Nat Geo's Top Nature Photos Show Planet's Stunning Beauty
Climate change might be getting worse, but there are still scenes of beauty in the world.
Deforestation, ocean acidification, species extinction — the acceleration of these trends over the past year doesn't bode well for the global environment.
But even with these traumas, there are still endless scenes of natural beauty throughout the world.
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And there's no better catalogue of these scenes than National Geographic's Nature Photographer of the Year contest. From dazzling displays of color as lava cascades down a metallic mountain to animals resting or diving or feasting, this year's contest is just as moving as ever.
Check out the winners below and learn more about the full contest here.
1st Place & Grand Prize Winner: A male orangutan peers from behind a tree while crossing a river in Borneo, Indonesia.
2nd Place: An adult Caribbean pink flamingo feeds a chick in Yucatán, Mexico. Both parents alternate feeding chicks, at first with a liquid baby food called crop milk, and then with regurgitated food.
3rd Place: Two grey herons spar as a white-tailed eagle looks on in Hungary.
Honorable Mention: A Japanese macaque indulges in some grooming time on the shores of the famous hot springs.
People's Choice: A great gray owl swoops to kill in a New Hampshire field.
1st Place: Shortly before twilight in Kalapana, Hawai’i, a fragment of the cooled lava tube broke away, leaving the molten rock to fan in a fiery spray for less than half an hour before returning to a steady flow.
2nd Place: Sunlight glances off mineral strata of different colors in Dushanzi Grand Canyon, China.
3rd Place: A summer thunderstorm unleashes lightningon the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona.
Honorable Mention: Morning fog blurs the dead trees of Romania’s Lake Cuejdel, a natural reservoir created by landslides.
People's Choice: Sunset illuminates a lighthouse and rainbow in the Faroe Islands.
1st Place: In Sydney, Australia, the Pacific Ocean at high tide breaks over a natural rock pool enlarged in the 1930s. Avoiding the crowds at the city’s many beaches, a local swims laps.
2nd Place: Snow-covered metasequoia trees, also called dawn redwoods, interlace over a road in Takashima, Japan.
3rd Place: On the flanks of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai’i, the world’s only lava ocean entry spills molten rock into the Pacific Ocean. After erupting in early 2016,the lava flow took about two months to reach the sea, six miles away.
Honorable Mention: Migratory gulls take flight from a cedar tree being washed downstream by a glacial river inBritish Columbia, Canada.
People's Choice: Green vegetation blooms at the river’s edge, or riparian, zone of a meandering canyon in Utah.
1st Place: Blue-filtered strobe lights stimulate fluorescent pigments in the clear tentacles of a tube-dwelling anemone in Hood Canal, Washington.
2nd Place: Typically a shy species, a Caribbean reef shark investigates a remote-triggered camera in Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen marine protected area.
3rd Place: Buoyed by the Gulf Stream, a flying fish arcs through the night-dark water five miles off Palm Beach, Florida.
Honorable Mention: Preparing to strike, tarpon cut through a ribbon-like school of scad off the coast of Bonaire in the Caribbean Sea.
People's Choice: A Portuguese man-of-war nears the beach on a summer morning; thousands of these jellyfish wash up on Australia’s eastern coast every year.