Peep these pics: National Geographic's 20 most spectacular photographs from 2017.

When a National Geographic photo editor calls your work "spectacular," you know you've done well.

On Dec. 12, National Geographic announced the winners of its 2017 Nature Photographer of the Year Contest.

Divided into four categories (landscapes, underwater, aerials, and wildlife) and selected from more than 11,000 entries, these winning images represent some of the most stunning, unforgettable, and, yes, spectacular visions of the natural world.

And, by the way, National Geographic has made all of these images available as wallpapers.

Check out this year's amazing winners below.

Landscapes, people's choice winner — Wojciech Kruczyński's "Kalsoy"

Sunset illuminates a lighthouse and rainbow in the Faroe Islands. Photo by Wojciech Kruczyński/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Landscapes, honorable mention — Gheorghe Popa's "Cold and Misty"

Morning fog blurs the dead trees of Romania’s Lake Cuejdel, a natural reservoir created by landslides. Photo by Gheorghe Popa/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Landscapes, third place — Mike Olbinski's "Illuminate"

A summer thunderstorm unleashes lightning on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Photo by Mike Olbinski/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Landscapes, second place — Yuhan Liao's "Dushanzi Grand Canyon"

Sunlight glances off mineral strata of different colors in Dushanzi Grand Canyon, China. Caption and photo by Yuhan Liao/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Landscapes, first place — Karim Iliya's "Firefall"

Shortly before twilight in Kalapana, Hawai’i, a fragment of the cooled lava tube broke away, leaving the molten rock to fan in a fiery spray for less than half an hour before returning to a steady flow. Photo by Karim Iliya/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Underwater, people's choice winner — Matthew Smith's "Drift"

A Portuguese man-of-war navigates close to the beach on a summer morning; thousands of these jellyfish wash up on Australia's eastern coast each year. Photo by Matthew Smith/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Underwater, honorable mention — Jennifer O'Neil's "Predators on a Bait Ball"

Preparing to strike, tarpon cut through a ribbon-like school of scad off the coast of Bonaire in the Caribbean Sea. Photo by Jennifer O'Neil/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Underwater, third place — Michael Patrick O'Neill's "Flying Fish in Motion"

Buoyed by the Gulf Stream, a flying fish arcs through the night-dark water five miles off Palm Beach, Florida. Photo by Michael O'Neill/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Underwater, second place — Shane Gross' "In Your Face"

Typically a shy species, a Caribbean reef shark investigates a remote-triggered camera in Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen marine protected area. Photo by Shane Gross/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Underwater, first place — Jim Obester's "Fluorescent Anemone"

Blue-filtered strobe lights stimulate fluorescent pigments in the clear tentacles of a tube-dwelling anemone in Hood Canal, Washington. Photo by Jim Obester/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Aerials, people's choice winner — David Swindler's "Meandering Canyon"

Green vegetation blooms at the river’s edge, or riparian, zone of a meandering canyon in Utah. Caption and photo by David Swindler/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Aerials, honorable mention — Agathe Bernard's "Life After Life"

Migratory gulls take flight from a cedar tree being washed downstream by a glacial river in British Columbia, Canada. Photo by Agathe Bernard/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Aerials, third place — Greg C.'s "Drip"

On the flanks of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai’i, the world’s only lava ocean entry spills molten rock into the Pacific Ocean. After erupting in early 2016,the lava flow took about two months to reach the sea, six miles away. Photo by Greg C./2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Aerials, second place — Takahiro Bessho's "From Above"

Snow-covered metasequoia trees, also called dawn redwoods, interlace over a road in Takashima, Japan. Photo by Takahiro Bessho/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Aerials, first place — Todd Kennedy's "Rock Pool"

In Sydney, Australia, the Pacific Ocean at high tide breaks over a natural rock pool enlarged in the 1930s. Avoiding the crowds at the city’s many beaches, a local swims laps. Photo by Todd Kennedy/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Wildlife, people's choice winner — Harry Collins' "Great Gray Owl"

A great gray owl swoops to kill in a New Hampshire field. Photo by Harry Collins/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Wildlife, honorable mention — Lance McMillan's "Macaque Maintenance"

A Japanese macaque indulges in some grooming time on the shores of the famous hot springs. Photo by Lance McMillan/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Wildlife, third place — Bence Mate's "White Fighters"

Two grey herons spar as a white-tailed eagle looks on in Hungary. Photo by Bence Mate/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Wildlife, second place — Alejandro Prieto's "Mother's Love"

An adult Caribbean pink flamingo feeds a chick in Yucatán, Mexico. Both parents alternate feeding chicks, at first with a liquid baby food called crop milk, and then with regurgitated food. Photo by Alejandro Prieto/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Wildlife, first place and the grand winner overall — Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan's "Face to Face in a River in Borneo"

Bojan's photograph was chosen for both the winner of the wildlife category and the best photograph overall. For his work, he received a tidy prize of $10,000 and a spread in the print magazine.

A male orangutan peers from behind a tree while crossing a river in Borneo, Indonesia. Photo by Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan/2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Orangutans don't normally like wading through rivers (especially rivers inhabited by crocodiles), but sometimes the choice is unavoidable. Bojan had heard of this male orangutan's rare behavior and spent a day and night sitting near a river in Indonesian Borneo's Tanjung Puting National Park in order to see it for himself. When the ape finally appeared, Bojan actually waded into the river to get this shot.

"Honestly, sometimes you just go blind when things like this happen," said Bojan in a press release. "You’re so caught up. You really don’t know what’s happening. You don’t feel the pain, you don’t feel the mosquito bites, you don’t feel the cold, because your mind is completely lost in what’s happening in front of you."

Thanks to Bojan, National Geographic, and all the other very talented photographers who entered this contest, we all have a chance to get lost in it too.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House!


The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.


The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.

After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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