As a leader in capturing our world through brilliant imagery, National Geographic sets the standard for photographic excellence. For their 2012 photo contest, more than 22,000 entries were submitted from over 150 countries, with professional photographers and amateur photo enthusiasts across the globe participating. Photographs were submitted in three categories: people, places and nature (in this post the winners of the nature category). The competition was judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts comprised of natural history photographer Christian Ziegler and documentary photographers Gerd Ludwig and Debbie Fleming Caffery. The Grand Prize Winner have won $10,000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2013: A behind-the-scenes experience like none other.