Nature photographer of the year 2021 winners
Here has Popular photography, we love a good photo contest. It’s always cool to see well-organized images presented around a particular theme. And there are normally some interesting lessons to be learned from looking at the winners and finalists. Recently, the Australian version of National Geographic magazine, Australian geography, announced the latest round of winners for his Nature Photographer of the Year Award.
There were nine categories of competition: Animal behavior [sic], Animal portrait, Botany, Landscape, Endangered species, Monochrome, Our impact, Animal habitat and Junior. Photographers from all over the world could enter, although all photos had to be of flora, fauna or natural land formations. And the entries must have been taken in the ANZANG bioregion (Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea). With $ 10,000 and a holiday awarded to the top winner – and $ 1,000 for all category winners – it clearly attracted a lot of high quality work.
So, let’s dive in, check out some great photos and see what we can learn.
The superb winner
There were a lot of great photos in this year’s contest. But it’s easy to see why Scott Portelli won the General Trophy for his photo of a leafy sea dragon. (I’m getting some serious Zelda vibes from it.)
It should be noted that a disproportionate number of the photographs selected were underwater shots like this one. For example, on the 14 photos presented in Animal Behavior [sic] category, five were shot in the water. And two more were photographs of whales, captured from boats.
Junior winner Georgia McGregor also deserves special mention for this terrifying photo of a (supposedly) harmless lichen-hunter spider.
Equipment matters, but not as much as you fear
Photography of nature and, in particular, wildlife has a reputation for being heavy on material. I’m not going to pretend you don’t have more options if you have a large aperture 600mm telephoto lens attached to a mirrorless camera with super-fast autofocus that can take bursts at 30 frames per. second, but the winners and finalists of this year’s competition used a wide variety of equipment.
Choice of camera
Animal Habitat category winner Christian Spencer, for example, captured this stunning shot with a Canon Rebel T4i, a nine-year-old entry-level DSLR.
While Mike George, the finalist in the Animal Portrait category used a Canon 5D MK II. Yes, it’s a full frame DSLR, but it’s far from the latest and greatest. There are also a few Nikon D7200s and other older cameras scattered among the high end bodies, like the Sony A7RIII and the Canon 1DX MK II.
Choice of objective
Likewise, there were a lot of different lenses in use, and most of them weren’t ridiculously expensive telephoto lenses. Perhaps the nature of the categories limited the number of extreme close-ups of birds that people could enter. But it’s always nice to see nature photographs, like the one above by Kristian Bell, taken with an ordinary lens that most photographers have in their bags. Bell used a Canon EF 16-35mm f / 4, but any exterior zoom would do.
Context is everything
My favorite photos weren’t the aforementioned bird close-ups – they were the most interesting photos with a story to tell. And it is clear that the judges often felt the same thing.
Just look at this Ken Griffiths photo of black ants eating a gecko.
Also discover that of Richard Robinson of a whale facing a boat. These are all photos that have something to say, and that’s what makes them so powerful.
How to enter next year’s competition
Registration is not yet open for the 2022 competition, but keep an eye on the Australian Geographic website. In the meantime, you can consult last year’s contest rules so you can make sure your photos are eligible.