Dashing fluffy foxes finish first in nature photo contest

July 5, 2016, 6:10 a.m.
A pair of foxes bound across a snowy expanse.
Photo: Hiroki Inoue/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

Every year, photographers from around the world submit imagery from their journeys to far-flung locales in hopes of being recognized in the National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year contest. This year, the competition was as steep as ever, but the winners have been announced!

Inoue, a photographer hailing from Hokkaido, Japan, came out on top in the contest's Nature category with this breathtaking shot of two red foxes racing across a snowy March landscape as the sunset paints the sky a hazy pink. Inoue paired the dreamy photo with some equally dreamy prose:

"Romance is in the air. It was the time of day immediately following sunset. I heard a voice. 'Wherever you go, I will follow you,' the voice says."

Inoue's memorable foxes won first place in the Nature category, and the contest's overall grand prize goes to Hong Kong-based photographer Anthony Lau, for his evocative "Winter Horseman" photo. In the image, which you can view on the official contest website, a horseman shows off his skills wrangling a herd of cattle in Inner Mongolia.

In addition to being named the 2016 National Geographic Traveler Photographer of the Year, Lau will receive a seven-day photo safari trip for two in Churchill, Manitoba — the polar bear capital of the world!