Varun Aditya, of Tamil Nadu, India, placed first in the Animal Portraits category for a photo of a snake; Vadim Balakin, of Sverdlovsk, Russia, placed first in the Environmental Issues category for a photo of polar bear remains in Norway; and Jacob Kapetein of Gerland, Netherlands, placed first in the Landscape category for a photo of a small beech tree in a river. Lecoeur’s photo won the Action category.
Contestants submitted photographs in four categories — Action, Landscape, Animal Portraits and Environmental Issues — through Nat Geo’s photography community, Your Shot.
National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Winners:
Grand Prize Winner: Sardine Run
Photo and caption by G. Lecoeur
I captured this image during the migration of the sardines along the wild coast of South Africa. Natural predation, sardines are preyed upon by cape gannet birds and common dolphins. The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques. With remarkable eyesight, the gannets follow the dolphins before diving in a free fall from 30 to 40 meters high, piercing the surface of the water head first at a speed of 80km/h to get their fill of sardines.
Second Place Winner, Action: Approach
Photo and caption by Tori Shea-Ostberg
Third Place Winner, Landscape: Pacific Storm
Photo and caption by Santiago Borja
A colossal Cumulonimbus flashes over the Pacific Ocean as we circle around it at 37000 feet en route to South America.
Honorable Mention, Landscape: Serendipitous Green Meteor
Photo and caption by Prasenjeet Yadav
This GreenMeteor was captured while taking a time-lapse to document the urbanization around the Skyislands in India. The camera was set at 15s exposure for 999 shots and this came into one of those shots. Green Meteor’s greenish color come from a combination of the heating of oxygen around the meteor and the mix of minerals ignited as the rock enters Earth’s atmosphere. I think for those 15 seconds, I was the luckiest photographer on the planet to have capture this phenomenon.Location: India
Photo and caption by Varun Aditya
A morning stroll into the blissful forest! Ceaseless drizzles dampening the woods for 12 hours a day; The serene gloom which kept me guessing if it was a night or a day. Heavy fog, chilling breeze and the perennial silence could calm roaring sprits; And there I spotted this 20cm beauty the Green vine snake ! I wondered if I needed more reasons to capture this with the habitat; For I was blessed to see this at the place I was at. I immediately switched from the macro to the wide angle lens.
Photo and caption by Michael O’Neill
Third Place Winner, Animal Portraits: Friendship knows no color
Photo and caption by Jose Pesquero Gomez
Honorable Mention, Animal Portraits: Puffin studio
Photo and caption by Mario Suarez Porras
Honorable Mention, Animal Portraits: Crow chasing Puffy Owl
Photo and caption by Chia Boon Oo Lawrence
First Place Winner, Environmental Issues: Life and Death
Photo and caption by Vadim Balakin
Second Place Winner, Environmental Issues: The View Outside Facebook HQ
Photo and caption by Chris McCann
Third Place Winner, Environmental Issues: Toxic Vanity
Photo and caption by Eleanor Ryder
Honorable Mention, Environmental Issues: no snow, no ice?
Photo and caption by Patty Waymire
Honorable Mention, Environmental Issues: Wildfire at the beach
Photo and caption by Sergej Chursyn
Honorable Mention, Environmental Issues: American Flowers #1
Photo and caption by Ken Bower
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