- The Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition has released the 2021 winners of its renowned annual competition.
- The renowned competition took place in the theme of celebrating the rich natural heritage of Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea.
The Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition has released the 2021 winners of its renowned annual competition celebrating the rich natural heritage of Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea, reports The Forbes.
Organized as a partnership between the South Australian Museum and Australian Geographic, the Nature Photographer of the Year is open to photographers of all ages, skill levels and nationalities who submit images of fauna, flora and landscapes in 10 categories.
The winners were chosen from more than 2,206 entries, the second highest number in the competition’s history.
South Australian Museum Director’s Words
“The past year has really encouraged all of us to reconnect with nature as we spent weeks and months in our homes,” said Brian Oldman, Director of the South Australian Museum. “We were forced to stop and slow down the pace.”
Who is the Winner?
“Leafy Night” (below) by photographer Scott Portelli capturing the wonder of the mysterious ‘dragon of the ocean’ won the overall competition and the $10,000 prize.
Each of the category winners receives $1,000, while the the runner-up takes $500.
The winning image of a Leafy Seadragon camouflaged in the shallow reefs of the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia was shot in March 2020, shortly after the announcement of Covid-19 restrictions.
“The nationwide lockdown was declared and we were stuck for six weeks at a small campground in the Fleurieu Peninsula,” explained Portelli, who has been a photographer for more than 20 years. “This ended up being a blessing in disguise. After several encounters with one particular Seadragon, it appeared to become unperturbed by my presence and I was able to compose the shot.”
Celebration Amid Pandemic
“Whilst the pandemic has brought many hardships it has also given us a reminder to be thankful for the natural world around us,” said Chrissie Goldrick, Editor-in-Chief of Australian Geographic.
The winning images are a beautiful show of impeccable timing, patience, artistry and technique.
The South Australian Museum organizes a public exhibition featuring all finalists from August 27 until October 31. The Australian Museum in Sydney will also host the exhibition from October 2021 until January 2022.
“The backlighting has transformed the Seadragon from a tiny sea creature into the illusion of a mythical beast,” the competition judges wrote. “Beautifully framed, the dragon emerges from the darkness, glowing with a sense of fire within.”
Leafy Sea Dragons hide in the thick kelp to camouflage themselves from predators. The vibrant, flamboyant adults blend perfectly with their surroundings. At night, the backlighting on a Leafy Seadragon accentuates its features and the delicate body that appears translucent.
Animal Portrait Category Winner
White-capped mollymawks, a.k.a. white-capped albatrosses mainly eat squid, fish, krill, salps and offal from the ocean surface. They rarely dive for food. Their largest threat is now longline and trawl fishing, especially in the seas off southern Africa.
Animal Portrait Category Runner
Animal Portrait Category Finalists
Fiddler rays cover their marked bodies with sand to help prevent detection. The eyes of this one protrudes rather obviously, giving it a comical appearance.
Its misplaced confidence in its own camouflage allowed the photographer to approach closely and take a shot of the ‘masked hero’.
As night falls, the stargazer, a fish about one foot in length, emerges from beneath the sand to ambush its prey.
To the naked eye, it blends in seamlessly. However, special techniques permit it to show off its biofluorescence. The fish glows an eerie neon yellow.
Animal Habitat Category Winner
In Australia’s Strzelecki Desert, a flock of galahs replenish on the only water available at the base of a lonely tree.
It was a rare opportunity to get such a clear and symmetrical shot of these beautiful birds in flight, in the middle of the desert.
Animal Habitat Category Runner
Animal Habitat Category Finalist
A surreal moment as a kangaroo seems to magically walk on water in the pink lakes of the Mallee region in northwestern Victoria.
Threatened Species Category Winner
Populations of grey nurse sharks along the Australian coast are under threat and have suffered a decline in recent years.
Current threats to the species are believed to be incidental catch from commercial fisheries, recreational fishing and, to a lesser extent, shark net programs run in New South Wales and Queensland.
Threatened Species Category Runner
Botanical Category Winner
Nicknamed ‘ghost mushrooms’ due to their eerie glow, this fungi is only found in certain forests in Australia. They glow for only a few weeks in the year and are hard to find and photograph.
Botanical Category Runner
Botanical Category Finalists
This shrub is the emblem of the Fitzgerald River National Park. Its beauty comes from brightly coloured foliage rather than its understated flowers
Animal Behaviour Category Winner
A West Australian seahorse gives birth. The male seahorses ‘get pregnant’ and brood the babies in their pouch.
Photographing them having their babies takes lots of patience, persistence, good timing — and a touch of luck.
Animal Behaviour Category Runner
The animal inside the seashell is a tiny octopus about two inches in diameter. This octopus uses the shell as a house and for protection, taking it along as it moves.
Animal Behaviour Category Finalist
Junior Category Winner
A lichen huntsman spider waits in ambush, perfectly camouflaged on a tree trunk in the Daintree National Park.
This spider, native to north Queensland, is one of the fastest moving of all known spiders — but harmless to humans.
Junior Category Runner
Monochrome Category Winner
Captured in Omeo, Victoria, as the fires in east Gippsland began to develop in 2019 and 2020.
The rising smoke cloud forewarns the impending doom the fires were to bring and the havoc they would cause as they ravaged the region.
Monochrome Category Runner
Palm cockatoos are among the major draws for nature lovers visiting Cape York. As they are naturally shy, to capture a glimpse of these declining birds in the wild is a unique experience.
Recent fires and cyclones have destroyed valuable nesting trees. Education and awareness of their plight may save them in the long run.
Landscape Category Winner
Landscape Category Runner
Our Impact Category Winner
A wildlife officer measures one of two blue-tongued lizards found bound and stuffed inside a DVD player.
Posted to Asia, it was detected at a Melbourne postage sorting facility. Luckily, both were still alive. Wildlife smuggling is so brutally cruel, with many not surviving their long trip.
Our Impact Category Runner
Face masks landed at Lord Howe Island from a cargo ship that lost 50 containers in rough seas off Sydney.
In this image, a Columbus crab finds shelter in a plastic bag of face masks. The environmental impact will never be fully quantified.
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Source : The Forbes