2014 National Geographic Photo Contest

National Geographic Magazine has opened its annual photo contest, with the deadline for submissions coming up on October 31, 2014. The Grand Prize Winner will receive $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters to participate in its annual photography seminar. The kind folks at National Geographic were once again kind enough to let us choose among its entries so far for display here. Captions written by the individual photographers.
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1. Empusa pennata, a conehead mantis, in Kahramanmaras, Turkey.




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2. Hand tube fireworks, traditional fireworks in Japan. Gion Matsuri Festival of Yoshida-jinja Shrine, held in Toyohashi City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan.




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3. There is a group of cormorants that fish close to my house in Seminole, Florida, and over time I have slowly approached them until they totally trust my presence and feel comfortable turning their backs on me when I am in close proximity. In this shot, I used a narrow DOF to hone the viewer's eyes in on the mesmerizing eyes of the bird. I was astounded that the natural backdrop came out as if it was shot in a studio and so matched the coloration of the bird.




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4. Yosemite National Park, seen from Glacier Point. This was taken at 3am with a 1 minute exposure showing Half Dome and the fire that was raging in the valley behind it.




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5. A glimpse at the beauty of a Geisha in the historical streets of Kyoto.




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6. Blue Ghost Fireflies in Brevard, North Carolina. Blue Ghost fireflies are unique because they stay lit and only hover about a foot off the ground.




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7. One of two polar bear cubs full of adrenaline on ice floes in Svalbard. The mother was just trying to have a quiet stroll but the cubs were not having any of that. This was the male cub and he just was so entertaining to watch.




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8. A volcanic mountain with truly spectacular colors, together with a red truck, adding a finishing touch to the photo. Nallihan, Ankara, Turkey.




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9. "Nothing prepared me for the loss of my mother. Even knowing that she would die did not prepare me. A mother, after all is your entry into the world. She is the shell in which you divide and become life. Waking up in a world without her is like waking up in the world with out the sky: unimaginable" - Meghan O'Rourke.




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10. Off the coast of Guadalupe Island, Mexico, great white sharks gather to feed on sea lions. It is an ideal place to observe these majestic animals in their natural state. Far from what is seen in Hollywood movies, the great white shark remains fearful of man and is not easily approached.




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11. Tsuta-swamp in Aomori, Japan. The autumn leaves blazing in the morning sun.




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12. Portrait of a bride in Anapolis, Brazil.




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13. I took this picture at Hitachi Seaside Park in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. The flowers are nemophila and the number of them in the park is 4.5 million. I wish to go into the blue universe again next year to photograph.




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14. Bardarbunga, Holuhraun, Iceland. Flying with my father over Bardarbunga to experience this eruption from inside of our earth was amazing. The power, heat and beauty was overwhelming. On many occasions you feel how small you are when standing in the nature - this was one of those times, although I was not standing but sitting in my fathers plane.




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15. A portrait made in South Africa.




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16. Women grieve as they stand on the stairs of the house during funerals of Islamic Brigades fighter Abdalla Ismail al Buheisi, 27, in Deir Al Balah, Gaza Strip. Muslim women in Gaza are not allowed to attend funerals and they were gathering on the stairs of the apartment building to pay the last tribute to the killed family member.




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17. When the Mediterranean Mantis opened its wings, It seemed very impressive in the sunshine. Nicosia, Cyprus.




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18. I took this photograph while hiking in the Austrian Alps. When I passed through a valley I spotted a herd of deer in the distance cooling of in a water reservoir from the scorching summer sun. I kept my distance and waited patiently for one of the deer to battle the afternoon sun. I was able to capture this deer just as it was shaking off the excess water.




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19. Horm, 30 years old, employed by the Ghost House DREAMLAND in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Dwarves are hired to dress up and frighten audiences in the Ghost House. In this country of superstitions, the little ghosts know how to play with the ambiguity of their appearance, a disability that becomes an asset for their performance.




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20. This summer, dolphins were swimming every day around us, while we were sailing in SW Aegean Sea. The sea was very calm and these fantastic mammals were like dancing in the sky!




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21. This photo I captured in the early afternoon in Sambas, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. This particular species of lemur can glide through the air.




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22. Jump of the wildebeest at the Mara river in Tanzania.




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23. I was able to see this beautiful scenery during a recent road trip. There were many campers but no photographers at this location in Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon.




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24. In the salt lakes of the Mallee Region of Victoria in Murray Sunset National Park in Australia, a western grey kangaroo hops across a salt lake. It was a magical moment and gave the impression of the kangaroo magically walking on water.




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25. Six year old Elena Noelle treks across the Matanuska Glacier a couple hours north of Anchorage.




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26. Despite their potentially dangerous sting, the bluebottle cnidaria is an amazingly beautiful creature. I wanted to demonstrate this with careful lighting and composition. After strong NE winds hundreds of these cnidaria are blown into the bays around my home town and trapped overnight, enabling me to get my shots. Shellharbour, NSW, Australia.




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27. Szigetmonostor, Hungary. The last minutes of this poor vole.




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28. I barely slept a wink last night but watching the King of Arctic action was breathtaking. I spotted this full grown adult male polar bear, estimating about 400 kg, outside Churchill, Canada.




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29. The countenance of Christina M. Hammock signals her success at fire-starting, a technique that will help sustain her in the wilderness. As the first phase of their extensive training program along the way to become full-fledged astronauts, eight new candidates spent three days in the wild participating in their land survival training, near Rangeley, Maine.




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30. Unexpected underwater encounter with a Green Iguana. I was attempting to take some overunder sunset shots in a semi-submerged cave in Bonaire, Kralendijk, Dutch Caribbean, when a Green Iguana swam toward my dome with an inquisitive look. Just in front of my lens, she came up to the surface to take a quick breath.




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31. A man rides a horse through a bonfire as part of a ritual in honor of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of animals, in San Bartolome de Pinares, about 100 km west of Madrid.




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32. Climber, Chamonix, France.