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Now this is what we call travel photography...

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Most of us aim to return from holiday with a handful of decent snaps - but these awe-inspiring images take the concept of amateur travel photography to a whole new level.

National Geographic Traveler recently announced the winners of its annual Traveler Photo Contest, with some truly breath-taking pictures making the shortlist.

Overall winner was Cédric Houin of Brooklyn, whose photo of a Kyrgyz woman and her daughter sewing together in a remote region of Afghanistan aimed to capture "the intimacy of this everyday life moment ... in total contrast with the harsh environment" of nomadic tribes.

Vo Anh Kiet of Ho Chi Minh City won second place with a moving photo of H'Mong minority children playing with balloons in the Ha Giang province of Vietnam.

Keith Bellows, National Geographic Traveler magazine editor-in-chief, said: "I've judged this contest for 15 years and it increasingly thrills me. We had an avalanche of entries that clearly illustrate how powerful photography has become among those who aren't professional shooters."

Take a look at some of the winning images from this year's competition, below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments section or on Twitter.

Images and captions: National Geographic Traveler/authors' own

Winner

Cedric Houin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

This image was shot in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor. The intimacy of this everyday life moment, shot inside of a family yurt, is in total contrast with the harsh environment these nomadic tribes live in. On the right we notice a television and a sound console. These tribes live weeks away from any village by foot. In spite of being located at an altitude of 4,300 metres in one of the most remote areas of Afghanistan they are equipped with solar panels, satellite dishes and cellphones. Ancestral ways of living, with touches of modernity.

Second place

Vo Anh Kiet/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

H'Mong minority children were playing their ballons on the foggy day in Moc Chau - Ha Giang province, Vietnam.

Third place

Andrea Guarneri/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

During the Easter holy celebration called ìMisteriî (mistery) in Trapani, the devotees carry the scenes of Christís passion on their shoulders all night long. When the day comes they take a break.

Merit

Ken Thorne/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Near the city of Morondava, on the West coast of Madagascar lies an ancient forest of Baobab trees. Unique to Madagascar, the endemic species is sacred to the Malagasy people, and rightly so. Walking amongst these giants is like nothing else on this planet. Some of the trees here are over a thousand years old. It is a spiritual place, almost magical.

Merit

SauKhiang Chau/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

The Last Supper Of Da Vinci? No, They are just some old men of Chefchaouen with djellaba, sitting and talking each other.

Merit

Camila Massu/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

My sister in the south of Chile. We are sitting at home next to the fireplace in our southern lake house when it suddenly began to pour uncontrollably. Had to rush into the lake to take this snapshot!

Merit

Ken Bower/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

The village of G•sadalur and the island of Mykines in the background.

Until a tunnel was built in 2004, the 16 residents living in G•sadalur had to take a strenuous hike or horseback over the steep 400 metre mountain in order to make it to the other villages. It was a rare sunny day in the Faroe Islands and I had to wait until the clouds rolled in to provide some softer light. I decided to go with a long exposure (1 minute 10 seconds) to illustrate the force of the wind and a serene sea among the isolated islands.

Merit

Fred An/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

This is the great Japanese maple tree in the Portland Japanese Gardens. I tried to bring a different perspective of this frequently photographed tree.

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