These Are the 2022 Nature TTL Photographer of the Year Winners

These Are the 2022 Nature TTL Photographer of the Year Winners

These gorgeous photos show an intimate side of nature.

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A leopard atop an Indian mountain range.
A snow leopard in one of the finalist photos.
Photo: Sascha Fonseca

An elephant tosses up a cloud of dust, a grizzly bear leans into the camera lens, and a moth leaves a ghostly trail across the night sky. These are some of the finalists the Nature TTL Photographer of the Year contest, showcasing our planet’s dazzling residents and the places they call home. Over 8,000 images were submitted; here are some select finalists and winners from the competition.

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“African Elephant Puffing Dust”

“African Elephant Puffing Dust”

An African elephant uses its trunk to blow dust on its face.
An African elephant puffs dust into the air with its trunk.
Photo: Michael Snedic

An African elephant in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater blows dust into the air using its trunk. Elephants don’t sweat like humans, so to keep cool, the animals will wallow in mud baths and dust themselves, according to Elephant Aid International.

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“A Cat and Its Prize”

“A Cat and Its Prize”

A caracal holds a flaming in its jaws.
A caracal carrying off an unlucky flamingo.
Photo: Dennis Stogsdill

A caracal on the shores of Tanzania’s Lake Ndutu stalked and caught a flamingo in the lake’s shallows. Here, the wild cat traipses off with its meal. This photo took the competition’s overall prize and the category winner for Animal Behavior.

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“Ice Bear”

“Ice Bear”

A grizzly bear with ice on its face fur.
A grizzly bear in Canada, ice caking its face.
Photo: Geoffrey Reynaud

This shot of a haggard grizzly bear won the Camera Traps category of the competition, giving you an understanding of how this photo was taken. It shows a grizzly bear as its fur began to freeze, due to the frigid temperatures of the Canadian Yukon in December.

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“Top of the World”

“Top of the World”

A snow leopard in the Ladakh mountain range of India.
A snow leopard atop India’s Ladakh mountain range.
Photo: Sascha Fonseca

The Camera Traps runner-up is this shot of a snow leopard, high in an Indian mountain range. It puts the viewer so close to the leopard you feel like you could touch it—a testament to the efforts of the photographer, who had to scale the snowy mountain to plant the camera trap.

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“The Lava”

“The Lava”

Two spokes of a lava flow in iceland.
Tendrils of lava flows from an Icelandic volcano.
Photo: Marek Biegalski

Lava from the Fagradalsfjall Volcano in Iceland. This photo distorts the perspective of the lava flow, conjuring an abstract design out of the molten rock’s path.

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“Nature Fights Back”

“Nature Fights Back”

Lighting strikes in the background of this image of a sunflower in a trash dump.
A lone sunflower grows next to a trash heap in South Africa.
Photo: Bertus Hanekom

The winner of the Landscapes category shows a single sunflower sprouting from a rubbish dump in Loxton, South Africa. In the distance, a lightning strike seems to hit the horizon.

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“Pretty in Pollen”

“Pretty in Pollen”

A moth is covered in little yellow dots of pollen in this focused image.
A small moth covered in little beads of pollen.
Photo: Tim Crabb

A micro-moth (Micropterix calthella) is adorned in small golden beads of pollen from a flower in Devon, UK. This image is a compilation of stacked photos, each one capturing a different element of this bedazzled insect.

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“The Journey of a Moth”

“The Journey of a Moth”

A moth in the Hungarian sky, a blur indicating its flight path.
A moth flits in the sky, with a blurry trail indicating its flight path.
Photo: Tibor Litauszki

This multi-exposure image of a moth shows how the animal moved across the sky one summer evening in Hungary. The moth’s path is a blur, framed by the dark trees of the forest.

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“The Astonishing”

“The Astonishing”

The northern lights arc above a waterfall creating a rainbow.
A dazzling shot of the aurora, a rainbow, and a waterfall.
Photo: Mauro Tronto

This shot captures several phenomena way bigger than ourselves. The aurora casts an ethereal green line in the sky. The horizon is traced by large, icy land. A rainbow arcs up from a huge waterfall, which is smoothed by a lengthy exposure.

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“The Top of Australia”

“The Top of Australia”

The Milky Way above a small building in Australia.
A building in Australia, with the Milky Way looming above.
Photo: Josselin Cornou

The winner of The Night Sky category shows a small building in the windswept northern reaches of Kosciusko, Australia, the continent’s highest point. Above the building, the vast arc of the Milky Way—our own galaxy—is clear to see.

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“Great Crested Grebe”

“Great Crested Grebe”

A lone grebe swimming on the seemingly black water of a pond.
A grebe swimming in a Polish pond.
Photo: Maksymilian Paczkowski

A great crested grebe—a large water bird—is seen trekking across a pond near Poznań, Poland, in this photo. The blur on most of the photo draws attention to the focused part of the image—the plane on which the grebe swims.

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“Vantage Points”

“Vantage Points”

Two bright green parakeets fight over a wooden post.
Two birds bicker over a wooden post.
Photo: Achintya Murthy

The winner of the Under 16 category is this shot of two Malabar parakeets bickering. The birds were fighting over the wooden stump in Hosanagara, India. Perhaps “sharing is caring” isn’t as popular a tenet amongst birds.

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“Caviar”

“Caviar”

A gobble guts opens his mouth to reveal a plenty of orange fish eggs.
A male gobbleguts presents his progeny.
Photo: Talia Greis

This bold shot shows a male eastern gobbleguts (yes, that’s the fish’s real name) carrying eggs in its mouth. This is a normal part of the gobbleguts’ reproductive process; the males hold the eggs in their mouths until the young gobbleguts are ready to hatch. This image was taken in Chowder Bay, off the coast of Sydney, Australia.

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“Sunset Ray”

“Sunset Ray”

A grey ray swims through black-and-white fish in the ocean.
A ray swims through a school of fish.
Photo: Andy Schmid

This image won the Underwater category. It shows a pink whipray splitting a school of bannerfishes in the evening light off the coast of the Maldives. The bannerfishes’ placement give a sense of the ocean’s depth.

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“Glow Worm Metropolis”

“Glow Worm Metropolis”

An oval rail tunnel glows blue due to glowworms on its ceiling.
An abandoned rail tunnel glows in the rain.
Photo: Josselin Cornou

An old train station in Helensburg, Australia, is teeming with glow worms radiating blue-white light. There are millions of glow worms in this photo, taken during a storm—hence the soft flow of a waterfall at right.

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“City Hare”

“City Hare”

The silhouette of a hare hopping across the street.
A hare hops across the street, lit orange at night.
Photo: Jan Piecha

A lone hare crosses a street in Kassel, Germany, at night. During the day, many wild animals won’t make such a trek in the streets crowded with human hustle and bustle. But at night, animals have more freedom to move about their environment.

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“A Moment of Wilderness”

“A Moment of Wilderness”

A fox stares at the camera in a forest.
A fox looks at the camera in a Swiss forest.
Photo: Matt Engelmann

A fox in the mountains of Switzerland. The fox seems to have realized too late that it was going to be photographed and is looking back to interrogate its photographer. The animal’s dark orange coat blends in with the light brown tree trunk on which it stands.

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“I See You”

“I See You”

A lion stares at the viewer between two other lions.
The yellow eyes of a lion, flanked by more lions.
Photo: Tomasz Szpila

The winner of the Wild Portraits category is this head-on look at a male lion in Botswana. The lions depicted in this photo were busy chowing down on a young buffalo they recently felled. But one lion looked up—directly at the camera—in a shot that showcases the animal’s intensity and ferocity.

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