Australia Markets open in 5 hrs 58 mins

The winner of this year's National Geographic Photo Contest is a picture of thousands of recalled cars sitting in a desert

Tom Murray
  • The winners of the 2018 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest have just been announced.
  • This year, the grand prize went to a shot of thousands of recalled Volkswagen and Audi cars sitting idle in the Mojave Desert in California.
  • The winner, US flight instructor Jassen Todorov, said he hoped the image would encourage people to "become more conscious and more caring for our beautiful planet."
  • Millions of cars were recalled by Volkswagen in 2015 after it emerged that software in the company's cars was juicing the numbers on diesel emissions.
  • Scroll down to see the rest of the winners across three categories: Places, Wildlife, and People.

The grand-prize winner of the 2018 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest has just been announced, and the photo is a haunting reminder of humanity's impact on the natural environment.

Titled "Unreal," American Jassen Todorov's shot captures thousands of recalled Volkswagen and Audi cars sitting idle in the Mojave Desert in California.

His photo beat out nearly 10,000 entries to claim the grand prize, earning him $US5,000.

Todorov, who is a concert violinist and flight instructor, said he hoped the winning shot would serve as encouragement to us all to "become more conscious and more caring for our beautiful planet."

Millions of cars were recalled by Volkswagen in 2015 after it emerged that software in the company's cars was juicing the numbers on diesel emissions.

Meanwhile, winners, runners-up, and honourable mentions were also named across Places, Wildlife, and People categories.

Scroll down to check out the 10 finalists.

Grand Prize Winner and Places category winner: 'Unreal' by Jassen Todorov

Runner-up, Places: 'Thunderbird in the Dust' by Nicholas Moir

Third place, Places: 'Road to Ruin' by Christian Werner

Honorable mention, Places: 'Snowflakes' by Rucca Y Ito

Winner, Wildlife: 'Flying at the Crossing' by Pim Volkers

Runner-up, Wildlife: 'Deep Snow' by Jonas Beyer

Third place, Wildlife: 'A New Look' by Alison Langevad

Winner, People: 'Sunday Best' at Weekend Studio by Mia Collis

Runner-up, People: 'Roadside Motel' by Todd Kennedy

Third place, People: 'Love of Life' by Avishek Das