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Lava Kiss: My husband and I, along with a tour guide and a group of friends, hiked up to what was formerly the Royal Gardens subdivision above Kalapana, Hawaii, where the last standing house was just recently taken over by the active lava flow. While waiting for the rain to pass, we started taking back-lit portraits of each other in front of the lava flow after I set up my camera on the tripod. For the last photo, my husband spontaneously dipped me in a kiss. It was a truly once-in-a-lifetime moment!
The Cave: Deep, blue and cold. The frightening experience of climbing inside an ice cave on the north face of alpine summit at 3,800 m above sea level is very difficult to describe in words. Especially in summer, when all the glacial ice melts making the place for completely new formations. You need to stay focused, pay attention to every single move and commit yourself entirely to this climb. The reward?! An amazing experience of climbing something pure and truly unique. (© Kamil Tamiola/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
Good Bye Old Friend: Elephants are legendary for their memory and intelligence including attributes associated with grief, making music, altruism and compassion. We came across this elephant whose corpse was overcome by vultures and jackals. From a distance we heard and then saw another elephant approaching at a fast pace. She was successful at chasing away the predators and then very slowly and with much empathy wrapped her trunk around the deceased elephants tusk. She stayed in this position for several hours guarding her friend. (© John Chaney/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
Dragon Wave: This photo was taken from the rocks at Ke'e beach, as a wave formed into the shape of a dragon. (© Lace Andersen/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
While working as a fishing guide in Tofino, British Columbia I had this humpback calf jump no more than 10 feet away from the boat. On our way in from fishing for halibut we noticed a few humpback whales playing in the distance and we stopped part way in to watch. It was quite an experience to see something completely airborne so close to the boat. The lucky thing was I got the photo I submitted. A fellow boat also got a picture of the whale close to mid air and it was also all caught on video. Was an amazing day. (© Matthew Thornton/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)
Underwater Surf: Taken at Cloud Break at an outer reef in Fiji, a surfer duck dives his board to clear the rolling waves of the raw ocean. (© Lucia Griggi/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)