National Geographic has made a reputation for themselves with their earth-shattering photos, so it’s no surprise that they became the first business to reach 100 million Instagram followers. To commemorate Nat Geo’s fashion, they launched a photography competition on the photo-sharing site. #natgeo100contest was the hashtag they used.
Surprisingly, the magazine received almost 94,000 photo submissions in less than 24 hours. All of the entries were reviewed by Nat Geo editors and photographers, who then whittled them down to the top ten most amazing photographs. Because they are unable to select the grand prize winner, they have chosen to entrust the task of selecting the winner to their 10 million followers.
You can see the winning shot and the top finalists’ photos by scrolling down. You might also be able to view some other lovely entries that didn’t make it to the finals. They are, nonetheless, still gorgeous. Despite the fact that the contest is over, you still have the opportunity to vote and share your thoughts.
#1 Grand Prize Winner Ketan Khambhatta
Zebras look for crocodiles in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, while wildebeest rush over the river. Muhammed Muheisen, photographer: The image is so lively, with such a deep depth that it keeps me staring. A well-captured moment.
#2 Finalist Adam Kiefer
Matabishi, an orphaned baby mountain gorilla, is embraced by National Park Ranger Matthieu Shamavu at the Senkwekwe Center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Senkwekwe is the world’s only mountain gorilla rehabilitation institution. Ami Vitale, photographer: The image is beautiful because we immediately recognize it as a metaphor for awful savagery as well as tremendous affection. This image exemplifies our complex relationship with nature.
#3 Chaitanya Deshpande
‘Here Comes The Sun’
#4 André Musgrove
One of the most memorable views from My World is looking down from above, like a satellite orbiting the globe, my camera’s viewfinder pressing against my mask. This day was well worth pushing through the strong currents, low visibility, and rough waves.
#5 Anuroop Krishnan
A giraffe family at sunrise
#6 Sebastien Nagy
Always prefer the focus on a single tower but yes… there is another one right next
#7 Brent Stirton
For a forthcoming NatGeo magazine piece, I had the incredible opportunity to spend time with the world’s greatest pangolin carers at the Tikki Hywood Trust. As these men assisted rescued, traumatized pangolins in finding ants and termites to eat and kept them secure from predators and poachers, I observed a remarkable bond develop. Pangolins are the most heavily traded animal in the illegal wildlife trade, and they are critically endangered. The Tikki Hywood Trust organizes public awareness campaigns, trains law enforcement and judicial officials, conducts research, and rehabilitates pangolins seized in unlawful trafficking. They collaborate with African partners and provide advice in Asia. Tikki Hywood Trust Foundation Cameroon, a freshly opened extension, is doing fantastic work in the epicenter of the illegal pangolin trade. Founder Lisa Hywood is regarded as a global specialist on how to care for Pangolins in captivity, and she and her companion Ellen Connelly set a high standard for animal care. The trust also works with other groups and governments across Africa to bring attention to pangolins’ plight, raise awareness of their conservation status, educate people about the need of pangolin conservation, and execute conservation measures. Many of their activities are not funded by research grants, therefore they must rely on sponsors and donations to keep going. Over a million pangolins have been lost in the previous 10 years, from a population that has never been counted, we have no clue how many remain, and we know that breeding these animals in captivity is impossible. We are losing these wonderful animals to the illegal Asian market at such a rapid rate that they may vanish before we can really appreciate them.
#8 Maxime Israel Collier
Look at those eyes
#9 Finalist Frank Haluska
In wetlands, Great Egrets appear tranquil and motionless, but they are actually ruthless hunters who consume anything they can catch, including this bullfrog, which appears to be fighting for survival. Cory Richards, photographer: This is such an odd and perplexing situation that I had to zoom in to be sure another animal’s foot wasn’t sticking straight out of the water, preventing the terrified frog from drowning.
#10 Yuri Choufour
Anyone up for some sashimi? Although black bears eat a variety of foods, they rely heavily on protein-rich salmon to build up reserves as they prepare to hibernate in the winter.
#11 Majed Sultan Alza’abi
#12 Nicholas Parker
The weather here lately is snow joke. Another day in single digits with howling wind
#13 Devon Fox
Is the sea horse visible? During our most recent road trip, we stopped at Page, Arizona to shoot this photo. In the strata cut into these slot canyons, strange shapes begin to appear.
#14 Finalist Francisco J. Perez
The Grand Canyon is blanketed in a June thunderstorm. This image is made up of three long exposure storm photos taken in quick succession. Charlie Hamilton James is a photographer based in New York. The Grand Canyon is illuminated by lightning in this stunning photograph. It’s dirty, dramatic, and technically impressive.
#15 Jacintha Verdegaal
I still have a lot of Thailand images to post, but spending the day with four rescued elephants was without a doubt one of the highlights of 2019.
#16 Finalist Matt Potenski
Whale sharks are individuals with distinct personalities. This one was fearless and interested, approaching the boat whenever we got too close. Whale sharks are enormous, resembling living reefs. They are unlike any other terrestrial animal in terms of size, power, and grace. Cristina Mittermeier, photographer: I’ve done a lot of swimming with whale sharks, and it’s rare to witness such a stunning scene that illustrates the abundance of healthy oceans.
#17 Finalist Sandra Cattaneo Adorno
Bathers on Ipanema Beach in Rio de Janeiro appear afraid to take the plunge on a day when the surf was abnormally turbulent and the undertow was dangerously strong. Michaela Skovranova, photographer: This image captures an eclectic blend of light, human impact, and the power of nature in a surreal landscape. It’s as though the Earth’s and humans’ heat is radiated off the sand, forming their own microclimate.
#18 Nicholas Parker
Large swells swept off the beaches of western Maui after one of the greatest winter storms in Hawaii’s recent history. Large fragments of coral were strewn across the beach the next day. I chose this composition of the island of Moloka’i after sifting through the most bright and attractive compositions. The wave action reminds me of the sea’s fingers reaching out to retrieve the coral.
#19 Sebastian Scheichl
My photos from the Faroe Islands begin with a sheep, which is perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when you think of these islands.
#20 Finalist Chris O’bryan
Galahs, a cockatoo species, seek Western Australia’s dry Outback for water. Waterholes are an important source of life in this area. Wayne Lawrence, photographer: Because of the masterful use of color and composition, this photograph of nature seems less clichéd than the others.
#21 Juan Quinteros
One from the “sharks in the sandstorm” series
#22 Andri Laukas
Always looking for new perspectives at these famous places
Madness is somewhere between chaos and having a dream.
#24 Finalist Sara Stein
The frenzied velocity of wildebeest crossing the Mara River in Tanzania is seen in this photograph. Tasneem Alsultan, photographer: I like pictures that aren’t too obvious. Is it a case of hair wasps? Or maybe wood shards? Despite the fact that the mass of horns racing my way appear lethal, the photographer forced us to look at the scene from an artistic perspective.
#25 Ulla Lohmann
Maunganui on his way home is another of my all-time favorite photographs. Rabaul has been destroyed by the erupting Tavurvur volcano. Despite the odds of nature, the people showed incredible tenacity and clung to the notion that their paradise will return one day. Let’s hope the volcano doesn’t erupt again.
#26 Caine Delacy
This is probably my most favorite shot
#27 Ken Geiger
It’s time for a meal! A grasshopper is snatched by a southern yellow-billed hornbill, which is backlit by the early morning sun.
#28 Finalist Khatia Nikabadze
At a cattle market in Marneuli, Georgia, a couple of lambs stare out a car window. David Guttenfelder, photographer: This photograph was not taken in the wild, yet it captures the somewhat bittersweet story of the baby lambs in a single frame.
#29 Finalist Felice Simon
Across an unseasonably warm January day, families glide on an ice rink at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York. Maggie Steber, photographer: This shot of skaters of all sizes and shapes reminds me of a childhood memory. The way the immaculate light casts long shadows across the ice feels symbolic of how we must persevere in the difficult task of raising our children, always being there to catch them if they fall.
#30 Arvind Patwal
“NAGA.” She thinks the twinkle in her eye is a reflection of her misplaced marbles.