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Through nature's looking glass

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National Geographic has crowned the winners of its prestigious annual 2013 Photo Contest, with a striking image a polar bear peering through melting ice taking the top prize.

As part of the four-week competition, which concluded November 30, professional photographers and amateurs alike from over 150 countries submitted more than 7,000 diverse entries in three categories: people, places and nature.

The competition was judged on creativity and photographic quality by a panel of experts, among them National Geographic Magazine Senior Photo Editor Susan Welchman and documentary photographers Stephanie Sinclair and Ed Kashi, who were tasked with selecting the winners.

First prize recipient Paul Souders, who caught a glimpse of a polar bear in Manitoba, Canada, will be awarded $10,0000 and a trip to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC, to take part in an annual photography seminar next month.

The winning print will also be published in National Geographic Magazine.

Over its 125-year history, the magazine has been a destination for high-quality photography depicting life around the planet.

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Wow, they are incredible!

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