This year marks National Geographic Traveler's 25th annual photo contest, which invites amateurs to submit their best snaps for review by the mag's venerable photo editors. Over the weekend, the winners were revealed in all their high-res glory.
The winning photograph — seen above — was snapped by Wagner Araujo in Brazil: "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."
Max Seigal captured this thunderstorm at False Kiva, which is located in the Canyonlands National Park in Utah: "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."
Yanai Bonneh's third place winning photo is a reminder to keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle: "Cheetahs jumped on the vehicle of tourists in Masai Mara national park, Kenya."
A different kind of lady in the water caught Marcelo Salvador's attention: "A lady collects water in the river by a village in Bagan, Myanmar, 2013"
Graham McGeorge took a photo of a tree in Georgia's Okefenokee Swamp: "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."
Michelle Schantz chronicles the lives of reindeer herders in Magerøya, Norway, including this little guy: "Mikael Ánde, a child of Sámi 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."
No, this wasn't clipped from an anime movie, it was snapped by Hideyuki Katagiri: "Cherry blossom is called Sakura in Japanese. Cherry blossom is Japanese symbolic flower. There are various kinds in a cherry tree and an especially old cherry tree has many kinds called Edo-Higan. The trees of the cherry tree exceeding hundreds of years are located in a line with a nebula this temple, and if spring comes every year, can look a powerful spectacle. This photograph focused on Edo-Higan and photographed Beni-Sidare which is back together."
What are these ladies smiling about? Are they enjoying a communal salad? Who knows but Gergely Lantai-Csont's popped into the Congo to say hi: "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."
You'd think Nikola Smernic was in Portland to capture this moment: "Streets of Queenstown, New Zealand at the end of one more day filled with adrenaline. Calming and doleful scene with piano sound in the background."
Meow, Chan Kwok Hung: "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 recognised. They may be described as underworld police or gods' bodyguards."
And the people's choice award goes to Indonesia's Dody Kusuma: "The fisherman at Bira Beach"