Who Will Win NatGeo’s Nature Photographer of the Year Contest?

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The deadline for National Geographic’s Nature Photographer of the Year Contest for 2016 is this Friday – have you entered yet? Thousands of submissions have poured in since the competition started on August 15, and here’s a sampling from the four categories in play: Animal Portraits, Landscape, Action, and Environmental Issues. The Grand Prize winner will enjoy a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos, with cash awards to each of the three category winners.

Be sure and click through to NatGeo for more wonderfulness, as well as downloadable wallpapers of these images for desktop, tablet, and phone.

Photo of Orca whales by Mike Korostelev
Fairy Ring. This picture reminds me of a story that was told to me by local divers in Kamchatka. One diver swept over the open ocean. Soon orca keep him in a circle and held it almost daily, until rescuers find him. So they designated a place where a man was, and that saved him. (Photo and caption by Mike Korostelev)

Wortex by Giacomo Marchione)
Wortex. A group of sardines gather like a vortex and seem to touch the sun. (Photo and caption by Giacomo Marchione)

Salmon Claws by Peter Mather
Salmon Claws. A grizzly bear sow and cub use a fallen log to fish for chinook salmon on a small creek in Yukon Canada. The long, sharp claws of grizzly bears are perfect for filleting salmon. Image taken by a remote camera trap. (Photo and caption by Peter Mather)

Superstrike by Mike Olbinski
Superstrike. I almost went to bed that night, but I looked at the radar one more time and storms were developing over the Superstition Mountains. I rolled out of bed, packed up and drove to Apache Junction to a specific spot I had in mind. Dodging cars and time, I spent over 90 minutes waiting and waiting until this incredible explosion of lightning happened in a span of a 10-second exposure. I knew after one look at the back of my camera that I had captured my best lightning photo to-date. (Photo and caption by Mike Olbinski)

Moving tag a snail's pace... by Samira Qadir
Moving at a snail’s pace… While enjoying the sights of Chicago’s Garfield Conservatory found this unlikely traveler taking a closer look at this Bromeliad. Sometimes you have to slow down to appreciate the tiny wonders right in front of you! (Photo and caption by Samira Qadir)

Bull Race by Yh Lee
Bull Race. Pacu Jawi, or bull race, is held in Indonesia where bulls are coupled, with the jockey standing on the plow harnesses attached to each bull, running a short distance of about 100 feet. Whichever pair runs the fastest in a straight fashion fetches the highest price (as they are deemed the best workhorse in plowing the paddy fields for harvesting). (Photo and caption by Yh Lee)

I Am Angry by NingYu Pao
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. (Photo and caption by NingYu Pao)

Proud Momma by Michael O'Neill
Proud Momma. Fry of a Peacock Bass hover around their mom for protection against predators. Peacock Bass, part of the Cichlid family, exercise excellent parental car and will protect their young against any threat that approaches them. This tropical species from South America was intentionally introduced in South Florida during the 1980s to control the African Tilapia, another invasive species. (Photo and caption by Michael O’Neill)

Gently Fall by Akinori Koseki
Gently Fall. There is beautiful waterfalls in Akita Japan. I think it’s like Japanese culture as slender and strong. (Photo and caption by Akinori Koseki)

Lava Ocean Entry by Mason Lake
Lava Ocean Entry. 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. (Photo and caption by Mason Lake)

Life and Death by Vadim Balakin
Life and Death. These polar bear remains have been discovered at one of the islands of Northern Svalbard. Unfortunately we do not know definetely wether the bear died from starving or aging, but more likely if we see the good teeth status – from starving . They say nowdays such remains to be founded very often – global warming and ice situation influence the polar bear population a lot. Svalbard, Norway, August. (Photo and caption by Vadim Balakin)

Ocean guest by Mike Korostelev
Ocean guest. Every autumn walruses swim to this rookery place in the North of Russia (Chukotka, Vankarem cape). One day, walking along the beach away from the rookery, I came across a lone walrus, who was sleeping on the shore, its tusks sticked in the sand. I carefully crept up to it and photographed it with a wide-angle lens. At some point it woke up and noticed me. (Photo and caption by Mike Korostelev)

Food Fight by Jerry am Ende
Food Fight. An adult & juvenile bald eagle fight over a fish. (Photo and caption by Jerry am Ende)

Crocodile Waterline by Brett Lobwein
Crocodile Waterline. An American Crocodile on the surface in Gardens of the Queen, Cuba. (Photo and caption by Brett Lobwein)

From the shadows by Harry Lyndon-Skaggs
From the shadows. Hiking with the local guides, we stumbled upon this Mountain Gorilla peering curiously from the depths of the Impenetrable Forest. (Photo and caption by Harry Lyndon-Skaggs)

Aladdin's Cave by Denis Budkov
Aladdin’s Cave. Snow cave on the slopes of the volcano Mutnovsky. Due to of global warming, glaciers have begun to decline. As a result, the ceiling of the cave became thin and the sunlight creates a wonderful picture of the different colors. (Photo and caption by Denis Budkov)

Lucky Strike by Greg McCown
Lucky Strike. After 7 years of trying I finally got my lightning and rainbow picture. I spent the afternoon chasing storms with a pair of friends from Phoenix. After driving through a microburst on I-10, they decided to head back home. I decided to head back towards Tucson. I stopped in Marana to photograph this beautiful rainbow. It was difficult to find a spot without houses or telephone poles, but I did just in time. This lightning bolt came crashing down within minutes of setting up. (Photo and caption by Greg McCown)



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