14fisheyes alex/ 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest

Every year, photographers around the globe submit digital photographs to National Geographic's prestigious contest.

A selection of photos from this year's competition have just been released, and they are spectacular.

Judges evaluate these photographs on their creativity, photographic quality, and authenticity of the content. They are sorted into three categories of people, places, and nature. All images were taken within the past two years. The 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest is accepting entries through November 16.

Below are 12 of our favorites.

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