When you’re looking through the lens of a camera and shooting for, or included by, a renowned publication like National Geographic—arguably the professional photographer’s Holy Grail—amazing things are undoubtedly happening all around you. Some are things you can’t miss, like social upheaval or a magnificent natural disaster; and some are smaller, like a hummingbird frozen in mid-air or a rare animal in it’s natural habitat. That’s what the travel photographer of the year context by National Geographic tries to capture and so far in 2017 it has some phenomenal entries from across the world.
From volcanic eruptions to fireflies lighting trails in Japan to musicians on surfing holidays to comically inventive shots inside popular museums, this annual contest shows how diverse, beautiful, funny, tragic and flat out remarkable our world is on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Each week the contest site is updated with the travel photos National Geographic editors choose as their favorites in three different categories: nature, cities and people. You can not only search through their favorite photos by category but also by week, going all the way back to the beginning of this already tumultuous year and tracing it back to the present, all through remarkable photography.
It’ll be a few hours very well spent—and you’ll still have the images throughout the rest of the year to look forward to.