15 Stunning Photographs For This Year's Nat Geo Nature Photo Contest
It's easy to get overwhelmed by, and lost in, the immense beauty of nature. The way incredible photos of the world around us can make us feel really is humbling — and probably a good reminder to fiercely protect our planet so future generations can enjoy it, too. If you need a quick reminder of what earth has to offer, take a look at this year's entries for the National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest. The yearly contest always brings together a collection of stunning images that might make you pack your bags, buy an airplane ticket, and get going.
This year's contest includes four categories that anyone can submit to: wildlife, landscapes, underwater, and aerials. The grand prize winner will score $10,000, see their winning photograph published in National Geographic, and get some love on the magazine's Instagram page. Each category will also have its own first-prize winner, who will win $2,500 and also be featured on the National Geographic Instagram page. Voting will be open from Dec. 1-11.
Ahead, see some of our favorite submissions so far, which include the photographer's caption and title for the photograph.
I can see the sky from here
"My daughter and her best friend on their backs in a clearing, just between planted fir forest and natural beech forest."
Above the Polar Bear
"Dear future generation, I hope we will still be able to see the Arctic wildlife as we do now. It is threatened as the environment is changing. I was able to witness many scenes of wildlife and I can guarantee you this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Here the polar bear might be interpreted as holding back the sea ice melting. Incredible and unique shot six meters above a polar bear in Nunavut, Baffin area during wildlife reportage in Nunavut and Greenland during Summer 2017."
Infinite Road to Transylvania #6
"This is Cheia (DN1A) road that takes you to Transylvania. Yes, THAT Transylvania, the birthplace of the legendary Count Dracula (Vlad Tepes). The legend says that this shot imagines what he might have seen on his nocturnal flights! Nevertheless, it's a breathtaking view with a magnificent road."
"A tidal pool at Lofoten Islands in northern Norway acts as natural eye catcher. With the high tides around full moon, white sand gets washed into the pool and then the magic unfolds."
A mother bear and a cub
"The three months [old] cub was so cute I almost dropped the camera and run to hug him. almost :) mother bear (huge female) was looking at me suspiciously :)"
"This photo was made in my hometown, called Thiersee, a small village in the heart of the Alps (Tyrol, Austria). I had to wait till the Lake Thiersee, which is frozen all the wintertime, begins to melt in Spring. Just for a few days, you can see these natural patterns in the melting ice but not without a drone. So I told my daughter to [take] a boat trip with her red kayak. Till now, nobody in my hometown [has told] me how the patterns grow (because nobody know[s] that they exist)."
One happy seal model
"Went to the very north of Denmark, Skagen, at sunrise and found this willing model."
Thousands of Belugas
"Every Summer, a thousands of belugas come back in the shallow [water] of Nunavut. They spend Summer in estuaries, scratching their skins on the bottom. We can see them really close to the shore, in a turquoise water that make you feel you are not in the arctic. The photo was taken during a wildlife reportage in Nunavut and Greenland during Summer 2017."
So this is a bird that actually exists
"Lilac Roller, Masaai Mara, Kenya, Sept. 2017."
"Kalsoy Island and Kallur Lighthouse in sunset light, Faroe Islands."
A thousand birds
"Each year between the months of December-March, Northern California becomes the winter home to thousands of migratory birds (geese, egrets, ducks, herons and others). Aerial image (photographed from a plane while flying at 120 miles per hour)."
Birds and shadows
"I was on my way home in the morning after doing some photography when I saw a larger gaggle of geese on one such spot on a lake. I quickly assembled my drone and flew above them at a height of 15 to 20 meters where they were not disturbed by the equipment. They were swimming nonchalantly, some flew off, others had just arrived at the lake. I had already been taking photos for a while, looking for interesting compositions when a smaller skein of geese arrived onto the lake."
"A male African lion teaches a lesson to a hyena pack for trying to steal its kill."
Great Gray Owl Taking Off
"Great Gray Owl Taking Off in Winter."
Sea and Salt
"Spain has many impressive landscapes and fascinating destinations, but one of the most amazing natural resorts are the salty pink lakes in Torrevieja. In this beautiful coastal resort you can find two beautiful salt lakes: a blue-green one called La Mata lagoon and the other, of an impressive pink colour, known as Torrevieja lagoon; both connected to the sea by canals."