Get inspired by the images below, and then find out what it takes to become a travel photographer in the MatadorU travel photography course.

BACK IN JANUARY, we shared 14 winners from the National Geographic Travel Photo Contest 2012. The 2013 edition marks the 25th anniversary of the contest, which, judging by the quality of entries received in just the first month, is going strong. Photo submissions are being accepted through June 30, so check out the contest page for details and enter to win prizes that range from $200 B&H gift certificates to a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos.

The 13 images + captions below are some of the standouts that have been submitted so far — you can see more by browsing the recent entries page. Here’s to announcing a Matadorian in the top rankings next January.

1

Door to Hell

Standing at the edge of the Darvaza Crater in Turkmenistan. Known as the Door to Hell, this flaming crater has been burning for decades, fueled by the rich natural gas reserves found below the surface.

Photo and caption by Priscilla Locke / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

2

King of the penguins

Taken at Booth Island in Antarctica.

Photo and caption by Nancy Dowling / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

3

Left or right?

I was taking some shots on the beach of Taghazout, Morocco, when this little guy came up to me asking in what hand he was holding a coin. After playing along I asked if I could take his picture.

Photo and caption by Thomas Pieters / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Intermission
18

Photo Contest: When travel goes WRONG

by David Page
49

Twilight of the Travel Guidebook?

by David Page
1

Here’s what the top tier of travel photography looks like

by Hal Amen
4

Another perspective of the day

The fisherman at Bira Beach.

Photo and caption by Dody Kusuma / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

5

Midnight Tree

I hiked several hours through the night in Patagonia to find a tree I had seen a few days earlier and photograph it with the night sky.

Photo and caption by Max Seigal / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

6

The power of the Criollo

The power of the Criollo horses at the Cabanha Ipuã located in Paranà, Brazil. The Criollo is the native horse of Uruguay (1910), Argentina (1918), Brazil (1932) and Paraguay. It may have the best endurance of any horse breed in the world next to the Arabian.

Photo and caption by Chris Schmid / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

7

Surprise

A child by surprise, is captured during shooting of a part of the old city (Sun City) of Jodhpur (Rajasthan - India).

Photo and caption by Bruno Tamiozzo / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

8

Kazakh Eagle Hunters

Eagle Hunting is a Kazakh tradition that dates back 2000 years. Around 350 Kazakh Eagle Hunters are keeping the tradition alive in the Altai Mountains, Mongolia.

Photo and caption by Tariq Sawyer / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

9

Yellow Lady

The hostile desert landscape in the Little Rann of Kutch in western Gujarat state is where these day labourers work. The stark, white salt is a challenging environment to work in, dry and bright but there is a peace and beauty to this place too which is overwhelming. It was the second time I visited these parts and each time I leave with a sense of joy and sorrow, the people are lowly paid but full of welcome and smiles to me even though life is tough for them as this is their environment.

Photo and caption by Charlotte Anderson / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Intermission
16

How to take better travel photos

by Lola (Akinmade) Åkerström
14

What you stand to lose in travel photo contests

by Richard Stupart
3

Travel photography tip: How to shoot night photography

by Max Seigal
10

One Mother's Love

I love watching the affection and attention that Bonobos have for their young. They truly are a wonderful species of ape.

Photo and caption by Graham McGeorge / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

11

Honor

With the death of the King Father, hundreds of thousands of Cambodian citizens gathered in the streets of Phnom Penh to mourn. Children and adults alike wait for hours in the searing Khmer sun, waiting for his body to be brought to the Royal Palace. Boy Scouts and Cambodian Red Cross volunteers distribute bottled water to those who are showing signs of dehydration. People are fainting in the crowd as heat exhaustion takes over. No one is sure when the King will arrive yet no one dares to give up their spot. Here, Buddhist monks line Sothearos Blvd. awaiting the return of the King Father.

Photo and caption by Alexander Crook / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

12

Ice On the Lake

I was walking around Lake Baikal at sunset and spotted this ice. I laid on the cold, frozen surface with my zoom lens and took this picture.

Photo and caption by Edward Graham / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest