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Fascinating Animal Portraits from the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

We are delighted to share updates of incredibly stunning entries from the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest. Submitted under the Animal Portraits category, they feature fascinating glimpses into animal kingdoms around the world, from the colorful Mediterranean Jelly to the mesmerizing Brown Pelican. The photographs capture rare and intimate glimpses into the habitats and lives of these ferocious, adorable, and delightful creatures.

There's still time to enter the contest, and submissions will be accepted until November 4. An image can be entered in one of four categories: Landscape; Environmental Issues; Action; and Animal Portraits.There are no limit to the number of submissions, but there is an entry fee of $15 (USD) per photo and all submissions must be in digital format and submitted electronically.

The grand-prize winner will receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos with National Geographic Expeditions and two 15-minute image portfolio reviews with National Geographic photo editors. Each category will award first, second, and third-place cash prizes.

Discover some of our favorite entries from the Animal Portraits category, below.

Above photo: Moving at a Snail's Pace… by Samira Qadir, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
While enjoying the sights of Chicago's Garfield Conservatory found this unlikely traveler taking a closer look at this Bromeliad. Sometimes you have to slow down to appreciate the tiny wonders right in front of you!

Mediterranean Jelly by Stefano Spezi, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Cotylorhiza Tuberculata, aka Mediterranean Jelly or (more friendly…) Fried Egg Jelly, is pretty common throughout Mediterranean Sea. Its stings are totally harmless to humans yet its beauty is absolutely contagious…

Paradise for Flamingoes 2 by Yu Huiping, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Thousands of flamingoes live in Bogoria lake where likes paradise for them.

Proud Momma by Michael O'Neill, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Fry of a Peacock Bass hover around their mom for protection against predators. Peacock Bass, part of the Cichlid family, exercise excellent parental car and will protect their young against any threat that approaches them. This tropical species from South America was intentionally introduced in South Florida during the 1980s to control the African Tilapia, another invasive species.

Water Drops by Takeshi Marumoto, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Nagano, Japan. The Water Drops of melted snow.

DAWN by Porus Khareghat, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Dawn in the mara saw a big male lion amble over to our jeep. As if he was paying his gratitude to the sun god for the warm rays.

Cape Buffalo with Yello-Billed Oxpecker by Barbara Fleming, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
I had been wanting to get this image for at least two years and just recently, on my last safari in November, was able to successfully capture it. Many aspects came into play for my reward. Light was key. Side-light, lighting the Oxpecker and keeping the Buffalo in the shade was crucial. I wanted a darker pallet for this image, and think I got it. I captured both subjects in focus, very difficult to do as both were moving and in different focal planes.

Two Plus Four 7 by Gunther Riehle, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Aptenodytes forsteri. Emperor Penguin. Antarctica, on frozen ice. We were camping on 3 m thick frozen sea water, just 1.5 miles away from a big emperor penguin colony, with lots of mega cute chicks. I concentrated especially on taking images of the adorable chicks in the harsh conditions of their environment. The image shows several emperor penguin chicks in front of adult penguins to shield from the forces of the storm.

Ocean Guest by Mike Korostelev, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
Sleeping walrus on the shore.

Salmon Claws by Peter Mather, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
A grizzly bear sow and cub use a fallen log to fish for chinook salmon on a small creek in Yukon Canada. The long, sharp claws of grizzly bears are perfect for filleting salmon. Image taken by a remote camera trap.

Brown Pelican by Bernardo Delgado, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
As a mere act of luck while I was walking trough a dolphin park this brown pelican came from nowhere and stood right in front of me, I did not hesitate to take my trusty x-e1 with my super old Zuiko 75-150mm f/4 and capture the moment, the most beautiful pelican I've seen.

Dawn Admiring in the Frozen Continent by Edson Vanderia, 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
It was very early in the Antarctic morning and I was walking along the beach admiring the sunrise, then suddenly I had a wonderful surprise: meet this Gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) already looking at the sun that was just on the horizon. At that moment I had the sensation that, like me, he had woken up very early to contemplate such a beautiful dawn. King George Island, Antarctica.

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My Modern Met granted permission to use photos and captions by National Geographic.

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