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30 Stunning Photos From National Geographic’s Traveler Photo Contest 2014

30 Stunning Photos From National Geographic’s Traveler Photo Contest 2014

The 2014 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, the 26th edition of the competition, closed this week on June 30th. Photographers submit their photos taken in any film medium so long as they submit a digital file to the actual contest, and awards are given based on skill and creativity by a panel of photographic experts. Looking at these photographs gives us a sense of how vast our world is, how diverse its climates, and a remarkable sense of global community. The skill of the photographers is extraordinary, especially in those who have the ability to make those settings familiar to us seem otherworldly.

Below are several of the winning photographs for this year’s contest. Where would you like to visit most?

Iceberg in Antarctica

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    (Translated) “Aboard the Polar ship Brazilian Ary Rangel, on the way to Antarctica, the Iceberg is seen floating.” by Igo Bione

    Rome, Italy

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      “Instead of letting the menacing weather outlook cast a shadow on my short stay in Rome, I chose to embrace the moment.” by Bao-loc-yvan Tran

      Masai Mara, Kenya

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        “We found about 20 lions eating a buffalo. When the male [left] the group we anticipated him to take photos… The lion stops and looks down from the hill, another lion is coming up… The two meet, looking directly into their eyes, they sniff, rub against their heads, the tension drops, they start walking with the same step as when they were puppies, they are two brothers.” by Massimo Mei

        New South Wales, Australia

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          “I had the privilege of being asked to help out a small local Campdraft, by taking photographs to be used for post-event promotions in the local newspapers, industry magazines & for social media. I love having the opportunity to shoot something new and this two day event watching the amazing athleticism and skills of both horse and rider at the Baryulgil Campdraft, rates as one the best, especially when that late afternoon sun hit the low angles and lit up the dust magically!” by Katrina Wade

          Champagne-Ardennes, France

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            “…I had been on a stormchasing photo tour through France, Belgium and Germany while these countries were experiencing severe storms for several days in a row. In this nighttime image you can see nearly all optical features of a supercell under a clear starry sky thanks to very frequent intracloud lightning and moonlight.” by Maximilian Conrad

            North Cascade National Park, Washington, USA

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              “This picture was taken in the North Cascade National park, WA during a 4 day backcountry skiing tour. We linked multiple peaks and valleys, alone and free in the mountains, creating and cherishing our tracks up and down.” by Victor Mesny

              Bretagne, France

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                “2014, Saint Malo France” by Erwin van den Arend

                Churchill area, Manitoba, Canada

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                  “A four months old polar bear cub running after his sister.” by Meril Darees

                  Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh

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                    “Rubel (10) is a son of a fisherman. While his father goes fishing he awaits his return. Children accompany their fathers and learn their skills for the future. Many fishermen live along the beach beside the road between Cox’s Bazar and Teknaf. Fishing from sunrise to sunset they can barely earn around 60 Taka a day (less than a dollar).” by Gmb Akash

                    Te Waihou Walkway, Putaruru, New Zealand

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                      “People have long been drawn to Te Waihou. The river was an important thoroughfare and provided food and flax for local people and visitors alike. The reason for the blue colour (and visual clarity) of Te Waihou is the high optical purity of the water. Pure water is intrinsically blue in hue because it absorbs red light leaving only blue and (some) green light to be transmitted to the observer’s eye.” by Abby Lovis

                      Cape Cod, MA, USA

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                        “I had never seen a humpback whale breach before. On a recent trip to Cape Cod with some friends we took a small boat out to whale watch. We saw several humpbacks doing their thing with the flippers and the tail, but none breached. Then out of the blue this one whale breached pretty close to the boat… It’s amazing how these huge animals propel themselves out of the ocean and get so much air. Watching them up close gives me a whole new appreciation for these wonderful creatures.” by Raj Das

                        Charles River, Massachusetts, USA

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                          “A rower takes a sunrise sally on the Charles River, the waterway that slices through Boston, separating it from Cambridge. The early morning is a popular time for rowing, sculling, kayaking, and other activities.” by Bimal Nepal

                          Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Africa‬‏

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                            “It was a late afternoon, we saw two leopards fighting on a tree top. After a short clashing one of the leopards gave up and jump down.” by Yoel Schlaen

                            Tham Lod Cave, Thailand

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                              “One of the most spectacular natural caves I’ve ever adventured into, Tham Lod is a piece Mother Nature’s masterpieces in the Mae Hong Son region of Northern Thailand. The Lod is a natural limestone cave system, its main feature is the freshwater stream which runs through the middle of the cave for about 200-300 meters.” by Drew Hopper

                              Bimini, Bahamas

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                                “I was waiting at the surface as pretty much all these dolphins were feeding on the bottom. I kept trying to free dive down and get a photo, when I got to the bottom, I had to go back up. This moment was magical as they all came up at once, it was overwhelmingly beautiful.” by Nadia Aly

                                Beijing, China

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                                  “Picture taken in May 2014 on a NGE Photo Expedition. It was a fantastic day: clear sky, no tourists and a full moon!! We were totally blessed.” by Jose Balta

                                  Cao Bang Province, Vietnam

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                                    “This is the most beautiful waterfall in Northern Vietnamese province of Cao Bang. It is located in the border of Vietnam and China. Haft waterfall on the left photo is of Vietnam, the other side is of China.” by Son Tong Tran

                                    Lake Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand

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                                      “[The tree] put on quite a display for us one evening as the fog hung over the lake just before sunset. The rolling hills and snow covering providing a perfect backdrop for the frequent resting place of the birds from the area.” by Paul Reiffer

                                      Sondrio, Lombardy, Italy

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                                        “Walking on a snow day.” by Pisati Beniamino

                                        Kasaragod, India

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                                          “Preparation for the Theyyam performance in the surroundings of Kasaragod city. Theyyam is a popular ritual dance form of North Kerala, particularly in Kannur and Kasargod districts. The Theyyam represents a mythological, divine or heroic character. Make up of Theyyams is done by specialist. There are different types of face painting for which primarily and secondary colours are used. Therefore it is essential that the makeup man should have perfect knowledge of primary and secondary colour combinations. Sometimes, it takes several hours to paint each face.” by Rafal Ziejewski

                                          Bagan, Maynmar

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                                            “A novice monk reads a buddhist text in an old temple in Began. The light reflected perfectly off the pages of his book and the incense smoke was captured by the beaming light.” by Neil Herbert

                                            Luang Prabang, Laos

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                                              “A Khamu woman walking along a road in Nong Khiau, Laos.” by Paul Wager

                                              Hummingbird in Aruba

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                                                “Blue-Taled Hummingbird lands on the Hibiscus flower.” by Damilice Mansur

                                                National Stadium in Singapore

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                                                  “A group of workers seen on the roof of the new National Stadium of Singapore.” by Tong Leng Liew

                                                  Big Sur, California, USA

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                                                    “This shot is taken by the full moon light. The moon light is coming through a key hole. Only couple of times through the year can capture this.” by Kenji Yamamaura

                                                    Venice, Italy

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                                                      “Venice by morning.” by Vlad Da Cunha

                                                      Istanbul, Turkey

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                                                        “Fisherman smokes from Galata Bridge at sunset.” by Pisati Beniamino

                                                        Featured photo credit: Sunset with a chance of lightning & thunder/Yvan Tran via travel.nationalgeographic.com

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                                                        Last Updated on November 11, 2019

                                                        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                                                        How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                                                        Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                                                        To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                                                        Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                                                        1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                                                        Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                                                        Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                                                        To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                                                        2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                                                        Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                                                        If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                                                        Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                                                        3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                                                        Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                                                        Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                                                        4. Feed Your Brain

                                                        Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                                                        This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                                                        Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                                                        Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                                                        5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                                                        According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                                                        Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                                                        Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                                                        6. Write it Down

                                                        If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                                                        It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                                                        You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                                                        7. Listen to Music

                                                        Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                                                        8. Visual Concepts

                                                        In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                                                        Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                                                        Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                                                        9. Teach Someone Else

                                                        Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                                                        Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                                                        10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                                                        Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                                                        So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                                                        Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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                                                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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