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21 Of The Most Captivating Nature Photos Of 2014.

Dec 17, 2014

The annual National Geographic Photo Contest is once again under way, which means we have the opportunity to see some of the best, most beautiful photographs of our planet, taken by professional and amateur photographers from all around the world.

The contest has three basic categories – People, Places, and Nature. The winner of each category will receive a $2,500 reward, and the overall grand-prize winner will receive an additional $7,500 plus a trip to Washington, D.C. as a participant in National Geographic’s annual photo seminar.

Arctic Hi-Five (Svalbard, Nature Category)


“Two Polar bear cubs full of adrenaline on iceflow in Svalbard. The mother was just trying to have a quiet stroll but the cubs were not having any of that. This was the male cub and he just was so entertaining to watch.” (Colin Mackenzie)

Hello (Point Defiance Zoo, Tacoma, WA, United States, Nature Category)


“Capturing this gentle giant’s inquisitive nature was rather easy as he swam right up to us and just stared for several long seconds. I love all the bubbles and his cute little face.” (Misty Gage)

Catch of the Decade (Katmai National Park, Alaska, USA, Nature Category)


“Can you guess what happened next?” (Aaron Baggenstos)

Above Big Sur (Big Sur, California, Places Category)


“I’d gone to Big Sur to watch the gray whale migration from the cliffs, but it was too foggy to even see the water. I decided to hike up the Baronda Trail to see if I could get above the fog. This view was my reward. Miles of lupine and blue skies. Outstanding!” (Douglas Croft)

Mom’s Love (Jakarta, Nature Category)


“The Mother Bird’s feeding time.” (Cherly Jong)

Sunrise Plaosan Temple (Plaosan Temple, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Places Category)


“While in Indonesia shooting TV commercial one of our locations was this temple. Sun rose as the people worked in rice paddies.” (Bill Stipp)

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Sunward (Nicosia, Cyprus, Nature Category)


“When the Mediterrenean Mantis opened its wings, It seemed very impressive at the sunshine…” (Hasan Baglar)

A Tree Dreaming (Strezlecki Desert Australia, Nature Category)


“In the Strezlecki desert of Australia a flock of galahs replenish on the only small water available at the base of this lonely tree. Its a rare photo opportunity to get such a clear and symetrical shot of these beautiful birds in flight in the middle of the desert.” (Christian Spencer)

From the Sky (Tenerife (Canary Islands), Nature Category)


“On the coast of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, we have quite the selection of affectionate green turtles (chelonia mydas). “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.” (Montse Grillo)

The Wave (Arizona, USA, Places Category)


“I met a man at ‘The Wave’. He was by himself and had a beacon for safety. It’s not easy to go there for sure.” (Takashi Nakagawa)

Bringing Home Breakfast (St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, Nature Category)


“This osprey had just captured this fish and I was lucky enough to capture this dramatic shot as he took off with his wings in the angel position, clutching a fish in one talon, and making direct eye contact with me. And then I shot a whole sequence of him making a left turn from here, landing in his nest and sharing his catch with his mate sitting in the nest. I have photographed this osprey often in that he has made his nest in the same spot for 4 years. His name is Fleck due to a fleck in his right eye at the 7 o’clock position.” (Sandy Scott)

Kings Valley Clouds (Mansfield, Victoria, Australia, Places Category)


“I walked out onto a rock outcrop looking over the Kings Valley near Mansfield, Victoria. As I watched the morning clouds slowly disperse they opened up a beautiful landscape below me allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate through to the natural forest, contrasted with the cultivated straight lines of the vineyard.” (Joel Spooner)

Warming Up (Sambas, West Kalimantan, Indonesia, Nature Category)


“This photo I capture in the early afternoon, the animal species of lemurs fly.” (Hendy Mp)

Physalia Physalis (Shellharbour, NSW, Australia, Nature Category)


“Despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle cnidaria is an amazingly beautiful creature. I wanted to demonstrate this with careful lighting and composition. After strong NE winds hundreds of these cnidaria are blown into the bays around my home town and trapped overnight, enabling me to get my shots. Post processing is limited to colour temp and small amounts of burning. Also slightly cropped.” (Matthew Smith)

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Mezmorized by Grace (Birminghan Zoo, Birmingham Alabama, Nature Category)


“This Pink and brilliant colored Flamingo was caught taking a mid-day break as she nuzzled herself within her feathers amongst the other birds. The beauty is captivating and there’s a sense of piece and tranquility seen in her eyes.” (Tylee Parvin)

The Iguana’s Cave (Island of Bonaire, Kralendijk, Dutch Caribbean, Nature Category)


“Unexpected underwater encounter with a Green Iguana. I was attempting to take some overunder sunset shots in a semi-submerged cave in Bonaire, when a Green Iguana swam toward my dome with an inquisitive doing. Just in front of my lens, she came up to the surface to take a quick breathe….” (Lorenzo Mittiga)

Destroyed Homs (Homs, Syria, Places Category)


“Birds fly over the destroyed houses in Khalidiya district in Homs, Syria. In the vast stillness of the destroyed city center of Homs, there are large areas where nothing moves. Then, suddenly, wind blows a ripped awning, or birds fly overhead.” (Sergey Ponomarev)

The Lord of The Ocean (Guadalupe Island, Mexico, Nature Category)


“Off the coast of Guadalupe Island, great white sharks gather to feed on sea lions. It is an ideal place to observe these majestic animals in their natural state. Far ideas through Hollywood movies, the great white shark remains fearful of man and does not leave easily approached.” (Marc Henauer)

Walking on Water (Queensland, Australia, Nature Category)


“I was finishing up a photo shoot when a wild kangaroo appeared out of nowhere and bounded onto the lake, as if walking on water. This, along with the picturesque sunset combined to create an absolute visual treat!” (Dave Kan)

Mexican Long Nosed Bat (Elephant Head in Southern Arizona, Nature Category)


“Mexican Long Nosed Bat feeding on a nectar flower during the night at Elephant Head in Arizona. The photo was taken during the night with inferred triggers that set off the camera when the bats came to the flower to feed.” (Juan DeLeon)

Searching for Love (Brevard, North Carolina, Nature Category)


“Blue Ghost Fireflies in Brevard, North Carolina. Blue Ghost fireflies are unique because they stay lit and only hover about a foot off the ground.” (Spencer Black)

All of the entries (good, bad, and ugly) can be seen right now on Nat Geo’s website. They’re still taking submissions too, so don’t hesitate to try your luck!

Credit: National Geographic

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