We’re hardwired to seek out water. The majority of the world's population today lives near some form, settling along coastlines, bays, or rivers. For vacation, we head to sandy shores or soak in the views of alpine lakes for ultimate relaxation. Divers get an adrenaline rush when exploring underwater worlds. Hikers find complete solace upon reaching a plunging waterfall. Water boosts our minds, spirits, and bodies.
The 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest is underway, and the entries already reflect this inherent human nature. Many stunning submissions feature watery wonders, from cherry blossoms mirrored in Japan to an undersea scene in Vanuatu. Take a look at some of our editors' favorites so far, then be sure to submit your best shot.