National Geographic has once again opened its annual photo contest, with the deadline for submissions coming up on Saturday, November 30. One first-place winner will be chosen from each of the three categories, and the winning photographs will be published in National Geographic magazine. The overall grand-prize winner will be announced in December of 2013. National Geographic was kind enough to let me choose among its entries so far for display here on In Focus. Gathered below are 39 images, with captions written by the individual photographers.
Fox Glance: During a regular trip through the forest, of which my actual intent was landscapes, I encountered this stunning little Red Fox. The moment came as the light broke through the clouds and trees, he turned with a glance of curiosity and gave me the unusual composition I was after. A scene I’ll never be lucky enough to see again in my life, so was over the moon I’d managed to capture the moment. Location: Thetford Forest, England.
In Spirals: When you study the flower of life, you will begin to see that all life is built in spirals. Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Endless Journey: Taken at Mishima town in Fukushima prefecture, Japan. The first train goes across the railway bridge through in morning mist. The train moves forward little by little slowly. I thought, this sight has expressed the Fukushima people defying to recover from the earthquake and nuclear accident. But it is an uncertain endless journey.
Sky Swimmer: After looking for a green sea turtle nest for a long time, I found one. I was staying in the water close to the beach, and many turtles came in the sea, trying to go the ocean. One of them came straight toward me and I put my camera lens just below the surface. Location: Tikehau Island, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia .
Bright Canopy: While studying in Florence, Italy, I went on a trip throughout Europe. The first stop was in Berlin, Germany, where we rented bikes and rode throughout the city. While visiting the Jewish Museum I stood under a group of trees and noticed the great interaction of hand-like branches with the light coming through the canopy of leaves.
Baby Girl: Nyanga, an orphaned baby chimp from the bushmeat trade, is rehabilitated at the Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, Cameroon.
Fight: Praying mantises in Kahramanmaras, Turkey.
Living the Dream: On my way home from work I saw that there was going to be an incredible sunset. I set out with my new gear and quickly made it to Menomin Park. I knew I had just moments to set up before the scene would completely pass me by. With the wind roaring in my face, I set up for my shot. While framing the composition the waves crashed at my feet as the sun faded below the horizon, painting a fire of red and orange underneath the cloud cover. With the clouds painted it cast a magical glow over the lake. I had been chasing a sunset like this for two years. It was incredible to finally capture it! Location: Menomonie, Wisconsin.
A Boy And His Dog: Our two year old son playing in the dirt with our dog Raine in Bryson City, North Carolina.
Omohara: “Omohara” is not only a geographical crossing of Omotesando and Harajuku,but also variety of styles and culture are come and go. Omotesando is town of adult where high brand’s buildings put together the eaves. On the other hand, Harajuku is town of young where born the new culture. Omohara is a place that new culture and old culture are fusion. And leading the art and culture of Japan always.
Where the Buffalo roam: I had been in Teton National Park for 5 days and hadn’t yet seen the tops of the Teton Range due to non stop storm systems moving through. October can be like that in this majestic part of America. Large herds of bison roam free in this park as well as in Yellowstone, just to the north. It is an awe inspiring sight indeed. After taking pictures of this herd, I felt that I had been “shut out” as the mountain peaks had still not been revealed to me. It wasn’t until I looked at the pictures on my computer that I realized that in a few frames, the peaks had been revealed. What a great surprise.
Manta-Art: An Alfredi manta ray came close to me with her mouth open on a cleaning station area off Tikehau island, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia.
Huayhuash: Photograph Taken in Carhuacocha Camp, Cordiliera Hyauhuash, Peru. The long exposure (30 min approx.) time drew this abstract light show (alpinists wearing lamps and walking around the tents).
The Guardian: This solitary dolphin could not not been more beautiful when it rose out of the still ocean water. Location: Channel Islands, California.
Old Man Bowler: A man, taking respite from playing lawn bowls in the hot November sun. This was the first time I had asked a stranger permission to take their photo. It was a special moment. I so appreciated his “stillness” and the quiet energy about him. Location: North Stradbroke Island.
Close Call!: The Nile Crocodile made this a risky place for a Grey Heron to fish! Location: Masai Mara NP, Kenya.
Orta Lake Storm Chasing: I have spent the entire summer chasing thunderstorms all around Italy. I usually stand in front of the camera, to modify the parameters according to lighting’s distance and intensity. This time I was in a very dangerous situation, I was completely surrounded by lightning strikes, so I chose to leave the camera on the tripod shooting in automatic mode. I spent about 15 minutes on the ground, as far as I could from any conducting material, and I protected my eyes and my ears hoping for the best. When I finally looked to the pictures I was very impressed by the size and intensity of the storm.
Macro: A yellowbanded pipefish, off Tikehau Island, Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia.
Rainbow Over the Himalayas: Shot from the small town of Khangsar, Nepal. We arrived after a full day of hiking. We stayed in a teahouse with a view because I wanted to be ready to take pictures of the mountains as the sun set behind us. This rainbow formed and I took many photos of this beautiful moment.
Survival of the fittest: I captured some wonderful and unusual behavior of a Rosy Pelican, which amazed me. I started photographing the pelican, with something in its pouch, which I first thought to be a big fish — but I discovered it was instead a common pochard duck, which was trying its best to escape! Location: Lakhota Lake, Jamnagar, Gujarat, India.
Rorschach: The image was taken this late autumn in the Highlands of Scotland
Baby Whale: This is a baby humpback whale near Reunion island. He was born in September of 2013.
The Sunsetter: An EF-4 tornado rips through the open space of farmland near Rozel, Kansas. This tornado moves slowly but powerful towards the setting sun an gets its beautiful color right before sunset. Storm Chasers are spotting on the left side.
Crows Nest: The crows that live in Tokyo use clothes hangers to make nests. In such a large city, there are few trees, so the natural materials that crows need to make their nests are scarce. As a result, the crows occasionally take hangers from the people who live in apartments nearby, and carefully assemble them into nests. The completed nests almost look like works of art based on the theme of recycling.
Hold My Hand: Westley Wade was born prematurely at 28 weeks due to complications with pre-eclampsia. In this image, his adoring parents were just told that depending on test results their baby who weighed less than 2 pounds could potentially need heart surgery. As his parents emotionally looked down at him through cords and wires, this warrior newborn (4 day old) baby boy Westley shot his hand up straight for them as if to let them know, that everything would in fact, be alright. Gratefully, it was and is. Westley is now 10 pounds 9 oz at 4.5 months and continues to amaze everyone who crosses his path. Location: BC Womens Hospital, Vancouver, BC.
Deer Calling: This was taken early morning while at Richmond Park, London, in Late October.
Oscar – the Booby from Darwin: On diving trip to Darwin Island in the Galapagos, our boat was visited by a large group of Red Footed Boobies. One of my friends named this curious little fellow Oscar. He was very curious and seemed to like to pose for the camera.
Mara: We just wanted to search for a Leopard that morning, but we found a group of giraffes moving toward a small lake and start drinking. It was a nice moment when the Giraffe finished and left a letter “S” shape in the air. Location: Kenya.
Last Light on Half Dome: The sun had dipped below the clouds but still above the horizon, painting the face of Half Dome and the walls of Tenaya Canyon with amazing light.
Shake It: A brown bear shaking off its wet fur in Kamchatka, Russia.
Rocky Mountain High: Snow-capped peaks of the Continental Divide stretch across the landscape west of Denver, Colorado, seen from a high-altitude balloon. From 86,000 feet the Moon shines bright against the inky black of the stratosphere while in the foreground Interstate-70 carves its way up the valley toward high alpine passes and the famous ski resorts of Colorado.
Black Cat: Our black smoke Maine Coon queen. (© Robert Sijka/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Amazing Midwinter Sunset (4:30pm): November 6th, 2013 – at approximately 4:15 pm we were all watching this amazing batman-like beam coming over the dyke on the upstream side of the Yukon River which was just beginning to freeze. I grabbed a camera, made my way over towards the river and discovered this amazing scene. As we are heading towards the shortest day of the year, the sun usually disappears between 4:30-4:45 pm.
Water for People, Water for Life: Seven Lake in Tajikistan.
Cows And Kites: I was driving along the beach highway when I noticed the bulls sunbathing on the empty beach. I initially thought i was seeing things,but no it really was sunbathing cows! I had to park my car a fair distance away and that meant a long walk along the beach in 35 degree heat. When I got closer to them I was careful not to spook them, so I crawled on my stomach on the hot sand to get a good picture. Mission Accomplished! Location: Tarifa Beach, Andalucia, Spain.
Asking For Trouble: We saw this impressive male lion on our way from Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park to Mabuasehube Game Reserve. He was lying right next to the sandy tracks and I don’t know who got more scared when we almost hit him. But as quickly as he jumped up to eye our car suspiciously he laid down again and we got the opportunity to watch him for half an hour and to take some nice pictures of this majestic animal.
Red Fox and Northern Lights: A beautiful red fox is photographed with the Aurora Borealis outside of Bethel, Alaska. This shot was taken during a spectacular display of the northern lights. (© Greg Lincoln/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Last Chance to See: A jewel in the crown. A stunning amber eye glowing in contrast to a dark face. Capturing the beauty of endangered wildlife helps remind us and display the precious creatures we may lose. Silverback Gorilla, London Zoo.
Fall Moose: I was fortunate to come across this moose having his evening meal in the Snake River, in Wyoming. He had chosen an excellent backdrop for his dining and the least I could do was get a snapshot of it.