National Geographic Announces Winners of the 2016 Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

Grand Prize, “Sardine Run” ©Greg Lecoeur

Last month we shared several of our favorite entries in the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition, and now that the spectacular winners have been chosen, we thought we’d feature a few of the First and Second Place Winners.

The Overall Winner you see above was taken by Greg Lecouer of Nice, France along the wild coast of Africa during the annual migration of sardines. As you can see, the event is one of natural predation as gannets and dolphins feast on the defenseless fish.

Environmental Issues Winner, “Polar Bear Remains in Norway” ©Vadim Balakin

The international contest invited photographers to submit entries in four categories: Landscape, Animal Portraits, Action and Environmental issues. Thousands of submissions were received that had been taken over the past two years as rules specified.

Vadim Balakin of  Sverdlovsk, Russia won the Environmental Issues category with his stark image of polar bear remains in Norway. It’s unknown how the bear died, but starvation due to the results of old age is a common cause.

Landscape Winner, “Struggle of Life’ ©Jacob Kaptein

The Landscape category winner is Jacob Kapstein of Gerland, Netherlands for his pretty image of a small beach tree surviving under harsh conditions in a river. Kapstein says he repeatedly returned to the scene until the light was right.

Animal Portraits Winner, “Dragging you Deep Into the Woods” ©Varun Aditya

The Animal Portraits category was won by Indian photographer Varun Aditya who photographed a green vine snake with a wide-angle lens during a morning stroll on a foggy day.

Action Second Place Winner, “Approach” ©Tori Shea-Ostberg

Tori Shea-Ostberg is a Second Place Winner in the Action category for a terrifying image of a tornado bearing down on a home in Wray, Colorado. She says, “As soon as we were safe, we scrambled down the hill to check on the residents. Thankfully, everyone one was all right.”

Animal Portraits Second Place Winner, “Proud Mama” ©Michael O’Neill

Another stunning Second Place Winner is Michael O’Neill, who was awarded for a vibrant photo he took in a Miami freshwater lake of Peacock Bass fry hovering around their mother. These fish are a tropical species from South America that were introduced in Florida in the 1980s to control the invasive African Tilapia.

We encourage you to visit National Geographic’s gallery page where you can explore all the amazing winning images.