The winning entries in the 25th annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest have just been announced. First prize winner Wagner Araujo will receive a 10-day Galapagos expedition for two for his image of competitors in the Brazilian Aquathlon. Collected here are the ten 2013 prize winning photos, plus the Viewers' Choice selection. Photos and captions by the photographers. Also, be sure to see Part 1 and Part 2, earlier on In Focus.
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Second Place Winner: Thunderstorm at False Kiva. I hiked out to these ruins at night hoping to photograph them with the Milky Way, but instead a thunderstorm rolled through, creating this dramatic image.
First Place Winner: Brazil Aquathlon. I was in Manaus, Amazonas, during the Brazilian Aquathlon (swimming and running) championship. I photographed it from the water and my lens got completely wet, but there was so much energy in these boys that I just didn't worry about that.
Merit Winner: Sakura. The cherry blossom is called Sakura in Japanese. The cherry blossom is a Japanese symbolic flower. There are various kinds in a cherry tree and an especially old cherry tree has many kinds called Edo-Higan.
Merit Winner: Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl. Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey. Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia.
Merit Winner: Guanjiang Shou. Guanjiang Shou troupes are one of Taiwan most popular activities that may be seen all over Taiwan at traditional folk religion gatherings. With their fiercely painted faces, protruding fangs and powerful, choreographed performances, they are easily recognized, They may be described as underworld police or gods' bodyguards.
Merit Winner: Children of Reindeer. Mikael Ande, a child of Sami reindeer herders, takes a break indoors after a long, cold day of rounding up the animals for vaccinations and slaughter. Children of reindeer herders learn to handle these animals and the land they thrive in from infancy - young Mikael here knew far more about the ways of nature than I could ever hope to learn. Mageroya, Norway.
Merit Winner: The Tata Honda Sect. The photographer could get inside of an enclosed sect named Tatahonda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ladies are preparing for their religious ceremony.
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.
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.
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.
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.