Every year National Geographic hosts the ‘Nature Photographer of the Year Contest’ and it never fails to amaze us. This year we saw quite a few powerful photos and needless to say, they were beautiful in their own way. This year, the grand prize went to Greg Lecoeur for his jaw-dropping shot of the feeding frenzy that accompanies sardine migration along the Wild Coast of South Africa. His award-winning photo titled as the titled “Sardine Run,” was captured in June 2015 after waiting for two weeks to witness the natural predation, the official release noted.
There were other winners too in four categories – action, landscapes, animal portraits and environmental issues. The award acknowledges three winning photographs in each of the above-mentioned categories. The contest also celebrates the efforts of few others who get honorary mentions.
A resident of Nice in France, Greg Lecoeur while sharing his experience said, “During the sardine migration along the Wild Coast of South Africa, millions of sardines are preyed upon by marine predators such as dolphins, marine birds, sharks, whales, penguins, sailfishes and sea lions. The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques to create and drive bait balls to the surface.”
Securing the first prize, Lecoeur earned a 10-day trip to exotic Galápagos island with National Geographic Expeditions team, two 15-minute image portfolio reviews with organisation’s photo editors, along with a cash prize of $2,500.
The contest was judged by esteemed judges that included, National Geographic magazine’s senior photo editor of natural history assignments, Kathy Moran, and National Geographic photographers Joe Riis and Jim Brandenburg.
This year many Indian photographers have made us proud by winning many prestigious international grants and awards and this contest was no exception. Varun Aditya of Tamil Nadu secured the first position in the Animal Portraits category for a photo of a snake.
All the award-winning photographs have been published on the organisation’s website and photographers have shared their experience and struggles they faced while capturing these breathtaking images.
Indian photographer Varun Aditya narrated his adventure journey and how he spotted the green beauty nested in its natural habitat. “A morning stroll into the blissful forest! Ceaseless drizzles dampening the woods for 12 hours a day; The serene gloom which kept me guessing if it was a night or a day. Heavy fog, chilling breeze, and the perennial silence could calm roaring sprits; And there I spotted this 20 cm beauty the Green vine snake! I wondered if I needed more reasons to capture this with the habitat; For I was blessed to see this at the place I was at. I immediately switched from the macro to the wide angle lens” the photographer’s story read.
All the pictures short-listed for the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year were submitted by the contestants through their photo sharing community Your Shot.
— Nat Geo Photography (@NatGeoPhotos) December 9, 2016
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) December 11, 2016
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