The 2017 Washington Post Travel photo contest winners and finalists; Andrea Sachs & Megan McDonogh; The Washington Post

Italy – The Sassi and the Park of the Rupestrian Churches of Matera

A few weeks ago, several members of The Washington Post’s Travel section gathered in a dimly lit space to select the winners of Travel’s 18th Annual Photo Contest. The team, which also included photo editors and art designers, reviewed more than 1,400 submissions from photographers of all ages (recent college graduates to retirees) and interests (Bhutanese archers to puddles in Prague). To no one’s surprise, the viewing room grew loud with opinions and outbursts.

“It’s got some people! It’s got some God light!”

“That’s super cool.”

“That’s a nice one. It says ‘travel.’ ”

“Caterpillars — that’s different than cows, cheetahs and butterflies.”

“I don’t like birds.”

Since this was a photo competition, the experts paid close attention to the technical elements, such as composition, lighting and sharpness.

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