National Geographic Photo Contest: Will You Help Me Choose Which Picture to Send?

National Geographic Traveler Magazine is holding their annual photo contest. Anyone (for a fee of $15) can submit a shot for a shot at some prizes. Given all the pictures I’ve taken since coming to Tanzania, I thought I’d give it a whirl this year…and I was hoping anyone reading this could help me decide which one to send.

There are four categories to the contest:

1.) Travel Portraits

2.) Outdoor Scenes

3.) Spontaneous Moments

-taking a picture at just the right time

4.) Sense of Place

-pictures that capture the essence of where they were taken

Beings that I’m not a professional photographer, and that many other participants will at least be using professional equipment, I’m leaning toward using my strength of capturing people and submitting under the Travel Portraits category. But I’ll let you judge for yourself.

I sifted through all my pictures since January and came up with, and fine-tuned, twenty photos. Let me know which one(s) you think are the best by leaving a comment at the bottom. The contest end June 30th. I’ll submit by this Tuesday the 24th. And I’ll let you know next week which shot we chose.


Spontaneous Moments:


There’s a “bridge” near my village that is actually an old, tipped-over radio tower. People here use it even though it’s not the most convenient–especially with a bundle of firewood atop one’s head.



Once a month, mothers with children gather at the government building for a weigh-in.



Students line up for morning assembly. One finds something funny.



Girls during chores, digging a pit for garbage



A campaign rally in my village.



A church service in the nearby city, Iringa



Down near the village well, boys are having a ball.



A boy climbs alongside a truck filled to the brim with harvested corn.



Outdoor Scenes:


Monster ants on a path at my school



Dawn along the road toward Iringa



Sense of Place:


On the northern coast of Zanzibar, these cows walked by at 8 a.m. every morning.



In Iringa, some light shines into a bunker with about 20 little places to eat.



Near my school, I pose with a chameleon.



Travel Portraits

All these faces courtesy of my school or village: 















So there you have it.

Let me know which one(s) you like best.

Tough decision? I hope so: )




  1. Number 8 is my favorite….I love the contrasting colors, contrasting horizontal and vertical lines, hole in the boys pants…but of your people pictures, 16 is probably the best. It reminds me of the way the Greeks love taking pictures of old men. It draws one in.

    My very artistic daughter loves the cows and she loves pictures of animals as opposed to pictures of people. I, on the other hand love pictures of people.

  2. #1 is the most unique because it shows repurposing a junk item and the arduous labor required to just retrieve a small amount of firewod.

  3. 2, 8,10,11,17 are my favorites and look professional! I love the stories behind them all though!!

  4. #1. They are all beautiful but #1 stands alone, needing no explanation, really. Composition is good, color is good and subject tells the story. Superb!

  5. If I had to choose but one, it would be #10…many fine photos, though I had no difficulty in selecting.

  6. # 1 & 6 & 7 & 11 Really they are all great. I just think you capture something extraordinary in the 4 I chose.

  7. I like number one and it looks like something right out of National Geographic but my first favorite is number 18. I wish I knew the story behind this little guy because I’m sure he has a story to tell, he is looking right at me and permeating my soul!

  8. Numbers 8, 10, 11, 15.

    Number 8 catches a moment – will those fingers and toes hold true?
    Number 10 A broad vista where the people add interest to this outdoor shot.
    Number 11 Where else would this occur?
    Number 15 Love the Mona Lisa smile and the bright clothes indicate we are not in Kansas anymore.

  9. #6 is my favorite. The spirituality and serenity captured whispers to the entire planet.
    #12… my 2nd fav. The bean of light, subjects looking to the right & Pepsi sign are intensely evocative.

    All fabulous. The trust, gentleness and sensitivity expressed by these images moves me.

    Todd Miller

  10. From a photographic sense – 8, 11, & 14 are quality photos with stories to tell. The rest are all good photos, but for a photo contest I think those 3 are the best you have here.

    I love reading your blog – thanks for your insight into these places. The little stories about every day life are very interesting.

  11. Great shots. The best photos are 8, 10, 11. The Corn truck (8) is a great shot, but not sure it fits best in “travel” category. In travel think that 10 and 11 are best because they give the best sense of somewhere outside of the US. The colors are striking and the contrast is great. If I had to pick one, it would be the cattle on the beach (11).

  12. They are all great photos. So hard to choose.
    Number 18 “tugged” at my heart. Good luck

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