At the close of the Voting Phase, National Geographic learned of a technical failure in our voting mechanism, which erroneously allowed each voting participant an unlimited number of votes in the Contest. For that reason, National Geographic has determined that it cannot rely on the voting tally to determine "the highest number of valid votes" as anticipated in the Official Rules. Because the voting tally cannot fairly be relied upon, we have decided to award a First Prize to both Finalists in each Theme Category (a First Prize will be awarded to each of the twelve Finalists). Our Official Judge, Jim Richardson, has determined the Grand Prize winner from among the twelve Finalists without regard to the Voting Phase, applying the Judging Criteria.

Check out the gallery of First Place prize winners below! And find out which of the 12 overall finalists has won the Grand Prize -- a trip for two (2) to Greece and their photograph published in an Energizer ad in the December 2010 issue of National Geographic Magazine.


First Place Winner

Photo and Caption by Reed Miller

By the Sweat of Thy Brow

The male bald eagle brings in a duck for dinner to his mate and two young chicks.

Jim's Comments
Eagle pictures abound but this one is just over the top. What a moment in the life of an eagle family when dinner arrives. Beyond the precise action, the image includes the setting from an angle that is rarely seen and very tough to get. An engaging moment.

First Place Winner

Photo and Caption by Brian Overcast

Battling Egrets at Lake Chapala, Mexico

A pair of egrets fight over food during the annual migration of white pelicans near the village of Petatan, Michoacan in Mexico.

Jim's Comments
This poetic dance of egrets is stunning for it's elegant action precisely captured and elegantly composed. The icing on the cake is the sea of birds behind and all of it graced with the far mountain balancing the aerial ballet.

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Six Categories

Animals / Wildlife

Our Partners in Life

Photo: Zebras

The animals of planet Earth share our home and bring joy to our lives. Whether we see them in some remote vast wilderness, or snug asleep on our sofa at home, these creatures share our world and enrich us with their beauty, bravery—and sometimes with their antics. Pictures in this category should celebrate our partners in life.


Earth in All Its Glory

Photo: Volcano

From the grandeur of the cosmos down to the world within a drop of water, nature casts a spell on us with stunning landscapes, towering forests, graceful geology, and the never-ending wonder of how our planet is clothed in beauty. Pictures in this category can explore everything from insect life to landscapes and flowers. (But anything focusing on animals should be entered in that category.)

People / Cultures

The Lives We Live

Photo: Men in Traditional Dress

As citizens of the planet, we find a lot of ways of expressing who we are, what we like to eat, what calls for a celebration, what we wear, and how we look at life. We are rich in cultures. Photography can help us share that richness. Pictures in this category should focus on how people live and make their lives meaningful.


The Joy of Encounter

Photo: Pyramids

Travel photographs bring back our experiences as we travel the world (even if that exotic location is in our own backyard.) This category is about the joy and adventure of traveling and exploring. Pictures here should show the experiences of traveling and the unexpected joys of encountering the world and making new friends.


Redecorating the Earth

Photo: Rainbow

Weather constantly remakes our world into something we hadn't quite expected. Children delight to wake up to a world covered in snow, farmers give thanks for long-awaited rain, frost casts its magic on our windowpanes, and sultry afternoons make us drowsy. Pictures here should convey all the ways that weather keeps us guessing and delighted.

Action / Energy

The World in Motion

Photo: Men Rowing

Energy makes action and action makes great pictures. The top of the leap, the speed of flight, the arc of the throw, the splash of the stream, and the blur of laughter—all make for great pictures of life as it happens. Pictures in this category can be crystal clear stop-action or dreamy blurs of motion-in-time. Either way the action and energy are fun to capture.

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