These Are Some Of The Past Year's Most Spectacular Wildlife Photographs. Could You Pick A Favorite?

For the first time ever, nature lovers and photography buffs everywhere are being given a chance to choose a winner in the esteemed "Wildlife Photographer of the Year" competition.

To mark the prestigious contest's 50th anniversary this year, a new publicly-decided category -- the "People's Choice Award" -- was announced earlier this month. The category welcomes members of the public to cast their vote for the photo that best "captures your imagination."

Every year, the spectacular photographs that clinch the top prizes at the wildlife photography competition invariably leave us awestruck, gaping in amazement at the skill (and often-perfect timing) of the photographers behind the masterpieces.

Based on the 50 jaw-dropping images in the "People's Choice" collection -- pre-selected by a panel of judges from more than 41,000 entries -- this year will certainly be no different.

"In this landmark 50th year we’re opening up the judging experience to the many wildlife photography fans that follow the competition so closely," said Tom Ang, a member of the 2014 judging panel, per a press release. "If you’ve ever puzzled over why one image wins out over another, this is your chance to have your say. But with so many outstanding shots and just one vote per person, the pressure is on to cast it wisely."

Voting for the "People's Choice" collection closes on Sept. 5, 2014. The winner of the "People’s Choice Award" will be announced at the "Wildlife Photographer of the Year" awards event in October.

The "Wildlife Photographer of the Year" competition is jointly organized by the BBC and London's Natural History Museum.

Scroll down to see a handful of images from the "People's Choice" collection. Do you have a favorite?

Facebook update, Marsel van Oosten (Netherlands)
Marsel van Oosten
Dantes inferno, Karen Lunney (Australia)
Karen Lunney
Apex predators, Justin Black (United States)
Justin Black
Sea lion dreams, Christian Vizl (Mexico)
Christian Vizl
Kings into the dark, Stanley Leroux (France)
Stanley Leroux
Stretching, Stephan Tuengler (Germany)
Stephan Tuengler
Shoaling reef squid, Tobias Bernhard (Germany)
Tobias Bernhard
Winter hares, David Tipling (United Kingdom)
David Tipling
Bad hair day, Gordon Illg (United States)
Gordon Illg
One eye on you, Mohammad Khorshed (Kuwait)
Mohammad Khorshed

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