National Geographic Traveler photographer of the year contest's most stunning entries

  • These amazing travel snaps are in the running for National Geographic Traveler’s photographer of the year contest
  • They include a breathtaking image of a young man on horseback as a volcano erupts on an island in Indonesia
  • In another astonishing snap, lightning appears to strike Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in the Australian Outback 

Volcanoes belching lava and ash, lions play-fighting in the African desert and the Northern Lights over an icy landscape - these are the dramatic images that every tourist would love to add to their photo album.

Captured at some of the world's best beauty spots, the spectacular snaps reveal the divide between the tranquillity and fury of Mother Nature.

And they are among the most breathtaking shots that are in the running for National Geographic Traveler's coveted photographer of the year contest

The annual competition celebrates the best in travel photography with entrants submitting snaps from their time in destinations such as Australian Outback, the valleys of Norway and the Great Plains of the US.

Among the astonishing photos is Reynold Dewantara jaw-dropping shot of a young man on horseback as Mount Bromo erupts at Probolinggo, East Java, Indonesia. A massive plume of smoke pours from the volcano, filling the sky with black ash.

Another stunning image shows streaks of lightning over Uluru, or Ayers Rock, at Yulara, Northern Territory, Australia. The image is one of several mesmerising submissions from photographer Christoph Schaarschmidt.  

Photographers have until May 27 to enter the competition. The grand prize winner will receive a seven-day polar bear photo safari for two in Churchill, Manitoba, in Canada’s Arctic – the self-proclaimed polar bear capital of the world and a popular destination for nature photographers.

Christoph Schaarschmidt snapped this shot at Trollstigen, Norway, as the fog disappeared and a car drove along a winding road

Christoph Schaarschmidt snapped this shot at Trollstigen, Norway, as the fog disappeared and a car drove along a winding road

Backdropped by sunlight, an enormous supercell forms over the town of Blackhawk, South Dakota - leading to flash flooding in the state

Backdropped by sunlight, an enormous supercell forms over the town of Blackhawk, South Dakota - leading to flash flooding in the state

A wooden shed is caught in winter's icy grip on a frigid night on the top of a hill in Lapland, Finland, as the Northern Lights appear

A wooden shed is caught in winter's icy grip on a frigid night on the top of a hill in Lapland, Finland, as the Northern Lights appear

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is illuminated by several bolts of lightning as a storm rolls through Yulara, Northern Territory, Australia

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is illuminated by several bolts of lightning as a storm rolls through Yulara, Northern Territory, Australia

Photographer Reynold Dewantara snapped this dramatic picture as Mount Bromo erupted at Probolinggo, East Java, Indonesia

Photographer Reynold Dewantara snapped this dramatic picture as Mount Bromo erupted at Probolinggo, East Java, Indonesia

Two lions collide - with one leaping into the air - during a play-fight at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

Two lions collide - with one leaping into the air - during a play-fight at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in South Africa

Thierry Bornier waited a week to get the right conditions before capturing this early-morning shot of a village in the mist at Guizhou, China

Thierry Bornier waited a week to get the right conditions before capturing this early-morning shot of a village in the mist at Guizhou, China

During a snowstorm in Bryce Canyon, Utah, a single tree looks stark against the frozen landscape, where visibility was almost zero

During a snowstorm in Bryce Canyon, Utah, a single tree looks stark against the frozen landscape, where visibility was almost zero

Photographer Gaby Barathieu witnessed one of nature's greatest wonders as the La Fournaise volcano erupted on Réunion Island

Photographer Gaby Barathieu witnessed one of nature's greatest wonders as the La Fournaise volcano erupted on Réunion Island

Doris Landertinger's amazing photo shows a lone springbok grazing in front of a dune at Swakopmund, Erong in the Namibian Desert

Doris Landertinger's amazing photo shows a lone springbok grazing in front of a dune at Swakopmund, Erong in the Namibian Desert

Utah proved to be a popular beauty spot for photographers. This image shows the Balanced Rock and a lone tree in Arches National Park

Utah proved to be a popular beauty spot for photographers. This image shows the Balanced Rock and a lone tree in Arches National Park

Tourists flock to Minobu, Japan, every year to see the cherry blossoms. Smoke from a bonfire adds a fantastic effect to this photograph

Tourists flock to Minobu, Japan, every year to see the cherry blossoms. Smoke from a bonfire adds a fantastic effect to this photograph

The long drive and hike were more than worth it when Kenji Yamamura encountered this stunning scene in the Utah desert

The long drive and hike were more than worth it when Kenji Yamamura encountered this stunning scene in the Utah desert

This photo, called 'The Spaceship', was taken last December as Massimo Rumi sailed to Antarctica on a 54-ft long-haul steel vessel ship

This photo, called 'The Spaceship', was taken last December as Massimo Rumi sailed to Antarctica on a 54-ft long-haul steel vessel ship

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, in California's Death Valley National Park, play a visual trick in this image taken shortly after sunrise

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, in California's Death Valley National Park, play a visual trick in this image taken shortly after sunrise

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