15 Stunning Standouts in National Geographic’s Photo Contest

My, how time flies! It's been over two months since we first wrote about National Geographic's 2012 Photography Contest and, now, it's coming to a close! Photographers, you now have just two days to submit your best shots.

After receiving thousands of incredible entries, National Geographic shared with us 50 of their favorites. From that bunch, we've narrowed it down to just 15. Our selection includes everything from fantastic fall foliage to a scared but curious owl.

For those of you who've been putting it off, make sure you enter today!

Above: Red Land
Sunset Cloud Village is one of the most picturesque places in Red Land, China. As its name indicates, it's best to see before sunset. The reddish brown soil turns redder after raining and after farmers plow the land.
Photo and caption by Peng Jiang/National Geographic Photo Contest

Bats at Golconda Fort
This is the third shot with a flash, waking all of the bats up and having them all stare at the camera.
Photo and caption by Bill Thoet/National Geographic Photo Contest

Catching Fish
The fishers catched fish in the night. They use the fire that made fish close the boat and got them.
Photo and caption by Chang ming chih/National Geographic Photo Contest

Charging Black Drongo
Bird Black Drongo selects good perch near water body, takes off from perch when insect sighted on water surface, skims through water surface and back to perch. This image is an outcome of my decision to captured this action. Spent almost 10 days (1 hr daily morning- sitting quietly and movement-less) and on 25th Oct 2012 this was clicked. I am lucky to get this clicked just before skimming action starts. I like the concentration level in its eyes, wing position and wide open mouth ready to catch the insect by surprise and same action in reflection…
Photo and caption by Vinayak Parmar/National Geographic Photo Contest

Glacial Cave
Hikers under the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, Alaska. When conditions are right, streams melt holes into the glacier. At times they are large and stable enough for exploration. The ice filters out most colors of light except for the blue wavelengths leaving a stunning blue glowing from the ice above.
Photo and caption by Mark Meyer/National Geographic Photo Contest

Golden Road
A glorious road of gold through the aspen woods of Snowmass Colorado.
Photo and caption by Ron Azevedo/National Geographic Photo Contest

Silence Voice
Sunset time, a peaceful burnt woods just surround you quietly. Together with your heart beating, you can feel the smooth breeze and hear the sounds of emerging exuberance underneath. The perfect ending is in the endless. The picture was taken in Yellowstone National Park. Turning themselves into such strong remaining, the woods have given hopes to their next generation through a wildfire.
Photo and caption by chaoying zhao/National Geographic Photo Contest

I like my house!
This is Gandalf the Great Grey Owl and he gets scared flying out in the open so his owners have built his aviary inside a brick shed. He now loves spending his days watching the world go by out of his window.
Photo and caption by Mark Bridger/National Geographic Photo Contest

Lucky Bay
Beautiful Lucky Bay in Esperance, Western Australia is home to many kangaroos. Not only is the turquoise water and white sand a sight to see but at sunset the kangaroos bounce their way across the sand looking for dinner.
Photo and caption by Mandy Wilson/National Geographic Photo Contest

Nursing Mama
This female brown bear came into the Lake Clark National Park area in late July with her triplet Spring cubs and seemed quiet relaxed as she sat nursing her cubs.
Photo and caption by Ruth Steck/National Geographic Photo Contest

Hunting at Dusk
A wild barn owl hunting over the Norfolk reeds, the evening light lit up the owl and the reeds to give them both the same colour and warmth.
Photo and caption by Mark Bridger/National Geographic Photo Contest

The Great Escape
During a lovely morning in July I was out photographing Great White Sharks in False Bay, South Africa. We had two days when the sea was so still you could barely see a ripple.
Photo and caption by Tonya Herron/National Geographic Photo Contest

The Godfather
He is big 4 meters tall and over 4 ton in weight, he is the “Godfather” I have visualized this scene many times. I have checked and rechecked my equipment and decided upon the camera and lens combination. I now relax and control my breathing as they come in to view. The next ten minutes are a bliss of forgetfulness as I zone in to the task at hand; only one moment stands out. He stands still before me in all his magnificence, raising his trunk filled with the red Kalahari dust. In one fluid movement he sprays his forehead and for one brief moment he is covered in the magic of dust and light.
Photo and caption by Michael LAM /National Geographic Photo Contest

The Matterhorn: Night Clouds #2
The Matterhorn 4478 m at full moon.
Photo and caption by Nenad Saljic/National Geographic Photo Contest

Swimming with a Turtle
After observing this turtle, I swam with him for a few minutes.
Photo and caption by John Peterson/National Geographic Photo Contest

2012 National Geographic Photography Contest

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