The closing date for the National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest is rapidly approaching. Photographers have until 31 October to submit entries in three categories: people, places and nature.

The grand prize winner will receive $10,000 (£6,170) and a trip to the National Geographic headquarters in Washington DC to participate in the annual National Geographic Photography Seminar in January 2015. The first place winner in each category will each receive $2,500 and his or her winning photograph will be published in National Geographic magazine.

IBTimes UK will publish a gallery of the winners once they are announced. Until then, here are 10 inspiring early entries.

National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
Morning in Viru bog, Estonia. Fresh snow, first sunlight, wonderlandJan Lepamaa/National Geographic Photo Contest 2014
National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
This gecko was sitting on a Lobster-Claw plant on Big Island, Hawaii. The red/green complementary colours caught my eyeMarco Schmidt/National Geographic Photo Contest 2014
National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
A newborn polar bear cub explores its magical new world, while keeping close to its mother in the Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, CanadaJonathan Huyer/National Geographic Photo Contest 2014
National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
This disorienting photo was taken from a cliff overlooking Lake Louise in Banff national park. The two people are enjoying a canoe ride on Lake Louise's turquoise waters. Even boulders the size of large cars seem like pebbles from a high vantage pointBen Leshchinsky/National Geographic Photo Contest 2014
National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
Misty morning at Mount Bromo, Mount Batok and Semeru [East Java, Indonesia]. I had waited three hours to get this momentAchmad Sumawijaya/National Geographic Photo Contest 2014
National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
I headed out one night to photograph the Milky Way. As I reached the top of the mountain, this magnificent scene presented itself to me. I immediately wanted to photograph it in all its glory. After trying out a few different exposure times, I settled on duration of roughly 16 minutes. This allowed me to capture the intense glow of the fire along with the surreal star trails seen in the skyDave Kan/National Geographic Photo Contest 2014
National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
I was finishing up a photo shoot when a wild kangaroo appeared out of nowhere and bounded onto the lake, as if walking on water. This, along with the picturesque sunset combined to create an absolute visual treatDave Kan/National Geographic Photo Contest 2014
National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
Off the Coast of Guadalupe Island, great white sharks gather to feed on sea lions. It is an ideal place to observe these majestic animals in their natural state. Far from the ideas spread through Hollywood movies, the great white shark remains fearful of manMarc Henauer/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
Traditional Japanese hand tube fireworks at the Gion Matsuri Festival of Yoshida-jinja Shrine in Toyohashi CityHidenobu Suzuki/National Geographic Photo Contest 2014
National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest
A Sunda flying lemur by Hendy Mp: Sambas, West Kalimantan, IndonesiaHendy Mp/National Geographic 2014 Photo Contest