wouters

Nat Geo

'Highlanders' by Bartłomiej Jurecki