20 stunning photos of unreal landscapes, incredible animals, and mesmerising underwater scenes

Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the YearThis year’s grand-prize winning photographer was awarded $US10,000.

This week National Geographic announced the winners of their annual Nature Photographer of the Year Contest.

Judges chose winners and honorable mentions from 11,000 entries. The four different catagories included: aerials, landscapes, wildlife, and underwater – and a people’s choice award was also announced within each.

The grand-prize winning photo of an orangutan crossing a river, taken by Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan, was awarded $US10,000, and will be printed in an upcoming issue of National Geographic magazine. Below, see the stunning photos.

Captions provided by National Geographic.

Aerials, third place winner.

On the flanks of Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii, the world’s only lava ocean entry spills molten rock into the Pacific Ocean. After erupting in early 2016, the lava flow took about two months to reach the sea, six miles away.

Aerials, second place winner.

Snow-covered metasequoia trees, also called dawn redwoods, interlace over a road in Takashima, Japan.

Aerials, first place winner.

In Sydney, Australia, the Pacific Ocean at high tide breaks over a natural rock pool enlarged in the 1930s. Avoiding the crowds at the city’s many beaches, a local swims laps.

Aerials, honorable mention.

Migratory gulls take flight from a cedar tree being washed downstream by a glacial river in British Columbia, Canada.

Aerials, people’s choice award.

Green vegetation blooms at the river’s edge, or riparian, zone of a meandering canyon in Utah.

Wildlife, third place winner.

Two grey herons spar as a white-tailed eagle looks on in Hungary.

Wildlife, second place winner.

An adult Caribbean pink flamingo feeds a chick in Yucatán, Mexico. Both parents alternate feeding chicks, at first with a liquid baby food called crop milk, and then with regurgitated food.

Wildlife, first place winner and grand-prize winner.

A male orangutan peers from behind a tree while crossing a river in Borneo, Indonesia.

Wildlife, honorable mention.

A Japanese macaque indulges in some grooming time on the shores of the famous hot springs.

Wildelife, people’s choice award.

A great grey owl swoops to kill in a New Hampshire field.

Landscapes, third place winner.

A summer thunderstorm unleashes lightning on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Landscapes, second place winner.

Sunlight glances off mineral strata of different colours in Dushanzi Grand Canyon, China.

Landscapes, first place winner.

Shortly before twilight in Kalapana, Hawaii, a fragment of the cooled lava tube broke away, leaving the molten rock to fan in a fiery spray for less than half an hour before returning to a steady flow.

Landscapes, honorable mention.

Morning fog blurs the dead trees of Romania’s Lake Cuejdel, a natural reservoir created by landslides.

Landscapes, people’s choice award.

Sunset illuminates a lighthouse and rainbow in the Faroe Islands.

Underwater, third place winner.

Buoyed by the Gulf Stream, a flying fish arcs through the night-dark water five miles off Palm Beach, Florida.

Underwater, second place winner.

Typically a shy species, a Caribbean reef shark investigates a remote-triggered camera in Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen marine protected area.

Underwater, first place winner.

Blue-filtered strobe lights stimulate fluorescent pigments in the clear tentacles of a tube-dwelling anemone in Hood Canal, Washington.

Underwater, honorable mention.

Preparing to strike, tarpon cut through a ribbon-like school of scad off the coast of Bonaire in the Caribbean Sea.

Underwater, people’s choice award.

A Portuguese man-of-war nears the beach on a summer morning; thousands of these jellyfish wash up on Australia’s eastern coast every year.

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