More than 20,000 photographs, from over 130 countries were submitted to the National Geographic Photography contest, with both professional photographers and amateur photo enthusiasts participating. The grand prize winner was chosen from the three category winners: Nature - Shikhei Goh, People - Izabelle Nordfjell, Places - George Tapan. Shikhei Goh, of Indonesia, took the grand prize honors with his amazing photograph of a dragonfly in the rain and will be published in the magazine. The competition was judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts composed of field biologist and wildlife photojournalist Tim Laman, National Geographic photographer Amy Toensing and National Geographic nature photographer Peter Essick. The winning submissions can be viewed at http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/ [14 photos total]
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Grand Prize Winner and Nature Winner - SPLASHING: This photo was taken when I was taking photos of other insects, as I normally did during macro photo hunting. I wasnt actually aware of this dragonfly since I was occupied with other objects. When I was about to take a picture of it, it suddenly rained, but the lighting was just superb. I decided to take the shot regardless of the rain. The result caused me to be overjoyed, and I hope it pleases viewers. Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia
(Photo and caption by Shikhei Goh)
Nature Honorable Mention - PANIC IN THE PAN: I was leading a photographic safari in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. It was midday and we came across a dazzle of zebra approaching a waterhole to quench their thirst. Every few minutes the zebras will enter the water to drink, just to panic and scatter out of the water again. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.
(Photo and caption by Marius Coetzee)
Nature Honorable Mention - SUNRISING JELLYFISH: Jellyfish (Cotylorhiza tuberculata) drifting just beneath the surface, looking to capture the first sunrays to trigger their symbiotic algae to produce energy for it. Mar Menor coastal lagoon, Murcia province, Spain.
(Photo and caption by Angel Fitor)
Nature Honorable Mention - THE HUNT - I personally believe that, beyond the formal representation of reality, mediated by the technical instruments necessary to fix an image in time, photography is made of insights. The shot is the last act of image capturing and in many ways the easiest part of the whole process. This panning effect, even in its imperfection, with the chromatic harmony of the background, with all the needless information eliminated and the luck of having the big cats lifted tail in symmetry with the impala horns, brings the observer inside the hunting without distractions. Kenya, Masai Mara National Reserve.
(Photo and caption by Stefano Pesarelli)
Nature Honorable Mention - BLUE POND & FIRST SNOW: The blue pond of the famous tourist resort. This is a place where many tourists gather in spring, summer, and autumn. However, since this pond freezes in winter, nobody is there during that period. This photograph is the moment of the first snow of the season falling on that blue pond. We can see the first snow of the season beginning at the end of October. Why is the pond blue? Because the underground hot spring ingredient is gushing. This blue pond changes color every day. I think that mystical blue and pure white snow are beautiful. All are nature's tints. Biei, Hokkaido, Japan.
(Photo and caption by Kent Shiraishi)
People Winner - THE FJELLMAN FAMILY: One shot and the reindeer is dead. The Sámi family Fjellman, which lives in Arjeplog, northern Sweden, now have food on their table. In the early autumn they slaughter a couple of their reindeers for food during the cold winter months. Arjeplog, Lappland, Sweden.
(Photo and caption by Izabelle Nordfjell)
People Honorable Mention - FROM UP HERE: Stephen ST 2 Lettaz Harris, and David Yung Clova Williams make up the Huntsville rap duo G-Side. I took this photo of them on tour, conducting a cell phone interview with a journalist on a fire escape in Manhattan. The photo speaks to the D.I.Y. nature of the current independent music scene. Digital technology has played a big role in G-Side's business strategy, enabling them to use the Internet and viral word of mouth to build a diverse international fan base. G-Side released a track in 2011 called Nat Geo. Manhattan, NY, USA.
(Photo and caption by Helen Pearson)
People Honorable Mention - AUBURN PRIDE: Young men driving into a patch of reflected light along Auburn Road. Part of a larger personal project documenting the western Sydney suburb of Auburn. The series provides a glimpse into the life of the next generation of Australians living in Auburn, peering behind the veil of this little-known side of society. Auburn is a small suburb in Sydneys west, a landing point for many migrants and refugees when they first arrive in Australia. Sydney, Australia.
(Photo and caption by George Voulgaropoulos)
People Honorable Mention - ZOMBIES, BRISBANE: A young family dressed as zombies in Brisbane, Queensland. Each year around Halloween time a gathering of people dressed as zombies walks through the city in an effort to raise money for the Brain Foundation of Australia. Brisbane, Australia.
(Photo and caption by Lisa Clarke)
Places Honorable Mention - FLYING KITES: Kite battle at Santa Marta ghetto, Rio de Janeiro. For many years, the kites were used to alert the drug dealers when their enemies were coming. The place was a war zone controlled by traffickers that were in constant conflicts against each other to control the drug market. A few years ago, Santa Marta was occupied by the Pacifier Police Division, which released the population from the traffic domination. Santa Marta, Rio de Janeiro.
(Photo and caption by Felipe Carvalho)
Places Honorable Mention - SULFURIC FIRE FESTIVAL: Once a year, Formosa fishermens unique sulfuric fire fishing ritual is handed down from generation to generation. Taipei, Taiwan.
(Photo and caption by Hung-Hsiu Shih)
Places Honorable Mention - WATERWAY TO ORBIT: Space shuttle, Endeavour, launches into orbit toward the east, as the stars and waning crescent moon trail toward the west, leaving a beautiful reflection on the Intracoastal Waterway in Ponte Vedra, Florida. This 132-second time exposure of the final night launch of a space shuttle, from launch through SRB separation, was taken 115 miles north of Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. Ponte Vedra, Florida.
(Photo and caption by James Vernacotola)