It's that time of the year again. the one where you realise all of the following three things: 

1) There are an awful lot of very good photographers out there

2) There are an awful lot of very beautiful places out there

3) Your holiday plans don't quite cut the mustard when it comes to taking epic photos out in the wild

Yep, it's time for the Outdoor Photographer of the Year shortlist, and once again this year's crop is a good'un, taking in everything from the very epic (and very foggy) Valley of Thor in Iceland to the serene wildlife of Kenya's Nairobi National Park.

These are the world's most remote places, captured by the most intrepid, risk-taking photographers out there (including one who's just 12 years old, so shame on you if you're older than 12). Whether it's risking your life out on the stormy waters of the Baltic Sea, or taking a plunge into -25°C  conditions to snap a bighorn sheep in the Sierra Nevada mountains of America, you better believe these lot will do it.

Because they're so inspirational, and because their photos are so damned good, we've asked each shortlisted photographer to share the story behind each shot, for your reading pleasure. From drone photographs of remote coastal roads in Thailand to the mysterious forests of North Yorkshire a little nearer home, click through, gawp a little, and enjoy.

The Overall Winner and Runner-Up – chosen from the category winners in the gallery above – will be announced live on stage at The Photography Show at Birmingham's NEC on Saturday 17 March 2018 at 2.50pm. Find out more at opoty.co.uk

The book Outdoor Photographer of the Year: Portfolio III – published March 2018 – will collect over 150 photos entered into the competition, published by Ammonite Press, RRP £25