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25 Amazing Photos from 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

The alien-looking southern calamari squid is native to Australian and New Zealand coastlines. Its dot painting-like skin patterns are reminiscent of ancient Aboriginal paintings. It took me several weeks of night dives and patience to achieve this unique portrait: when I shot this frame I was elated!!

National Geographic Magazine has opened its annual photo contest, with the deadline for submissions coming up on November 4. The Grand Prize Winner will receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galapagos Islands. The kind folks at National Geographic were once more kind enough to let me choose among the contest entries so far for display here. The photo description below were written by the individual photographers.

I was on a photographic safari in Chobe River, Botswana in April 2016 when I took this image.At this time of the year the water levels are high and herds of hippopotamus share the tributaries. This particular bull was very territorial and liked a mock charge whenever our boat (driven by a qualified local guide) passed his patch of the river on our daily outings. On this occasion, I pre-focussed my 600mm lens and fired a few shots at a safe distance and got this golden hour shot!

I was on a photographic safari in Chobe River, Botswana in April 2016 when I took this image.At this time of the year the water levels are high and herds of hippopotamus share the tributaries. This particular bull was very territorial and liked a mock charge whenever our boat (driven by a qualified local guide) passed his patch of the river on our daily outings. On this occasion, I pre-focussed my 600mm lens and fired a few shots at a safe distance and got this golden hour shot!

© Sam Kurtul / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

Often referred to as the Tuscany of America, the Palouse region of Washington State offers one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the United States. The seemingly endless rolling fields of wheat, lentils and canola offer year-round beauty for those that choose to take in the spectacular landscape.

Often referred to as the Tuscany of America, the Palouse region of Washington State offers one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the United States. The seemingly endless rolling fields of wheat, lentils and canola offer year-round beauty for those that choose to take in the spectacular landscape.

© Hamish Mitchell / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

The fox was bathing in the snow flake.

The fox was bathing in the snow flake. © Hiroki Inoue / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

An African Buffalo full of mud late in the afternoon in the Masai Mara, Kenya. A different portrait for this powerful animal.

An African Buffalo full of mud late in the afternoon in the Masai Mara, Kenya. A different portrait for this powerful animal.© Chris Schmid

 

A colossal Cumulonimbus flashes over the Pacific Ocean as we circle around it at 37000 feet en route to South America

A colossal Cumulonimbus flashes over the Pacific Ocean as we circle around it at 37000 feet en route to South America.© Santiago Borja

 

A closeup of an Atlantic Puffin on the protected nesting site of Machias Seal Island, off the coast of Maine. Access to the island is very restricted for the benefit of the puffins. It was an amazing experience to be up so close to these beautiful and unique birds that spend the majority of their lives at sea.

A closeup of an Atlantic Puffin on the protected nesting site of Machias Seal Island, off the coast of Maine. Access to the island is very restricted for the benefit of the puffins. It was an amazing experience to be up so close to these beautiful and unique birds that spend the majority of their lives at sea. © Harry Collins

 

A jelly-like wave curls in multiple layers over a shallow reef on the New South Wales South Coast, Australia. When there's no wind on the ocean's surface, waves can can look like surreal sheets of melting glass. Captured with Canon 5DMKIII + Canon 70-200mm IS II 2.8

A jelly-like wave curls in multiple layers over a shallow reef on the New South Wales South Coast, Australia. When there’s no wind on the ocean’s surface, waves can can look like surreal sheets of melting glass. Captured with Canon 5DMKIII + Canon 70-200mm IS II 2.8. © Warren Keelan

 

An unconscious person certainly ascended the cone to see the lava lake inside. He stayed at least 2 minutes, without any protection ...The September 16, 2016other shoot on www.rup.re

An unconscious person certainly ascended the cone to see the lava lake inside. He stayed at least 2 minutes, without any protection …The September 16, 2016other shoot on www.rup.re © Gaby Barathieu

 

Sleeping walrus on the shore

Sleeping walrus on the shore.© Mike Korostelev / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

Thousands of flamingoes live in Bogoria lake where likes paradise for them.

Thousands of flamingoes live in Bogoria lake where likes paradise for them.© Yu Huiping / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

Mountain Hare contemplating that last piece of grass

Mountain Hare contemplating that last piece of grass© Jamie Snr / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

Waves shoot high into the evening air like champagne at a party in a celebration of life and the joy of being in nature.

Waves shoot high into the evening air like champagne at a party in a celebration of life and the joy of being in nature.© Lee Scott / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

The alien-looking southern calamari squid is native to Australian and New Zealand coastlines. Its dot painting-like skin patterns are reminiscent of ancient Aboriginal paintings. It took me several weeks of night dives and patience to achieve this unique portrait: when I shot this frame I was elated!!

The alien-looking southern calamari squid is native to Australian and New Zealand coastlines. Its dot painting-like skin patterns are reminiscent of ancient Aboriginal paintings. It took me several weeks of night dives and patience to achieve this unique portrait: when I shot this frame I was elated!!. © Matthew Smith

 

Bear in the river while fishing to salmon

Bear in the river while fishing to salmon. © Mike Korostelev / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

In Greenland's pristine landscape lies a US Air Force base which was abandoned in 1947 and everything was left behind, vehicles, asbestos laced structures, and over 10,000 aviation fuel barrels. The Inuits who live in the region call the rusted remains American Flowers. In 2014 and 2015 I camped out solo to photograph it. In 2015 my 5 day solo camping trip turned into 8, as I couldn't get picked up do to the weather.

In Greenland’s pristine landscape lies a US Air Force base which was abandoned in 1947 and everything was left behind, vehicles, asbestos laced structures, and over 10,000 aviation fuel barrels. The Inuits who live in the region call the rusted remains American Flowers. In 2014 and 2015 I camped out solo to photograph it. In 2015 my 5 day solo camping trip turned into 8, as I couldn’t get picked up do to the weather. © Ken Bower

 

Lava ocean entry from the 2016 Kalapana lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii. Watching new earth being formed is an amazing experience. Boiling ocean waves crashing into fresh lava & giving off clouds of steam along with scatter violent lava bursts from pressure release, creation of the earth is mesmerizing & powerful sight to see.

Lava ocean entry from the 2016 Kalapana lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii. Watching new earth being formed is an amazing experience. Boiling ocean waves crashing into fresh lava & giving off clouds of steam along with scatter violent lava bursts from pressure release, creation of the earth is mesmerizing & powerful sight to see. © Mason Lake

 

Fox kits are very active and they often engage in play that prepares them for lessons later in life. In this case however, it would seem one is not quite prepared for a pending attack. Image captured with a 500 mm lens which yielded the very shallow depth of field (amount of the scene in focus).

Fox kits are very active and they often engage in play that prepares them for lessons later in life. In this case however, it would seem one is not quite prepared for a pending attack. Image captured with a 500 mm lens which yielded the very shallow depth of field (amount of the scene in focus).© Henrik Nilsson

 

In Norway, above the fjord, Paulo enjoy highlining at 980 meters above the ground, making some laundry at the same time...

In Norway, above the fjord, Paulo enjoy highlining at 980 meters above the ground, making some laundry at the same time…© Fred Marie / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

We drove along a short gravel road in Kruger National Park this year until we saw a few cars standing under a tree next to a dry riverbed. When we arrived there, we could see a leopard with a small antilope sitting in a tree. There were a lot of branches in front of his face, so taking a good picture wasn't possible. We stood there for about an hour watching the big cat eating and moving his kill every now and then until we had the perfect position for this shot!

We drove along a short gravel road in Kruger National Park this year until we saw a few cars standing under a tree next to a dry riverbed. When we arrived there, we could see a leopard with a small antilope sitting in a tree. There were a lot of branches in front of his face, so taking a good picture wasn’t possible. We stood there for about an hour watching the big cat eating and moving his kill every now and then until we had the perfect position for this shot!

© Daniela Deutzer / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

Here is an announcement regarding to the ìBlue Pondî in Hokkaido Biei-cho. The light up illumination period this year has been published. It is from 1st November 2016 to 28th February 2017. The light up illumination will be held without holidays during the mentioned period. We, all the residents who are living in Biei town, are expecting more tourists from all over the world coming to visit us this year.

Here is an announcement regarding to the ìBlue Pondî in Hokkaido Biei-cho. The light up illumination period this year has been published. It is from 1st November 2016 to 28th February 2017. The light up illumination will be held without holidays during the mentioned period. We, all the residents who are living in Biei town, are expecting more tourists from all over the world coming to visit us this year.© Kent Shiraishi

 

Brown Bears, Katmai National Park, Alaska

Brown Bears, Katmai National Park, Alaska. © Aaron Baggenstos / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

In Pienza, Tuscany, I was waiting for this lightning !

In Pienza, Tuscany, I was waiting for this lightning !© Gilbert Fitoussi / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

A group of mosquitos attack a snapping turtle. Each year, snapping turtles emerge from the wetlands at Bombay Hook NWR. The mosquitos are particularly bad in this area and swarm these turtles.

A group of mosquitos attack a snapping turtle. Each year, snapping turtles emerge from the wetlands at Bombay Hook NWR. The mosquitos are particularly bad in this area and swarm these turtles. © Jerry am Ende / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

Another delicate and beautiful underwater creature that appears during the vertical migration- this is the largest migration on Earth, and it occurs every night in the oceans around the world. Tiny planktonic creatures, larval forms and pelagic miniatures come up to feed in the dead of night. This photo taken in the Gulf Stream Current off SE Florida, in the Atlantic Ocean.

Another delicate and beautiful underwater creature that appears during the vertical migration- this is the largest migration on Earth, and it occurs every night in the oceans around the world. Tiny planktonic creatures, larval forms and pelagic miniatures come up to feed in the dead of night. This photo taken in the Gulf Stream Current off SE Florida, in the Atlantic Ocean. © Suzan Meldonian / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

 

Itís easy to romanticise the idilic alpine meadows of the Swiss Alps in spring, glowing with dandelions and ringing with the chimes of cow bells. This fox tells a different story of much harder times. I fired off a few shots showing the fresh wounds of her struggle to survive. I chose to keep these hidden from you and let her eyes do the talking.

Itís easy to romanticise the idilic alpine meadows of the Swiss Alps in spring, glowing with dandelions and ringing with the chimes of cow bells. This fox tells a different story of much harder times. I fired off a few shots showing the fresh wounds of her struggle to survive. I chose to keep these hidden from you and let her eyes do the talking.

© Kathryn Cooper / 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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