The annual National Geographic photography contest is under way. In Focus at the Atlantic (link via Kottke) has a selection of 45 of the best pictures. Many of them are truly astonishing. I’ll add my five favourites below but you should really check them all out on In Focus or at the official site.

Related: Here are some of my favourite contenders from last year.

Russia, polar region of West Siberia, Tazovsky Peninsula. The foreman of a group of reindeer shepherds examines a herd with the aid of binoculars. (© Dmitriy Nikonov)


Cage divers confront a great white shark. (© David Litchfield)

Grandfather photographer (© Christopher Bellezza)

This lynx (Lynx Canadensis) flinches its ear at bothersome gnats in the late evening summer sun in Alaska. (© Jimmy Tohill) - I would recaption this photo "Sardonic Lynx" and then maybe suggest that that would be a good band name.

Climbing the Harding Ice-field trail in the rain, an adult black bear eating in front of a glowing blue glacier. (© Colin McCrindle)

Was that five already? DAMN. My other favourites are here and here and here. But seriously, there is so much more awesomeness there.