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National Geographic Traveler's 24th Annual Photo Contest Captures the Fleeting Spirit of Youth (PHOTOS)

National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Photograph by James Morgan, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

It seems as though just about everyone has an Instagram account these days, which means amateur photos are looking sleeker than ever before.

But a few amateurs have an extraordinary eye for photography that even Instagram can’t match with a fancy filter. National Geographic Traveler‘s 24th annual Photo Contest is underway (through July 11), and thousands of shooters have already submitted stunning images in four categories: Travel Portraits; Outdoor Scenes; Sense of Place; and Spontaneous Moments.

Not surprisingly, some of the best pictures to date in the contest include children, serving to capture brilliantly a spirit and sense of youth and abandon that’s often too fleeting for the mind to retain as soon as the moment passes.

Take a look at some of the best:

nggallery id=’124152′

  • Young Boy 1 of 7
    Young Boy
    A young boy is 'flying' home.
    Photograph by Pietro Sferrino, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Toddler 2 of 7
    Toddler
    When I was taking photos of the people celebrating Holi Festival, I noticed this toddler was looking at me for a while.
    Photograph by NG HOCK HOW, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Balloons 3 of 7
    Balloons
    H'Mong minority children were playing their balloons on the foggy day in Moc Chau - Ha Giang province Viet Nam.
    Photograph by Vo Anh Kiet, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Jump Rope 4 of 7
    Jump Rope
    Boa Village, Solomon Islands
    Photograph by Philip Lanyon, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Christiane 5 of 7
    Christiane
    Christiane, a child of the Roofless Movement in Salvador Brazil. A beautiful spirit living a life not hers by choice, but she brings love and light to all around her.
    Photograph by Geralyn Shukwit, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Enal 6 of 7
    Enal
    Enal, a young sea nomad, rides on the tail of a tawny nurse shark, in Sulawesi, Indonesia.
    Photograph by James Morgan, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest
  • Father/Daughter 7 of 7
    Father/Daughter
    Watching my friend (whom I had known since I was a little girl) with his young daughter, gave me a sense of profound poignancy. As I saw the thick fog swirl around the Sky deck on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, I watched the city of Chicago completely disappear under the white mist. As my friend's daughter started drumming her fingers on the glass, I felt it was a primordial beat sweeping the past by and ushering the future in.
    Photograph by Chandana Rao, National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

All photos courtesy of the National Geographic 2012 Traveler Photo Contest

To enter the contest, submit your photo here

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