20 Mesmerising Nature Photos That Won The 2023 Nature inFocus Photography Awards

Published 6 months ago

The Nature inFocus Photography Awards saw a surge in captivating and contemplative natural environment photographs, thanks to the introduction of a fresh category. This new category, Photographer of the Year – Portfolio, encouraged photographers to present compelling narratives through a series of images capturing memorable animal moments.

In addition to this exciting category, this year’s awards expanded in other ways as well. The number of accolades grew, with three winners and approximately five jury selections revealed for each category. Check out some of the best photos that won this year in the gallery below.

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#1 “She’s Like The Wind”, Winner, Animal Portraits

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

A female Purple Sunbird prepares to take off from the edge of a curved coconut frond, creating the illusion that her tiny body is heavy enough to bend the leaf and use it as a launchpad to throw her into the lightness of flight.

By KM Anand.

#2 “Fireball”, Jury Selection, Young Photographer

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

As Alankritha photographed the Red Panda curled up in deep slumber, a hundred questions raced through her mind. The image is a scene of serenity, in stark contrast to the many threats that besiege this endangered species. Habitat loss and fragmentation, feral dogs, and occasional poaching incidents continue to threaten their existence. The young photographer puts it best, “Will the Red Panda wake up to a brighter tomorrow?”

By Alankritha Kalingarayar.

#3 “Chaos Theory”, Winner, Conservation Focus

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

While it’s often difficult to decode a conflict situation, one thing is for sure—fear fuels it from both ends. On spotting a tigress resting near the paddy fields, the villagers of Borsola near Orang Tiger Reserve panicked and began pelting stones at the felid. They also set fire to dry paddy, further agitating the animal. While the tigress ran amok, so did the people trying to flee the area. One villager tried to confront the animal and was inflicted with minor injuries. The tigress eventually retreated into the forest. The image portrays the ground realities of human-tiger conflict and emphasises the need for empowering local communities to manage these situations.

By Nejib Ahmed.

#4 “A Thorny Issue”, Winner, Conservation Focus

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

The salt pans of the Little Rann of Kutch play host to a diverse range of fauna. A growing feral dog population in the region has become a significant cause for concern, as portrayed in this image of two dogs attacking an Indian Crested Porcupine. It is also a potent reminder that feral dogs are not selective and affect wildlife across species.

By Kapil Sharma & Yogendra Satam.

#5 “Heat Tasting”, Jury Selection, Animal Portraits

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

Sandeep captured the flick of an Anamalai Pit Viper’s tongue using the rear curtain sync mode, whereby the flash is fired at the end of the exposure, thereby capturing the complete motion trail. Pit vipers stick out their tongue to collect scents, and when drawn back in, it comes in contact with the Jacobson’s organ on the roof of the mouth, helping in smell detection.

By Sandeep Das.

#6 “Fox In The City”, Winner, Wildscape & Animals In Their Habitat

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

The beauty of snow-clad rooftops and backyards with just a hint of fox in the midst of it all. The Red Fox sure seems in its element in the suburbs of London, exemplifying the canid’s ability to adapt to a diverse range of habitats. From mountains to forests to people’s backyards, for the Red Fox home is many things.

By Tapas Biswas.

#7 “Dance-Off!”, Jury Selection, Animal Behaviour

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

When male Stream Rubies engage in a territorial battle, it’s hard to discern if they are fighting or dancing. The damselflies hardly touch each other, moving instead in a synchronous manner as they try to oust their rival in a battle of strength. The fight goes on until one of the two accepts defeat and, well, buzzes off. The rapid movements of the damselflies are hard to freeze on camera, making this a picture-perfect action frame!

By Ripan Biswas.

#8 “Jaws-Ome”, Winner, Animal Portraits

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

The Caribbean Reef Shark is an impressive and fast hunter. With the help of a long shutter speed, two underwater strobes and some speedy camera movement, the photographer created this breathtaking portrait of the dynamic apex predator. Sharks are a protected species in the Bahamian reefs, like in many other parts of the world’s oceans, yet 80-100 million sharks get killed every year. A strong market demand for shark fins is the main driver. In order for shark conservation to be a success, Magnus believes that there needs to be an understanding that living sharks hold a greater value than dead ones.

By Magnus Lundgren.

#9 “Wings Of Life And Death”, Winner, Creative Nature Photography

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

At the start of the monsoon, as the first rains lash down on scorched earth, winged termites or alates emerge in huge numbers, with the singular purpose of breeding in what is known as the nuptial flight. Bright lights confuse the navigational systems of most animals, and it is common to see swarms of alates flying around street lamps. Anirban chanced upon a termite swarm near the local petrol bunk when suddenly a Black Drongo swooped into feast on the termites. The whole thing was over in 15-20 minutes. The winged termites vanished, and so did the drongo.

By Anirban Dutta.

#10 “Termite Control”, Winner, Animal Behaviour

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

Look up images of hyenas hunting and you will most likely find scenes of a pack feeding on carcasses of animals like antelopes, wildebeest or even lions! Yep, a pack of hyenas can take on some large animals. But here, a Spotted Hyena has climbed on top of a termite hill, to make the most of what was available. What can we say? Some days you fight, and some days you termite!

By Mangesh R Desai.

#11 “Refuge In Sponge”, Jury Selection, Creative Nature Photography

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

A Black-spotted Porcupine Fish uses a Giant Barrel Sponge as a harbour away from the current. The swirling effect is created by spinning the camera while exposing and using strobe lights to freeze parts of the frame.

By Magnus Lundgren.

#12 “Cloaked In Lilac”, Jury Selection, Wildscape & Animals In Their Habitat

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

Yes, this is a pretty image with the tiger’s stripes standing out in the middle of the purple water hyacinth flowers. But these invasive plants are notorious for displacing native plant species within water bodies while reducing oxygen levels. As seen in the image, even protected areas like national parks and tiger reserves are not immune to their impacts.

By Sanjay Nair.

#13 “Tranquillity”, Jury Selection, Wildscape & Animals In Their Habitat

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

If you ever decide to capture serenity in one frame, here it is! Whooper Swans need ample space and spend a lot of their time swimming and foraging for food. But don’t be fooled by the calmness that the image exuberates. These large birds are equally boisterous.

By Lakshitha Karunarathna.

#14 “Let It Snow”, Jury Selection, Wildscape & Animals In Their Habitat

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

The winter wonderland is vastly different from what the Sika Deer ideally prefers: forest areas with dense understories. Nevertheless, the image is striking for several reasons—the thick blanket of snow that turns everything it touches to white and a lone deer gently seated on what looks like soft pillowy snow.

By Philippe Ricordel.

#15 “A Croc’s World”, Jury Selection, Animal Portraits

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

This high-contrast, half-and-half image of an American Crocodile in an archipelago in southern Cuba captures the reptile in its element. Massimo spent days with a bask of crocodiles near a mangrove forest to study the currents, the light in the region, the water clarity and for the perfect opportunity to shoot a close-up against the backdrop of a blazing sun.

By Massimo Giorgetta.

#16 “Where The Giants Roam”, Winner, Animal Portraits

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

Elephants are a common sight along the river and in the paddy fields of Sri Lanka’s north-central province. The farmers are happy to allow these gentle giants to enter their paddy fields after harvest. But they do everything possible to chase away the pachyderms during the crop season. This aerial shot of a massive tusker beautifully captures its larger shadow against the riverbank decorated with the footprints of his herd.

By Lalith Ekanayake.

#17 “Heart Of Pink”, Jury Selection, Creative Nature Photography

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

A bird’s eye view of a wetland shows a large colony of flamingos shaped almost like a heart as it charges back and forth in a tight-knit formation—a courtship dance known as marching. Alongside the busy flamboyance are quickly accumulating algal populations that rob aquatic life of precious oxygen.

By Raj Mohan T.

#18 “Ka Pow!”, Jury Selection, Animal Behaviour

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

Here’s how it works in the world of the Grey-headed Swamphen. When breeding groups encounter an intruder in their territory, the first displays of threat include raising wings, bending down and flapping tails. If that doesn’t work, then it’s time to be a bit more dramatic. The opponents fly at each other feet-first and peck their way to victory.

By Karthikeyan Ponnambalamoorthy.

#19 “Balam—the Endangered King Of The Mayan”, Winner, Photographer Of The Year – Portfolio

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

In Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the Maya jungle is undergoing massive deforestation, forcing its endangered apex predator, the Jaguar, to move into human settlements.

By Fernando Constantino Martinez Belmar.

#20 “Jailbreak”, Winner, Wildscape & Animals In Their Habitat

Image source: Nature In Focus Photography Awards

Barn Owls on window sills, inside abandoned buildings, chimneys or even in a mall! We have seen them all. The most widespread land bird species does not take its title lightly. But here, the bird seems to be seeking refuge in a rather unusual location. The camera trap image shows a Barn Owl flying into an abandoned Mumbai Police van. Well, if you are looking for a safe habitat!

By Kapil Sharma & Yogendra Satam.

Saumya Ratan

Saumya is an explorer of all things beautiful, quirky, and heartwarming. With her knack for art, design, photography, fun trivia, and internet humor, she takes you on a journey through the lighter side of pop culture.

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