National Geographic: 49th Week in 2012 with Breathtaking Photos [Big Picture]

NEW YORK | Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 2:23am EDT

Check out the National Geographic this week’s most awesome photos – submitted by people just like you.

  • “Hear me! There's not enough love in the world. Turn to the penguin next to you, put your flippers up, fluff him up a little bit and give him a great big hug!”—LovelaceTwo newly hatched gentoo penguin chicks get a quick look at the outside world as one of their parents stands up on the nest for a moment. Port Lockroy, Antarctica. Photo and caption by Richard Sidey“Hear me! There's not enough love in the world. Turn to the penguin next to you, put your flippers up, fluff him up a little bit and give him a great big hug!”—LovelaceTwo newly hatched gentoo penguin chicks get a quick look at the outside world as one of their parents stands up on the nest for a moment. Port Lockroy, Antarctica. Photo and caption by Richard Sidey
  • Snowy owls are amazing hunters, and when you get the chance to see one hunt, even better. These raptors are present from mid-November till early March, and then they travel back north. This female was flying across the lake from one post to the next for a vantage point to look for her next meal. These owls love the cold, unlike the photographer. Temperature that day: minus 30ºC. Photo and caption by Markusdivinicus StevensSnowy owls are amazing hunters, and when you get the chance to see one hunt, even better. These raptors are present from mid-November till early March, and then they travel back north. This female was flying across the lake from one post to the next for a vantage point to look for her next meal. These owls love the cold, unlike the photographer. Temperature that day: minus 30ºC. Photo and caption by Markusdivinicus Stevens
  • I took this picture at Port Lockroy in 2010 during my trip to Antarctica. The two penguins, almost touching flippers, looking at each other, and captured against the majestic frozen background, seemed romantically involved. Photo and caption by Marius IleisI took this picture at Port Lockroy in 2010 during my trip to Antarctica. The two penguins, almost touching flippers, looking at each other, and captured against the majestic frozen background, seemed romantically involved. Photo and caption by Marius Ileis
  • Image of lightning shot looking east toward Dallas. Photo and caption by Ricky NiellImage of lightning shot looking east toward Dallas. Photo and caption by Ricky Niell
  • Two foxes play on the lakebed of Lake Accotink in Virginia. The lake was drained recently to repair damage to the dam caused by heavy rains and flooding. The lakebed gives the appearance this was taken in a desolate region, but it was actually in a well-populated suburb. Photo and caption by Blaine KorcelTwo foxes play on the lakebed of Lake Accotink in Virginia. The lake was drained recently to repair damage to the dam caused by heavy rains and flooding. The lakebed gives the appearance this was taken in a desolate region, but it was actually in a well-populated suburb. Photo and caption by Blaine Korcel
  • One of the beautiful snow leopards from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Big Cat Sanctuary, Kent, U.K. Photo and caption by A M SymonsOne of the beautiful snow leopards from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation, Big Cat Sanctuary, Kent, U.K. Photo and caption by A M Symons
  • Whale watching near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Photo and caption by Gerold GuggenbuehlWhale watching near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Photo and caption by Gerold Guggenbuehl
  • An elk decides to move elsewhere after digging through the snow to reach his meal buried below. This photo is a part of a series and was shot in Canada's Banff National Park in Alberta along Highway 1A. After a long, cold hike through Johnson Canyon, I decided to warm up and continue driving to reach Lake Louise. In the midst of the falling snow, I was fortunate enough to see this big guy, along with one of his friends, looking for something to eat. Photo and caption by Nicholas ZaludAn elk decides to move elsewhere after digging through the snow to reach his meal buried below. This photo is a part of a series and was shot in Canada's Banff National Park in Alberta along Highway 1A. After a long, cold hike through Johnson Canyon, I decided to warm up and continue driving to reach Lake Louise. In the midst of the falling snow, I was fortunate enough to see this big guy, along with one of his friends, looking for something to eat. Photo and caption by Nicholas Zalud
  • On a university field trip to Filey Bay on the east coast of England we spotted this lone seal, posing for a photo! Photo and caption by Juliette LinfordOn a university field trip to Filey Bay on the east coast of England we spotted this lone seal, posing for a photo! Photo and caption by Juliette Linford

Check out the National Geographic this week’s most awesome photos – submitted by people just like you. National Geographic compiles the most stunning photos that get snapped and submitted each week for your viewing pleasure. More National Geographic photos here. Submit your own photos on National Geographic’s Your Shot page or vote for your favorite pics here.

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