Nature Photographer of the Year always presents us with some amazing images of the natural world around us. The contest has just announced its 2020 winners, and a mystical, fairytale-like photo of a giraffe won the first prize. Of course, there are plenty more fantastic photos, so read on and take a look at the selection.
The Nature Photographer of the Year competition is an initiative of Nature Talks. This year’s contest received record-breaking 19,547 entries, coming from over 95 countries all over the globe. Photographers sent their images for 12 categories, plus the special category Fred Hazelhoff portfolio award.
The overall winner, as well as the Mammals category winner, is Roberto Marchegiani. He took his stunning image, titled Jurassic Park, in Nakuru National Park, Kenya. The chair of the jury Magdalena Herrera (director of photography for Geo, France) explains why the jury chose this photo to be the overall winner:
“This image has a fairy-tale quality that goes far beyond a wildlife document. The contrast of the dark forest with branches like flashes of lightning and the little giraffe, who seems so innocent, is astonishing. Equally striking is the difference in scale and the relationship between a vibrant, threatening nature and the living element. The result, paradoxically, is a feeling of harmony and peace. We applaud here the poetic approach to this moment that was made possible by the photographer’s patience and respect for his subject.”
Talking about his image, Roberto said that he went on a deliberately organized safari during the rainy season, so that he would have a better chance of finding good light. Just before sunset, he and his friends noticed a group of giraffes passing in front of the forest. With a 600mm lens, he found a magnificent glimpse into the forest that stroke him a lot. Instead of taking pictures of the giraffes passing by, he kept the framing on a specific point in the forest and was hoping the giraffes would pass at that point. The angle was narrow, there was a lot of vegetation in the foreground that could damage the image. Therefore, he used the maximum aperture to blur the vegetation as much as possible. “In the end, I was rewarded by my stubbornness: the giraffes passed exactly in the right place,” Roberto said. “The scene reminded me of a Jurassic landscape, with a herbivorous dinosaur in the same position as the giraffe.”
Alejandro Prieto from Mexico won the Fred Hazelhoff portfolio award. He created an intriguing photo project about the wall between Mexico and the United States and the impact on wildlife. And if this project seems familiar, it’s because it also brought Alejandro the Fritz Pölking Prize in this year’s European Wildlife Photographer of The Year.
Other winners include Jo-Anne McArthur in the category Man and Nature, Samantha Stephens in the category Other Animals, Pål Hermansen in the category Natural Art and Radomir Jakubowksi in the category Plants and Fungi. Hungarian Lili Sztrehárszki won the Youth category (11 – 17 years old) with a shot of a lesser horseshoe bat (the smallest horseshoe bat across Europe).
Take a look at the rest of the category winners below. You’ll find all of them, along with runners up and highly commended photos, on Nature Photographer of the Year’s website.