The European Wildlife Photographer of the Year has announced its winners for 2022. Every year, the German Society for Nature Photography (GDT) chooses the best photos and selects a winner of this prestigious contest. And this year, the overall winner is Russian photographer Mike Korostelev.
Mike’s image titled Hippo World enthralled the judges, bringing him the first prize in the contest. But there are also category winners and special prize winners, and I’m sure you’ll love them just as much.
Mike takes most of his photos underwater, usually with a wide-angle or a fisheye lens. He also sometimes uses drones or camera traps, and he shot his winning image with an underwater drone. The photographer observed and documented hippos in a salt lake in South Africa. Like in his other photos, he wanted to show how fragile nature is and how important it is to protect it. He advocates against keeping animals, especially marine mammals, in captivity.
“In Russia, many people fought against capturing orcas in the Sea of Okhotsk to be sold to dolphinariums, and finally this practice was stopped,” says Mike. “Now the orcas have returned to freedom, but sadly we have other problems right now, and many good people remain in ‘captivity’. Many people in Russia do not agree to what is happening right now.”
The jury didn’t have an easy task selecting the overall winner. There were 18.000 photos submitted by photographers coming from 35 countries. Other than the overall winner, the contest also recognizes nine category winners, plus winners in three special categories: Fritz Pölking Prize, Junior Prize, and Rewilding Europe Award. Take a look at all the category winners below, and make sure to visit GDT’s website for more information and photos.