National Geographic has revealed the first batch of entries in its ‘Travel Photo’ contest -- and the bar has been set very high.
Think extraordinary landscapes, inquisitive wildlife, sneak peeks into people's lives around the world, and jaw-dropping natural phenomenons; all captured in a whole host of creative ways.
These exquisite images are battling it out for the possible grand prize of $7,500 (Rs 5.17 lakh).
The winning image will also be featured on National Geographic’s official Instagram account.
Details of entry into the competition can be found on the contest homepage, and National Geographic are accepting entries until May 3.
Here are some early highlights from the entries National Geographic received so far.
Cows such as this one in Pushkar, India, have free rein to wander as they please. As this one approached the entrance of a temple in Pushkar, dedicated to Vishnu, people made way for the cow to enter. Photograph: Ellen Dore/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest
Rundown neighbourhoods contrast with the glitzy Grand Lisboa hotel on Macau’s skyline. Photograph: Goncalo Lobo Pinheiro/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest
On my last day in Antarctica, I was posting my last video update, I heard what I was waiting for and documented what was to come. A leopard seal was feeding on a penguin… I was in a 7mm free-diving suit to be more flexible to change positions quickly. A normal encounter would be 20 minutes or so and I wouldn't be too cold afterwards, but this day was different, as we swam with three different leopard seals—brrrr. I felt safe being so close to the action with my team. Just amazing. Photograph: Rita Kluge/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest
Looking down at the Kilauea eruption from Fissure 8, as it enters the ocean, and the plume of smoke opens up, revealing the newly created island underneath. Photograph: Michael Perea/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest
Some places like El Rosario National Reserve in Mexico, make you feel humble, grateful you are alive and can see nature's beauty. Like a time machine, the child in you has been awaken. I took a few photos, but then decided that the best pictures cannot be taken, you just hold them in your heart. I put down the camera, sat on my rear end, and looked up quietly. The monarchs gather in Michoacan to spend the cold months, between November and March. Some of them make it all the way from Canada. Photograph: Tihomir Trichkov/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest
The days are much shorter in winter and the different elevations within Yellowstone National Park initiates even earlier sunsets. With the evening closing in and temperatures dropping, a herd of bison made their way up and over a frozen hill in search of their next meal. As I watched the group fade out of sight the last bison in line paused, turned back in my directions, took a breath and exhaled creating a thick cloud of steam before continuing over the hill and out of sight with the others. Photograph: Taylor Albright/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest
This summer we spent our holidays on Kefalonia island. It is a beautiful island, but has a difficult road network. There are turns all the time and for someone that gets dizzy easily, like my daughter Zoe, it is really tough. Here we stopped so she could get some fresh air and rest a little bit. She took lovely poses as she was taking deep breaths and felt the air in her face. So when you have a dad that loves photography you end up with a document of your dizziness. August 2018. Photograph: Babis Beslemes/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest
Market day in Urubamba. Beautiful, delicious, organic, and oh so colorful. Always so much healthier here. The only things being processed are your thoughts tickling your senses :). My daily routine. Stop here in the morning. Combine this goodness into a fresh smoothie and save some for a five o’clock drink with a kick of Pisco. My advice ... if you want to experience more about a culture visit the local market. Photograph: Ryan Kost/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest
Participants in the annual Golden Eagle Festival, show off their skills. The festival is held in Bayan-Ölgii aimag, West Mongolia. The eagle hunters are celebrating their Kazakh heritage and compete to catch small animals such as rabbits and foxes. Eagle hunting has been practiced in Central Asia for thousands of years, although nowadays it is preserved only in the Kazakh culture where the traditions are still alive and well kept. Photograph: Tihomir Trichkov/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest
The Palkhi Festival showcases the distinctive feature of the Maharashtrian culture in India. Thousands of people called ‘Varkari’ reach Pandharpur from Alandi or Dehu after walking for about 250 km. The Palkhi offers some of the best cultural events of Maharashtra once in a year. This photo was taken when all the devotees were singing devotional songs by using an instrument called ‘Taal’ or ‘Manjira’ which is a set of small cymbals, which produce a clashing sound after contact with each other. Photograph: Mahesh Lonkar/2019 National Geographic Travel Photo Contest