The time to enter the 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is running short --entries will be accepted for another few days, until June 30, 2013. The first prize winner will receive a 10-day Galapagos expedition for two. National Geographic was once more kind enough to allow me to share some of the later entries with you here, gathered from four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. Photos and captions by the photographers.
From the 'Sense of Place' category, a couple paddle out for a sunset surf in the coastal surfing town of Byron Bay, Australia.
(© Ming Nomchong/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
Returning from a snorkeling excursion during a trip to the Great Barrier Reef, wind speed dropped to zero and the ocean became a mirror. As the horizon disappeared, only the seaplane, sitting confidently between the blue elements, provided a sense of space and felt like a link to the rest of the world.
(© Christian Roth/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
At the foot of the active Bromo Volcano, on the Island of Java lies the Hindu Temple Pura Luhur Poten which is often immersed in a soft mist at dusk. On this day Mount Bromo showed unusually strong activity, which lead to a exceptionally high and dense dust cloud.
(© Tim Jenka/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
This photo was taken on a month trip to California. I am from the Channel Islands, part of the UK so this was an amazing trip for me! Living on a small island it's crazy to go to a country as big as the U.S. This was captured on my last day of a four day trip to San Francisco, I'd visited the Bridge earlier that day but it has a whole other feeling at night. I wanted to capture the busy movement of the sky passing over a city that is alive day or night. This was also my first time experimenting with long exposures - this was a 5 minute exposure.
(© Alex Lacey/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
The Great Smoky Mountains are known for the synchronous fireflies during each early summer. This year I spent 3 consecutive nights in early June staying in mountain area trying to capture this phenomenon. I was so lucky to witness a spectacular light show on an actual rainstorm night. I left my camera there for an 1.5 hour exposure. There were tens of thousands of fireflies dancing around using their light to paint the scene in front of me and I was the only audience of their light show.
(© Cheng Niu/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
This picture was taken in Spain - Parque natural "Sierra de Grazalema". In small meadow ponds live slightly eutrophic freshwater algae. These algae live with herbaceous plants and when the ponds freeze, attractive compositions are created. Here we see frozen bubbles and lines formed in thawing ice. I used a macro lens because this wild geranium leaf is very small.
(© Andres Miguel Dominguez/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
Basalt sea stacks called Reynisdrangar, located under the Reynisfjall mountain, close to Vik i Myrdal in southern Iceland. Legend says there were three trolls who were pulling a three-masted ship to the shore unsuccessfully, but they were caught by the sunlight at dawn and turned into needles of rock.
(© Florin Szoke/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
The eruption of Cordon Caulle began on June 4, 2011, located in the Region of Los Rios in Chile. For about 12 months, people and animals became accustomed to living with the daily fall of ash, which also caused problems in the air traffic in South America. The explosions and lightning during first days of the eruption could be seen from hundreds of miles around. This photograph was taken on the second night of eruption from the town of Lago Ranco.
(© Francisco Negroni/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
During my visit to the Amalfi Coast in Italy, I ventured for a day to Sorrento. This gorgeous island had an amazing coastline that I stuck to for the day. Because of a mix-up with ferry dock numbers I missed my ferry and had to wait two hours for the next one. I decided I would head back to town and went down a street I had passed a few times that day. The ground opened up, almost out of nowhere, where this absolute beauty, apparently "Valle dei Mulini", appeared, which I gazed at and shot for almost the entire period before I left for my next boat.
(© Keiren Macdonald/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
A lone tree in the Palouse region of Washington state glows brilliantly in the sunlight as clouds pass by, isolating it in a band of light. Undulating hills provide depth to the lit scene, captured during the brief growing season where the wheat is a rich shade of green.
(© Jesse Summers/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
It's just past 8am and most are already in for a while. As the sun rises and reveals Bali's Gunung Agung volcano in the far distance, more and more men gather in the sea and paint the horizon with their silhouettes as far as the eye can see. They fish for very small fish and will stand here for many hours, until well beyond noon, to fill the bags they carry on their hips. Many of them wear life jackets because they cannot swim. Their hats come in all sorts and shapes and double as toolkits, with pouches glued to the inside or outside to keep their gear and cigarettes within easy reach.
(© Willem Sorm/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
I went to Nairobi to shoot a film for an NGO. During our shoot at a school in Mathare slum, I took shelter from the heat and chaos in a school, and stumbled upon these sleepyheads. I put my camera on my monopod, self-timer mode, and held it up high.
(© Joe Saade/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
This was taken with my girlfriend while on a trip to see the wild ponies on Roger Mountain in Virginia. It was a nasty and rainy day while up on the mountain but it provided for some good dark/epic backgrounds while shooting the ponies. This one thought I had food and while I was petting another pony, he came up from behind me and when I turned around this is what I saw.
(© John Brasher/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
Snorkeling with a Humpback whale has always been one of my dreams. When this whale (approx. 12m long) swam past me I felt it really looked at me, an amazing unforgettable moment! My mind stopped, time seemed to stop... eye to eye with such a majestic and gentle creature. Swimming with Whales in Tonga is well organized and part of their eco tourism. I will certainly do this again.
(© Conni Weise/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
Renny Bijoux, youth ambassador from the Seychelles, participating in the Greenpeace North Pole expedition. The team, most of them without any previous polar experience, skied to the North Pole and lowered a capsule 4.3 Km onto the sea bed, containing signatories to their campaign to protect the Arctic from industrial development.
(© Christian Aslund/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
In Chukotka, the easternmost part of Russia and the Eurasian continent, hunting for marine mammals has always been the basis for survival of the local people. Most important for getting the every day food is to hunt the walrus. Even today the hunters are using harpoons thrown by hand. For a foreigner it was very cumbersome to get to the area, but also a very interesting travel.
(© Uno Johansson/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
Iranian Shi'a Muslim men, in trance and covered in mud, mourning during the Day of Ashura, on which Shi'a Muslims commemorate the martyrdom of Husayn, grandson of Mohammad, and third shi'a imam. The mud is an important part of the local mourning ritual. Shot in the town of Bijar, Iran.
(© Guido Dingemans/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
I was pleased and amazed to see this scene from Tokyo's new landmark [Sky Tree]. From the observation deck, we can see all of Tokyo but through new perspective. I've tried finding the best portion of night view and found this part of scene which contains Smida River, Ara River, various bridges, Gulf of Tokyo, and Rainbow bridge.
(© Yoshiki Nakamura/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
An inexplicably curious sight along Interstate 90 as it passes through Crow Agency, Montana. A casino sign erected next to a church marks the town's main attraction for passers-by. Although this photo was taken in 2011, the sign and church are still standing - there's been an addition to the sign, while the church remains the same. It's easy to drive through southern Montana without thinking twice about your surroundings, but even when traveling 75 mph it's hard to ignore two modern structures representative of America's history and settlement.
(© Christine Tharp/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
In the rainy season, insects are in abundance in the Kalahari desert. Outside my tent is a big light that attracts lots of bugs. The Bibron's geckos take advantage and perch themselves anywhere close to the light-source and have a feast. The glow from what remains of my fire.
(© Hannes Lochner/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
While hiking in Badlands National park, we got to this very soft ground trail, the narrower it gets, the easier it broke down. I decided that I wanted to stop at this point but my husband wanted to go further. He did and fell down not too far from where he stands in this photo. He moved quick and got back on his feet. He is looking at the spot where he would have fallen.
(© Jane Speleers/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)