The Nature Conservancy recently revealed the winning photographs from its massive global contest to find the most glorious images of nature across five categories. The winning photograph from French photographer Camille Briottet, illustrates the majesty of two wild Stallions frolicking in the mud.

The annual contest garnered a record number of entries this year, totaling over 57,000 photographs from 135 countries. Bill Marr, director of photography for The Nature Conservancy, highlighted the magnificent breadth of the contest saying, "We have wonderful entries from all over the world, from beautiful Western landscapes to squirrels in a backyard in Austria. Photography is a common language for all."

The entries spanned five categories: People and Nature, Landscape, Water, Cities and Nature, and Wildlife. As well as three overall winning images, there were three top picks from each category cited, plus three more "Special Recognition" awards and an overall People's Choice Winner.

The winning images offer a sublime perspective on all sorts of natural events from a truly astounding shot of a volcano erupting at night, to the People's Choice winning image of a touchingly wise red fox in Newfoundland.

The rules of submission stress anything digitally altered beyond standard optimization will be disqualified. Other submission criteria also stipulated no imagery of captive animals or images that would suggest damage to the environment caused in the process of gathering the photograph. These strident rules ensure the images in the competition are perfect encapsulations of natural moments in time.

Take a look through the gallery to see all the winning images in this remarkable contest.

View gallery - 46 images