National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest 2017: Stunning entries from the Nature category

National Geographic's annual travel photography competition has kicked off, and is open for entries until 30 June 2017.

National Geographic has launched the 2017 Travel Photographer of the Year contest. Photographers of all levels are invited to submit their most spectacular shots to the annual competition. The grand-prize winner with receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos as well as the prestigious title of National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year.

Visit natgeo.com/travelphotocontest to submit photos in any or all of the three categories: Nature, People and Cities. Entries must be submitted by 30 June 2017. IBTimes UK presents a selection of photos that have already been submitted in the Nature category.

Powerful cloud by Takashi: 'Various forms of clouds appear when a fast air current blows over Mt Fuji. I stayed in the car during the night at the Inokashira forest road about 0.8 miles above sea level about 25 miles west of Mt Fuji. The small clouds that appeared before dawn grew bigger and bigger. Just before sunrise they had become a huge cloud covering Mt Fuji. The shadows of them in the backlight were powerful masterpieces'Takashi/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
A drive to remember by Manish Mamtani: 'Aerial view of the scenic drive and the beautiful autumn colours of New Hampshire. I used a drone to capture the colours that cannot be seen from the road'Manish Mamtani/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Little Eyewitness by Hidetoshi Ogata: 'On a cold winter's day in Jigokudani Monkey Park, monkeys have several ways to keep warm. They have a soak in a hot spring, take a bedrock bath or huddle together, etc. While monkeys were huddling together, I approached them with stealthy footsteps. Then I photographed them from directly above at the moment when a little monkey nestled in mother's arms looked into the camera'Hidetoshi Ogata/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Blue pond, the stellar sky by Nao AkimotoNao Akimoto/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Lost in white by Adam Cunningham-White: 'This photo captures the moment that I, along with three Sami reindeer herders, become a little lost while migrating with 350 reindeer. They were rounded up from a section of forest around 30kms south of this point. Our goal was to take them, via rivers, northwards to pastures new using the network of rivers and lakes that flow through Sweden. This was taken on Randijaur lake, Jokkmokk, Sweden'Adam Cunningham-White/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
The Salt Miners by Tugo Cheng: 'As the most ancient and gruelling trade in Ethiopia, salt miners in the Afar region still use the most traditional camel caravan to carry loads of salt bricks extracted from the vast salt flats everyday. However, an under-construction railway from Djibouti and new road traversing the old salt route may soon render the camel caravan obsolete'Tugo Cheng/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Swallows Cave by Marc Henauer: 'A freediver swimming in the deep of "swallows cave" in Tonga. This cave is settled by more than few thousand fish. They offer you a spectacular ballet when you dive inside. The contrast between the dark of the bottom and the light of the top make the fishes bright like stars'Marc Henauer/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
The Mirror by Takahiro Bessho: 'Lake Yogo sometimes reflects everything in front of you'Takahiro Bessho/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
SymmetryrtemmyS by Hiroshi Tanita:  'Cherry blossoms reflected in perfect conditionHiroshi Tanita/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
In Your Face by Shane Gross: 'Caribbean reef sharks are usually shy so I placed my camera on a rock I know they frequent and used a remote trigger to click away as they came in and bumped my camera around'Shane Gross/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

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