John Bloomenkamp's red fox nature photo

Photo: John Blumenkamp

It's no surprise that we love nature photography around here, and we're always excited when a prestigious contest announces winners, so we can see some of the best-of-the-best images of the year. The North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) just released its 2014 Showcase, the collection of the top 250 winners out of the thousands of photographs submitted by entrants. Only the top nature and wildlife photos make it into this gallery, and images featuring animals from around the world have risen to the top.

Though this is only a tiny sampling of the incredible photos, here are some favorites from the showcase to give you a taste of what to expect:

gator eye shine photo

Alligator Eyeshine, Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, Fla. (Photo: Lawrence Michael Lynch)

geese take flight in autumn photo

Canada geese flying out over Lake San Antonio, San Antonio Lake, Calif. (Photo: Donald R. Quintana)

musk oxen

Musk oxen, Alaska (Photo: Tin Man Lee)

booted racket-tail hummingbirds photo

Booted rackettails fighting, Sachatamia Lodge, Mindo, Ecuador (Photo: Nate Chappell)

ring-billed gull photo

Ring-billed gull in dramatic pose at sunset, Conneaut, Ohio (Photo: Melissa Groo)

frog in leaf photo

Tree frog in curled up leaf, New Port Richey, Fla. (Photo: Cheryl Arena Molennor)

mexican ground squirrel drinking photo

Mexican ground squirrel, McCook, Texas (Photo: Nancy A. Elwood)

red fox running photo

A red fox runs past in a pan blur shot, Katmai National Park, Alaska (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

parrot snake and ginger flower photo
Parrot Snake on Ginger Flower, The Lodge at Pico Bonito, Honduras (Photo: Fi Rust)

If you enjoy these photos, head over to the NANPA 2014 Showcase and check out all the winners!

Related posts on MNN:

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Nature photographer contest winners show off their amazing images
The North American Nature Photography Association announces the winners for its 2014 Showcase, and the 250 top images are now on display.