Nat Geo reveals breathtaking photos of wildlife, science, travel for 2023 'Pictures of the Year'

National Geographic has revealed photographers' most breathtaking and culturally relevant photos from around the world in its annual Pictures of the Year issue.

On Tuesday, National Geographic editors revealed their top selections chosen from stories they assigned to photographers in 2023 for the fourth annual year-end retrospective. The final photos were narrowed down from a pool of 2 million.

“What I love about this selection is that these are really delightful, interesting, surprising images from around the world, captured by diverse photographers who were documenting the full range of our core topics: wildlife, science, health, space, culture, travel and adventure,” said National Geographic Deputy Director of Photography Sadie Quarrier.

For Quarrier, these top images often provoke strong emotional responses and “enlightened” her in some way. The collection is something “uniquely National Geographic,” which takes the viewer “on a journey to places you may not have seen” and introduces you to “scientists, explorers, changemakers, and communities doing interesting things.”

“You gain a deeper understanding of local beliefs, unique animal behavior, and so much more. It’s inspirational, educational, and often a welcome escape.”

Here are just a few of the compelling images highlighted in National Geographic, photographed by Esther Horvath, Thomas Peschak, Carsten Peter, Brent Stirton and Christopher Payne.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: National Geographic 'Pictures of the Year' 2023: See top pictures