National Geographic Traveler has announced the winners of its annual photo contest and what a feast for the eyes they are.

The winning photograph is "Butterfly", an image of two women sitting in a yurt in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridoor in Afghanistan, shot by Cedric Houin.

The contrasts of their way of life are startling; while the women are draped in modest, traditional dress, and the tribe lives weeks away from any village on foot, a TV and a sound console jostle for space in the background.

As the caption to the image states: "Ancestral ways of living, with touches of modernity".

yurt

Cedric Houin's entry 'Butterfly', won first prize

Alexandra Avakian, a National Geographic contributing photographer and one of this year's judges, called the image"painterly".

She said: "The content of the photo is striking because the photographer captured both the nomads' traditional way of life and some of their modern accouterments - the viewer gets the visual satisfaction of something that goes against cliche."

Avakian also commented on the second winning photograph, Vo Anh Kiet's "My Balloon", which captures Vietnamese children playing.

my balloon

Second prize went to Vo Anh Kiet's 'My Balloon'

She said: "The fog and soft background make it feel like a memory."

Prizes included a National Geographic Galapagos Photography Expedition; a Santa Fe Workshop; a National Geographic Traveler Seminar and $200 gift certificates to B&H Photo.

Which photo do you like best? Vote for your favorite, or let us know in the comments.

Images and captions courtesy of each credited photographer, all part of the 2012 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.

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  • First Place

    <strong><em>Photo and caption by Cedric Houin/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</em></strong> "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 meters 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." <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>

  • Second Place

    <strong><em>Photo and caption by Vo Anh Kiet/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</em></strong> "H'Mong minority children were playing their ballons on the foggy day in Moc Chau - Ha Giang province Viet Nam Shooting time Jan 2012." <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>

  • Third Place

    <em><strong>Photo and caption by Andrea Guarneri/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</strong></em> "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." <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>

  • Merit

    <em><strong>Photo and caption by Ken Thorne/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</strong></em> "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." <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>

  • Merit

    <em><strong>Photo and caption by SauKhiang Chau/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</strong></em> "The Last Supper Of Da Vinci? No, They are just some oldmen of Chefchaouen with djellaba, sitting and talking each other." <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>

  • Merit

    <em><strong>Photo and caption by Camila Massu/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</strong></em> "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!" <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>

  • Merit

    <em><strong>Photo and caption by Ken Bower/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</strong> </em> "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 meter 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." <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>

  • Merit

    <em><strong>Photo and caption by Fred An/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</strong></em> "This is the great Japanese maple tree in the Portland Japanese Gardens. I tried to bring a different perspective of this frequently photographed tree." <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>

  • Merit

    <em><strong>Photo and caption by Peter DeMarco/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</strong></em> "More than 2,000 Buddhist temples and pagados fill the plains of Bagan. Once the capital of the Pagan Empire, farmers now raise their livestock within the centuries old complex. The best way to see Bagan, apart from a ride on a hot air balloon, is by bicycle. It's easy to get off the beaten path and live out your wildest Indiana Jones fantasy." <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>

  • Merit

    <em><strong>Photo and caption by Lucia Griggi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</strong></em> "Taken at Cloud Break at an outer reef in Fiji, a surfer duck dives his board to clear the rolling waves of the raw ocean." <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>

  • Viewer's Choice

    <em><strong>Photo and caption by Michelle Schantz/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest:</strong></em> "A lonely cabin is illuminated under the Northern Lights in Finmmark, Norway." <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/entries/gallery/winners/" target="_hplink">View all entry winners here</a> <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/traveler-magazine/photo-contest/2012/" target="_hplink">Images courtesy of National Geographic photo contest</a>