George Tapan – 2011 National Geographic Photo Contest Places Category Winner!

Into the Green Zone” Photography by George Tapan.

Congratulations to George Tapan for winning the 2011 National Geographic Photo Contest 2011 – Places Category

This is a significant win for the Philippines because:

1. The National Geographic Photo Contest is the most prestigious annual International Photo Contest capturing the beauty of the world through captivating imagery. 

2. There were 20,000 photographs submitted by the best photographers in 130 countries for three categories: people, places, and nature. There is a winner in each category and an overall winner among the three category winners. George Tapan is the winner for places category.

3. This contest is not based on popularity votes (via facebook likes). The winning photos were judged by respected National Geographic magazine photographers Tim Laman, Amy Toensing, and Peter Essick based on creativity and photographic quality (without the use of photoshop). 

4. This is the first time that Philippines won in this prestigious contest. This is also the first time that George Tapan joined this contest and won 🙂 

5. The winning entry showcases the real beauty of the Philippines through the beauty of our beaches in Palawan!

The Story about the Photo:

The photo was taken in Onuk Island, Balabac in the south of Palawan, Philippines. The island is 3 hours away from Puerto Princesa and is near the Jewelmer Farms in Palawan. 

It was taken while George’s team was stranded on the island during their photo expedition of Palawan.  It was raining hard and the strong wind created a nice flowing effect on the hair of the lady. The rain which stopped in the far distance created the rainbow effect in the horizon. The fisherman in the background is looking for turtles.

This is what you call the Photographer’s Moment, where you are in the right place, at the right time, with the right subject and background, and with a camera on hand to take the shot. 

George is finishing his book on Palawan which will be released early next year. George said that the Onuk Island beach is shallow for about 200 meters from the shore and is more beautiful than the beaches of Boracay. 

George joined the photo contest in late November because he was disappointed with the entries of some photographers which magnified the poverty of the Philippines. He was determined to win the contest by showcasing the real beauty of Palawan, Philippines 🙂 

Praises from the National Geographic Photo Contest Judges:

Tim Laman: Photographer George Tapan showed a perfect sense of timing and composition in the way he captured the two small human subjects in this beautiful scene, and that really made the shot.”

Amy ToensingThe “very moody, beautifully composed” image, called “Into the Green Zone,” compellingly shows a sense of place via the dark clouds, rainbows, the spot of pink amid a palette of blues and greens, and the woman’s flowing hair.

Peter Essick: was also captivated by the detail of the woman’s hair. It only “fills a fraction of the picture’s real estate, but by capturing the movement at the apex, the photographer has documented a sense of style and flair,”

National Geographic Judges: Overall, the picture shows that “small things can sometimes make a big difference.”

The Secret to Winning the National Geographic Photo Contest

According to George Tapan, here are the top 3 elements in winning the contest:

1). Give the judges what they want to see by reading the rules carefully

2). Learn how to capture the beauty of nature naturally with no Photoshop or manipulation. 

Only minor burning, dodging and/or color correction is acceptable, as is cropping. High dynamic range images (HDR) and stitched panoramas are NOT acceptable. For more information, please read our comments on image manipulation. Any changes to the original Photograph not itemized here are unacceptable and will render the Photograph ineligible for a prize.

3). Have an advocacy. Join contest not only to win the prize, but join photo contest to promote the beauty of the Philippines and the Filipino people 🙂

Congratulations George!  Thank you for raising the Philippine Flag in this prestigious International Photo Contest! Idol talaga 🙂

Live an Awesome Life,

Call or Text Me: +63917 5683-627 (LOVE-OAP)
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P.S. Congratulations to Shikhei Goh for winning the grand prize for his macro photography of a dragon fly in the rain entitled, “Splashing“!

21 thoughts on “George Tapan – 2011 National Geographic Photo Contest Places Category Winner!

  1. Hi, Anton. Could you clarify this one “The photo was taken in Onuk Island, Balabac in the south of Palawan, Philippines. The island is 3 hours away from Puerto Princesa and is near the Jewelmer Farms in Palawan.” 3 hours from Puerto Princesa via what? Plane? I’ve been to Balabac. If I remember correctly, we reached Bataraza, Palawan from Puerto Princesa in 5 hours via land travel. And we got to Balabac in 4 hours via a twin-motor speedboat from Rio Tuba, Bataraza, Palawan. Your readers might get excited to go there and be misinformed about the travel. Just saying. Btw, good job George Tapan.

  2. We are running a charity drive for our Mercato, Soderno, and Distrito Markets ever since the disaster started.
    We have been campaigning this in Facebook and Twitter already.

  3. Nakakapangilabot. Ang ganda talaga! Congratulations! I was privileged to be an assistant of Mr. Tapan during his documentation of Mt Apo in 1996. Sayang di ko natuloy ang career ko with the Philippines’ greatest travel photog, hehe

  4. beautiful photo! i wonder if it would have been better if the woman was wearing a 2-piece hot pink bathing suit he he he (chauvinist pig comment for the day).

  5. No.He’s actually not the first Filipino to win in one of the National Geographic Photo Contest.Look for Yen Baet.She’s the first actually.:-)And she is from Pampanga.

  6. Hello Anton!
    Happy New Year! Kamusta?
    Any chance of a photography workshop with George Tapan? I was supposed to go last time with Clang’s group to Batanes but I got sick a few days before the workshop.
    Merlene Alon

  7. thank you, sir george, for making us palawenos (particularly on the southern part) and filipinos proud! at times, we tend to take for granted our beaches in balabac (like the onok island beach which you consider “more beautiful than the beaches of boracay”) simply because we have gotten so used to such beautiful sights and experiences like walking on seashores naturally carpeted with powder-fine, blindingly white sand, swimming in waters so crystal clear and clean you can drink if it were not saline and watching marine turtles seemingly frolicking, heads darting in and out of the water’s surface.
    we have earned bragging rights. balabac is the hidden pearl of palawan; the next big thing!

  8. congrats!!Keep promoting the beauty of our country showcasing the richness of the Phil natural beauty not juts the poverty right. kepp up the good work.

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