Some early entries in the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

National Geographic invites photographers from around the world to enter the 2016 Nature Photographer of the Year contest. The grand-prize winner will receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos with National Geographic Expeditions and two 15-minute image portfolio reviews with National Geographic photo editors.

Eligible contestants can visit to submit photographs in one or all of four categories: Landscape, Environmental Issues, Action and Animal Portraits. The contest ends Saturday, Nov. 4, at 12 p.m. EDT (U.S.).

1. Curious Lions

Using a wide-angle lens (16mm) on our remote-controlled camera buggy results in the background being smaller in shot and appearing further away. We fire the camera shutter using the same remote-control transmitter that we use to drive the buggy, allowing us a range of a couple of hundred meters although we rarely sit more than fifty metres away from camera.

2. Hunting For Fish

A mature bald eagle drags the tail of a fish across the surface of the water after picking it up out of the Susquehanna river. It was late in the day when the sun was setting casting an orange hue over the water.

3. Bear Hug

Brown Bears, Katmai National Park, Alaska

4. Let’s Picnic

Yellowstone National Park, west thumb geyser basin, a perfect spot for picnic, and I mean not for humans.

5. Burning Tree

Unexpected light burst over the front ranges of the Rockies and ignited the clouds above Lake Minnewanka. The clouds rushed by, catching glimpses of the days first light before fading back in to darkness. A long exposure captured the fleeting light and the feeling of the experience, the colour disappearing within just minutes.

6. Spider Web Rice Fields

An unusual and intricate spider-web shaped rice field in Cancar – Flores, Indonesia.

7. The Eye of a Gator

As I was sitting on the bank of the wetlands, watching a pair of anhingas prepare their nest, when one flew right down in front of me to fish. I quickly focused on her and out of the water came a wonderful fish brunch.

8. Tundra Ghost

Snowy owls are among my favorite birds on the planet. Their elusive nature and elegant flight make them a crown jewel to photograph. Repetition and persistence proved to be the key with this image. Using a slow shutter speed of 1/50 to create this “wing blur” effect I took well over 1,000 unusable photos over three weeks in the field to make this one frame. In this case, the high risk came with a high reward.

9. Bull Race

Pacu Jawi, or bull race, is held in Indonesia where bulls are coupled, with the jockey standing on the plow harnesses attached to each bull, running a short distance of about 100 feet. Whichever pair runs the fastest in a straight fashion fetches the highest price (as they are deemed the best workbull in plowing the paddy fields for harvesting).

10. Swamp Raccoon

While looking for alligators at a swamp in Louisiana, this beautiful little creature wanders out of the murky waters right into the morning light, pausing just long enough to capture.

11. Wildebeest Migration

This is a photo of Wildebeest during migration in the Serengeti.

12. Phoenix Rising

A juvenile bald eagle drops its catch and prepares to defend itself from an approaching adult bald eagle with talons out. In the previous frames, this aggressive and impressive juvenile expertly picked up its catch out of the water and, as seen in this frame, was immediately required to defend itself from the much larger adult.

13. Priceless

Two very precious endangered beasts gracing me with their presence under the stars in South Africa. So many of these rhino are now being dehorned to save them from poachers that this photographic moment is even more precious to me. A long exposure for the stars while light painting the rhino as they drank makes for an amazing moment captured.

14. Through

It was amazing to capture China’s beautiful mountains in such magnificent morning rays coming through.

15. Beauty Beyond Disaster

The Soberanes Fire, located south of Carmel and Point Lobos, started Friday morning 07/22/2016. By Saturday night, the fire covered the entire mountain. The sky was illuminated by the golden glow of the forest fire. I hiked down towards a cliff by the beach. Because the wind was blowing south and slightly east, the sky to the southwest was clear. I witnessed the most spectacular sight I have ever seen, the Milky Way glowed above the raging wildfire. Beauty rose beyond disaster.

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