This year’s National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest is now open and runs until 30 June. Photographers of all levels are invited to submit their most spectacular shots to the annual competition. The official categories are Nature, Cities, and People, with pictures ranging from exotic animals to jaw-dropping rural landscape. We take a look at some of the early entries in the nature category.

The Travel Photographer of the Year Contest is designed to elevate new talent, and showcase their captivating images on National Geographic Travel’s influential platforms. The grand-prize winner with receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos as well as the prestigious title of National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year.

Blue pond, the stellar sky by Nao Akimoto

Blue pond, the stellar sky by Nao Akimoto

In Your Face by Shane Gross

In Your Face by Shane Gross

Little Eyewitness by Hidetoshi Ogata

Little Eyewitness by Hidetoshi Ogata

Lonely Salt Lake by Stas Bartnikas

Lonely Salt Lake by Stas Bartnikas

Lost in white by Adam Cunningham-White

Lost in white by Adam Cunningham-White

Morning Cranes by Hiroki Inoue

Morning Cranes by Hiroki Inoue

Moss Forest by Tetsuya Hosokawa

Moss Forest by Tetsuya Hosokawa

Powerful cloud by Takashi

Powerful cloud by Takashi

Swallows Cave by Marc Henauer

Swallows Cave by Marc Henauer

SymmetryrtemmyS by Hiroshi Tanita

SymmetryrtemmyS by Hiroshi Tanita

The Mirror by Takahiro Bessho

The Mirror by Takahiro Bessho

The Salt Miners by Tugo Cheng

The Salt Miners by Tugo Cheng

More info: website