by Michael dEstries
Categories: Animals, Causes, Entertainment, Internet.
Photo: Main photo by Sonja Hall

National Geographic’s 2011 Photo Contest is in full swing, with professionals to amateurs submitting their pics for a shot at the $10,000 grand prize. Like past years, there are hundreds of photos out of the thousands submitted that could find a place of honor and awe on any wall. For a taste, I browsed the nature category (more than 6,500 submitted!) and chose 8 facial portraits that caught my eye. Check them out below  – and let us know if you spot one that blows your senses and deserves praise!

This stunning shot of an owl with its eyes closed was captured  in the Netherlands and taken by Robin Utrecht. You can view more of her entries here.

Like something straight out of a Pixar film, this colorful gathering of locusts is perhaps the kindest shot I’ve ever seen of these voracious insects. It was taken by Michaela Webb, who noticed the group shot outside of her resort lodge in the Philippines.

The title of this entry is “Froggy-Dog Eyes” and it’s easy to see why. I’m not sure I’ve ever been been more enamored with an amphibian. Let’s do coffee.

Photo by Deborah Tannenbaum. You can see the rest of her entries here.

This entry, of a black-and-white hawk-eagle (commonly found in the jungles of Central and South America) is simply titled “Intense”. Yep. I’m basically ready to do this bird’s bidding. Just stop looking at me.

The shot was taken by Daniel Fox. You can see his other entry (a bevy of glowing croc eyes) here.

I love this photo for both its simplicity and profound beauty. It’s amazing how much the eye of an animal can tell us. The shot is of a Lusitanian horse in Colombia and was taken by Nicolas Guzman.

Commence tears in 3…2…1

Shot taken by Andrew Taverna of an Orangutan in the jungles of Borneo.

This Pilbara Olive Python is but a gentle reminder to never go swimming in Western Australia if you lack the neve to share the waters with certain species. According to photographer Magnus Peterson, this guy can grow to over 13ft long and tends to feed on small mammals – oh, and the occasional kangaroo. You can see his additional entries here.

My favorite by far – and one that should be embraced by all seeking to place animals in sanctuaries instead of zoos – is of this Silverback Gorilla at the Zoo Miami in South Florida. Photographer Sonja Hall writes in her entry, “I wanted to capture human empathy towards the captivity of the massive silverback.” Mission accomplished. Absolutely stunning. More tears.

Want to browse more of the thousands of entries over on the contest site? Hit the official gallery here – or submit your own photo before the deadline on November 30th.


About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

View all posts by Michael dEstries →
  • http://CampbellHillElementary Elder’s Reading Class

    My class loved these pictures. We are learning about Jane Goodall and agree we must get involved in conserving our wildlife!!!!!!

  • J Ali

    Very impressive picture of silverback. I would like to see more of these pictures. Is this a series? This picture allows a perspective from the gorilla. Incredible!