The Beautiful First Winners of The Nature Photography Contest

An arc of the Milky Way above a field of illuminated white flowers.
Marcio Cabral

The Nature Photography Contest, which held its first edition in 2023, announced the inaugural winners’ circle, which offers €2,000 in cash prizes, equivalent to just over $2,000 USD.

The most prestigious awards go to Glenn Ostle for Photography of the Year and Alain Schroeder, who was named Photographer of the Year. Ostle earns €1,000 in prize money, and Schroeder will choose the country in which to plant nearly 400 trees as part of the Nature Photography Contest’s collaboration with the organization One Tree Planted. The quantity of trees is based on the number of participants in this year’s competition, according to the Nature Photography Contest, which the organizers “hope to surpass in future editions.”

A sea lion underwater.
Glenn Ostle
A sea turtle swims through the water.
Alain Schroeder

There are 10 other categories, whose winners each receive €100 in prize money. Alessio Calviani won the category “Birds” for the photograph “Puffin in Iceland.” The image shows a closeup of the bird as it walks along a cliff. Muhammad Hossain’s photograph “Fatigue Sleep” won the “Environmental Impact” category.

A close up of a puffin.
Alessio Calviani
A woman sleeps among trash heaps.
Muhammad Hossain

“Many homeless people in Bangladesh have lost their homes and properties due to frequent floods, river erosion, and other natural calamities. They were forced to migrate to the Dhaka city in search of a better future. These people have no place to take shelter in big cities,” the entry reads. “Their day starts in dump hills and streets in roads or boats to nowhere. The concrete-covered street and dirt hills is a flower bed for these refugees who practically do not have any identity. They live by working as street hawkers, boatman, laborers, and doing other odd jobs.”

A spotted owlet emerges from a tree trunk.
Panisara Sripratoom
A close-up of a female spider.
Adrian Truchta
A glacial river in Iceland with orange sediment flowing through it.
Marek Biegalski

On a much lighter note, the image “Monday,” taken by Panisara Sripratoom prevailed in the “Funny Nature” category. In it, a sleepy-looking spotted owlet emerges from a hole in a tree stump. The photo also reflects the species’ ability to adapt to a university campus, according to the competition website.

“The Dreamer — Philaeus chrysops,” taken by Adrian Truchta, shows a close-up of the small spider, won the “Macrophotography” category.

Marek Biegalski’s “Burning Flower” took the “Natural Landscape” prize. Despite the name, the image actually shows a glacial river in Iceland. The flow of sediment gives off a bright orange hue, giving the illusion of a burning flower.

Es Pontàs arch in Mallorca, Spain under the arc of the Milky Way.
Marc Marco

Moving to the Es Pontàs arch in Mallorca, Marc Marco’s “Los arcos y la cueva,” which won the “Night World” category, shows a mirrored arch of the Milky Way above the picturesque rock formation.

An arc of the Milky Way above a field of illuminated white flowers.
Marcio Cabral

A similar arc of the solar system is on display in Marcio Cabral’s photography “Pandora.” This image, also seen at the top, won the “Plant Life” category and shows the night sky with illuminated white flowers in the foreground.

A baby orangutan is prepared for surgery.
Alain Schroeder

Photographer of the Year winner Schroeder also took the prize for the “Sharing the World Category” with the image “Saving Orangutans 01.” In it, a team prepares a baby orangutan, which was rescued after being kept as a pet, for surgery.

A moray eel in a circular shape amid darkness.
家 住

“Tangle,” taken by 家 住, shows an entrancing spiral of a moray eel and won the “Underwater” category. Soumya Ranjan Bhattacharyya won the “Wildlife” category with the image “Stories in the Sand.”

A scorpion illuminated by UV light on sand.
Soumya Ranjan Bhattacharyya

“I shot this image of the scorpion in the sand dunes at [Jaisalmer, India]. The scorpions when lighted by faint UV light, emit bright blue luminescence from its body. The image was captured using flashlight which lit up the wind created streaks of the dunes. The scorpion was illuminated by a UV flashlight,” the entry reads.

A massive gallery of finalists for this year’s contest are available on the competition’s website. The 2024 edition of the Nature Photography Contest is expected to open in May.

Image credits: All images provided by The Nature Photography Contest. Individual photographers are credited in the photo captions.