National Geographic Photo Contest: Blue Ghost Fireflies

Photo: Spencer Black/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Do you have what it takes?

It's that time of year again! Professional and amateur photographers alike are flocking to submit their best images of people, places and nature to the National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest. Submit your entries before the Oct. 31 deadline and you'll have a chance at winning $10,000 and a trip to the Nat Geo headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Dozens of artists have already sent in photos, including Spencer Black, an Asheville-based photographer who shot this gorgeous long exposure image (above) of Blue Ghost fireflies putting on a show in Brevard, North Carolina. Along with his entry, titled "Searching for Love," Black writes that these insects "are unique because they stay lit and only hover about a foot off the ground."

Some more amazing images that have already been entered into the nature category can be viewed below, with captions written by the respective photographers. To learn how to submit your own photos, be sure to read the contest rules and FAQ first!

National Geographic Photo Contest: Polar bear cubs

Photo: Colin Mackenzie/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Arctic Hi five — Svalbard

"Two polar bear cubs full of adrenaline on iceflow in Svalbard. The mother was just trying to have a quiet stroll but the cubs were not having any of that. This was the male cub and he just was so entertaining to watch."

National Geographic Photo Contest: Mother bird and young

Photo: Cherly Jong/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Mom's Love — Jakarta, India

"The Mother Bird feeding time."

National Geographic Photo Contest: Turtle

Photo: Montse Grillo/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

From the sky — Tenerfe, Canary Islands

"On the coast of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, we have quite the selection of affectionate green turtles (Chelonia mydas). I find myself devoting much time to these curious creatures. . This turtle was coming fron the surface with the sun behind it, and the sunrays surrounding it gave it a special majesty. Tenerife (Canary Islands) Spain Canon 7D, Canon 8-15mm, Subal Housing, 2x Subtronic strobes. F22, Iso 200, 1/160"

National Geographic Photo Contest: Praying mantis

Photo: Hasan Baglar/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Sunward — Nicosia, Cyprus

"When the Mediterranean Mantis opened its wings, It seemed very impressive at the sunshine ..."

National Geographic Photo Contest: Misty shore

Photo: Henry Adam/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Pegadung Rock — Lampung, Indonesia

"Pegadung Rock known as rock screen (Batu Layar) and Shark Teeth (Gigi Hiu) because the shape of the cluster of rocks resembling shark teeth."

National Geographic Photo Contest: Hanging lemur

Photo: Hendy Mp/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Warming up — Sambas, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

"This photo I capture in the early afternoon, the animal species of lemurs fly."

National Geographic Photo Contest: Puffin with fish

Photo: Peter Allinson/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Success — Iceland

"A puffin returns from a fishing expedition with a good catch."

National Geographic Photo Contest: Blue agave

Photo: Aaron Feinberg/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

Blue Agave — San Francisco, California

"Ah, the Agave plant. Filled with amazing patterns and textures. This particular subject was a great find while visiting San Francisco. Using some fun techniques I was able to get the light just right and the dimensionality of the plant just popped! It is definitely fun to take a moment and get intimate with nature."

National Geographic Photo Contest: Birds flying from tree

Photo: Christian Spencer/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest

A tree dreaming — Strezlecki Desert, Australia

"In the Strezlecki desert of Australia a flock of galahs replenish on the only small water available at the base of this lonely tree. It’s a rare photo opportunity to get such a clear and symmetrical shot of these beautiful birds in flight in the middle of the desert."

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Catie Leary is a photo editor at Mother Nature Network. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

Catie Leary ( @catieleary ) writes about science, travel, animals and the arts.

Fireflies and polar bears prime the pump for Nat Geo's annual photo contest
Professional and amateur photographers alike are flocking to submit their best images to the National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest.