The Best Pictures From 2017 National Geographic Traveler Contest’s Nature Category

A young hawksbill turtle ducks under its first wave just minutes after hatching. Its struggle will be long and tiresome and the odds of survival are sadly stacked against it. A slow shutter speed used with flash enabled me to capture the amazing ambient light. (Photo And Caption By Matthew Smith / National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Contest)
The only sound throughout the swamp on this late spring morning were three geese honking at one another. They gathered at the head of the lake, where a fog bank rolled in just as the sun peaked over the trees to wrap the area in an ethereal glow. As I watched, the goose in the center of the trio pivoted toward the sun and, as if in greeting, arched out of the water and flapped its wings. Shot Info: Canon EOS 5DS // EF 24-105mm f/4L @ 105mm // 1/125; f/16; ISO 200 Taken: 23 April, 2017 (Photo And Caption By Scott Summers / National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Contest)
This photograph captures a whale behaviour called ‘spy hopping’, where whales poke their head above the water to take a look around and see what’s happening above the surface. It’s like these majestic mammals of the sea understand we are watching them and are trying to connect with us in some way. In this shot, I wanted to capture this by showing the whale between two worlds, ours above the surface and its below, at the precise moment when it is about to make that connection. (Photo And Caption By Mark Seabury / National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Contest)
Major Shelf Cloud Saskatchewan. (Photo And Caption By Mark Duffy / National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Contest)
Powerful eruption of Colima Volcano in Mexico on december 13th, 2015. That night, the weather was dry and cold, friction of ash particles generated a big lightning of about 600 meters that connected ash and volcano, and illuminated most of the dark scene. On last part of 2015, this volcano showed a lot of eruptive activity with ash explosions that raised 2-3 km above the crater. Most of night explosions produced incandescent rockfalls and lightnings not bigger than 100 meters in average. (Photo And Caption By Sergio Tapiro Velasco / National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Contest)
Whilst out snorkelling on Jervis Bay on sunset with my camera in an underwater housing, I noticed something moving in the distance, as my eyes adjusted to the dark water I noticed there was a Southern Calamari Squid in front of me. On the front of my housing I had a large dome port on which looks like a mirror. The inquisitive squid slowly came up to the front of my camera thinking its reflection was another squid. I captured an over and under image, where you can see above and below the water. (Photo And Caption By Jordan Robins / National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Contest)
A colony of emperor penguins brave 25 knot winds and snow at Gould Bay, Weddell Sea, Antarctica. (Photo And Caption By Jose Rosas / National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Contest)
In Premantura Park (Croatia) a combination of white dust from the ground that settled on the trees and a sunset seen between them leads to a unique view. (Photo And Caption By Aurel Manea / National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Contest)
Tolerating harsh environment provided me with an opportunity to witness one of many wonders of nature in Wapusk NP. (Photo And Caption By Nadeem Sufi / National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Contest)
On safari in Zambia, the grass was so tall that it seemed there was no chance to see anything interesting. Then this pride of lions came walking toward us, taking advantage of the road to travel on. They too, seemed they were tired of the tall grass swatting at their faces! (Photo And Caption By Torie Hilley / National Geographic Travel Photographer Of The Year Contest)