20 stunning photos of unreal landscapes, incredible animals, and mesmerizing underwater scenes

This year's grand-prize winning photographer was awarded $10,000.

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This year’s grand-prize winning photographer was awarded $10,000.
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Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

This week National Geographic announced the winners of their annual Nature Photographer of the Year Contest.

Judges chose winners and honorable mentions from 11,000 entries. The four different catagories included: aerials, landscapes, wildlife, and underwater – and a people’s choice award was also announced within each.

The grand-prize winning photo of an orangutan crossing a river, taken by Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan, was awarded $10,000, and will be printed in an upcoming issue of National Geographic magazine. Below, see the stunning photos.

Captions provided by National Geographic.


Aerials, third place winner.

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Greg C./2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

On the flanks of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, 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.


Aerials, second place winner.

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Takahiro Bessho/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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


Aerials, first place winner.

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Todd Kennedy/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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.


Aerials, honorable mention.

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Agathe Bernard/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Migratory gulls take flight from a cedar tree being washed downstream by a glacial river in British Columbia, Canada.


Aerials, people’s choice award.

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David Swindler/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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


Wildlife, third place winner.

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Bence Mate/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Two grey herons spar as a white-tailed eagle looks on in Hungary.


Wildlife, second place winner.

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Alejandro Prieto/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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.


Wildlife, first place winner and grand-prize winner.

This year's grand-prize winning photographer was awarded $10,000.

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Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

A male orangutan peers from behind a tree while crossing a river in Borneo, Indonesia.


Wildlife, honorable mention.

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Lance McMillan/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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


Wildelife, people’s choice award.

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Harry Collins/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

A great gray owl swoops to kill in a New Hampshire field.


Landscapes, third place winner.

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Mike Olbinski/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

A summer thunderstorm unleashes lightning on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.


Landscapes, second place winner.

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Yuhan Liao/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Sunlight glances off mineral strata of different colors in Dushanzi Grand Canyon, China.


Landscapes, first place winner.

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Karim Iliya/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Shortly before twilight in Kalapana, Hawaii, 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.


Landscapes, honorable mention.

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Gheorghe Popa/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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


Landscapes, people’s choice award.

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Wojciech Kruczyński/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Sunset illuminates a lighthouse and rainbow in the Faroe Islands.


Underwater, third place winner.

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Michael Patrick O’Neill/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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


Underwater, second place winner.

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Shane Gross/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Typically a shy species, a Caribbean reef shark investigates a remote-triggered camera in Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen marine protected area.


Underwater, first place winner.

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Jim Obester/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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


Underwater, honorable mention.

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Jennifer O’Neil/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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


Underwater, people’s choice award.

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Matthew Smith/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

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.