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2013 'National Geographic Traveler' Photo Contest Winners

For more than 100 years, "National Geographic" magazine has been acclaimed not only for its important scientific explorations but for the stunning images produced by its stable of talented photographers.

But readers of "National Geographic" and its sister publication, "National Geographic Traveler," are also adept behind the lens, as proven by the winners of the 2013 "National Geographic Traveler" photo contest, the magazine's 25th such competition.

The winners were chosen by expert judges from more than 15,500 entries and will appear in the December 2013/January 2014 issue of "National Geographic Traveler." The captions for these winning photos were written by the photographers themselves.

The photographer who took the winning shot -- Wagner Araujo -- will receive a 10-day Galapagos "National Geographic" Expedition for two.

1st Place: "Dig Me River" by Wagner Araujo, taken at Rio Negro, Ponta Negra Beach, Manaus, Brazil: "I was in Manaus, Amazonas, during the Brazilian Aquathlon (swimming and running) championship. I photographed it from the water and my lens got completely wet, but there was so much energy in these boys that I just didn't worry about that."
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1st Place: "Dig Me River" by Wagner Araujo, taken at Rio Negro, Ponta Negra Beach, Manaus, Brazil: "I was in Manaus, Amazonas, during the Brazilian Aquathlon (swimming and running) championship. I photographed it from the water and my lens got completely wet, but there was so much energy in these boys that I just didn't worry about that."

2nd Place: "Thunderstorm At False Kivae" (Utah) by Max Seigal: "I hiked out to these ruins at night hoping to photograph them with the Milky Way, but instead a thunderstorm rolled through, creating this dramatic image."
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2nd Place: "Thunderstorm At False Kivae" (Utah) by Max Seigal: "I hiked out to these ruins at night hoping to photograph them with the Milky Way, but instead a thunderstorm rolled through, creating this dramatic image."

3rd Place: "Say Cheese" by Yanai Bonneh: "Cheetahs jumped on the vehicle of tourists in Masai Mara National Park, Kenya."
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3rd Place: "Say Cheese" by Yanai Bonneh: "Cheetahs jumped on the vehicle of tourists in Masai Mara National Park, Kenya."

Merit Award: "The Tata Honda Sect" by Gergely Lantai-Csont: "The photographer could get inside of an enclosed sect named Tata Honda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ladies are preparing for their religious ceremony."
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Merit Award: "The Tata Honda Sect" by Gergely Lantai-Csont: "The photographer could get inside of an enclosed sect named Tata Honda in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The ladies are preparing for their religious ceremony."

Merit Award: "Sakura" by Hideyuki Katagiri, taken at Seiunji Temple, Arakawa, Saitama, Japan: "Cherry blossom is called sakura in Japanese. Cherry blossom is a Japanese symbolic flower. There are various kinds in a cherry tree and an especially old cherry tree has many kinds called edo-higan."
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Merit Award: "Sakura" by Hideyuki Katagiri, taken at Seiunji Temple, Arakawa, Saitama, Japan: "Cherry blossom is called sakura in Japanese. Cherry blossom is a Japanese symbolic flower. There are various kinds in a cherry tree and an especially old cherry tree has many kinds called edo-higan."

Merit Award: "Children Of Reindeer" by Michelle Schantz, taken in Mageroya, Norway: "Mikael Ande, a child of Sami reindeer herders, takes a break indoors after a long, cold day of rounding up the animals for vaccinations and slaughter. Children of reindeer herders learn to handle these animals and the land they thrive in from infancy. Young Mikael here knew far more about the ways of nature than I could ever hope to learn."
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Merit Award: "Children Of Reindeer" by Michelle Schantz, taken in Mageroya, Norway: "Mikael Ande, a child of Sami reindeer herders, takes a break indoors after a long, cold day of rounding up the animals for vaccinations and slaughter. Children of reindeer herders learn to handle these animals and the land they thrive in from infancy. Young Mikael here knew far more about the ways of nature than I could ever hope to learn."

Merit Award: "Piano Play At Sunset" by Nikola Smernic: "Streets of Queenstown, New Zealand, at the end of one more day filled with adrenaline. Calming and doleful scene with piano sound in the background."
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Merit Award: "Piano Play At Sunset" by Nikola Smernic: "Streets of Queenstown, New Zealand, at the end of one more day filled with adrenaline. Calming and doleful scene with piano sound in the background."

Merit Award: "Portrait Of An Eastern Screech Owl" by Graham McGeorge, taken at Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, United States: "Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey."
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Merit Award: "Portrait Of An Eastern Screech Owl" by Graham McGeorge, taken at Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia, United States: "Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey."

Merit Award: "Guanjiang Shou" by Chan Kwok Hung, taken in Taichung, Taiwan: "Guanjiang Shou troupes are one of Taiwan's most popular activities [and] may be seen all over Taiwan at traditional folk-religion gatherings. With their fiercely painted faces, protruding fangs, and powerful, choreographed performances, they are easily recognized. They may be described as underworld police or gods' bodyguards."
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Merit Award: "Guanjiang Shou" by Chan Kwok Hung, taken in Taichung, Taiwan: "Guanjiang Shou troupes are one of Taiwan's most popular activities [and] may be seen all over Taiwan at traditional folk-religion gatherings. With their fiercely painted faces, protruding fangs, and powerful, choreographed performances, they are easily recognized. They may be described as underworld police or gods' bodyguards."

Merit Award: "Lady In Water" by Marcelo Salvador: "A lady collects water in the river by a village in Bagan, Myanmar, 2013."
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Merit Award: "Lady In Water" by Marcelo Salvador: "A lady collects water in the river by a village in Bagan, Myanmar, 2013."

Viewers' Choice Award: "Another Perspective Of The Day" by Dody Kusuma, taken in Makasar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia: "A fisherman at Bira Beach."
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Viewers' Choice Award: "Another Perspective Of The Day" by Dody Kusuma, taken in Makasar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia: "A fisherman at Bira Beach."

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