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Namibia

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The National Geographic Traveler Magazine photo contest, now in its 25th year, has begun. There is still plenty of time to enter. The entry deadline is Sunday, June 30, at 11:59 p.m. Entrants may submit their photographs in any or all of the four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. The magazine's photo editors showcase their favorite entries each week in galleries. You can also vote for your favorites. "The pictures increasingly reflect a more sophisticated way of seeing and interpreting the world, making the judging process more difficult," says Keith Bellows, magazine editor in chief. (The captions are written by the entrants, some slightly edited for readability.) As always, you can take a look at some of last year's entries and winners.. -- Paula Nelson ( 40 photos total)
OUTDOOR SCENES - Portrait of an Eastern Screech Owl - Masters of disguise. The Eastern Screech Owl is seen here doing what they do best. You better have a sharp eye to spot these little birds of prey. Okeefenokee Swamp, Georgia, USA. (Photo and caption by Graham McGeorge/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)     

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National Geographic is currently holding its annual photo contest, with the deadline for submissions coming up on November 30. For the past nine weeks, the society has been gathering and presenting galleries of submissions, encouraging readers to vote for them as well. National Geographic was kind enough to let me choose among its entries from 2011 for display here on In Focus. Gathered below are 45 images from the three categories of People, Places, and Nature, with captions written by the individual photographers. [45 photos]

Many people pilgrimage to Uluru, but what is seen there often depends on where you've come from. (© Robert Spanring)

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All it takes are two groups of people, one to gather and one to march past them. Parades took place across the globe these past two months for a variety of celebrations, from shows of military power, to tributes to organized labor, to pride for one’s country or culture. -- Lloyd Young (37 photos total)
Performers dance in the street parade at the annual Notting Hill Carnival in central London Aug. 29.. Revelers flocked to west London for one of Europe's biggest street parties, with record numbers of police on duty to prevent a repetition of riots that shook the British capital three weeks ago. Notting Hill Carnival, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture that usually draws about 1 million people for a colorful procession of musicians and performers. (Olivia Harris/Reuters)

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by Claire O'Neill

Tinted orange by the morning sun, a soaring dune is the backdrop for the hulks of camel thorn trees in Namib-Naukluft Park.
Frans Lanting/National Geographic

Tinted orange by the morning sun, a soaring dune is the backdrop for the hulks of camel thorn trees in Namib-Naukluft Park.

I can't quite put a finger on what this reminds me of — other than something someone would paint. But it is, in fact, a photo, taken in Namibia by Frans Lanting for a story in National Geographic's June issue.

Lanting explains how he did it in a Nat Geo Q&A:

It was made at dawn when the warm light of the morning sun was illuminating a huge red sand dune dotted with white grasses while the white floor of the clay pan was still in shade. It looks blue because it reflects the color of the sky above. ... The perfect moment came when the sun reached all the way down to the bottom of the sand dune just before it reached the desert floor. I used a long telephoto lens and stopped it all the way down to compress the perspective.

Here's what the scene looks like from a wider vantage point.

Slideshow

Photos of Namibia from National Geographic

Credit: Courtesy of National Geographic

The magazine story is about how, after gaining independence in 1990, Namibia became "one of the world's first nations to write environmental protection into its constitution." Today, nearly half of Namibia is set aside as park land. Lanting's photos show flourishing coastal parks and the animals they protect.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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