National Geographic has made a name for themselves with their earth-shattering photographs, so it was no surprise that they made Instagram history as the first brand to reach 100 million followers (those are almost Kim Kardashian numbers). To celebrate in true Nat Geo fashion, they opened up a photography contest across the photo-sharing platform – using the hashtag #natgeo100contest. In the 24-hour contest window, the magazine received more than 94,000 photograph submissions. The photo editors and photographers at Nat Geo went through the entries and narrowed them down to the top 10 most stunning images and then let their 10 million followers vote on who would be the grand prize winner. Below you can view the contest winning photo, the top finalists along with some other gorgeous entries that didn’t make the cut but are still just as mind-blowing. Voting for #natgeo100contest may be over but don’t forget to upvote your favs for Bored Panda!
Grand prize winner KETAN KHAMBHATTA
Image credits: ketankhambhatta
In the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, zebras search for crocodiles while wildebeest run across the river.
Photographer Muhammed Muheisen: The image is so dynamic, with a powerful depth that keeps me looking. A moment well captured.
Finalists ADAM KIEFER
Image credits: adamkieferphoto
National Park Ranger Matthieu Shamavu embraces Matabishi, an orphaned juvenile mountain gorilla, at the Senkwekwe Center, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Senkwekwe is the only rehabilitation center for mountain gorillas in the world.
Photographer Ami Vitale: The image is sublime because we immediately understand that it’s a metaphor for unspeakable brutality but also great tenderness. This image illustrates our complex bond with the natural world.
Finalists MATT POTENSKI
Image credits: shark8matt
Whale sharks have personalities. This one was bold and curious, approaching the boat anytime we came near. Whale sharks are huge, so large they resemble living reefs. No other terrestrial animal can match their size, power, and grace.
Photographer Cristina Mittermeier: I have done a lot of swimming with whale sharks, and you never get to see an absolutely beautiful moment like this that exemplifies the abundance of healthy oceans.
Finalists KHATIA NIKABADZE
Image credits: khatia.ni
A pair of lambs stare out a car window at a livestock market in Marneuli, Georgia.
Photographer David Guttenfelder: This photograph wasn’t made in the wild, yet the picture, in one moment, tells the seemingly bittersweet story of the young lambs.
Finalists CHRIS O’BRYAN
Image credits: obryan.wildlife
Galahs, a species of cockatoo, scour the parched Outback for water in Western Australia. Here, waterholes are the vital source of life.
Photographer Wayne Lawrence: Of all of the images of wildlife, this one seems less clichéd and stood out because of the masterly use of color and composition.
Finalists SANDRA CATTANEO ADORNO
Image credits: sandracattaneoadorno
On a day when the sea was unusually rough and the undertow dangerously strong, bathers on Ipanema beach, in Rio de Janeiro, appear hesitant to take the plunge.
Photographer Michaela Skovranova: A surreal scene—this image highlights an eclectic mix of light, human impact, and the power of the environment. It’s as if the heat of the Earth and the humans is radiating off the sand, creating their own micro climate.
Finalists FRANK HALUSKA
Image credits: fshaluska
Great Egrets appear serene and still in wetlands, but they are also vicious hunters, who eat anything they can catch—including this bullfrog, who appears to be fighting hard for survival.
Photographer Cory Richards: This moment is so bizarre and confusing that I had to zoom in to make sure another animal’s foot wasn’t sticking straight out of the water to block the distressed frog from certain death.
Finalists FELICE SIMON
Image credits: goldenfelice
Families glide on an ice rink in Brooklyn, New York’s Prospect Park on an unseasonably warm January day.
Photographer Maggie Steber: This photograph of skaters large and small somehow reminds me of a memory from childhood. The way the pristine light shoots across the ice creating long shadows feels symbolic of how we have to stay the challenging course of raising our children, always being there to catch them if they fall.
Finalists FRANCISCO J. PEREZ
Image credits: franciscop777
A summer thunderstorm rolls over the Grand Canyon. This image is a combination of three consecutive long exposure photos of the storm.
Photographer Charlie Hamilton James: This is an exceptional image of lightning striking the Grand Canyon. It is muddy, dramatic and demonstrates excellent technical ability.
Finalists SARA STEIN
Image credits: sarasteinphotography
This image depicts the frantic momentum of wildebeest crossing the Mara River in Tanzania.
Photographer Tasneem Alsultan: I enjoy photos that aren’t that obvious. Is it wasps of hair? Or shards of wood? The mass of horns rushing my way seem lethal, and yet the photographer made us see the image from an artistic view.
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Maxime Israel Collier
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