EACH YEAR, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC holds one of the most prestigious photography competitions out there. In 2012, over 22,000 entries were submitted from more than 150 countries. Judging resulted in one grand-prize winner (who “will receive $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2013”), a handful of category and viewers’ choice winners, and several honorable mentions.

Matador is proud to be able to share these 14 images below. All photos copyright National Geographic Photo Contest.


Grand-Prize: The Explosion!

The subject's name is Busaba, a well cared for Indochinese Tigress whose home is at Khao Kheow Open Zoo, Thailand. I had taken many portraits of Busaba previously and it was becoming more and more difficult to come up with an image that appeared any different to the others. Which is why I took to observing her more carefully during my visits in the hope of capturing something of a behavioural shot. The opportunity finally presented itself while watching Busaba enjoying her private pool then shaking herself dry. In all humility I have to say that Mother Nature smiled favourably on me that day!

Photo and caption by Ashley Vincent / National Geographic Photo Contest

First Place for Places: The Matterhorn

The Matterhorn 4478 m at full moon.

Photo and caption by Nenad Saljic / National Geographic Photo Contest

First Place for People: Amongst the Scavengers

At the end of the day women are allowed to pick through the dumpsite.

Photo and caption by Micah Albert / National Geographic Photo Contest

Viewers’ Choice for Places: Iceberg Hunters

Chipping ice off an iceberg is a common way for the Inuit community to retrieve fresh drinking water while on the land. During a weekend long hunting trip, we came upon this majestic iceberg frozen in place. It was a perfect opportunity to grab enough ice and drinking water for the remainder of the trip.

Photo and caption by Adam Coish / National Geographic Photo Contest

Viewers’ Choice for People: Expedition Amundsen

A race that follows in the path of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen brings the contestants to the Hardangervidda Mountainplateu, Norway. 100km across the plateau, the exact same route Amundsen used to prepare for his South Pole expedition in 1911 is still used by explorers today. Amundsen did not manage to cross the plateau and had to turn back because of bad weather. He allegedly said that the attempt to cross Hardangervidda was just as dangerous and hard as the conquering of the South Pole. The group in the picture used the race as preparations for an attempt to cross Greenland.

Photo and caption by Kai-Otto Melau / National Geographic Photo Contest

Viewers’ Choice for Nature: Tender Moment

Everyday in mara starts with something new and different and day ends with memorable experiences with spectacular photographs . I was very lucky of sighting and photographing Malaika the name of female Cheetah and her cub . she is well known for its habit to jump on vehicles. She learned that from her mother Kike, and Kike from her mother Amber.Like her mother she is teaching lessons to her cub . Teaching lessons means addition of another moment for tourist . This is one of the tender moment between Malaika and her cub . I was very lucky to capture that moment .

Photo and caption by Sanjeev Bhor / National Geographic Photo Contest

Honorable Mention: Red Fox catching mouse under snow

With his exceptional hearing a red fox has targeted a mouse hidden under 2 feet of crusted snow. Springing high in the air he breaks through the crusted spring snow with his nose and his body is completely vertical as he grabs the mouse under the snow.

Photo and caption by Micheal Eastman / National Geographic Photo Contest

Honorable Mention: Chinese traditional dragon boat racing

Dragon boating is a chinese traditional entertainment. As an acquatic sport to memorise qu yuan, a patriotic poet in ancient china, it is usually held in festivals, which can be traced back to two thousands years ago.

Photo and caption by关嘉城 / National Geographic Photo Contest

Honorable Mention: East of Iceland

Glacial ice washes ashore after calving off the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier on Iceland's eastern coast. During the waning light of summer this image was created over the course of a 4 minute exposure while the photographer backlit the grounded glacial ice with a headlamp for 2 of those 4 minutes.

Photo and caption by Eric Guth / National Geographic Photo Contest

Honorable Mention: Captive

Yayasan Galuh Rehabilitation Center is an impoverished mental health facility based in Bekasi, Indonesia that hosts over 250 patients. Most come from poor families no longer interested in managing their condition, or are unable. Some patients are homeless, deposited after being taken off streets by police The only medical treatment received is for skin conditions. No assessments, psychotherapy or psychiatric medications is available. Over one third of the patients are shackled in chains. These measures are implemented to those thought to be violent, uncontrolable and dangerous.

Photo and caption by Wendell Phillips / National Geographic Photo Contest

Honorable Mention: Eerie Eiffel

The winter gloomy day worked to my advantage to create this eerie feeling of the famous landmark Eiffel tower.

Photo and caption by Indra Swari Wonowidjojo / National Geographic Photo Contest

Honorable Mention: Predation up close and personal

I was surrounded by thousands of fish that moved in synchrony because of the predation that was happening. It was an incredible experience.

Photo and caption by Fransisca Harlijanto / National Geographic Photo Contest

Honorable Mention: Ursus arctos horribilis

This photo of a wild, Alaskan, brown bear digging on a game trail was taken with a home made motion controlled triggering device hooked up to my DSLR.

Photo and caption by Jason Ching / National Geographic Photo Contest

Honorable Mention: Stilt Fishing

Stilt fishing is a typical fishing technique only seen in Sri Lanka. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole planted into the coral reef. This long exposure shot shows how unstable their position is.

Photo and caption by ulrich lambert / National Geographic Photo Contest