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Winners of the National Geographic Photo Contest 2011

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After receiving more than 20,000 photo submissions from over 130 countries, the National Geographic Photo Contest 2011 concluded last month and the judging began. The winners were announced this week, with the grand prize awarded to Shikhei Goh for his capture of a dragonfly riding out a rainstorm in Indonesia. Goh was awarded $10,000 and a trip to the National Geographic Photography Seminar next year. National Geographic has shared the following winning photos (and honorable mentions) from this year's contest here. All captions and photos are by the individual photographers. [See also this earlier collection of 45 entries from this year's contest.] [15 photos]

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"Splashing", Grand Prize Winner and winner of the Nature category. This photo was taken when I was taking photos of other insects, as I normally did during macro photo hunting. I wasn't actually aware of this dragonfly since I was occupied with other objects. When I was about to take a picture of it, it suddenly rained, but the lighting was just superb. I decided to take the shot regardless of the rain. The result caused me to be overjoyed, and I hope it pleases viewers. Location: Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia. (© Shikhei Goh)
"Splashing", Grand Prize Winner and winner of the Nature category. This photo was taken when I was taking photos of other insects, as I normally did during macro photo hunting. I wasn't actually aware of this dragonfly since I was occupied with other objects. When I was about to take a picture of it, it suddenly rained, but the lighting was just superb. I decided to take the shot regardless of the rain. The result caused me to be overjoyed, and I hope it pleases viewers. Location: Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia. (© Shikhei Goh)
"The Fjellman Family", winner of the People Category. One shot and the reindeer is dead. The Sámi family Fjellman, which lives in Arjeplog, northern Sweden, now have food on their table. In the early autumn they slaughter a couple of their reindeer for food during the cold winter months. Location: Arjeplog, Lapland, Sweden. (© Izabelle Nordfjell) #
"Sulfuric Fire Festival", honorable mention in Places category. Once a year, Formosa fishermen's unique sulfuric fire fishing ritual is handed down from generation to generation. Location: Taipei (© Hung-Hsiu Shih) #
"Blue Pond & First Snow", honorable mention in Nature category. The blue pond of the famous tourist resort. This is a place where many tourists gather in spring, summer, and autumn. However, since this pond freezes in winter, nobody is there during that period. This photograph is the moment of the first snow of the season falling on that blue pond. We can see the first snow of the season beginning at the end of October. Why is the pond blue? Because the underground hot spring ingredient is gushing. This blue pond changes color every day. I think that mystical blue and pure white snow are beautiful. All are nature's tints. Location: Biei, Hokkaido, Japan. (© Kent Shiraishi) #
"Zombies, Brisbane", honorable mention in People category. A young family dressed as zombies in Brisbane, Queensland. Each year around Halloween time a gathering of people dressed as zombies walks through the city in an effort to raise money for the Brain Foundation of Australia. Location: Brisbane, Australia. (© Lisa Clarke) #
"Cyber Monsoon", honorable mention in Places category. A torrential monsoon rain in Bhaktapur, Nepal. (© Anuar Patjane) #
"Panic in the Pan", honorable mention in Nature category. I was leading a photographic safari in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. It was midday and we came across a dazzle of zebras approaching a waterhole to quench their thirst. Every few minutes the zebras will enter the water to drink, just to panic and scatter out of the water again. Location: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania (© Marius Coetzee) #
"Flying Kites", honorable mention in Places category. Kite battle at Santa Marta ghetto, Rio de Janeiro. For many years, the kites were used to alert the drug dealers when their enemies were coming. The place was a "war zone" controlled by traffickers that were in constant conflicts against each other to control the drug market. A few years ago, Santa Marta was occupied by the Pacifier Police Division, which released the population from the traffic domination. Location: Santa Marta, Rio de Janeiro (© Felipe Carvalho) #
"Sunrising Jellyfish", honorable mention in Nature category. Jellyfish (Cotylorhiza tuberculata) drifting just beneath the surface, looking to capture the first sunrays to trigger their symbiotic algae to produce energy for it. Location: Mar Menor coastal lagoon, Murcia province, Spain (© Angel Fitor) #
"Auburn Pride", honorable mention in People category. Young men driving into a patch of reflected light along Auburn Road. Part of a larger personal project documenting the western Sydney suburb of Auburn. The series provides a glimpse into the life of the next generation of Australians living in Auburn, peering behind the veil of this little-known side of society. Auburn is a small suburb in Sydney's west, a landing point for many migrants and refugees when they first arrive in Australia. Location: Sydney, Australia (© George Voulgaropoulos) #
"The Hunt", honorable mention in Nature category. I personally believe that, beyond the formal representation of reality, mediated by the technical instruments necessary to fix an image in time, photography is made of insights. The shot is the last act of image capturing and in many ways the easiest part of the whole process. This panning effect, even in its imperfection, with the chromatic harmony of the background, with all the needless information eliminated and the luck of having the big cat's lifted tail in symmetry with the impala horns, brings the observer inside the hunting without distractions. Location: Kenya, Masai Mara National Reserve (© Stefano Pesarelli) #
"Waterway to Orbit", honorable mention in Places category. Space shuttle Endeavour STS-130 launches into orbit toward the east, as the stars and waning crescent moon trail toward the west, leaving a beautiful reflection on the Intracoastal Waterway in Ponte Vedra, Florida. This 132-second time exposure of the final night launch of a space shuttle, from launch through SRB separation, was taken 115 miles north of Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center. Location: Ponte Vedra, Florida (© James Vernacotola) #
Beluga whales in the arctic having fun. Viewers' Choice winner in the Nature category. (© Dafna Ben Nun) #
"From Up Here", honorable mention in People category. Stephen "ST 2 Lettaz" Harris, and David "Yung Clova" Williams make up the Huntsville rap duo G-Side. I took this photo of them on tour, conducting a cell phone interview with a journalist on a fire escape in Manhattan. The photo speaks to the "D.I.Y." nature of the current independent music scene. Digital technology has played a big role in G-Side's business strategy, enabling them to use the Internet and viral word of mouth to build a diverse international fan base. G-Side released a track in 2011 called "Nat Geo." Location: Manhattan, NY, USA (© Helen Pearson) #
"Into the Green Zone", winner in the Places category. A beautiful rainbow after the rain, into the green zone of the Palawan Islands. Location: Onuk island, Balabac Palawan, Philippines (© George Tapan) #

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