by Inigo del Castillo in New Photography on Wednesday 25 December 2013

National Geographic has been known to push the boundaries of what can be captured by a camera. It has opened our eyes through the years to the beautiful and horrific images that exist in our world. This year is no different. We get images of the wonders of man and nature, but we also get images of human suffering and environmental degradation. This year’s winners and honorable mentions in the National Geographic photo contest, show us the different facets of everything around us.

This year’s grand prize winner is Paul Souders, the photographer who took that mysterious shot of the Polar Bear lurking beneath the icy waters of Hudson Bay. You’ve probably seen that photo, as it has been passed around and shared throughout the internet a lot this year. He beat out more than 7,000 entries from 150 countries and took home a $10,000 prize. He will also be going to National Geographic’s annual photography seminar in January 2014 at their Washington, D.C. headquarters.

Below are the winners and honorable mentions of this year’s competition.