Amazing animal photos from the 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest (15 pictures)

Below you will find a gallery of some of the National Geographic Editors’ favorite animal images to date.

“Our photo contest turns 25 this year, making it, we believe, the longest-running travel photo contest in the world,” said Keith Bellows, National Geographic Traveler magazine editor in chief. “In the last few years it seems as if the quality of shots has taken a quantum leap forward. The pictures increasingly reflect a more sophisticated way of seeing and interpreting the world, making the judging process more difficult. We encourage photographers to enter their work and compete against the best.”

Judging consists of two rounds of evaluation based on creativity and photographic quality. The second-prize winner will receive a seven-day National Geographic Photography Workshop for one in Santa Fe, N.M.; the third-prize winner will receive a six-day cruise for two on a Maine windjammer schooner. Seven merit prize winners will receive a print of their photo, matted and framed by the National Geographic Imaging Lab, and a $200 gift certificate to B&H Photo.

See more on National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Curious Whaleshark


© Jonne Seijdel/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Whale shark encounter in the Bohol Sea, Philippines.

Gentoo Chicks


© Richard Sidey/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Two newly hatched Gentoo Penguin chicks get their first glimpse at the Antarctic wilderness.

Hanging Around


© Peter Stanley/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

A two-year old Mountain Gorilla (Gorilla beringei beringei) of the Sabinyo family, plays in the bamboo forest of Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda. In 1981, this population fell to 240 because of rampent poaching and habitat loss. Today the population is estimated to be around 800 and rising and this photograph represents the exciting turn around and hope for the next generation. Thank you to the conservationists, rangers and educators working to protect these magnificent cousins of ours and their habitat in the Virunga massif.

Hidden Treasure


© Jessi Fikan/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

A surprise companion, the Pacific Tree Frog, lurking in the lichen.



© Majed Ali/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Two vultures in action from Massai Mara in Kenya while they are fighting.

In The Rain


© Kandace Stroupe/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

This photograph was taken while I was on vacation in South Carolina. It was a rainy miserable day until I happened upon this alligator hanging out in a local pond.

Look Into My Eyes


© Natalie Murray/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

This picture was taken on a game drive in the Addo Elephant National Park, the third largest national park in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The park contains a wide diversity of fauna, flora and landscapes and incorporates semi arid landscapes all the way to a marine reserve. These zebra were so calm and you just got the feeling they wanted to be photographed!

Morning Game Drive


© Douglas Croft/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Our first morning game drive on Safari in South Africa brought us this magnificent leopard. He was bathed in the orange hues of the sunrise and it was breathtaking.

Oregon Lion


© Gary Migues/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Sea Lion on Pacific Coast of Oregon

Osprey Launching


© Mark Gottlieb/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

I clicked this photo as the Osprey was taking off from his perch.

Ruffled Feather Inspection


© Adam Lichtcsien/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

A cafe outside of Aquas Calientes in the Cuzco region of Peru has perches for wild parrots that come and feed on seed and fruit left out for them. This curious little fella was peeking out from behind a leaf to get a better look at me. Apparently he was entertained by the odd human with the camera because he let me get only a few inches away, where my ring light could better illuminate his beautiful feathers.

The hummingbird and the flower


© Alain Martens/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Picture took on March 27 with a Nikon D90 + zoom 80-400 mm – 400 mm – ISO 800 – 1/3200 sec – f 7.1.



© Petra Bensted/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

A family of snow monkeys cuddling up together for security and warmth. They appeared very protective of one another and seemed unsure of my presence.

Unexpected Alliance


© Mary Ellen Urbanski/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

I have seen alligators and turtles together in ponds before, but never like this! I was at Bluebill Pond in Harris Neck NWR when I saw what I thought was an alligator sunning itself on a stump. As I got closer I realized that it was actually perched on the back of a turtle! I wish I had been there to witness how this surprising esprit de corps had come to pass!

Who Needs to Fly?


© Paul Lee/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

This is one of the Big Major Cay’s pigs swimming in the clear, turquoise waters of the Bahamas. Pigs are great swimmers!


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