2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Lighting Up the Night

Photo and caption by Manish Mamtani/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

There's nothing like a great collection of travel photography to inspire you to see the world for yourself. In the self-portrait above, photographer Manish Mamtani poses under an impressive natural arch while a star-soaked night sky looms above.

"I was out in the Arches National Park to take night pictures, but the clouds moved in," Mamtani writes. "I waited for about two hours in the car and finally the sky cleared and I got this image. This selfie image was shot at the windows section."

Mamtani's striking photograph is just one of many submitted to the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, which invites amateur and professional photographers to share their remarkable travel experiences.

Think you have what it takes? The contest's call for entries closes on June 30, so there's plenty of time to try your hand at creating a potentially award-winning shot. If you need a little extra motivation, keep in mind that the grand prize winner will receive an eight-day National Geographic Photographic Expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two people.

Continue below for more contest entries, paired with captions written by the photographers.

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Ocean World

Photo and caption by Chris Schmid/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

"Birdview of a surfer in the famous beach of Praia Mole located in Florianopolis, Brazil. This image has been made with the help of a drone."

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Frozen in Time

Photo and caption by Shane Wheel/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

"Ice cave at the Vatnajokull Glacier in Iceland."

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Jal Mahal during sunrise

Photo and caption by Ravikanth Kurma/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

"Beautiful view of Jalmahal during sunrise. I wanted to capture the palace and other two water structures also in the frame. That's why I have used an ultra wide angle lens to capture this frame. Not many tourists visit the place at dawn, so the location is bit peaceful early in the morning. And locals visit the lake in the morning and feed the pigeons and fish in pond. These pigeons keeps flying across the lake once in a while, which I used to fill my frame."

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Colours of Earth

Photo and caption by Maja Bednas/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

"People in Dharavi slum in Mumbai work hard, producing mostly recycled articles and pottery. The posture of these two women at the local pottery store, taking a short break for conversation, express dignity, while the colours of their saris perfectly blend with the scenery."

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Camping on the diving board

Photo and caption by Matthew Saville/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

"As technology shrinks the world around us, it becomes more and more difficult to find ourselves truly lost in the outdoors. This makes those particular moments and scenes that much more special. Getting to the Diving Board was quite a challenge, as there is no official trail. For anybody who is prepared, careful, and respectful of nature, the reward is one of the most breathtaking views in all of Yosemite, in my opinion."

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: When conditions are right

Photo and caption by Lee Scott/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

"Giant waves converge and jump together along the Napali coast of Kauai. An early season northwest swell and the position of the autumn sun made this shot possible, but what really makes it special to me is the bird flying in the corner of the frame. This little moment of life adds balance to the image and reminds me that the mundane often make the spectacular."

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Tribal make-up artist

Photo and caption by S. Ram/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

"Taken at a Karo Village in the Omo Valley of Ethiopia. The Karo are famous for their body-paint culture and skill. Away from the crowded village square, I found this 'make up artist' focused on applying make-up on a young woman. Using a Q-tip as a brush he used a Georges Seurat like Pointillism technique! The calm focused look of the artist is contrasted by the nervous, perspiring client — perhaps unsure about the results (or my camera :-)"

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: Last light on Godafoss, Iceland

Photo and caption by Ed Graham/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

"I had a tripod set up on Godafoss waterfall in Iceland last month. I used a 10 stop ND filter to capture the movement of the water as the sun set in the distance."

2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest: White Rhinos

Photo and caption by Stefane Berube/National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

"The night before this photo, we tried all day to get a good photo of the endangered white rhino. Skulking through the grass carefully trying to stay 30 feet away to be safe, didn't provide me the photo I was hoping for. In the morning however, I woke up to all three rhinos grazing in front of me."

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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.

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