With a single shot, a Sami reindeer hunter secures food for his family during the long Swedish winter.
In "The Fjellman Family," photographer Izabelle Nordfjell caught a moment that's both "real and mysterious at the same time," according to judge Amy Toensing.
Noted judge Peter Essick, "In the Sami culture, these events are repeated many times every year, even though they are never quite the same. However, by using a careful composition and skillful timing, the photographer made this one encounter with a Sami hunter memorable."
Judge Tim Laman added the picture had all the elements of a true photojournalistic image.
Photo Location Arjeplog, Lappland, Sweden
A young family dressed as zombies in Brisbane, Queensland. Each year around Halloween time a gathering of people dressed as zombies walk through the city in an effort to raise money for the Brain Foundation of Australia.
Photo Location Brisbane, Australia
Young men driving into a patch of reflected light along Auburn Rd. Part of a larger personal project documenting the western Sydney suburb of Auburn. The series provides a glimpse into the life of the next generation of Australians living in Auburn, peering behind the veil of this little-known side of society. Auburn is a small suburb in Sydney’s west, a landing point for many migrants and refugees when they first arrive in Australia.
Photo Location Sydney, Australia
Stephen "ST 2 Lettaz" Harris, and David "Yung Clova" Williams make up the Huntsville rap duo G-Side. I took this photo of them on tour, conducting a cell phone interview with a journalist on a fire escape in Manhattan. The photo speaks to the "D.I.Y." nature of the current independent music scene. Digital technology has played a big role in G-Side's business strategy, enabling them to use the Internet and viral word of mouth to build a diverse international fan base.
G-Side released a track in 2011 called "Nat Geo".
Photo Location Manhattan, NY, USA
Viewers' Choice People Winner
Maybe women weren't at the Last Supper, but they are certainly going to be at the next one.
Photo Location Lucca, Italy
A rainbow arches over the Philippines' Onuk Island after a rainstorm.
Photographer George Tapan "showed a perfect sense of timing and composition in the way he captured the two small human subjects in this beautiful scene, and that really made the shot," noted judge Tim Laman.
The "very moody, beautifully composed" image, called "Into the Green Zone," compellingly shows a sense of place via the dark clouds, rainbows, the spot of pink amid a palette of blues and greens, and the woman's flowing hair, said judge Amy Toensing.
Peter Essick was also captivated by the detail of the woman's hair. It only "fills a fraction of the picture's real estate, but by capturing the movement at the apex, the photographer has documented a sense of style and flair," he said.
Overall, the picture shows that "small things can sometimes make a big difference."
Photo Location Onuk Island, Balabac Palawan, Philippines
Once a year, Formosa fishermen’s unique sulfuric fire fishing ritual handed down from generation to generation.
Photo Location Taipei
Kite battle at Santa Marta ghetto, Rio de Janeiro. For many years, the kites were used to alert the drug dealers when their enemies were coming. The place were a “war zone” controlled by traffikers that were in constant conflits against each other to control the drug market. Fews years ago, Santa Marta was occupied by the Pacifier Police Division that released the popullation from the traffic domination.
Photo Location Santa Marta, Rio de Janeiro
A torrential monsoon rain in Bhaktapur
Photo Location Bhaktapur, Nepal
Space Shuttle Endeavour STS-130 launches into orbit toward the east, as the stars and waning crescent moon trail toward the west, leaving a beautiful reflection on the Intracoastal Waterway in Ponte Vedra, Florida. This 132-second time exposure of the final night launch of a Space Shuttle, from launch through SRB separation, was taken 115 miles north of Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center.
Photo Location Ponte Vedra, Florida
Viewers' Choice Places Winner
Krishna Temple is one of Hampi's notable Hindu temples. This photo shows the most beautiful architectural piece of Hampi and how people just feel in it. It is a place of calm and equilibrium, an escape.
Photo Location Hampi, India
Grand-Prize Winner and Nature Winner
Arrows of rain seem to pelt a dragonfly in Indonesia's Riau Islands in Shikhei Goh's winning image, "Splashing."
A sudden rainstorm left Goh with a tough decision: Get his camera wet, or take advantage of the "superb lighting," he wrote with his submission to the 2011 National Geographic Photography Contest.
He took the picture, resulting in a "very striking macrophotography image that rose to the top of the nature category for me because of its originality, beautiful light, rare action in a close-up image, as well as its technical perfection," said Tim Laman, one of three National Geographic magazine photographers who judged the contest.
"You can almost feel the dragonfly's experience of bracing itself against the weather," said judge Amy Toensing. "When I look at it, I want to say, Hold on tight little buddy!"
The insect's plight also appealed to judge Peter Essick, who said the photograph gives the dragonfly a "character us humans can relate to."
"It's rare indeed to see a photograph that causes the viewer to feel a bond with a member of the animal world seemingly," Essick said, "but maybe not, so unlike our own."
Photo Location Batam, Riau Islands, Indonesia
"The blue pond" of the famous tourist resort. This is a place where many tourists gather in spring, summer, and autumn. However, since this pond freezes in winter, nobody is during that period. This photograph is the moment first snow of the season is falling in that blue pond. We can see first snow of the season from the end of October. Why is blue? This is because the underground hot spring ingredient is gushing. This blue pond changes a color every day. I think that mystical blue and pure white snow are beautiful. All are nature's tints.
Photo Location Biei, Hokkaido, Japan
Jellyfish Cotylorhiza tuberculata drifting just beneath the surface looking for capturing the first sunrays to trigger their symbiotic algae to produce energy for it.
Photo Location Mar Menor coastal lagoon, Murcia province, Spain
I was leading a photographic safari in Tanzania's, Serengeti National Park. It was midday and we came across a dazzle of zebra approaching a waterhole the quench their thirst. Every few minutes the zebras will enter the water to drink, just to panic and scatter out of the water again.
Photo Location Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
I personally believe that, beyond the formal representation of reality, mediated by the technical instruments necessary to fix an image in time, photography is made of insights. The shot is the last act of image capturing and in many ways the easiest part of the whole process. This panning effect, even in its imperfection, with the chromatic harmony of the background, with all the needless information eliminated and the luck of having the big cat’s lifted tail in symmetry with the impala horns, brings the observer inside the hunting without distractions.