A gorgeous long exposure trail of fireflies at night, a large, green sea turtle coming in for a close-up, and an overly friendly polar bear? (Oh hai!) This could all just mean one thing. The National Geographic Photo Contest is back and the entries are better than ever. Now accepting images in any of these three categories: People, Places and Nature, this year's winner will receive a cool $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2015. The First Place winner in each category will each receive $2,500 and his/her winning photograph will be published in National Geographic magazine. The contest rules are online here. Here are just some of our favorites.

As always, good luck!

Above: Arctic Hi-Five
Photo Location: Svalbard
Two polar bear cubs full of adrenaline on iceflow in Svalbard. The mother was just trying to have a quiet stroll but the cubs were not having any of that. This was the male cub and he just was so entertaining to watch.
Photo and caption by Colin Mackenzie, National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Above Big Sur
Photo Location: Big Sur, California
I'd gone to Big Sur to watch the gray whale migration from the cliffs, but it was too foggy to even see the water. I decided to hike up the Baronda Trail to see if I could get above the fog. This view was my reward. Miles of lupine and blue skies. Outstanding!
Photo and caption by Douglas Croft, National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Mom's Love
Photo Location: Jakarta
The Mother Bird;s feeding time.
Photo and caption by Cherly Jong, National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

A Tree Dreaming
Photo Location: Strezlecki desert australia
In the Strezlecki desert of Australia, a flock of galahs replenish on the only small water available at the base of this lonely tree. It’s a rare photo opportunity to get such a clear and symmetrical shot of these beautiful birds in flight in the middle of the desert.
Photo and caption by Christian Spencer, National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Photo Location: Point Defiance Zoo, Tacoma, WA, United States
Capturing this gentle giant's inquisitive nature was rather easy as he swam right up to us and just stared for several long seconds. I love all the bubbles and his cute little face.
Photo and caption by Misty Gage, National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Photo Location: Nicosia, Cyprus
When the Mediterrenean Mantis opened its wings, It seemed very impressive at the sunshine ...
Photo and caption by Hasan Baglar National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Pegadung Rock
Photo Location: Lampung, Indonesia
Pegadung Rock known as rock screen (Batu Layar) and Shark Teeth (Gigi Hiu) because the shape of the cluster of rocks resembling shark teeth.
Photo and caption by Henry Adam, National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Photo Location: Japan
Glass eel fishing season starts in Japan in the winter. Hunters illuminate the water with a mercury lamp from onboard and scoop up eel fry gathering in the light with a small net. During the new moon, hunters search for glass eel and wander about with many lights in the estuaries.
Photo and caption by Yusuke Sakai, National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

From the Sky
Photo location: Tenerfe (Canary Islands)
On the coast of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, we have quite the selection of affectionate green turtles (chelonia mydas). I find myself devoting much time to these curious creatures. This turtle was coming fron the surface with the sun behind it, and the sunrays surrounding it gave it a special majesty.
Photo and caption by Montse Grillo, National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Searching for Love
Photo Location: Brevard, North Carolina
Blue Ghost Fireflies in Brevard, North Carolina. Blue Ghost fireflies are unique because they stay lit and only hover about a foot off the ground.
Photo and caption by Spencer Black, National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

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