National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest Produces Breathtaking Images [Big Picture]

NEW YORK | Monday, May 20th, 2013 2:34am EDT

The wonders of the animal kingdom captured in stunning entries for National Geographic’s 2013 Traveler Photo Contest.

  • Oregon Lion. Sea Lion on Pacific Coast of Oregon. Photo and caption by gary migues/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestOregon Lion. Sea Lion on Pacific Coast of Oregon. Photo and caption by gary migues/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Fighter. Two vultures in action from Massai Mara in Kenya while they are fighting. Photo and caption by majed ali/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestFighter. Two vultures in action from Massai Mara in Kenya while they are fighting. Photo and caption by majed ali/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Hidden Treasure. A surprise companion, the Pacific Tree Frog, lurking in the lichen. Photo and caption by Jessi Fikan/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestHidden Treasure. A surprise companion, the Pacific Tree Frog, lurking in the lichen. Photo and caption by Jessi Fikan/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • In The Rain. This photograph was taken while I was on vacation in South Carolina. It was a rainy miserable day until I happened uppon this alligator hanging out in a local pond. Photo and caption by Kandace Stroupe/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestIn The Rain. This photograph was taken while I was on vacation in South Carolina. It was a rainy miserable day until I happened uppon this alligator hanging out in a local pond. Photo and caption by Kandace Stroupe/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Curious Whaleshark. Whaleshark encounter in the Bohol Sea, Philippines. Photo and caption by Jonne Seijdel/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestCurious Whaleshark. Whaleshark encounter in the Bohol Sea, Philippines. Photo and caption by Jonne Seijdel/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Gentoo Chicks. Two newly hatched Gentoo Penguin chicks get their first glimpse at the Antarctic wilderness. Photo and caption by Richard Sidey/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestGentoo Chicks. Two newly hatched Gentoo Penguin chicks get their first glimpse at the Antarctic wilderness. Photo and caption by Richard Sidey/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Look Into My Eyes. This picture was taken on a game drive in the Addo Elephant National Park, the third largest national park in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The park contains a wide diversity of fauna, flora and landscapes and incorporates semi arid landscapes all the way to a marine reserve. These zebra were so calm and you just got the feeling they wanted to be photographed! Photo and caption by Natalie Murray/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestLook Into My Eyes. This picture was taken on a game drive in the Addo Elephant National Park, the third largest national park in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The park contains a wide diversity of fauna, flora and landscapes and incorporates semi arid landscapes all the way to a marine reserve. These zebra were so calm and you just got the feeling they wanted to be photographed! Photo and caption by Natalie Murray/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Unexpected Alliance. I have seen alligators and turtles together in ponds before, but never like this! I was at Bluebill Pond in Harris Neck NWR when I saw what I thought was an alligator sunning itself on a stump. As I got closer I realized that it was actually perched on the back of a turtle! I wish I had been there to witness how this surprising esprit de corps had came to pass! Photo and caption by Mary Ellen Urbanski/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestUnexpected Alliance. I have seen alligators and turtles together in ponds before, but never like this! I was at Bluebill Pond in Harris Neck NWR when I saw what I thought was an alligator sunning itself on a stump. As I got closer I realized that it was actually perched on the back of a turtle! I wish I had been there to witness how this surprising esprit de corps had came to pass! Photo and caption by Mary Ellen Urbanski/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Togetherness. A family of snow monkeys cuddling up together for security and warmth. They appeared very protective of one another and seemed unsure of my presence. Photo and caption by Petra Bensted/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestTogetherness. A family of snow monkeys cuddling up together for security and warmth. They appeared very protective of one another and seemed unsure of my presence. Photo and caption by Petra Bensted/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Morning Game Drive. Our first morning game drive on Safari in South Africa brought us this magnificent leopard. He was bathed in the orange hues of the sunrise and it was breathtaking. Photo and caption by Douglas Croft/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestMorning Game Drive. Our first morning game drive on Safari in South Africa brought us this magnificent leopard. He was bathed in the orange hues of the sunrise and it was breathtaking. Photo and caption by Douglas Croft/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Ruffled Feather Inspection. A cafe outside of Aquas Calientes in the Cuzco region of Peru has perches for wild parrots that come and feed on seed and fruit left out for them. This curious little fella was peeking out from behind a leaf to get a better look at me. Apparently he was entertained by the odd human with the camera because he let me get only a few inches away, where my ring light could better illuminate his beautiful feathers. Photo and caption by Adam Lichtcsien/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestRuffled Feather Inspection. A cafe outside of Aquas Calientes in the Cuzco region of Peru has perches for wild parrots that come and feed on seed and fruit left out for them. This curious little fella was peeking out from behind a leaf to get a better look at me. Apparently he was entertained by the odd human with the camera because he let me get only a few inches away, where my ring light could better illuminate his beautiful feathers. Photo and caption by Adam Lichtcsien/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Who Needs to Fly? This is one of the Big Major Cay's pigs swimming in the clear, turquoise waters of the Bahamas. Pigs are great swimmers!Photo and caption by Paul Lee/National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestWho Needs to Fly? This is one of the Big Major Cay's pigs swimming in the clear, turquoise waters of the Bahamas. Pigs are great swimmers!Photo and caption by Paul Lee/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Every year National Geographic asks the world’s adventurers to enter their epic photographs into its Traveler Photo Contest – and each year the submissions prove stunning.

The 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is now accepting submissions, and thousands of professional and amateur snappers have already entered their stunning travel pictures of proud leopards and swimming pigs.

“Our photo contest turns 25 this year, making it, we believe, the longest-running travel photo contest in the world,” said Keith Bellows, National Geographic Traveler magazine editor in chief.

“In the last few years it seems as if the quality of shots has taken a quantum leap forward. The pictures increasingly reflect a more sophisticated way of seeing and interpreting the world, making the judging process more difficult. We encourage photographers to enter their work and compete against the best.”

The winner of the 2013 Traveler Photo Contest will receive a 10-day National Geographic Expedition to the Galápagos and have their prized photo published in National Geographic Traveler magazine. Runner up with be awarded a seven-day National Geographic Photography Workshop, while third prize is a six-day cruise on a Maine windjammer schooner for two.

The contest will be open until June 30, 2013 and entries cost $15. Photographers can enter their favorite travel memories in any of four categories including travel portraits, outdoor scenes, sense of place and spontaneous moments. To enter click here.

For inspiration, have a look at some of the mind-blowing photos that have been submitted so far. It’s hard to believe they all came from the same beautiful planet.

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