Winners of the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2012

The winners of the 24th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest have just been announced, with a group of ten photos coming out on top, plus one Viewer's Choice winner. These eleven images were chosen from more than 12,000 entries submitted by 6,615 photographers from 152 countries. National Geographic was kind enough to allow me to share the winning photographs with you here, from four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. Also, be sure to see the earlier entry featuring 40 images from the submissions to this year's contest..

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  • AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit

    The Symmetry and Shapes of Makha Bucha at Wat Dhammakaya Temple

    Thousands of Buddhists gathered at Thailand's Wat Dhammakaya Temple on Wednesday to observe Makha Bucha, a religious holiday that marks the anniversary of Buddha's mass sermon to the first 1,250 newly ordained monks 2,558 years ago.

  • Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

    Beijing's Toxic Sky

    In Beijing, awareness of the dangers of the polluted sky is now on the rise, thanks to growing data on its air quality. China will "declare war on pollution," Premier Li Keqiang told parliament in an opening address in 2014. A tougher environmental law took effect on January 1, while a new environment minister took charge on Friday.

  • Thomas Peter/Reuters

    A Visit to Aoshima, a Japanese 'Cat Island'

    Aoshima Island is one of about a dozen "cat islands" around Japan, small places where there are significantly more feline residents than people. In Aoshima more than a hundred cats prowl the island, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in the quiet fishing village.

  • Ilya Naymushin/Reuters

    A Winter in Siberia

    Based in Russia's Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, the Reuters photographer Ilya Naymushin captures scenes from around the region, portraying everyday life as Russians work, play, and survive in a place infamous for its harsh winters. This collection of photos from the past winter shows some of the ways people are coping, including vehicles modified for the winter, hand-built ice-fishing huts, ice sculptures, traditional festivals, sporting events, and more.

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