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 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.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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The year 2018 was a pivotal one in the produce industry, the Red Delicious was supplanted as the most popular apple in America by the sweeter, crisper Gala.

It was only a matter of time. The Red Delicious looked the part of the king of the apples with its deep red, flawless skin. But its interior was soft, mealy, and pretty bland. The Red Delicious was popular for growers because its skin hid any bruises and it was desired by consumers because of its appearance.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."