The entry period for the the National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest has ended. Winners will be announced in early December and The Grand Prize Winner will receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galapagos Islands. Now explore the selection from the thousands of photos submitted to contest that showcasing the awe-inspiring and diverse natural world around us.

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“Huangshan Falls.” I captured this image in early morning in the Yellow Mountains of China. Behind this image is a story, climbing at 3 am to reach the point of shooting, when I arrived I could see in the complete dark the effect of the white and slow motion of this cloud waterfall. My hope was when the sunrise came out this effect would still stand front of me. Luckily at 6.30 am the effect was still there when I took the shot before it disappeared completely a few minutes later.

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“Fox Tango.” Two sibling foxes have a little squabble.

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Zebras are extremely frisky and very difficult to get close to. I was extremely lucky when I came across this lone zebra in the Namutoni Plains of Etosha National Park. He stood still like a rock and stared right at me through the lens. The fleeting moment gave me a very rare opportunity to capture the close-up of the near perfect symmetrical stripes of this beautiful animal.

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As the this reindeer herd of thousands crests the ridge of the frozen Mackenzie River valley, one of the of the last members of the herd steals a backward glance at my snowmobile to see how closely I was following.

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Photographing this wonderful, pyramid-shaped mountain in Iceland my landscape shoot turned into an action shoot as we suddenly noticed a heard of Icelandic horses coming our way in the distance! Hurrying off to the side of the trail, I found a puddle that I hoped might give some reflections and waited. Some horses had riders and others not, all evidently heading off on a multi-day horse trek through this amazing landscape.

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On one of our game drives, we came across Ziggy ( the dominant male lion) in the sprawling plains of Serengeti with his entire pride scattered around him. It was a bright and sunny day, with a strong wind blowing across the plains. This presented a rare opportunity to capture a close-up of a perfectly calm yet strikingly alert Ziggy as it walked past our vehicle. His beautiful golden black mane blowing in the wind and his big eyes glowing in the bright sun.

A crack in sea ice of the Southern Ross Sea, Antarctica. As the cracks open they refreeze immediately creating the series of lines you see in this images. The black line in the center is very thin ice. Specs of windblown dirt from the Mt Erebus Volcano are also covering the ice surface which increases the melting of the sea ice. This image is part of an ongoing 3 year project to document the most remote ocean on the planet and its rarely seen places.

A crack in sea ice of the Southern Ross Sea, Antarctica. As the cracks open they refreeze immediately creating the series of lines you see in this images. The black line in the center is very thin ice. Specs of windblown dirt from the Mt Erebus Volcano are also covering the ice surface which increases the melting of the sea ice. This image is part of an ongoing 3 year project to document the most remote ocean on the planet and its rarely seen places.

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“White Rhino Reflection.” A White Rhino approaches a pool of water to drink at night in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, South Africa.

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“I Am Angry.” We arrived at one of the watering holes in Etosha National Park in the late evening. Four Lions were devouring a large kudu that they killed. A pack of hyenas appeared from the bush nearby attracted by the smell of blood and food for them. What ensued was a fight for the dead kudu between 4 female lions and 16 hyenas. Needless to say, in the end the hyenas won and got the prized kudu.

Precious Salt, Great Salt Lake at sunrise, Utah. There are many moving parts here - while these 3 vehicles are moving at a relatively slow speed, I am flying at about 120 miles per hour while banking for the right angle. Aerial Image (shot from a plane at 1,000 feet).

Precious Salt, Great Salt Lake at sunrise, Utah. There are many moving parts here – while these 3 vehicles are moving at a relatively slow speed, I am flying at about 120 miles per hour while banking for the right angle. Aerial Image (shot from a plane at 1,000 feet).

During WWII, U-Boats would sit right on the US coast waiting to ambush unsuspecting ships. Today the wrecks left behind are inhabited by the many sand tiger sharks that move up and down the US East coast. This picture was taken deep in the hold of the wreck of the Atlas where I had an amazing face to face encounter.

During WWII, U-Boats would sit right on the US coast waiting to ambush unsuspecting ships. Today the wrecks left behind are inhabited by the many sand tiger sharks that move up and down the US East coast. This picture was taken deep in the hold of the wreck of the Atlas where I had an amazing face to face encounter.

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“Friendship knows no color.” ‘Friendship knows no color, nationality, race and social level, friendship knows no age and gender, friendship knows no distance’ – Luis A Ribeiro Branco. Two Empusa Pennata seem to play a game on a thin plant.

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“Huge Scale of Bats Hibernating.” When winter comes, Eastern Bent-winged Bats form a colony for hibernation. For several years, researchers were looking for a winter colony, finding this one in the summer. When winter comes, the bats disappeared completely. Researchers tagged about 800 bats. We later found the colony in an artificial cave.

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“Mirrored Blenny.” This shot was taken in Northern Adriatic Sea, in the Gulf of Rijeka (Croatia). I had placed a snoot (a cylindrical hood to control lighting) behind the lair of a horned blenny (Parablennius tentacularis) and waited patiently for it to emerge from its den to make them a shot with the backlight technique. Suddenly the blenny was completely out of its hole and went to look at himself in the snoot window to check who this intruder was.

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“Eating to the end.” Eating to the end (of the leaf or life).

A green sea turtle at the surface off the coast of Oahu. I was able to spend the better part of an hour freediving alongside this turtle as it casually grazed on the sea floor below between gulps of air at the surface.

A green sea turtle at the surface off the coast of Oahu. I was able to spend the better part of an hour freediving alongside this turtle as it casually grazed on the sea floor below between gulps of air at the surface.

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“They’re Here….” Taken June 10 near Stanford, Montana. Kyle and I decided to make the drive to Montana to watch storms, my Mother accepted the invite to join us. I noticed when the smaller storms hit Stanford, they blew up, so we went back to sit and watch. Then this happened!! We watched it grow from a small storm into this beast over the mountain, heading straight for us. I had to ask my Mother “can you see this from in the truck?” – she got out, and was as amazed at what we were looking at as we were.

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“Dancing in the rain.” Fox caught in action under the rain.

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“Rush Hour.” Thousands of snow geese take flight during a snowy morning fly out at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico. It is loud and sounds like a passing train!

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“Jaffa Gets The Ball.” I love everything about dogs. Their energy and spirit is so real and uncomplicated, in many ways more than we humans. My aim was to attempt to capture Jaffa’s personality and athleticism – one minute a passive, cute and affectionate family pet and the next a supreme predator desperately lunging for its prey.

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“Killer swimmer of the sea ” We tracked along the side of this Orca swimming out of the Norwegian sea as it dove into and out of the water like a dolphin. The curvature of the water spray around its body truly gives testament to the aerodynamic build of these magnificent creatures.

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“Parental Care.” Hornbills have a unique breeding behavior, the female enters the hollow if the tree and the male seals it with mud leaving a small slot from where females beak can stick out. Once this is done, the male takes the complete responsibility of feeding the female and babies till the chicks are grown enough to fly away. In this image, a male is bringing in fruits to feed the female which is nesting inside the tree trunk.

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“No Snow, No Ice?” A solitary bear sits on the edge of one of the Barter Islands. There is no snow, when at this time of year, there should be. In speaking with the locals in Kaktovic, they’ve noted that it’s been an unseasonably warm winter, and that the ice will be late in forming this year. This will have an impact on the local polar bear population, when it comes time to hunt seals for their food in the winter months.

Early this month i went swimming, snorkelling with humpback whales in Tonga again. One of the locations where they are getting born and nursed before heading with their mum to their new home Antartica. This cutie swam right towards me and came to a halt. With this wide angle lens you can imagine how close i was. I couldn't stop giggling in to my mask as he was just so cute looking at me. I think he asked if i would like to play with him or something.

Early this month i went swimming, snorkelling with humpback whales in Tonga again. One of the locations where they are getting born and nursed before heading with their mum to their new home Antartica.
This cutie swam right towards me and came to a halt.
With this wide angle lens you can imagine how close i was. I couldn’t stop giggling in to my mask as he was just so cute looking at me. I think he asked if i would like to play with him or something.

This Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) was not even 2 feet from me that day on Staffa Island, I almost had to step back to be able to focus on its beak the way I wanted :). It is a common species yes, but it was still a very very nice encounter for me. Nature on #Staffa Island is mindblowing, I really recommend you to go if you have the chance!

This Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) was not even 2 feet from me that day on Staffa Island, I almost had to step back to be able to focus on its beak the way I wanted :). It is a common species yes, but it was still a very very nice encounter for me. Nature on #Staffa Island is mindblowing, I really recommend you to go if you have the chance!

A morning stroll into the blissful forest ! Ceaseless drizzles dampening the woods for 12 hours a day; The serene gloom which kept me guessing if it was a night or a day. Heavy fog, chilling breeze and the perennial silence could calm roaring sprits; And there I spotted this 20cm beauty the Green vine snake ! I wondered if i needed more reasons to capture this with the habitat; For I was blessed to see this at the place I was at. I immediately switched from the macro to the wide angle lens.

A morning stroll into the blissful forest ! Ceaseless drizzles dampening the woods for 12 hours a day; The serene gloom which kept me guessing if it was a night or a day. Heavy fog, chilling breeze and the perennial silence could calm roaring sprits; And there I spotted this 20cm beauty the Green vine snake ! I wondered if i needed more reasons to capture this with the habitat; For I was blessed to see this at the place I was at. I immediately switched from the macro to the wide angle lens.

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“Aerial Autumn.” Aerial view of Fall colors, New Hampshire.


Photographs credits on 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest website.