Stunning National Geographic Contest Photos 2013

Purist photographers often cringe at the idea that smartphone technology and social media has revolutionized the way moments are captured and shared with the world.

Purist photographers often cringe at the idea that smartphone technology and social media has revolutionized the way moments are captured and shared with the world.Now it's all on the phone — from focus to picture to processing to sharing. In my opinion, this makes photography more accessible to people. And dare I say that it has empowered individuals in ways that was never imaginable – from revolution in the Middle East to getting prominent New York politicians into serious trouble.

Rest assure, there will always be those photographs, captured in the ‘old school’ way, and shared by good old faithful National Geographic, that prove that the essence of photography will never change.

On that note, here is a look at the highlights from the 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, including the winners.

First Place: Dig me river

Araujo highlights how some of the best photographers give caution to the wind when it comes to capturing that perfect moment.

“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.”

Second Place: Thunderstorm at False Kiva

The spontaneity and excitement that comes with not knowing what your going to get will continue to inspire photographers for generations to come.

“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.” Utah, USA

Third Place: Say cheese

This picture shows the perspective of one of four photographers and their subject. I wonder how the other three turned out. One of them looks like a potential ‘selfie’.

“Cheetahs jumped on the vehicle of tourists in Masai Mara national park, Kenya.”

Read More: National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2012

Merit Winner: Guanjiang Shou

Then there are those pictures that do more than capture a moment. They tell a unique story from a fascinating part of the world. This takes face painting to a different level!

“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 recognized, They may be described as underworld police or gods' bodyguards.”

Merit Winner: Piano play at sunset

Some photographs reflect a state of mind for me. And this is definitely one of them.

“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.”

Viewers Choice: Another perspective of the day

“The fisherman at Bira Beach”

This is just a stunning photograph. Makasar - South Sulawesi, Indonesia

This is Daddy

“Captured as a very young child sees her daddy for the first time in over 7 months after he returns from a tour of duty on a Guided Missle Cruiser in the Persian Gulf.” San Diego, California

While this photograph is one of some 15600 photographs that didn’t make the cut of winners, I still found that it captured a heartwarming moment – especially for those families that have friends and relatives serving their country abroad.

King of the penguins

“Taken at Booth Island in Antartica.”

I chose this from more that 90 entries that showed penguins because it looked like the animals were talking to each other and I could just picture them jump into song and dance like they do in “Happy Feet.”

The winners will appear in the Dec. 2103/Jan. 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler Magazine. You can find all 15627 entries on their site.

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