“A Cat and Its Prize” by Dennis Stogsdill (USA). Overall winner and Winner, Animal Behavior Photo location: Ndutu, Republic of Tanzania “We had received word about a serval hunting birds along the shore of Lake Ndutu (lower Serengeti) so we raced over to see. Upon arrival, we quickly realized that it was in fact a caracal and not a serval, and it was hunting flamingos that were feeding in the shallows. Within a minute of arrival, the caracal started stalking and eventually was successful (in dramatic fashion) at hunting one of the beautiful but unlucky birds. In this image you see the caracal walking off with its prize.”
Over 8,000 photos were entered into the 2022 Nature TTL Photographer of the Year contest. Incredible images of landscapes and wildlife took home awards across many different categories. But, in the end, American photographer Dennis Stogsdill was named Nature TTL Photographer of the Year and took home a cash prize of £1,500 (approximately $1,773) for his glimpse at nature in its most primal state.
Taken in the lower Serengeti, Stogsdill's photo shows a caracal proudly walking back with a flamingo that it's hunted. The bright feathers of the flamingo contrast with the mud-soaked fur of this medium-sized wild cat. For Will Nicholls, founder of Nature TTL, there is no doubt about the strength of this image.
“This is nature at its most raw. The caracal is soaked from chasing the flamingos through the waters, but has come out on top,” he shares. “The contrasting colors against the dark surroundings really make this image pop. A wonderful scene to have been able to observe no doubt, let alone capture exquisitely on camera.”
Other winning and runner-up images are equally impressive. Standouts include Mauro Tronto‘s once-in-a-lifetime photo of a rainbow and the Northern Lights shining over Iceland's Godafoss waterfall. In addition, 13-year-old photographer Achintya Murthy was named Youth Nature TTL Photographer of the Year for a beautiful image of two Malabar parakeets fighting over a tree stump. The color of the birds and the young photographer's ability to capture this moment of action make it a standout.
Scroll down to check out the winners and runners-up across the contest's eight categories; and, if you are a nature photographer, prepare to enter next year's contest, which opens for entries in January 2023.
Here are the winners of the 2022 Nature TTL Photographer of the Year contest.
“I See You” by Tomasz Szpila (Poland). Winner, Wild Portraits. Photo location: Moremi, Okavango Delta, Botswana “When a huge lion looks you right in the eyes, you immediately forget that you are sitting safely in the car. Instinctively, you cower and slowly retreat deeper inside the car so as not to provoke a predator. Fortunately, he and his brothers were busy consuming the young buffalo that had been hunted several minutes earlier.”
“Vantage Points” by Achintya Murthy (India). Winner, Under 16. Photo location: Hosanagara, Karnataka, India “Malabar Parakeets are wonderful creatures. They are also called blue-winged parakeets. They usually flock together and are seen in huge numbers. In the midst of a bunch of activities, it was my privilege to shoot this image from a bird hide. These two are fighting over a stump that had paddy grains as it feeds.”
“Caviar” by Talia Greis (Australia). Runner-up, Underwater. Photo location: Chowder Bay, Sydney, Australia “A male Eastern Gobbleguts carrying eggs in its mouth. When the female is ready to make the transfer, the male opens his mouth near her cloaca orifice, as she pushes the eggs out in a cone-like manner. The male uses the tip wedged in his throat to keep them in position, while still allowing himself to feed, and protect the precious eggs. He will continue to hold the eggs for a month before hatching occurs.”
Over 8,000 photos were entered into the annual contest.
“African Elephant Puffing Dust” by Michael Snedic (Australia). Runner-up, Animal Behavior. Photo location: Ngorongoro Crater, Republic of Tanzania “After wallowing in the mud, this majestic African Elephant was walking towards our safari vehicle in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Africa. It sucked up some dust in its trunk and before long, it turned its trunk upwards and released a huge puff of dust. My camera was set to continuous shutter and I was clicking away like crazy—an exhilarating moment!”
“The Top of Australia” by Josselin Cornou (France). Winner, The Night Sky. Photo location: Kosciusko, Australia “This photo was taken during a trip to Kosciusko, the highest point in Australia. It is also one of the best places to capture the Milky Way, in part thanks to the dark skies.”
“The Astonishing” by Mauro Tronto (Italy). Runner-up, The Night Sky. Photo location: Godafoss, Iceland “This shot is a mixture of magical elements: the light of the moon whose incidence at the right angle generated a magnificent rainbow; the beautiful northern lights shot just above the lunar rainbow; finally Godafoss, a spectacular waterfall in Iceland. All elements are real and occurring at the same time.”
“Glow Worm Metropolis” by Josselin Cornou (France). Runner-up, Urban Wildlife. Photo location: Helensburg, Australia “: A city of glow worms are populating this old train station, providing beautiful lights on rainy days. This place was an old railway, which is now abandoned. The railway was closed at the beginning of the 20th century. Then, nature started to populate this place. In this photo, millions of glowworms can be seen. To make this photo happen, I had to travel to the location during a storm, as an ephemeral waterfall would start to appear. A day after this photo was taken, the tunnel was flooded.”
“Ice Bear” by Geoffrey Reynaud (France). Winner, Camera Traps. Photo location: Klukshu, Yukon, Canada “A large grizzly bear passes in front of my camera trap. In the Yukon, Canada, a unique phenomena happens every year. The bears will freeze their fur and stay out until the month of December, despite the temperature reaching as low as -30 degrees Celsius. This picture was taken by a camera trap set up along the river about 2 days before a snowstorm. The temperature was starting to drop to -15C, and the bear was only starting to become an ‘ice bear'.”
The winners and runners-up show all facets of the natural world—from landscapes to wildlife.
“Sunset Ray” by Andy Schmid (Switzerland). Winner, Underwater. Photo location: Tuna Factory, Maldives “A Pink Whipray splitting a school of Bannerfishes, shot against the setting sun on a late afternoon at the famous dive site “Tuna Factory” that is located close to Malé, the capital of the Maldives. Photographed while SCUBA diving.”
“Top of the World” by Sascha Fonseca (Germany). Runner-up, Camera Traps. Photo location: Ladakh, India A Snow leopard scans for prey across the jagged peaks of the Ladakh mountain range in India. Thick snow blankets the ground, but the big cat’s dense coat and furry footpads keep it warm. I captured this image during a three year DSLR camera trap project in the Indian Himalayas. Challenges were many: High altitude, low oxygen, luna-esque terrain, finding productive locations, getting the equipment in place, and maintaining it over long periods of time.
“The Journey of a Moth” by Tibor Litauszki (Hungary). Winner, Small World. Photo location: Őrségi National Park, Hungary “I managed to photograph this moth in summer at dusk. To keep track of the flight, I used an LED headlight, and I lit the moth with a flash. I made the twilight mood with multi-exposure inside the camera.”
“A Moment of Wilderness” by Matt Engelmann (Switzerland). Runner-up, Wild Portraits. Photo location: Graubünden, Switzerland “Since I cautiously observed the dog fox for a month, I noticed that this place was well used as a marking spot. The picture is taken with a wide-angle lens with a remote shutter release, so as not to disturb the fox.”
“Pretty in Pollen” by Tim Crabb (United Kingdom). Runner-up, Small World. Photo location: Mutter's Moor near Sidmouth, Devon, UK “A Micro-moth (Micropterix calthella) covered in golden balls of pollen from a creeping buttercup flower found in Mutter's Moor near Sidmouth, Devon, UK. The final image is a compilation of focus-stacked pictures.”
“The Lava” by Marek Biegalski (Poland). Runner-up, Landscapes. Photo location: Reykjavik, Iceland “Lava poured out of the crater—changing Iceland's map forever. The eruption began on 18 March 2021 in the Geldingadalir valley at the Fagradalsfjall Volcano mountain on the Reykjanes peninsula. I captured this image on the 17th of September, as the eruption and lava flow that day was spectacular.”
“Nature Fights Back” by Bertus Hanekom (South Africa). Winner, Landscapes. Photo location: Loxton, Northern Cape, South Africa “A thunderstorm passes over a sunflower which, against the odds, has managed to survive on a rubbish dump in the semi-arid Karoo region of South Africa.”
“Great Crested Grebe” by Maksymilian Paczkowski (Poland). Runner-up, Under 16. Photo location: Pond near Poznań, Poland “My local pond is great place for grebes. There are at least four breeding species on this pond and they're pretty tame because fishermen are often there. This little great crested grebe was posing for me through all the time that sun was setting.”
“City Hare” by Jan Piecha (Germany). Winner, Urban Wildlife. Photo location: Kassel, Germany “During the daytime this place on the outskirts is totally crowded by people going about their daily business. But at night, it belongs to the animals that come out to play under the streetlights.”