A lion-like monkey perched on a cliff edge, a curious red-eyed frog hypnotizing the camera, and rat snakes entwined around a tree branch: these are just some of the fascinating subjects captured in All About Photo (AAP) magazine’s 33rd Nature photography awards.
Many of the 24 winning pictures feature dazzlingly exotic animals and landscapes. Here are some of the selected pictures that made it to the AAP Merit List and the three winners.
The Top Winners
The first-place winner is Thomas Vijayan from Canada, for his startling photo of an aristocratic-looking golden-headed langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus), with its almost human-like face. Taken while the adventure photographer was riding a boat in Vietnam, it shows the thrilling moment Mr. Vijayan happened upon one of the rarest primates in the world.
“Cat Ba langur … is a critically endangered species of langur endemic to Cát Bà Island, Vietnam,” he said, adding that only 65-67 individuals remain.
The second place was bagged by Teri Figliuzzi from the United States for her image “Duet” from the series “Gathering.”
“‘Gathering’ is an ongoing series of phytograms using botanicals as the subject matter to bring focus to all stages of life and its fragility, both tangible and ethereal,” the magazine states.
“I was raised on a lake nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, where fences were non-existent and I roamed freely. It is where my bond with nature took root. I wish to convey this sense of wonder and discovery in my portrait, still life, and landscape photography,” Ms. Mcfaul said.
The Merit Awards Gallery
One of the most moving photos in the “Merit” category is of a stray dog with a soulful expression. Photographer Gulgun Gunal encountered him sitting on the side of a road in Turkey.
“The dog’s gaze reflects a deep awareness, its eye contact a response to changes and potential dangers,” Ms. Gunal said according to the AAP magazine. “This posture showcases its sensitivity to the surroundings while staying vigilant. The watchful expression in its eyes conveys readiness to react swiftly.”
The “Vigilant” humble stray dog is in fine company, sitting alongside other winners including a powerful young lion. Taken by Paolo Ameli, the lion gazes across one of Tanzania’s vast plains, a tuft of his mane blowing endearingly in the breeze.
Then there’s the bleeding-heart monkey (or gelada monkey) with the lion’s mane, captured magnificently by photographer Turgay Uzer.
A special type of baboon, these monkeys survive the threat of leopard attacks by sleeping on tiny ledges jutting out from vertical cliffs in the mountains of Ethiopia. At daybreak, they climb back on the plateau to graze, “which they do with grim determination all day because this grass is not nutritious,” the magazine states.
Mr. Uzer said: “I started photographing wildlife because I love animals. Little did I realize that in the process I'd be documenting a vanishing world—what’s here today may well be gone tomorrow! These days I am trying to keep up with the destruction of wild places and things. It is not easy.”
The annual awards—the first centered on the theme of nature—also showcased spectacular landscapes from around the world.
One heartbreakingly beautiful shot by Carmen Villar, from Spain, illustrates the moment she witnessed a magical sunrise at Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park. “With my heart beating strongly, I climbed up some rocks to have a better view and, to my surprise, a spectacular river dyed with the color of the sky, appeared on my left. Torres del Paine welcomed me!” Ms. Villar said.
Elsewhere, Austrian Thaddäus Biberauer won a prize for the emotional, dreamlike feel of his photograph “Dream Along,” taken as he traveled through Europe. While photographer Nathan Rochefort captured an infrared image revealing the vivid splendor of a hydrothermal basin located within Yellowstone National Park.
Caught in a sandstorm at the gateway to the Sahara Desert, French-Moroccan Olivier Unia braved extreme conditions to run and grab his camera—while everyone else ran for cover.
“[F]or 20 minutes, I took advantage of this gift from nature,” Mr. Unia said of his mystical winning image—titled “Merzouga 2”—of tribesmen walking with their camels.
Check out some more photos from this year’s All About Photos Nature photography awards.
Anna Mason is a writer based in England. She majored in literature and specializes in human interest, travel, lifestyle and content marketing. Anna enjoys storytelling, adventures, the Balearic sunshine and the Yorkshire rain.