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A male orangutan peers from behind a tree while crossing a river in Borneo, Indonesia.
Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Environment

Nat Geo's Top Nature Photos Show Planet's Stunning Beauty

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. 

Take Action: Stand Up for the Arctic

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 .  


Wildlife

NGNP-GRANDPRIZE-1stPlace-Wildlife.jpgImage: Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

1st Place & Grand Prize Winner: A male orangutan peers from behind a tree while crossing a river in Borneo, Indonesia.

NGNP-2ndPlace-Wildlife.jpgImage: Alejandro Prieto/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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.

NGNP-3rdPlace-Wildlife.jpgImage: Bence Mate/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

3rd Place: Two grey herons spar as a white-tailed eagle looks on in Hungary.

NGNP-HonMen-Wildlife.jpgImage: Lance McMillan/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Honorable Mention: A Japanese macaque indulges in some grooming time on the shores of the famous hot springs.

NGNP-Wildlife-PeoplesChoice.jpgImage: Harry Collins/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

People's Choice: A great gray owl swoops to kill in a New Hampshire field. 


Landscapes

NGNP-1stPlace-Landscapes.jpgImage: Karim Iliya/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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. 

NGNP-2ndPlace-Landscapes.jpgImage: Yuhan Liao/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

2nd Place: Sunlight glances off mineral strata of different colors in Dushanzi Grand Canyon, China.

NGNP-3rdPlace-Landscapes.jpgImage: Mike Olbinski Photography/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

3rd Place: A summer thunderstorm unleashes lightningon the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona.

NGNP-HonMen1-Landscapes.jpgImage: Gheorghe Popa/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Honorable Mention: Morning fog blurs the dead trees of Romania’s Lake Cuejdel, a natural reservoir created by landslides.

NGNP-Landscapes-PeoplesChoice.jpgImage: Wojciech Kruczyński/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

People's Choice: Sunset illuminates a lighthouse and rainbow in the Faroe Islands.


Aerials

NGNP-1stPlace-Aerials.jpgImage: Todd Kennedy/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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.

NGNP-2ndPlace-Aerials.jpgImage: Takahiro Bessho/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

2nd Place: Snow-covered metasequoia trees, also called dawn redwoods, interlace over a road in Takashima, Japan. 

NGNP-3rdPlace-Aerials.jpgImage: Greg C./2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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. 

NGNP-HonMen1-Aerials.jpgImage: Agathe Bernard/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Honorable Mention: Migratory gulls take flight from a cedar tree being washed downstream by a glacial river inBritish Columbia, Canada.

NGNP-Aerials-PeoplesChoice.jpgImage: David Swindler/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

People's Choice: Green vegetation blooms at the river’s edge, or riparian, zone of a meandering canyon in Utah. 


Underwater

NGNP-1stPlace-Underwater.jpgImage: Jim Obester/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

1st Place: Blue-filtered strobe lights stimulate fluorescent pigments in the clear tentacles of a tube-dwelling anemone in Hood Canal, Washington.

NGNP-2ndPlace-Underwater.jpgImage: Shane Gross/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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. 

NGNP-3rdPlace-Underwater.jpgImage: Michael Patrick O'Neill/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

3rd Place: Buoyed by the Gulf Stream, a flying fish arcs through the night-dark water five miles off Palm Beach, Florida. 

NGNP-HonMen1-Underwater.jpgImage: Jennifer O'Neil/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Honorable Mention: Preparing to strike, tarpon cut through a ribbon-like school of scad off the coast of Bonaire in the Caribbean Sea.

NGNP-Underwater-PeoplesChoice.jpgImage: Matthew Smith/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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.