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The Winners of National Geographic’s 2013 Photo Contest

By fotosiamo on December 20th 2013

They say timing is everything. For wildlife photographer Paul Souders, that moment happened to be when he caught a glimpse of a polar bear just under the water while shooting at the Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada. This image won Paul the Grand Prize for the National Geographic 2013 Photo Contest, $10,000, and a trip to the National Geographic headquarters in Washington DC.

This wasn’t the first win for Paul’s polar bear image, either. We just featured Paul’s winning polar bear image as well as the other images he shot that day when he won BBC Wildlife Photography of the Year:  Wildlife Photographer of the Year Comes Face to Face with a Polar Bear

The contest annually draws professionals and amateur photographers alike from over 150 countries. For 2013, over 7,000 entries were submitted into three categories: people, place, and nature.

The panel of experts judged the images on the basis of creativity and photographic quality.

Grand Prize Winner and Winner of Nature Category

Polar Bear - Paul Souders

Photo and caption by Paul SoudersA polar bear peers up from beneath the melting sea ice on Hudson Bay as the setting midnight sun glows red from the smoke of distant fires during a record-breaking spell of hot weather. The Manitoba population of polar bears, the southernmost in the world, is particularly threatened by a warming climate and reduced sea ice. 

You can read the Paul’s interview with National Geographic to learn more about the background of his award-winning image.

You can also see the complete gallery at National Geographic’s 2013 Photo Contest Winners. In the meantime, here are some of our favorites:

Nature Category

Great Egrets - Réka Zsimon

Photo and caption by Réka ZsimonOn a good day in the field, a birder might see flock of birds. Great Egrets; Tidal area of the Danube in Hungary. 

Crow's Nest - Yosuke Kashiwakura

Photo and caption by Yosuke KashiwakuraThe crows that live in Tokyo use clothes hangers to make nests. In such a large city, there are few trees, so the natural materials that crows need to make their nests are scarce. As a result, the crows occasionally take hangers from the people who live in apartments nearby, and carefully assemble them into nests. The completed nests almost look like works of art based on the theme of recycling. 

Indian Rhinoceros - Stephen De Lisle

Photo and caption by Stephen De LisleAn Indian rhinoceros, far from home and stuck inside with late-winter blues at the Toronto zoo. 

People Category

Twins - Cecile Smetana Baudier

Photo and caption by Cecile Smetana BaudierThis portrait of two identical twins( Nils and Emil, 15 years old) in Fyn, Denmark, is part of a series of pictures, portraying people who has a strong connection to another person and who often think of themselves as a ‘we’ instead of ‘me’.
The photo is trying to depict the two brothers different role within the family.

Boy with Balloons - Andrew Biraj

Photo and caption by Andrew BirajA boy plays with balloons by Buriganga river as smoke emits from a dump yard during sunset in Dhaka, Bangladesh. 

Ida - Cecile Smetana Baudier

Photo and caption by Cecile Smetana BaudierThis is Ida. She is seven years old and born in Greenland. A year ago her mother, Marie, decided to move to Denmark in search of an easier life and to give her daughter everything that she never had, but even though the two countries are tied historically, the two cultures are very different and they have no danish friends or any strong connections to Denmark.
In Denmark, Greenlanders are seen as second class citizens, drunks and socially challenged. This photo is part of an on-going series, that is trying to show a different side to the greenlandish minority in Denmark.

Place Category

Laocheng (Old Town) - Adam Tan

Photo and caption by Adam TanRealizing this old town (Laocheng, means old town in Chinese) would soon be transformed into a new town through the speedy economic growth in China and perhaps lose its raw beauty in no tome, I was pleased to capture this working mother carrying her child in her basket walking through the thick mist in a very early foggy morning, 2012. 

Sunbathing Cows - Andrew Lever

Photo and caption by Andrew LeverI was driving along the beach highway when i noticed the bulls sunbathing on the empty beach. I initially thought i was seeing things,but no it really was sunbathing cows !! I had to park my car a fair distance away and that meant a long walk along the beach in 35 degree heat. It did not matter because i had to get the shot ! When i got closer to them i was careful not to spook them so i crawled on my stomach on the hot sand to get a good picture of them. Mission Accomplished! It was worth the effort! 

Lake Menindee - Julie Fletcher

Photo and caption by Julie FletcherI cannot describe the eery feeling I had when I walked in on this scene. I followed a massive storm front several 100 kilometers hoping to capture something special but this blew my mind. The surreal milky green water is a natural phenomenon caused by electomagnetic activity from the lightning hitting the waters surface. There was no rain where I was and not much wind either but in the distance the sky was charged and angry subjecting its wrath over the graveyard of dead trees in this normally very dry lake bed. I was able to capture a series of unique images this being one of the best. 


Joe is a rising fashion and commercial photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He blends creativity and edge with a strong style of lighting and emotion in his photographs. Be sure to check out his work at and connect with him on Google Plus and on Facebook


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  1. Guidexplorer

    Very nice photos … I didn’t get the one with the twins though, does this mean that the first guy’s role is to sleep and the second one is to gaze aimlessly :-)

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  2. Hanssie

    All of these images are amazing!

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