National Geographic has opened up their 2014 photo contest for submissions. Each year the most magnificent photos of nature and animals are highlighted by this competition, offering those trapped in suburbs and cities a chance to see the natural world in all new ways.
There are 3 categories you can apply for, People, Places, and Nature. The winers within each category will receive $2,500. One grand-prize winer (and the runner up from their category) scores a trip to Washington D.C. for the National Geographic photo seminar, along with $7,500.
As of now, the winners remain unknown, but here are 21 of the best submissions so far!
Location: Point Defiance Zoo, Tacoma, WA, USA
Capturing photos of animals isn’t always this easy, but the gentle giant swam right up to the photographer and company, starring at them while wearing a cute ‘bubbly’ expression.
Photo: Mom’s Love
Photographed by Cherly Jong, the caption for this photo reads, “The Mother Bird’s feeding time.”
Photo: From the Sky
Location: Tenerife Canary Islands
Green turtles (chelonia mydas) are incredibly cute and affectionate, and there are plenty of them off the coast of Tenerife. Photographer, Montse Gilo, says of this photo, “I find myself devoting much time to these curious creatures. This turtle was coming from the surface with the sun behind it, and the sunrays surrounding it gave it a special majesty.”
Photo: Destroyed Homs
Location: Homs, Syria
Birds are the only life visible in this desolate, abandoned, and war torn region of Homs, which used to serve as the city center.
Photo: The Lord of The Ocean
Location: Guadalupe Island, Mexico
Photo: Searching For Love
Location: Brevard, North Carolina
Blue Ghost Fireflies light up this picture, each one hoovers about one-foot off the ground, casting a unique glow.
Photo: Walking on Water
Location: Queensland, Australia
After this photo shoot came to a close, Dave Kan saw a kangaroo come darting out of nowhere, bounding across the lake as if walking on water.
Photo: Mexican Long Nosed Bat
Location: Elephant Head in Southern Arizona
Photo: Bringing Home Breakfast
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
Sandy Scott, the photographer of this stunning image, has been watching this same beautiful osprey bird for a while. She fondly calls him Fleck, and has watched him build a nest in the same location for the last 4-years. When he scooped this fish out of the water with his talons, Scott was there to capture the whole thing on camera. Incredibly, he made direct eye contact with her during the process, before making a left turn and landing in his nest, where he shared his catch with his lucky mate.
Photo: Kings Valley Clouds
Location: Mansfield, Victoria, Australia
Photo: Physalia Physalis
Location: Shellharbour, NSW, Australia
The bluebottle cnidaria has a poisonous sting, but is incredibly gorgeous.
Photo: Mezmorized by Grace
Location: Birmingham Zoo, Birmingham Alabama
Is that a fish or a bird? It’s a pretty pink flamingo cleaning between her brightly colored feathers.
Photo: Warming Up
Location: Sambas, West Kalimantan, Indonesia
This adorable and unique looking creature is a flying lemur.
Photo: Catch of the Decade
Location: Kamai National Park, Alaska, USA
Talk about perfect timing!
Photo:Sunrise Plaosan Temple
While filming a TV commercial in Indonesia, Bill Stipp found an unexpected photo on location at this temple. As soon as the sun came up, the people came out to work in rice paddies.
Location: Nicosia, Cyprus
The Mediterranean Mantis spread its arms and wings, almost as if dancing before the bright sun.
Photo: Above Big Sur
Location: Big Sur, California
Included in the “places” category of the competition, Douglas Croft worked hard to snap this image. Croft was visiting Big Sur in hopes of photographing the gray whales migrating from the advantageous cliffs. Unfortunately, the fog was too thick to photograph, let alone see, the waters below. Croft made lemons out of lemonade, and decided to hike up the Baronda Trail, above the fog. He says, “This view was my reward. Miles of lupine and blue skies. Outstanding!”
Photo: The Wave
Location: Arizona, USA
This is no easy destination to get to, but when the photographer of this photo traveled out to snap some images he discovered a man already there, alone and with only a beacon light for safety.
Photo: A Tree Dreaming
Location: Strezlecki Desert Australia
In the middle of the hot and barren Australian desert, this small pool of water sits at the base of a tree, the only source of water for miles upon miles. These beautiful galahs flock here to get their fill of H2O, offering a rare picture of the natural world at work.
Photo: The Iguana’s Cave
Location: Island of Bonaire, Kralendijk, Dutch Caribbean
Photo: Arctic Hi-Five
This photo shows a male polar bear that was really hyped up having a good time with his sibling, while mom was just trying to have a peaceful waltz through the snow and ice.
Who do you think has the best chance to win?
Photo Credits: Colin Mackenzie, Misty Gage, Aaron Baggenstos, Douglas Croft, Cherly Jong, Bill Stipp, Hasan Baglar, Christian Spencer, Montse Grillo, Takashi Nakagawa, Sandy Scott, Joel Spooner, Hendy Mp, Matthew Smith, Tylee Parvin, Lorenzo Mittiga, Sergey Ponomarev, Marc Henauer, Dave Kan, Juan DeLeon, Spencer Black