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National Geographic Photo Contest 2012

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Once again, National Geographic is holding its annual photo contest, with the deadline for submissions coming up on November 30. Beginning on September 1, the society started gathering and presenting galleries of submissions, encouraging readers to vote for them as well. National Geographic was kind enough to let me choose among its entries from 2012 for display here on In Focus. Gathered below are 50 images from the three categories of People, Places, and Nature, with captions written by the individual photographers. [50 photos]

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Butterfly at sunset: Photographer Toni Guetta submitted this macro shot of a butterfly with the sunset in the background near Hod ha'sharon, Israel. (© Toni Guetta/National Geographic Photo Contest)
Butterfly at sunset: Photographer Toni Guetta submitted this macro shot of a butterfly with the sunset in the background near Hod ha'sharon, Israel. (© Toni Guetta/National Geographic Photo Contest)
Baby seal: a baby elephant seal relaxes on a South Georgia beach. (© Ondrej Zaruba/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Tiled roof: the colorful roof of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. (© Casey Taylor/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Yosemite Valley at Dusk: A mist had settled over Yosemite Valley, as automobiles passed through, headlights illuminated the fog. (© Phil Hawkins/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
The Edge: Looking just over the edge, just enough to see what is ahead, not enough to know the whole, just getting the gist. (© Mei Ratz/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Wind Swept Foxtail Barley: My wife and I traveled by RV to Alaska during July and August 2012 to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. To define the natural beauty there one word comes to mind - "Majestic". An awesome trip with thousands of images. This image in particular stood out from all the rest. We spent about a week in Chicken, Alaska where the foxtail barley was growing everywhere. I must have taken 50 images of the barley but this one best conveyed the wave and flowing nature of the subject and the simple beauty I experienced while photographing them. (© Jim Cottingham/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Alone in the Dark: The discovery of a local Fox den has resulted in some great photographic opportunities recently. A Red Fox in the twilight in Shepreth, England. (© Sam Morris/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Crater Lake Storm at Sunset: A thunderstorm swirls across the water at Crater Lake National Park, as the setting sun creates a rare double rainbow. Taken from Rim Village, approximately 1,000 feet above the lake's surface, providing a straight-on vantage point of the storm. (© Duke Miller/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Chaos: A huge flock of Red-billed Queleas flies in to drink at the same time as an African Elephant in Tsavo National Park, Kenya. (© Antero Topp/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Fargo Flight: An F-15 banks in front of the crowd during an airshow in Fargo, North Dakota. (© Darryl Skinner/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Reflections: Icebergs in the harbor in Ilulissat, Greenland. (© Frank Walley/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Man and Animal Conflict: A Leopard attacks a forest department employee, after the man threw a stone toward the leopard in an abandoned construction site in Limbu Village in Siliguri in West Bengal, India. (© Salil Bera/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Don't play with war: I was captivated by the scenery before I got my camera out of my bag. In the foreground a soldier in his bunker and in the background a Ferris wheel that looked like it had been shot at. The contrasting dualism in the image struck me before I took the picture. Square/round, adult world/child world, war/peace. Unfortunately I was arrested since I was not allowed to take photos of the military, but I managed to show them a cropped version on my camera screen, displaying only the Ferris wheel. Photo taken in Beirut, Lebanon. (© Janus Langhorn/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Determination: Nothing will stand in his way. Portrait taken in Florence, South Carolina. (© Brittany Zedalis/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Yellow Spider on a Yellow Flower: I sat down to watch our children play in the lake and this colorful one found me sitting beside her. Photo taken in Dorset, Ontario, Canada. (© Jeremy Crawford/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Expedition Amundsen: A race that follows in the path of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen brings the contestants to the Hardangervidda Mountainplateu, Norway. 100km across the plateau, the exact same route Amundsen used to prepare for his South Pole expedition in 1911 is still used by explorers today. Amundsen did not manage to cross the plateau and had to turn back because of bad weather. He allegedly said that the attempt to cross Hardangervidda was just as dangerous and hard as the conquering of the South Pole. The group in the picture used the race as preparations for an attempt to cross Greenland. (© Kai-Otto Melau/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
The Explosion! The subject's name is Busaba, a well cared for Indochinese Tigress whose home is at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Thailand. I had taken many portraits of Busaba previously and it was becoming more and more difficult to come up with an image that appeared any different to the others. Which is why I took to observing her more carefully during my visits in the hope of capturing something of a behavioral shot. The opportunity finally presented itself while watching Busaba enjoying her private pool then shaking herself dry. In all humility I have to say that Mother Nature smiled favorably on me that day! (© Ashley Vincent/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Full Moon setting behind Alps and the Sacra of San Michele: The picture captures the full Moon setting behind the Alps and the Sacra di San Michele, a religious complex situated 1,000 meters up Mount Pirchiriano, some 60 kilometers form Turin, in northern Italy. (© Stefano De Rosa/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Great White, Sun Light: As I am sitting on top of a suspended submersible cage, 30 feet below the surface, a 15 foot Great White Shark swims overhead just starting to block out the sun. I took the shot right after I had released a breath though my respirator. Photo taken off Guadalupe Island, Mexico. (© Kirk Nielsen/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Storm's Backside: Evening stroll on Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Florida -- voted no. 1 beach in the country. (© Judy Robertson/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
King: Spotted this male lion while on safari in Kruger National Park in South Africa. His disdain for the light clearly shows his imperiousness for those around him. (© Michaela May/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Relax: Photo taken of the guardian of the Medici's Villa at Poggio a Caiano, in Italy, where at the end of the working day he is allowed a cigarette. (© Giacomo Baldi/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Close Encounter of the Insect Kind: Check out the awesome face on this praying mantis. I can't get over the mouth, it's like something from a science fiction movie. Of all photographic styles macro is definitely my favorite. I am constantly amazed, in every photo that I take, by the intricate level of detail that exists on even the smallest of creatures. It's a stark reminder that a very complex and infinitely beautiful world exists just beyond our human-sized level of perception. Photo taken in Donnybrook, Queensland, Australia. (© Andrew Young/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Sunrise in Glacier: I took this from the balcony of Many Glacier Lodge in Glacier National Park, on August 1, 2012. The sun was rising behind me and onto the mountains. (© Sharon Lyon/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Canis lupus occidentalis: Wolves have always been a fascination of mine and I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to photograph a pack one afternoon. This particular Northwestern female wolf caught my eye because of her haunting yellow eyes and black coat, I knew I had to capture her on camera. She stands out beautifully against the green grass, her golden eyes staring right into the camera, drawing the viewer in. (© Amy Bell/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
In the Heat of the Moment: British riot troops stand firm against a petrol bomb attack in a street riot in Hampshire, Southern England. (© Kerry Hutchinson/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Abeguwo: Abeguwo is a goddess of Melanesian mythology. She resides in the sky, and when she feels the urge to urinate, does so onto the Earth in the form of rain. Photo taken in El Campello, Spain. (© Stan Bouman/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Ninja Kangaroos: Young male kangaroos test their strength with "boxing" matches that mostly occur at dawn. One buck gets in the others face with its forepaws until the second one concedes and hops away, or stands up tall and faces its tormentor. Then the two grapple until an advantage is gained and one rears back onto its tail and kicks out with both its feet. Here the roo on the left clearly has its opponent on the retreat. Photo taken at Lake Cootharaba, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. (© raoul slater/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Shades: This view of the Ladakh range near Lamayuru, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, was encountered on my way to Leh. The colors of these ranges keep on changing as the day progresses. The blue shades of the mountains enveloped by clouds afar added to the natural contrast with the golden hue of sun in front. (© Ankur Sharma/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Oriental White Ibis: An Oriental White Ibis or Black-headed Ibis in flight at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary in the state of Karnataka in India. (© Sushrutha Metikurke/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Baitfish Skillfully Use Sea Turtle as Cover: Off of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, sailfish were circling as baitfish used a sea turtle as cover. The sailfish successfully attempted on several occasions to slap the baitfish with their bills (with surgical precision) to disorient them and have a quick snack before the turtle dove deep to escape the carnage. (© Scott Belt/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Beautiful Inside and Out: This photo was taken during my trip to Haiti. A man full of joy after winning a community contest to keep their new homes beautiful inside and out. (© Mike Trenh/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Lightning Sunset: Thunderstorms in the Florida Keys are often sporadic, short-lived, and incredibly isolated. This photo shows a small cluster of storm clouds that had blown in during a sunset on an otherwise clear day. (© Judy Jinn/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Skull Spider with Spiderlinks No. 001: A Skull Spider is also known as a Daddy Longlegs. But in this case, the one guarding my front door turned out to be a Mommy Longlegs. After hours of trial and error, while standing on a ladder with my head and hands in the Arachnid's web, my eye to the camera, and using a poor man's macro, I finally got a few good shots of the mother with her freshly hatched babies held between her jaws. It was quite a photographic experience, but for days afterwards I felt like there were spiders crawling all over me. (© Lon Casler Bixby/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Failed Escape in the Everglades: I was watching three young alligators when an adult approached. The adult grabbed this one and went underwater... suddenly it came up to flip the juvenile and eat it. Grassy Waters Preserve is part of the original Everglades, and is a natural area that is part of the water supply for the City of West Palm Beach, Florida. (© Steve Scherer/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
With a Couple of Jovian and Lunar Lights: Jupiter and the Moon light up the sky above a rock formation near Kitaibaraki City, Japan. (© Dr. Akira Takaue/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Swan Dive: A swan feeds at sunset. (© Mark Bates/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Life in Hell Valley: In Owakudani, Japan, (also called Great Boiling Valley or Hell Valley) eggs are hard-boiled in the hot springs. The boiled eggs turn black and smell slightly sulphuric. Consuming the eggs is said to increase longevity. Eating one is said to add seven years to your life. (© Franjo Selinger/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
I See You - Do You See Me? Walking the mountains of the Sacred Valley in Peru, we came across children in their school playground preparing a variety of traditional items for a festival celebration later that night. After a few cautious moments of who is who, we were welcomed into helping with the preparations. We couldn't speak a word of the local dialect and had to rely solely on our good friend from the near-by town of Ollyantaytambo to help with communication. That said, there was far more communication that passed between all of us without words... the kind of connection that only giggles and laughter can bring. (© glen fisher/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Adrift: Penguins adrift on iceberg during a heavy snow storm in Antarctica. (© Joshua Holko/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Dead Hippo and One Sharp Crocodile: I was leading a photographic safari in Zambia's, South Luangwa National Park. It was already dark and we came across a dead Hippo upside down in the river. The Crocodiles were busy feeding on it and there was a lot of movement in the water -- the distance was quiet far, but I could manage to take a picture using artificial light, the camera mounted on a tripod and a long-time exposure (5 seconds). (© Stephan Tuengler/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Jump: Two squirrels were playing in the warm afternoon in the Penitencia Creek County Park in San Jose, California. (© Chih-Hung Kao/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Sword Fight: Two performers in a sword fight in Nong Nooch, Pattaya, Thailand. (© Lars Edvard Dalsboe/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
A Refreshing Sight on a Hot Day: On August 27, 2012, my husband and I were photographing wildlife in the Jasper area, when we decided to go to the Maligne Lake Lodge for a bite to eat. While walking up to the building, Terry exclaimed "is that a Moose swimming in the lake?!" Sure enough, the Moose swam across part of the lake, then proceeded to stand in the water, submerging her head to feed on the vegetation at the bottom. I sat on the shore and snapped several photos, including this one. What an exciting experience that was for us! (© Cathy Parsons/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Grand Canyon at Dusk: Grand Canyon visitors watch the sunset from a perch on the south side. (© Phil Hawkins/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
My baby: This small baby is about a few hours old. Photo taken in South Georgia. (© Ondrej Zaruba/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Atlantic Spotted Dolphins having an underwater chat: These three Atlantic Spotted Dolphins were acting playful for a few minutes so I swam over to join in. When I got close the dolphins came together as if they were going to discuss my presence. One of them seemed to say something then they did a little dance and were on their way. Amazing animals, I felt very lucky to capture the moment. Photo taken on White Sand Ridge on Little Bahama Bank, Bahamas. (© John Gaskell/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
California Football: As the sun sets on the Eagles home field at the California School for the Deaf in Freemont, the Richmond High Oilers try to overcome a 31 point deficit in the first half. The Oilers held a state high losing streak at 39 losses in 2005. In 2012 season, they have yet to win a game. If the past is any preview of the future, chances dwindle that they will win as the season continues. Due to academic struggles, asthma and other issues that haunt the city of Richmond, many players do not see the season to its completion. (© Lauren Kate Rosenblum/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Relax: This cow (adorned with frogs) is looking very happy. Photo taken in Sri Lanka. (© Ondrej Zaruba/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Secluded Pier at Lake Brunner: I was on my 170km solo cycling trip around West Coast, New Zealand and one of the destinations was this famous Lake Brunner. I reached this pier in one foggy morning and I found this moment was like no other. (© Mohd Nadly Aizat Mohd Nudri/National Geographic Photo Contest) #

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