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For their 24th annual photo contest, National Geographic received more than 12,000 entries from 6,615 talented photographers in 152 countries around the globe – culminating in a variety of awe-inspiring and at times heartbreaking images. Entries were judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of photographic experts – including National Geographic contributing photographer Alexandra Avakian who dished out a prize pack that featured a National Geographic Galápagos photography expedition, Santa Fe workshop, National Geographic Traveler Seminar, and a $200 USD gift certificate to B&H Photo. The entire gallery of winners and editorial insights behind the stunning works can be perused here.