Immersing ourselves in the world’s natural wonders is like embarking on a journey that stirs our emotions, sparks inspiration, and creates unforgettable memories. The Big Picture Natural World Photography Contest is a testament to the profound impact of capturing these fleeting moments through the lens of a camera. This year’s collection of winning photographs invites us to explore the extraordinary beauty and untamed spirit of the world around us. Join us as we delve into the narrative behind these 20 magnificent images that have secured their place on the illustrious winners’ list.
#1 “Backyard Friend” – A Harmonious Encounter
Location: Asheville, North Carolina, United States
In the outskirts of Asheville, North Carolina, a retired couple’s porch becomes a stage for a stunning American black bear, gracefully depicted in Corey Arnold’s lens. A testament to the coexistence between human and wild, this image unravels the tale of a close bond nurtured by a wildlife corridor, where intelligent black bears venture close. Through this connection, the line between wilderness and home becomes beautifully blurred.
#2 “Nose To Nose” – Tender Moments in Nature’s Embrace
Location: Joey and Bat Sanctuary, Beveridge, Victoria, Australia
Douglas Gimesy unveils the heartwarming intimacy between a veterinary student and a rescued common wombat named Maude. Bathed in natural light, this snapshot encapsulates a profound connection between two beings. As the wombat’s sensitive nose brushes against its caretaker’s skin, we are reminded of our role in safeguarding the delicate balance of the animal kingdom.
#3 “Pass By” – A Dance of Surprise and Delight
Location: Xiamen, China
In the heart of Xiamen, China, Lin Xiaoping captures a whimsical moment within a community of egrets. With the graceful backdrop of the “island of the egrets,” this photograph deceives at first glance. A simple scene of an egret in flight belies the truth—a captivating chase unfolds, an ode to nature’s playful twists.
#4 “Regeneration” – Nature’s Artistry, Crafted by Light
Location: Tossa De Mar, Spain
Miquel Angel Artús Illana, a traveler of landscapes, beckons us to the enchanting realm of Tossa De Mar, Spain. A mesmerizing dance of light and shadow paints the canvas of a forest, capturing the essence of a location that has inspired the artist’s soul since his youth. The image breathes life into the marriage of human and earth, where nature’s artistry reigns supreme.
#5 “For Survival” – A Bittersweet Struggle for Life
Location: Shiqu, Sichuan Province, China
In a poignant tableau, Donglin Zhou freezes time on a haunting confrontation between a snow leopard and a Pallas’s cat. Amidst the rugged terrains of Sichuan Province, the battle for survival takes center stage. The snow leopard hunts to feed, while the Pallas’s cat fights for existence. A snapshot of the wild’s raw essence, it mirrors the delicate equilibrium that sustains life in the unforgiving wilderness.
#6 “Field Of Dreams” – Unveiling the Enigmatic
Location: White Mountains, Arizona, United States
J Fritz Rumpf beckons us to an otherworldly realm, where vibrant lines defy explanation. Underneath the mystique lies the truth—a mushroom’s underside, adorned with hues that spark intrigue. The hues dance, teasing the presence of psilocybin, leaving us entranced by the enigma of nature’s canvas.
#7 “Of Blades & Spines” – Guardians of the Kelp Forest
Location: Carmel Bay, United States
Kate Vylet’s lens transports us beneath the waves to a world where urchins are not just predators, but also stewards. Amidst the lush kelp forests, they play their part as detritivores, sustaining a delicate balance that echoes nature’s complex symphony. As climate change shapes the oceans, this image redefines our perception of the much-maligned urchin.
#8 “Lake In Pain” – Neon Echoes of Environmental Strife
Location: Amatitlán Lake, Guatemala
Daniel Núñez offers a stark reminder that nature’s palette can hold shades of agony. Amid the beauty of Guatemala’s Amatitlán Lake, an unnaturally vibrant hue paints a tale of ecological distress. This neon green vista unveils the repercussions of untreated sewage, serving as a somber mirror to our actions’ far-reaching consequences.
#9 “Fern Reunion” – A Symphony of Autumnal Hues
Location: Oldervik, Tromsø, Norway
César Llaneza Rodríguez frames an intimate moment within the tapestry of a forest. Birch and fern embrace, their colors weaving a narrative of perpetual renewal. A tableau of autumnal hues unfolds, an ode to the harmony between the earth’s elements as they journey through life’s seasons.
#10 “Brotherly Hug” – A Touch of Humanity in the Wild
Location: Sabah, Malaysia
In the lush jungles of Sabah, Daniel Valverde captures a heartwarming embrace between proboscis monkeys. In this touching gesture, a bond is forged that mirrors our own connections. These highly social creatures, teetering on the edge of extinction, remind us of the fragile threads that bind us to the natural world.
#11 “In The Place Of My Dreams” – Whispered Secrets of a Desert’s Heart
Location: Región de Atacama, Copiapó, Chile
Paulo Olivier Hanshing reveals the hidden life within the barren embrace of the Atacama Desert. A canvas once deemed devoid of life blooms with a mystical fog. Through patient vigilance, the artist captures an ethereal moment, where mist and fog interlace with the heart of a seemingly lifeless terrain.
#12 “Little Winged Warrior” – Mighty Feathers in Flight
Robert Dodson unveils the fierce determination of a rufous hummingbird, its tiny frame defying its immense spirit. This snapshot suspends a moment of respite in mid-flight, unraveling a softer side of this avian warrior. Amidst nature’s grand tapestry, the hummingbird’s tenacity becomes an emblem of strength in its smallest form.
#13 “Cloud Walker” – A Majestic Dance on Air
Location: Lake Clark National Park, Alaska, United States
Torie Hilley’s lens captures a bear’s majestic stride through the skies, walking on clouds in Alaska’s Lake Clark National Park. Patience yields reward, as cloudy days surrender to an otherworldly palette. This breathtaking image encapsulates the mystical connection between earth and sky, reminding us of the boundless beauty that awaits.
#14 “Dripping” – Elegance in Tranquil Abundance
Location: Isle Royale National Park, Michigan, United States
Benjamin Olson’s lens captures a timeless portrait—a moose’s tranquil reflection amidst rippling waters. The image chronicles the harmonious dance between predator and prey, a delicate equilibrium that science has studied for decades. In the gentle lap of nature’s embrace, the moose’s solitary grace takes center stage.
#15 “Tucked In” – A Touch of Humanity Amongst Kindred Souls
Location: Lwiro Primate Sanctuary, Kahuzi-Biega National Park, Congo, Africa
Marcus Westberg’s lens transports us to a sanctuary where compassion knows no bounds. In the Congo’s Lwiro Primate Sanctuary, a care worker’s arms cradle rescued chimpanzees. A silent reminder of our shared humanity, this image resonates with an unspoken truth—that empathy transcends species.
#16 “Crowd Control” – Nature’s Ballet of Evolution
Location: Skjverøy, Norway
Andy Schmid’s lens captures the orchestrated ballet of orcas, united in a hunting tactic known as carousel feeding. A donut-like formation emerges, a testament to the pod’s synchronized prowess. This captivating image echoes the intricacies of evolution, where collaboration becomes the rhythm of survival.
#17 “Cities Gone Wild” – Unveiling Urban Wilderness
Location: San Francisco, California, United States
A nocturnal gaze of raccoons graces Corey Arnold’s lens in Golden Gate Park. An urban wildscape emerges, where the dance of the raccoons becomes a testament to adaptation. Unsecured garbage shapes a new narrative, redefining our perception of wilderness within city limits.
#18 “Snapper Sunset” – Layers of Aquatic Serenity
Location: Rangiroa, French Polynesia
Renee Capozzola captures the symphony of Rangiroa’s azure waters, a haven for paddletail snappers. Beneath the tranquil surface, life flourishes in multilayered splendor. The image echoes a harmonious ecosystem, urging us to safeguard the depths that cradle life’s intricate dance.
#19 “Puffin Present” – Tokens of Affection in the Avian Realm
Location: Borgarfjörður Eystri, Iceland
Shane Kalyn reveals the endearing ritual of Atlantic puffins, where feathers become gifts in a dance of courtship. Amidst Iceland’s rugged landscapes, these photogenic birds capture our hearts. A testament to avian affection, the image reflects nature’s charm in every ruffled feather.
#20 “Strength In Numbers” – The Serenity of Unity
Location: Maui, Hawaii, United States
Renee Capozzola’s lens captures an unprecedented congregation—four green sea turtles glide through Maui’s waters. Amidst the vast expanse, unity unfolds. A testament to the power of collective existence, this image paints a portrait of strength that transcends the depths.
The winning images of the Big Picture Natural World Photography Contest 2023 invite us to journey through the realms of nature’s wonders. From intimate connections to battles for survival, each photograph tells a story that resonates with our own existence. As we immerse ourselves in these images, we’re reminded that the beauty of the natural world is a treasure to be cherished, safeguarded, and celebrated.