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Winners Of 2012 'National Geographic' Photography Contest

The judges at "National Geographic" looked at more than 22,000 images submitted by photographers from 150 countries before deciding on the winners of the magazine's 2012 photo contest. Entries were evaluated in three categories: People, Places, and Nature.

Ashley Vincent of Conburi, Thailand, won the $10,000 grand prize (and first place in the Nature category) for his incredible freeze-frame of a tigress in a Thai zoo shaking off after a dip. Nenad Salijic of Split, Croatia, came in first in the Places category for his moody image of the Swiss mountain The Matterhorn, while Micah Albert of Fair Oaks, California, placed first in the People category for his striking photograph of women picking through a huge garbage dump adjacent to slums outside Nairobi, Kenya. The dump is blamed for a host of ailments that plague the slums' 1 million inhabitants.

The contest was judged by natural history photographer Christian Ziegler and documentary photographers Gerd Ludwig and Debbie Fleming Caffery.

Ken Geiger, the magazine's deputy director of photography, says the caliber of entries continues to amaze him.

"The sheer amount of entries shows how important and accessible digital photography has become," Geiger says, "allowing photographers worldwide to share their vision and experiences." (14 PHOTOS)

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