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Winners of the National Geographic Photo Contest 2012

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The winners have just been announced of this year's National Geographic photo contest. The Society received more than 22,000 entries from over 150 countries. Presented here are the winners from the three categories of People, Places, and Nature, captions provided by the photographers. The Grand Prize Winner receives $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2013. Be sure to also see earlier In Focus collections of entries: Part I and Part II. [14 photos]

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Grand-Prize Winner: 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)
Grand-Prize Winner: 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)
First Place, Places Category: The Matterhorn, 4,478m, at full moon. (© Nenad Saljic/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Viewers' Choice for Places: Iceberg Hunters - Chipping ice off an iceberg is a common way for the Inuit community to retrieve fresh drinking water while on the land. During a weekend long hunting trip, we came upon this majestic iceberg frozen in place. It was a perfect opportunity to grab enough ice and drinking water for the remainder of the trip. (© Adam Coish/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Viewers' Choice for Nature: Tender Moment - Everyday in Mara starts with something new and different and day ends with memorable experiences with spectacular photographs. I was very lucky to sight and photograph Malaika, the name of this female Cheetah, and her cub. She is well known for her habit of jumping on vehicles. She learned that from her mother Kike, and Kike from her mother Amber. Like her mother she is teaching lessons to her cub. This is a tender moment between Malaika and her cub. I was very lucky to capture that moment. (© Sanjeev Bhor/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Honorable Mention, People: Captive - Yayasan Galuh Rehabilitation Center is an impoverished mental health facility based in Bekasi, Indonesia that hosts over 250 patients. Most come from poor families no longer interested in managing their condition, or are unable. Some patients are homeless, deposited after being taken off streets by police The only medical treatment received is for skin conditions. No assessments, psychotherapy or psychiatric medications is available. Over one third of the patients are shackled in chains. These measures are implemented to those thought to be violent, uncontrollable and dangerous. (© Wendell Phillips/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Viewers' Choice for People: 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) #
Honorable Mention, Places: Eerie Eiffel - The gloomy winter day worked to my advantage to create this eerie feeling of the famous landmark Eiffel tower. (© Indra Swari Wonowidjojo/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
First Place for People: Amongst the Scavengers - In Dandora, Kenya. At the end of the day women are allowed to pick through the dumpsite. (© Micah Albert/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Honorable Mention, Nature: Predation up close and personal - Near Komodo, Indonesia, I was surrounded by thousands of fish that moved in synchrony because of the predation that was happening. It was an incredible experience. (© Fransisca Harlijanto/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Honorable Mention, Nature: Red Fox catching mouse under snow - With his exceptional hearing a red fox has targeted a mouse hidden under 2 feet of crusted snow. Springing high in the air he breaks through the crusted spring snow with his nose and his body is completely vertical as he grabs the mouse under the snow. In Squaw Creek, Park Country, Wyoming. (© Micheal Eastman/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Honorable Mention, People: Chinese traditional dragon boat racing - Dragon boating is a Chinese traditional entertainment. As an aquatic sport to commemorate Qu Yuan, a patriotic poet in ancient China, it is usually held in festivals, which can be traced back to two thousands years ago. (© 关嘉城/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Honorable Mention, Nature: East of Iceland - Glacial ice washes ashore after calving off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier on Iceland's eastern coast. During the waning light of summer this image was created over the course of a 4 minute exposure while the photographer backlit the grounded glacial ice with a headlamp for 2 of those 4 minutes. (© Eric Guth/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Honorable Mention, Nature: Ursus arctos horribilis - This photo of a wild Alaskan brown bear digging on a game trail was taken with a homemade motion-controlled triggering device hooked up to my DSLR. Location: Bear Creek, Lake Aleknagik, Alaska. (© Jason Ching/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
Honorable Mention, People: Stilt Fishing - Stilt fishing is a typical fishing technique only seen in Sri Lanka. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole planted into the coral reef. This long exposure shot shows how unstable their position is. (© Ulrich Lambert/National Geographic Photo Contest) #
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