On Thursday, 6 December, National Geographic announced the winners of its 2018 Photo Contest, selected from numerous entries that streamed for the three designated categories—places, wildlife and people—over the span of a month from 15 October to 15 November.
This year’s Grand Prize winning shot by concert violinist and active member of the National Geographic Your Shot community Jassen Todorov was taken from his 1976 Piper Warrior over air over California’s Mojave Desert. Todorov took to the skies on a hot day in late May to capture the thousands of Volkswagen and Audi cars sitting idle in the middle of the desert. Following a scandal involving a Notice of Violation of the Clean Air Act issues by the Environmental Protection Agency’s, Volkswagen recalled millions of cars, storing them in 37 facilities around the U.S.
Todorov listens to music when flying, and looks for the same “structure and composition, colours and patterns, moods and characters” in a photo. Carefully coordinating with the airport tower, while simultaneously flying and photographing—an act perfected over time—he captured breathtaking scale. He was, however, looking into a picture much bigger than scale or composition. “By capturing scenes like this one, I hope we will all become more conscious and more caring for our beautiful planet.”
Alongside Todorov, nine others have captured the world in a winning frame—from rhinos in South Africa’s Zimanga Game Reserve and a snowy evening in Hokkaido, Japan, to the celebration of a new life in India.
Feature image: Unreal by Jassen Todorov