Breathtaking Winners of the 2019 Nature Conservancy Photo Contest

The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2019 Grand Prize Winner

“Burst” by Tyler Schiffman (U.S.A.). Grand Prize.
“I was diving the break wall in Monterey bay and this week, in particular, had over 40-foot vis for 3 days straight. I had been shooting kelp bursts all day as the light was exploding amongst the canopy above. I had framed this shot waiting for a sea lion to swim by. After 5 minutes, one swam up and paused for a few seconds, I took 3 photos and as rare as it was the moment left in a blink of an eye.”

Global conservation organization The Nature Conservancy is on a mission to save the land and water we rely on. They try to shed light on the wonder and beauty of the flora and fauna that is currently at risk. Their annual photography contest is a way for creatives to make their contribution and show what we risk losing if we're not careful. The winners of the 2019 Nature Conservancy Photo Contest put together a powerful case for just how important it is to safeguard the natural world.

Across the categories of Landscape, Wildlife, Cities, Water, and People, the winning photographers give their artistic take on a wide variety of wildlife and nature. American photographer Tyler Schiffman took home the Grand Prize for his beautifully framed photograph of a California sea lion in Monterey Bay, California.

The winning image was earned with patience and a bit of good luck. “I had framed this shot waiting for a sea lion to swim by,” Schiffman says. “After 5 minutes, one swam up and paused for a few seconds, I took 3 photos and as rare as it was, the moment left in a blink of an eye.”

With nearly 125,000 entries from 152 countries, the international contest has winners from across the globe. Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, and Brazil are just some of the countries represented. It's this global vision of the natural world that makes the photo contest so captivating. One moment we're underwater in California, while in another we're taking in a tranquil waterfall in Indonesia. The inspiring imagery is a wake-up call about what we're fighting for.

“The natural world inspires a sense of wonder in all of us,” said Richard Loomis, Chief Marketing Officer for The Nature Conservancy. “Indeed, at the very soul of conservation is a deep awe of nature. These photographs are a powerful reminder of the importance of sharing our vision of nature and of working together to save the lands and waters on which all life depends.”

The winners of The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest explore the power and beauty of nature.

Award Winning Photo of a Zebra

“The Grevy's Illusion” by Yaron Schmid (U.S.A.). Third place, Wildlife.
“A Grevy's zebra staring at the camera in Lewa, Kenya, 10/2018.”

California Sea Lions

“California Sea Lions invade the Harbor” by Robert Potts (U.S.A.). Third place, Cities.
“California Sea Lions take over the docks at Astoria, Oregon.”

Landscape Photography Winner

“Taking the Plunge” by Colin Ronald (Austria). First place, Landscape.
“On the last day of a 5-day ski tour in Slovenia, we finally found ourselves above the clouds, able to see something other than fog for the first time in the entire trip. Sam takes first tracks as he skis back towards the fog with which we had become all too familiar.”

Nature Photography Contest

“Hope” by Fernando O’Farrill (Mexico). First place, Wildlife.
“Polar Bear in Svalbard, Norway June 2019.”

The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2019

“Alignment Golden Gate Bridge in Low Fog” by Jay Huang (U.S.A.). First place, Cities.
“It was taken in 11/9/2014 at Golden Gate Bridge alignment spot during a low fog event.”

The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2019

“Retrato nas Aguas da Baía de Guanabara” by Fabio Teixeira (Brazil). Second place, People.
“Young African refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo floating in the waters of Guanabara Bay, Ramos Beach.”

Nature Photography Contest

“A Rare Encounter With Cownose Rays” by Alex Kydd (Australia). Third place, Water.
“A once in a lifetime encounter with a fever of cownose rays. There have been few reports of these rays in this region and the species cannot be exactly identified. The behavior exhibited by the rays is also unsure, a possible mating or social behavior. Photo taken on Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia.”

The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2019

“Dance in the sea” by Le Van Vinh (Vietnam). First place, People.
“Fisherman in Hon Yen, Phu Yen, Vietnam.”

The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2019

“Pink Lake” by Leigh Miller (Australia). Second place, Landscape.
“Drone photo showing the amazing pink hues of a Pink Lake called Hutt Lagoon, Western Australia.”

Award Winning Underwater Photography

“Big Fish in a Big Ocean” by Alex Kydd (Australia).
“A whale shark swimming in the depths off of Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia. The rare weather conditions and visibility allowed for this image. The light rays penetrating the water can only be achieved when visibility is at its best and there is no wind.”

The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2019

“Gold of Svaneti” by Yevhen Samuchenko (Ukraine). Second place, Cities.
“Mestia at night, a small city in Georgia.”

The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2019

“Bathing Time” by Apratim Pal (India). Third place, People.
“West Bengal India, taken 09/11/2015 in Winter, when the flow of water is very slow, then a moss like structure is formed and there two people are bathing and enjoying a fresh, pure bath in the midst of the green in our ecosystem.”

The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2019

“Singing Silhouette” by Raymond Hennessy (U.S.A.). Second place, Wildlife.
“A Chestnut-sided Warbler sings out while silhouetted against the bright forest in the background.”

Award Winning Nature Photography

“To the lightning” by Hao Jiang (U.S.A.). Second place, Water.
“A flock of flamingos fly over the colorful salt lake, the floating foam pattern looks like lightning on the lake. The photo was taken from a helicopter at Lake Magadi in Kenya in March 2018.”

Award Winning Landscape Photography

“Na beira do abismo” by Guilherme Gomes de Mesquita (Brazil). Third place, Landscape.
“Trolltunga, Norway. June 28, 2019”

The Nature Conservancy Photo Contest 2019

“Wanayo Waterfall” by Diyanto Sarira (Indonesia). People's Choice Award.
“A small waterfall and stream in Wasior, West Papua.”

The Nature Conservancy: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by The Nature Conservancy.

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Stunning Winners of The Nature Conservancy 2018 Global Photo Contest

Incredible Winners of the BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition

Captivating Shortlisted Entries from the 2019 Sony World Photography Awards

Stunning Winners of the 2019 Audubon Photography Awards

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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