2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

The National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest is now underway, and entries will be accepted until the end of the month, May 27, 2016. The grand prize winner will receive a seven-day Polar Bear Safari for two in Churchill, Canada. National Geographic was kind enough to allow me to share some of the early entries with you here, gathered from three categories: Nature, Cities, and People. The photos and captions were written by the photographers.

Sea Clouds of yellow Mountains

This image was captured very early in the morning after climbing Yellow Mountain at 3 a.m. and waiting for few hours in the cold and wind at -4 degrees.

Praying Polar bear

Polar bears rely on the sea ice to reach their seal prey. Global warming caused by humans has significantly impacted the sea ice, which is negatively affecting the Polar bears in many ways. Photographed in Kaktovik, Alaska.

On Guard

This picture was taken during Mt. Bromo eruption, the horse seems a little agitated due to the sound of the eruption.

Flower Walk (hana sampo)

Spring in Japan. People love to walk in this blue carpet flowers (Nemophila blue flowers) at Hitachi seaside park in Ibaraki.

From Father to Son

A young Kazakh boy with his eagle which will perform at the traditional Eagle Festival held in Bayan-Ölgii, Mongolia. Eagle hunting is a heritage passed from father to son, generation after generation, by the Kazakh people of the Altai mountains.

BEAST

Amazing supercell produces over the town of Blackhawk, South Dakota, back on June 1, 2015. Flash flooding would occur near Rapid City.

Wherever you go, I will follow you!!

Romance is in the air. It was the time of day immediately following sunset. Photographed in Biei, Hokkaido, Japan.

Snaking through Lombard

From the air, it’s much easier to see how Lombard Street snakes through the streets of San Francisco. One of the most iconic landmarks of San Francisco—with its eight sharp turns is said to be the most crooked street in the world.

The Kookaburra

This kookaburra has the perfect view of Sydney Harbour and the bridge in the background. This is quintessential Sydney and Australia.

Battle Bears

Two big bears locked in battle for survival over a single salmon. This was at the beginning of the salmon run when the salmon were scarce and when a bear caught a fish the bear was swarmed by other bears trying to steal his catch and big battles would erupt. Katmai National Park, Alaska

La Fournaise volcano

The latest eruption of La Fournaise Volcano. Réunion Island

Dronie - Selfie taken with a Drone.

This image is an aerial selfie image. We laid down on the bridge covered with snow and flew the drone above us to take this image.

Life in isolation

The Kangaroo Island echidna only exists in the wild on Kangaroo Island (off South Australia.) While extensive historic clearing of its habitat has significantly reduced the population size, its main threats now come from feral cat predation and road mortality. With less than 5,000 adults, its conservation status has recently been listed as endangered by the Australian Federal Government.

Green Moss and Old Rocks

While on a road trip in Iceland, we stumbled across a sea of old lava flows that has, over the centuries, been blanketed in thick, green layer of moss.

Reflective Gator

This alligator laid out in the middle of the waterway seeking what little sunshine was offered on this cloudy December day as we sailed by. I was struck by the poetic symmetry of reptile and its reflection in the swampy water.

The anthem of wind

When I was on a field trip in the Canadian Rockies in winter, we encountered big wind gust, and five of my teammates were blown away about 100 meters. The snow got thrown high up to the sky, and it traveled across the lake with obvious trails. I held my tripod tightly and captured this scene, with my eyes full of tears and my mouth filled with snow.

The hunters call

Taken in Linyanti area Botswana during an early morning drive.

Yesssss

Jomblang cave in Yogyakarta, Indonesia—a place for heavenly light.

Autumn colors - Adirondacks

Aerial view of fall colors at peak in the Adirondack Mountains.

Final Approach to Everest Base Camp

The whole trek our guides kept telling us “our side safe side, their side suicide” when we heard the Yak bells chiming in the distance. It was our reminder to find the safe side of the mountain so that we wouldn’t find ourselves in the path of an oncoming herd. Here on the final approach into Everest Base Camp, it was hard to determine the safe side when the single track dropped off steeply on both sides. The yaks were burdened with expedition equipment ready for the 2016 summit season.

Lost In Nature

The photo was taken on the tallest dunes in the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado, before a thunderstorm. I knew there was supposed to be a thunderstorm in that area in the afternoon and I was lucky to capture nice dramatic effect with light and shadows.

Digital panel of Hong Kong

This amazing stacked architecture of Hong Kong shows the housing of its rather dense population. It’s visually striking to understand that your whole horizon is built from people’s lit windows.

Careful - mother and child crossing

Crossing the road can be especially dangerous for any species. The Kangaroo Island kangaroo is the slowest moving kangaroo species which means that they are more vulnerable to being hit by cars—especially between dusk and dawn. Sadly each each year thousands are killed, injured or clipped, and left to die slowly. Despite this, and Kangaroo Island being one third National Park, it sadly doesn’t have a reduced dusk to dawn speed limit to minimize this risk.

Faroe Islands on fire

A special place in the Faroe Islands where I can get in touch with nature and enjoy the silence broken just by birds crying and the ocean sounds. A touching experience for me that I live in a big crowded city. Coming in this place in winter time was pretty dangerous because of snow and steep cliffs but I didn’t care about that. My desire to come here was too strong. Kalsoy island, Faroe Islands.

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