18 of the Best Nature Photo Entries from the 2014 National Geographic Photo Contest

This year’s National Geographic Photo Contest is well underway, which means we get to sit back and enjoy some of the world’s best travel photography.

Both amateur and professional photographers have been taking us on a journey across the globe over the past five weeks, and with another month until a winner is chosen, now is your chance to submit your masterpiece.

The Grand Prize Winner will receive a hefty $10,000 and a trip to the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. to participate in their annual Photography Seminar in January 2015.

The contest is made up of three simple categories – People, Places and Nature – and we’ve chosen our top picks from the current selection of Nature entries.

Which is your favorite?

1. Physalia Physalis (Shellharbour, NSW)

“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. Post processing is limited to colour temp and small amounts of burning. Also slightly cropped.” – Matthew Smith

2. Warming Up (Sambas, West Kalimantan, Indonesia)

“This photo I capture in the early afternoon, the animal species of lemurs fly.” – Hendy Mp

3. The Lord of The Ocean (Guadalupe Island, Mexico)

“Off the coast of Guadalupe Island, great white sharks gather to feed on sea lions. It is an ideal place to observe these majestic animals in their natural state. Far ideas through Hollywood movies, the great white shark remains fearful of man and does not leave easily approached.” -Marc Henauer

4. Walking on Water (Queensland, Australia)

“I was finishing up a photo shoot when a wild kangaroo appeared out of nowhere and bounded onto the lake, as if walking on water. This, along with the picturesque sunset combined to create an absolute visual treat!” – Dave Kan

5. Mexican Long Nosed Bat (Elephant Head in Southern Arizona)

“Mexican Long Nosed Bat feeding on a nectar flower during the night at Elephant Head in Arizona. The photo was taken during the night with inferred triggers that set off the camera when the bats came to the flower to feed.” – Juan DeLeon

6. Searching for Love (Brevard, North Carolina)

“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.” – Spencer Black

7. Electric Night (Castle Rock, Colorado)

“This lightning storm had prolific lightning for a time during the monsoon in August.” – Adam Adkins

8. Rain is a Gift (La Fortuna, Costa Rica)

“Alone in the rain this strange to see Agalychnis Lemur pose for me and my camera… Click!” – Nicolas Reusens

9. Rocks of Monterey (Monterey, California)

“One of my favorite places to shoot in the USA is definitely the Pacific Northwest. For three nights I had no colour to speak of. Certainly nothing that made me get excited. The last day however the wind was strong, the clouds were coming and going fast, and the sunrise that Mother Nature gave us was AMAZING. This shot to me shows the magical colours that Mother Nature can throw our way on that coastline. Truly a beautiful place.” – Michael PA