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National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2012 Winners

National Geographic Traveler Magazine recently announced the winners of their 24th annual photo contest. The photos were chosen from four categories, including Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments. The contest recieved more than 15,000 entries from over 150 countries around the world. Below are the 11 breathtaking winning photos. To learn more, go to the contest homepage or click on the photos. Enjoy!   

Viewers' Choice Winner: Huset, Photo and caption by Michelle Schantz. A lonely cabin is illuminated under the Northern Lights in Finnmark, Norway.First Place Winner: Butterfly, Photo and caption by Cedric Houin. This image was shot in the Kyrgyz lands of the Wakhan Corridor.Merit Winner: Bagan Bliss, Photo and caption by Peter DeMarco. More than 2,000 Buddhist temples and pagodas fill the plains of Bagan. Once the capital of the Pagan Empire, farmers now raise their livestock within the centuries old complex.Merit Winner: Looking into Another World, Photo and caption by Fred An. This is the great Japanese maple tree in the Portland Japanese Gardens. I tried to bring a different perspective of this frequently photographed tree.Merit Winner: The Village of Gásadalur, Photo and caption by Ken Bower. The village of Gásadalur and the island of Mykines in the background.Third Place Winner: Devotees, Photo and caption by Andrea Guarneri. During the Easter holy celebration called “Misteri” in Trapani, the devotees carry the scenes of Christ’s passion on their shoulders all night long.Merit Winner: Swimming in the Rain, Photo and caption by Camila Massu. My sister in the south of Chile. We are sitting at home next to the fireplace in our southern lake house when it suddenly began to pour uncontrollably. Had to rush into the lake to take this snapshot!Second Place Winner: My Balloon, Photo and caption by Vo Anh Kiet. H'mong children play with their balloons on a foggy day in Moc Chau, Son La province, Vietnam; photographed January 2012. Merit Winner: Underwater Surf, Photo and caption by Lucia Griggi. Taken at Cloud Break at an outer reef in Fiji, a surfer duck dives his board to clear the rolling waves of the raw ocean.Merit Winner: Lost in Time - An Ancient Forest, Photo and caption by Ken Thorne. Near the city of Morondava, on the West coast of Madagascar lies an ancient forest of Baobab trees. Walking amongst these giants is like nothing else on this planet.Merit Winner: Old Men with Djellaba, Photo and caption by SauKhiang Chau. The Last Supper Of Da Vinci? No, They are just some old men of Chefchaouen with djellaba, sitting and talking each other.
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