Lonely Planet Writer

Gorgeous images from national award winners in the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Explorers glimpsing the door to hell, monks performing the ‘turning of the Buddha’, and fireflies lighting the night are all captured in gorgeous images by the national winners in the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards.

Photo was taken in Indonesia on 29.05.2015. Two old men dressed in authentic clothes are preparing the Cocks for the fight. Cock Fighting is legally forbidden in Indonesia. This scene is prepared just for photographic purposes and they do not let Cocks to fight. The men fill their mouth with water and spit it to the faces of the Cocks to make them annoyed and angry. After this process, if they set the Cocks free, they will immediately fight with each other (which is never the case). I wanted to add smooth motion blur effect on the photograph and shut it with a comparatively long exposure of 1/15 seconds.
Two old men dressed in authentic clothes are preparing the cocks for the fight. Cock fighting is legally forbidden in Indonesia. This scene is prepared just for photographic purposes and they do not let them fight The men fill their mouth with water and spit it to the faces of the cocks to make them annoyed and angry. After this process, if they set the Cocks free, they will immediately fight with each other (which is never the case). Image by © Burak Senbak, Winner, Turkey, National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

The awards are produced by the World Photography Organisation, which unveiled the shortlist in February.

The season of a firefly comes around in Japan at the beginning of a rainy season (May to June).
The season of a firefly comes around in Japan at the beginning of a rainy season (May to June). Image by Kei Nomiyama, Winner, Japan, National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Now, the organisation has presented the winners of its National Awards programme, which is “designed to uncover the best single shot taken by a local photographer across 60 countries”.

A boy is playing his basketball after school. In Hong Kong, their life were circumscribed that fulfill with long hours of study and have less leisure time.
A boy is playing his basketball after school in Hong Kong.
Image by © Ho Wing Ka Jimmi, Winner, Hong Kong, National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

The awards are given to the best photographs from different countries and the entries were taken from the ten categories of the Sony World Photography Awards’ Open competition.

"The milky way galaxy rises over the Darwaza crater in the Karakum desert, northwest Turkmenistan. Two explorers peer into its fiery depths, known by the local Turkmen as the 'door to hell'. In 1971 Soviet scientists discovered an underground cavern with gas accumulation. It was set on fire to avoid a toxic release into nearby villages and in the hope it would burn out within days to, yet 45 years later, it continues to burn. Often described as the world's most beautiful ecological disaster. Karakom desert, Turkmenistan"
The milky way galaxy rises over the Darwaza crater in the Karakum desert, northwest Turkmenistan. Two explorers peer into its fiery depths, known by the local Turkmen as the ‘door to hell’.
Karakom desert, Turkmenistan” Image by © Tino Solomon, Winner, UK, National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

The winners were selected by an expert panel of judges and will now receive the latest digital images equipment from Sony as a prize.

Foggy October morning on Alpe di Siuisi in the Italian Dolomites.
Foggy October morning on Alpe di Siuisi in the Italian Dolomites. Image by © Martin Rak, Winner, Czech Republic, National Award, 2016, Sony, World, Photography, Awards

Their work will also be displayed as part of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards Exhibition at Somerset House, London from 22 April until 8 May.

"The great prayer festival of Monlam takes place in eastern Tibet during the heart of winter. Tens of thousands of pilgrims join the monks in celebrating the event. Here the monks of Taktsang Lhamo are performing the ritual known as the ‘Turning of the Buddha’ where a statue of the Maitreya Buddha is carried around the four corners of the village. Maitreya is a Buddha who will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment and then teach the dharma. This ceremony is to ensure that the earthly realm will be ready for his arrival."
The great prayer festival of Monlam takes place in eastern Tibet during the heart of winter. Tens of thousands of pilgrims join the monks in celebrating the event. Here the monks of Taktsang Lhamo are performing the ritual known as the ‘Turning of the Buddha’ where a statue of the Maitreya Buddha is carried around the four corners of the village. Image by ©Christopher Roche, 1st Place, Ireland National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

This year saw a record number of entries to the competition with more than 230,000 images submitted.

The Australian Giant Cuttlefish aggregation is truly one of nature’s great events. Thousands of cuttlefish congregate in the shallow waters around the Spencer gulf in South Australia, to mate and perpetuate the species. The cuttlefish like alien beings, display an array of patterns, textures and colours to indicate their intentions. As male courts a female or wards off other males, and entourage of suiters stay poised for an opportunity to mate with the female. A visual delight and a rare glimpse of nature in all its glory.
The Australian Giant Cuttlefish aggregation is truly one of nature’s great events. Thousands of cuttlefish congregate in the shallow waters around the Spencer gulf in South Australia, to mate and perpetuate the species. Image by © Scott Portelli, 1st Place, Australia National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

On 29 March, the winners of the Open and Youth categories will be announced and on 21 April, the winners of the Photographer of the Year will be announced in the Professional/Open/Student and Youth categories.

This is Vietnamese traditional culture unique to Hue city.People usually release floating lanterns on the river.To wish for a happy and peaceful life, Photos taken on the Perfume River in Hue City - Vietnam, 2 girls in the picture, they were released the lights to pray for their families.
This is Vietnamese traditional culture unique to Hue city. People usually release floating lanterns on the river to wish for a happy and peaceful life. 
Image by © Minh Thanh Ngô, Winner, Vietnam, National Award, 2016 Sony World Photography Awards

Next year’s edition of the competition will mark its 10th anniversary and will open on 1 June.

Read more: Stunning images from shortlist of World Photography Awards revealed