23 Stunning Photos Win World Nature Photography Awards

From furry to tender to terrifying, the nature images that won this year’s World Nature Photography Awards (WNPA) capture the spectacular moments of life on our precious and endangered planet.

German photographer Jens Cullmann’s image of a mud-covered crocodile surveying its surroundings with piercing yellow eyes in Zimbabwe’s Manapours National Park won the top prize of $1,000.

“This photo was taken while I was photographing the largest pool in Manapours National Park, Zimbabwe, when a prolonged drought had turned the pool into a fast-drying mud,” explains Jens Cullmann.

“I had to be very careful not to startle the crocodile, even if it was buried in dry mud. They would launch themselves at any animal stupid enough to get too close with incredible speed and force.”

During the dry season, when temperatures can reach 45C, crocodiles try to cool down by burying themselves in the mud. A giant crocodile like this one can go underwater for a month without eating, surviving on its fat reserves. This is a process called aestivation.

More from ForbesWorld Nature Photography Awards: 20 stunning winning images

The overall winner and the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners in each category were selected from thousands of entries submitted from 45 countries on six continents.

“When great science and great art come together, amazing things can be achieved,” organizers said.

“We congratulate all the winners and express our deepest gratitude to them for taking such spectacular pictures of our precious planet,” said WNPA co-founder Adrian Dinsdale. “Once again we wish it Provides tremendous motivation for all of us to do everything we can to protect the planet for future generations.”

Following the announcement of the winners, the WNPA officially opened this year’s call for entries.

The World Nature Photography Awards was founded on the belief that we can all shape the future of our world in a positive way through small efforts, and that photography can influence people to see the world from a different perspective and change their own habits. planet.

From landscape photography to animals in their habitat, photojournalism and human interaction with nature, the competition has 14 categories with free entries.

View all winning images here.

animal portrait

Behavior: Mammal

An African savannah elephant, Loxodonta africana, camouflages itself behind a bush that is too small in Marataba Private Reserve, Marakele National Park, Limpopo Province, South Africa.

The elephant moved behind bushes, apparently trying to avoid Wiederstrand’s car. The car stopped to let passengers watch, and the animals appeared to realize that its lid had been blown off. It walked away peacefully.

According to the IUCN Red List, these elephants are endangered.

Behavior: Amphibians and reptiles

Japanese brook toads live in the deep mountains of Owase, Mie Prefecture, Japan, and only come down from the mountains to the river when they lay eggs.

Behavior: birds

A male hooded merganser takes off and flies directly towards the photographer. “I’d been watching a pair of hooded mergansers, expecting them to take off,” recalls Charles Schmidt. “When ducks are ready to fly, they usually start swimming faster.”

Behavior: Invertebrates

A red crab on the Spanish island of La Gomera appears to be surrounded by a thin curtain of water created by waves as it hits rocks, where it forages for small crustaceans and the plants that feed on it.

black and white

natural art

Corals are animals and that’s how they reproduce to create a new generation of small corals.

Often at the same time, thousands of corals of a given species along hundreds of kilometers of reefs reproduce by spawning bundles of eggs and sperm into the open ocean. These bundles will be carried away by the current, mixing in the water until they finally meet a match. The sperm will fertilize the egg and create new life.

Capturing coral spawning, however, is tricky business as it usually only happens once a year, for a very short window of a few minutes on a particular night of a month, and at a certain time of night.

In this photo, a close-up of a branching coral spawns pink egg and sperm bundles.

This is a unique manifestation of red spider mites. “During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, I found these mites in my backyard,” said Anirban Dutta. “They are very small in size, about 1-2 mm, and form a silky web that hides from predators.

As a macro photographer, I’m always trying to find and showcase unique, unseen little worlds. This is a multiple exposure photo. I took five photos from different angles and combined them into one. “


A pair of clown shrimps, Hymanocera picta, pose with its nostrils on the blue starfish Linkia laevigata in the Lembeh Strait, Indonesia.

plants and fungi

“The tree was seen as a sacred symbol, with significance both in religion and spiritual philosophy,” said Julie Kenny. “From above, the surrounding sheep tracks and fallen trees remind me of the tree of life. When the aerial view focuses on the ground, you can see the water in the sheep track reflecting the pale blue of the sky, conveying the meaning of all things. interconnections, beginnings and ends, cycles of life.”

Earth’s Landscapes and Environments

“On June 17, 2021, I hiked, snowshoeed, and climbed to the 11,000-foot summit of Table Mountain, Wyoming, to photograph the Milky Way over the Grand Teton,” said Jack Mosher. “While these iconic mountains have been photographed tens of thousands of times, I wanted to present an entirely unique view of them. I saw one of the most spectacular airglows I’ve ever seen, similar to an aurora, made of light-bearing particles produced, but spanned most of the horizon.”

urban wildlife

A tall, battered, rusty street lamp made a home for a male kestrel perched in its nest. “I took this photo at sunset to see the rust, lights and birds in natural light,” says Vladislav Tasev. “This photo was taken in an abandoned parking lot near a small forest in the town of Stara Zagora near the University of Thrace.

nature photojournalism

An Australian fur seal has been seriously injured by a boat’s propeller in Port Kembla, Australia.

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