These are just some of the moments judges for the Sony World Photography Awards have picked out for this year's shortlist. For the 2017 competition - the largest in the world, now in its 10th year - photographers from across the planet entered a record ...
As the ominous sky turns black, a vast tornado wraps its cloak over a deserted highway in Texas. In Japan, an almighty killer whale breaches off the northern coast of Hokkaido, tossing silver shards of glimmering water into the air as it breaks the surface. These are just some of the moments judges for the Sony World Photography Awards have picked out for this year's shortlist.For the 2017 competition - the largest in the world, now in its 10th year - photographers from across the planet entered a record 227,596 images across the awards' Professional, Open and Youth categories.In all, 49 countries are represented in the shortlist, with the winners to be revealed on April 20 at an awards ceremony at Somerset House in London.Zelda Cheatle, Chair of the Professional jury, said: 'There was a truly global reach to the Sony World Photography Awards judging this year - the images were more diverse and broad ranging than I have ever seen before.' A tornado supercell storm rolls over the town of Stratford, Texas, USA. Photographer Maximilian Conrad says of it: 'I only had a few moments to find a decent spot. Its structures and color seem unreal and belong to the most dramatic I have ever witnessed in many years' In Japan, an almighty killer whale breaches off the northern coast of Hokkaido, tossing silver shards of glimmering water into the air as it breaks the surface Christina Roemmelt took this startling image of an ice cave in December 2016 after a long hike to a glacier in an undisclosed location Here in Si Chuan, China, the Five Sciences Buddhism Academy rests under stormy clouds just moments before the heavy rain Pier Mane captured this indigenous tribe of the Solomon islands, where he says: 'It seems kids learn to paddle before they walk' Rob Wilson explains of his entry: 'The sun setting over Yosemite Valley as shot from Taft Point while my girlfriend poses on the cliff edge during our road trip across the Americas' Off the coast of Mexico's Revillagigedo Islands, a lone silkie shark illuminated by the sunlight lurks beneath the surface near a rocky wall A bedouin boy in Oman poses with his father's rifle. 'He is still too young to use it,' explains Mark Languido Vicente, 'but here, he is tasked to hold it in a safe position while his father receives guests' Turkish photographer Oktay Subasi captured this majestic image of a rancher amid a herd of horses cantering through the dust A firefighter crosses into a burning building to douse fire at Tampaco Foils Limited, a packaging factory in the Tongi industrial area near Dhaka, Bangladesh, which caught fire in September 2016, leaving 39 people dead and 50 injured A chorus of five baby swallows eagerly await the return of their mother, who will drop food into their tiny beaks Caught in the crossfire, Iraqi civilians displaced by fighting in the village of Shora, just south of Mosul, reach an Iraqi army checkpoint on the northern outskirts of Qayyarah A boy in Nakhon si Thammarat, South Thailand, rests his weary head on a buffalo in the mists of the early morning The photo is taken at a cemetery in Manila, Philippines, where a community of homeless people live, including this child who has found a balloon to play with among the unclaimed bones and bodies As part of the Ceremony of Cleaning Of Corpses in North Toraja, Indonesia, family and relatives clean the dead body of Paulus Sampe Lemba, who died at the age of 62. Every three or five years, Toraja people pay their respects to the deceased by cleaning corpses and dressing them in their favourite clothes Thousands of Muslims in Tongi, near Dhaka in Bangladesh, take Friday prayers in congregation grounds as part of Biswa Istema, the second largest religious gathering of Muslims in the world The scattered stars of the Milky Way light up the sky above the main highway through the southern Alps in the South Island of New Zealand Wildebeest kick up clouds of dust as they charge through the African Serengeti during their annual mass-migration Photographer Yong Lin Tan Year says of this image: 'I shot this from the balcony of the flat I'm staying at, and further composited and manipulated the photograph to deliver the surreal feeling of staying in a concrete jungle and the desire for freedom - I wish it was a pool of fish instead of a car park full of cars'