“He Looks to the Heavens” by Jacquie Matechuk (Canada). Overall Winner and Winner, Mammals.
Canadian nature photographer Jacquie Matechuk has been named the overall winner of the 2023 Nature Photographer of the Year competition. Her photo of a male spectacled bear looking to the sky as he took refuge in an old fig tree is an enchanting look at a rare species found in the Andean Mountain range. Her photograph beat out over 21,400 entries from photographers in 96 different countries.
“The Spanish moss hanging from this centuries-old fig tree gives an incredible sense of three-dimensionality while the soft light filtering through the colors highlights the profound connection between species and habitat in this image,” shares Marco Gaiotti, chair of the judging panel. “Finally, the pose of this spectacled bear fits perfectly into the texture of the photograph.”
Winners were also named in 12 different categories, as well as a special portfolio award. Standouts include Hermis Valiyandiyil's unique portrait of a hoopoe against a background sharply divided into light and dark, as well as XJ Toh‘s haunting photo of a nautilus using its predilection for attaching to jellyfish to cling to a piece of plastic packaging. The photographs won the Birds and Human and Nature categories, respectively.
“Usually, the critters attach to a jellyfish, but in this case, plastic pollution present in the ocean, seemed like a perfect carrier for the nautilus, oblivious that plastic does not have the same advantages food-wise as a jellyfish, the nautilus does have a confused look. The image was taken with one strobe used as backlight to emphasize the resemblance of plastic and jellyfish, and the photographer named the capture Sad Poncho, evoking the feeling of a rainy day, maybe a doomed future?” says juror Ellen Cuylaerts.
See more of the thought-provoking winners and runner-ups below; and if you are a nature photographer yourself, get ready. The 2024 edition of the competition will begin taking entries on December 20, 2023.
Here are the winners of the 2023 Nature Photographer of the Year contest.
“Dawn's Whispers: Graceful Hoopoe Silhouette at Sunrise” by Hermis Valiyandiyil (UAE). Winner, Birds.
“The Sad Poncho” by XJ Toh (Singapore). Winner, Human and Nature.
“Walk on the hill” by Őrsi Ákos (Hungary). Winner, Youth.
“No land for leopards” by Pruthvi B (India). Runner-up, Human and Nature.
“Shaking Off The Cold” by Jeffrey Kauffman (USA). Runner-up, Mammals.
“Star Spangled” by David Maitland (UK). Winner, Plants and Fungi.
The photo competition is organized by Nature Talks, which runs the annual Nature Talks Photo Festival.
“Sunset” by Jens Lax (Finland). Runner-up, Landscape.
“The Charge” by David Gibbon (UK). Runner-up, Black and White.
“The Pen and Inkwell” byt Jonathan Lhoir (France). Winner, Animal Portrait.
“The Ethereal Mist of the Wicker” by Juan Lucas (Pixelecta) (Spain). Runner-up, Nature Art.
“Long necks” by Zakariya Omran (Bahrain). Runner-up, Birds.
“The owls birch” by Anton Trexler (Germany). Runner-up, Youth.
“Paper Nautilus Rider” by Renee Capozzola (USA). Winner, Underwater.
Over 21,400 images photographers in 96 different countries were entered into the contest.
“Spider in frame” by Minghui Yuan (China). Runner-up, Other Animals.
“Balam, the endangered king of the Mayan jungle” by Fernando Constantino Martínez Belmar (Mexico). Winner, Portfolio.
“Heads or Tails” by Jodi Frediani (USA). Winner, Black and White.
“Big Ears” by Paul Mckenzie (Hong Kong). Runner-up, Animal Portraits.
“Big Wing” by Alex Pansier (Netherlands). Winner, Lage Landen.
Winners were named in 12 categories, and a special portfolio prize was also handed out.
“Austfonna Ice Cap” by Thomas Vijayan (Canada). Winner, Landscapes.
“December moth” by Imre Potyó (Hungary). Winner, Other Animals.
“Fields of Dreams” by J Fritz Rumpf (USA). Winner, Nature Art.
“Green triplets” by Johan de Ridder (Belgium). Runner-up, Lage Landen.
“ALPENSALAMADER” by Luc Rooman (Belgium). Runner-up, Underwater.