Photographer Justin Hofman was snorkeling along the beautiful coast of Indonesia when the tide swept a mountain of garbage his way.

Photo by Justin Hofman used with permission.

"It was really quite gross," he says. He had been snapping underwater photos of the brilliant coral and different kinds of interesting fish when his field of view was suddenly swamped with trash and sewage.

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The Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest is basically "Planet Earth" meets "Survivor."

For the past 52 years, the competition has introduced us to some of the most remarkable images of the natural world. This year was no different, attracting nearly 50,000 submissions from professional and amateur photographers from around the world.

On Sept. 12, the contest managed to narrow that astounding number of entries down to a handful of finalists, releasing just some of those finalists' incredible images to the public. From the intimidating glare of a bald eagle to tender moments between a mama bear and cub, each one of these images is a truly remarkable glimpse into life on Earth.

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