Greg Lecoeur/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • In-Action Category: 1st Place Winner & Grand Prize Overall

    The 2016 National Geographic <a href="http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/nature-photographer-of-the-year-2016/ "target="external">Nature Photographer of the Year contest</a> announced the winners in four categories: landscape, environmental issues, action and animal portraits. The following entries are the top prizes for each category and the overall grand prize. <br></br>"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."
    Greg Lecoeur/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • In-Action Category: 2nd Place Winner

    "An EF2 tornado bears down on a home in Wray, Colorado, May 7, 2016. As soon as we were safe, as the tornado roared off into the distance through a field before roping out, we scrambled up the hill to check on the residents. Thankfully, everyone was alright, and we were grateful for that. As I was checking in with a young woman coming out of the basement, we became very aware of a strong new circulation right above our heads. We needed to run for cover and did so before saying a proper goodbye."
    Tori Shea-Ostberg /2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • In-Action Category: 3rd Place Winner

    "A remarkable conservation success story, the graceful great egret was saved from the brink of disappearance in Hungary, where in 1921 there were only 31 mating pairs remaining. Less than a century later, international conservation efforts have triumphed. We can now count over 3,000 mating pairs in Hungary alone. The birds are most active at dawn and dusk, and here they're squabbling over food and jostling for space in the crowded swamp."
    Zsolt Kudich/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • In-Action Category: Honorable Mention

    "I came across this jellyfish on a dive in Byron Bay, Australia. At the time there was a single turtle eating various parts of the jellyfish. Soon, two more turtles arrived in full force and started a tug-of-war to keep the best bits of the jellyfish. I moved in closer to position myself in between the action as the turtles snapped at each other and continued to eat, oblivious to my presence. Soon there was little left of this giant jellyfish, and a small group of fish were evicted from their shelter within the stinging tentacles."
    Scott Portelli/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Landscape Category: 1st Place Winner

    "In the 'Leuvenumse beek' a nature organisation tried to increase heterogeneity of the river bottom and water retention by putting dead wood in the stream system. In autumn when rainfall is high, pieces of forest get flooded. Once i saw this little beech in the water, trying to survive under these harsh conditions. I returned sometimes to this place to take pictures."
    Jacob Kaptein/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Landscape Category: 2nd Place Winner

    "The first cold days of winter have frozen the surface of a pond, and the first snowfall has revealed its delicate beauty. In low-pressure conditions, southwest winds push the clouds against the vertical peaks of the Pale di San Martino. At dusk, a long shutter speed enhances the movement of the clouds around Cimon della Pala, one of the highest peaks in the Dolomites."
    Alessandro Gruzza/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Landscape Category: 3rd Place Winner

    "An isolated cumulonimbus storm developed over the Pacific Ocean a few miles south of the coast of Panama City. It sat atop a temperature inversion that created a thick overcast layer of clouds. The strong updrafts of the storm quickly reached the tropopause and spread out, creating the characteristic anvil. The strongest updrafts pierced the tropopause and turned into what scientists call the overshooting tops. The entire frame was lit by a single lightning from within the storm in a moonless night on June 16, 2016."
    Santiago Borja/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Landscape Category: Honorable Mention

    "This Green Meteor was captured while taking a time-lapse to document the urbanization around the Sky Islands in India. The camera was set at 15s exposure for 999 shots and this came into one of those shots. The meteor's greenish color come from a combination of the heating of oxygen around the meteor and the mix of minerals ignited as the rock enters Earth's atmosphere."
    Prasenjeet Yadav/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Environmental Issues Category: 1st Place Winner

    "These polar bear remains have been discovered at one of the islands of northern Svalbard, Norway. We do not know whether the bear died from starving or aging, but more likely if we see the good teeth status, it was from starving. They say nowadays that such remains are found very often, as global warming and the ice situation influence the polar bear population."
    Vadim Balakin/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Environmental Issues Category: 2nd Place Winner

    "Eighty percent of the San Francisco Bay Area wetlands has been developed for salt mining. Water is channeled into these large ponds, leave through evaporation, and the salt is then collected. The tint of each pond is an indication of its salinity. Micro-organisms inside the pond change color according to the salinity of its environment. This high salinity salt pond is located right next to Facebook HQ."
    Chris McCann/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Environmental Issues Category: 3rd Place Winner

    "This image is a magnification of plastic particles in eyeliner exploring just one facet of the synthetic swarm suspended in our oceans. The particles, lash lengthening fibres, illuminating powders and glitters these products contain are in fact tiny pieces of plastic. Every time we wash these products from our bodies or ingest them as we lick the glosses from our lips, we unknowingly add to the trillions of micro plastic particles currently infesting every level of the ocean."
    Eleanor Ryder/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Environmental Issues Category: Honorable Mention

    "In Greenland's pristine landscape lies a U.S. Air Force base which was abandoned in 1947 and everything was left behind, vehicles, asbestos laced structures, and over 10,000 aviation fuel barrels. The Inuits who live in the region call the rusted remains American Flowers. In 2014 and 2015 I camped out solo to photograph it. In 2015 my 5 day solo camping trip turned into 8, as I couldn't get picked up do to the weather."
    Ken Bower/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Environmental Issues Category: Honorable Mention

    "A young woman in a bikini looks at an approaching forest fire near the beach. A firefighting plane drops water to extinguish the wildfire. This image was taken at the beach of Son Serra, on the island of Mallorca, Aug. 18, 2016."
    Sergej Chursyn/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Environmental Issues Category: Honorable Mention

    "A solitary bear sits on the edge of Barter Island, Alaska. There is no snow when, at this time of year, there should be. The locals in Kaktovik noted that it's been an unseasonably warm winter, and that the ice will be late in forming this year. This will have an impact on the local polar bear population when it comes time to hunt seals for their food in the winter months."
    Patty Waymire/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Animal Portraits Category: 1st Place Winner

    "I shot this at Amboli, Maharashtra, India, on July 24, 2016, during a morning stroll into the blissful rain forest. Ceaseless drizzles dampened the woods for 10 hours a day; the serene gloom kept me guessing if it was night or day. The heavy fog, chilling breeze, and perennial silence could calm roaring sprits. And there I saw this beauty. I wondered if I needed more reasons to capture 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 and composed this frame."
    Varun Aditya/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Animal Portraits Category: 2nd Place Winner

    "A female peacock bass guards her brood in a Miami, Florida, freshwater lake. She will protect her young fry from a variety of predatory fish until they are large enough to fend for themselves. This tropical freshwater species, also known as the peacock cichlid, was introduced in Florida in the mid-1980s from South America to control the tilapia population, another invasive species. Throughout its native range (and in Florida) it's a prized sportfish known for its fighting spirit."
    Michael O'Neill/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Animal Portraits Category: 3rd Place Winner

    "There's a small stream about one kilometer long where you can find a varied ecosystem with many different types of insects and arachnids. From May to September, I had seen up to four different Empusas alone on their plants, but on this day I was extremely lucky when I found two individuals on the same plant. I took advantage of such a discovery and mounted my macro set and took several photos of this magical scene, where the Empusas seem to play or dance, sharing the same plant like good friends."
    Jose Pesquero Gomez/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Animal Portraits Category: 3rd Place Winner

    "This image was taken during the summer of 2015 on Skomer Island, Wales. This island is well known for its wildlife and the puffin colony is one of the largest in the U.K. The photo shows a detail or study of an Atlantic puffin resting peacefully under the rain. As Skomer is not inhabited, puffins do not feel afraid of humans, and people can get really close to puffins. That morning, the conditions were perfect. Both fine rain and a soft light helped to take this picture. In order to get this angle from above the bird, I couldn't make use of the tripod, as it could disturb the puffin."
    Mario Suarez Porras/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
  • Animal Portraits Category: Honorable Mention

    "This shot was taken on an early September afternoon along the riverbank at Pasir Ris Park in east Singapore. I was hoping to capture wildlife in action when some movement in the bushes nearby caught my attention. Instinctively, I prepared my equipment to capture any action that might ensue. I was fortunate enough to witness this adult crow chasing an adult buffy fish owl right in front of me, proving at once that the crow was the more aggressive species of the two."
    Lawrence Chia Boon Oo/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year
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