Bulgarian Pilot Wins National Geographic Photography Prize

Violinist, pilot and photographer – Yasen Todorov is the latest winner of National Geographic’s big prize for a photo of the year. His proposal, shot during a flight, shows a car park with thousands of Volkswagen and Audi cars in the midst of the Mojave desert in California. The cars are part of the diesel models produced between 2009-2015, where falsifications of reported emissions were detected.

The site is located near Victoria’s Logistics Airport, and after the Dieselgate Scandal in 2015 it has become a cemetery for market-driven cars. The airport itself is used to store decommissioned aircraft.

A classical musician by profession, Todorov began flying more than 15 years ago and is currently an instructor and combines the flights with his passion for photography to capture unique pictures of the world from bird’s eye view.

When he finds out of the scale of the effects of Dieselgate on the automotive business and sees the vast field of abandoned cars, he decides to show it through his photos. He pre-investigates the airport area through Google Maps and coordinates his mission with ground control, several times flying over the terrain to capture the best shot.

There are a total of 37 similar car parks in the United States for Volkswagen cars that have been withdrawn from the market.

“With these pictures, I hope we all become a little more conscious and concerned about our beautiful planet,” says Yasen Todorov to National Geographic. The grand prize in the contest is $ 5,000. This is another honor for the Bulgarian who has awards from international photographic competitions in Moscow, Tokyo, New York and others.

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