Think you captured a great picture of your cat sleeping in your bed this morning? That shot could win you a tidy $10,000.
National Geographic’s annual Photo Contest, which accepts incredible images from sharp-eyed camera-wielders from all over the globe, comes to a close next week with this year’s entries looking beyond phenomenal.
If you don’t own a photogenic pet, but would still like to enter, then know that the official categories include People and Places as well as Nature, so scroll through your iPhone gallery and see if you’ve got something that could go up against these 21 pics that grabbed our attention:
Matterhorn - Switzerland's Alpine Emblem
The photographer, Alessandra Meniconzi, says: "The famous Matterhorn (14,692-foot /4,478-meter) is an iconic emblem of Switzerland and The Alps, but also the most photographed mountain in the world. I want to add an element in the image that conveys the eye to the pyramid-shaped mountain. The best time to photograph the Matterhorn is during the sunrise when the top becomes red."
Shade, White Sands
The photographer, Elliot Ross, says: "On an afternoon cresting 100 degrees fahrenheit, I was making my way to the only shade visible. When I was about 20 yards away, this group pulled in and beat me to it. My frustration melted when I saw how perfectly symmetrical their vehicles made my frame."
Highline at Twilight - Rio de Janeiro
The photographer, Bruno Moraes, says: "Marcio Cardoso balancing on the slackline 200m above the beautiful landscape of Rio de Janeiro."
Tornado in Genoa Waters
The photographer, Evgeny Drokov, says: "Rare moment of tornado in vicinity of Genoa Port, Italy. The tornado formed in about 10 minutes and disappeared quickly."
The photographer, Ian Duncan, says: "This was one of the most curious interactive squirrels I have ever come across. We sat down to enjoy the view and have a snooze and we were interrupted by this little guy scurrying over our camera bags. He was trying to reach for a friend's camera that was also taking pictures just out of my frame."
The photographer, Daniele Boffelli, says: "One of my first nights in Iceland, where I traveled two weeks alone. This was one of the most amazing days of my life. In the afternoon fantastic lenticular clouds were formed between me and Myrdalsjökull glacier so I took some amazing shots at sunset. I came back at night and the fantastic Northern Lights were painting the sky green. I took some shots at the local lighthouse but suddenly my attention fell on this little house (I guess the lighthouse's guardian was home). The door was open and the light on."
Hibernation of Eastern Bent-Winged Bats
The photographer, Kei Nomiyama, says: "When winter comes, eastern bent-winged bats form a colony for hibernation... We found this valuable colony (bats beyond 4000), in an artificial cave. This was a big delight for the researchers."
Reti a Spasso
The photographer, Salvatore Valente, says: "[translated] Two young Ghanaian anglers carrying fishing nets to their boat."
The photographer, Eugene Kitsios, says: "This young seal fully accepted my presence and allowed me to come very close. After a while it became quite windy and we both got caught in this sandstorm."
The photographer, Andy Chisholm, says: "A large cluster of marine life enjoys a massive feeding frenzy below the monolithic Eddystone Rock. The area is about 26 kilometers off Tasmania's South East Cape and is truly a wild location."
The photographer, Ammar Alamir, says: "Beautiful Holy Point."
A Canoe Ride on Lake Louise
The photographer, Ben Leshchinsky, says: "This disorienting photo was taken from a cliff overlooking Lake Louise in Banff National Park. The two people are enjoying a canoe ride on Lake Louise's turquoise waters."
The photographer, Milan Zygmunt, says: "The red fox has an elongated body and relatively short limbs. The tail, which is longer than half the body length, is fluffy and reaches the ground when in a standing position."
The photographer, Manon Moulis, says: "An arctic fox in frozen willows."
Casting a Wide Net
The photographer, John G Clark, says: "A fisherman in Bali casts his net at sunrise, hoping for a good catch."
Tree House II
The photographer, John Kimbler, says: "Same bee from [my] first Tree House image, but this time it's the next morning and I camped out in front of the hole for over half an hour waiting for the Mason Bee to get active. I made several attempts at this image, but the critter would just go back into its home when I moved or cast a shadow over it with the camera. But eventually he realized that I wasn't a threat and I got the frame that was stuck in my head from the night before."
Tiger Shark and Divers
The photographer, Jim Obester, says: "Big female tiger shark off the Bahamas."
The photographer, Fabrice Guerin, says: "Once a year, in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Isla Mujeres, you can see the fastest fish in the world hunting fish shoals: the sailfish. In their tens, they drill the balls of terrified fish, offering us an impressive show. But we also notice shoals of fish, essential in the survival of the other marine species, are slowly disappearing. Climate change is here!"
The Boat Will Not Leave
The photographer, Marc Henauer, says: "A diver stands up front of the Hilma Hooker wreck. He looks at this boat and seems to think it will never go away... The Hilma Hooker is a 200ft boat wreck. It rests in 100ft of water in the Caribbean Sea in Bonaire Island (a famous destination for scubadiving)."
The photgrapher, Vinny Apuzzo, says: "This is a coral head. I tried to show the patterns using strobes and pointing in different directions so I could still get the glow of the internal structure."
Follow the Leader
Photographer, Anthony P, says: "It's just past 6am, and it's -25° on our last day in Antarctica. With wind so strong it's difficult to walk and stay upright, I decide to lay flat on the frozen ground to watch Gentoo Penguins move from the water to their nests on Cuverville Island. As the strong winds whip up fine layers of ice and snow over the horizon, two lone penguins follow each other battling with Mother Nature in one of the harshest environments on the planet."