The Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit, hosts an annual nature photography contest.
The competition awards photos in 12 categories including Mammals, Oceans, and People and Nature.
An underwater photo of a newt won this year's grand prize.
The Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit dedicated to addressing climate change and rapid biodiversity loss, hosts an annual nature photography contest to raise awareness of its advocacy work.
The contest awards breathtaking photos across 12 categories including Mammals, Oceans, and People and Nature, as well as naming an overall grand prize winner. In addition, celebrity guest judge Cole Sprouse — himself a photographer, as well as an actor best known for the Disney Channel's "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" and The CW's "Riverdale" — chose his favorite photo for a celebrity judge choice award.
The winners of this year's competition display the "power and peril of the natural world," the nonprofit wrote on its website.
Here are the winning photos from the 2023 contest.
First place, Aerials: "Living Inside the Yellow Fields" by Agnieszka Wieczorek
"Inspired by the yellow color, I decided to take a photo with a drone showing an aerial perspective of a small settlement of the city of Swidnica, Poland, which was built in the middle of a field," Wieczorek wrote. "In the spring months, the buildings are surrounded by beautiful rapeseed fields."
First place, Birds: "Busy Builder" by Grzegorz Długosz
"A penduline tit builds its unique nest in the marshes of Biebrza National Park, Poland," Długosz captioned the photo. "The male is shown leaving the nest to bring more material to finish up the build."
First place, Climate: "Stranded" by Raphael Alves
"Euridice Castro, 33, holds her nephew Otavio, in the window, while her son Aquiles plays in the rising rivers, in Anama, Brazil, on May 24, 2021," Alves captioned the photo. "Anama has been an 'amphibian city' for years. Without work, adults stay at home most of the time. Children, without classes and without public leisure spaces, are left playing in the flooded areas."
First place, Freshwater: "Dry Fish Pond" by Jeanny Tang
"The holes dug by fish for spawning can be seen after the pond has dried up in Tai Sang Wai, Yuen Long, Hong Kong," Tang wrote.
First place, Insects and Arachnids: "Wolf Spider Mama" by Benjamin Salb
"This image is a 129-frame focus bracket of a wolf spider with her babies," Salb wrote. "I encountered her in the middle of an asphalt path during an early morning outing this summer. You can usually expect some movement from the kids, which could ruin a stack attempt, but they were all completely still for this set."
First place, Lands: "Sound and Vision" by Alessandro Carboni
"This picture represents one [of] the most intense moments I can remember during my life," Carboni wrote. "It was September, when after a two-week wait, I was lucky enough to experience an amazing mix of extraordinary elements that I will never forget — the impressive display of the autumn colors at their peak and the first snow of the season."
First place, Mammals: "Wolf Trinity" by Siddhartha Ghosh
"Here you can see three wolves leaping through the air showcasing their enthusiasm and companionship," Ghosh captioned the photo. "It's a moment in time that captures their nature in the wild. Each wolf exudes happiness and energy with their eyes shining bright from the excitement and their strong bond as a pack. This image serves as a reminder of the elegance and charm of these animals, in their natural environment."
First place, Oceans: "Rangiroa Gang" by Estebane Rezkallah
"These dolphins jumped and played in front of our boat as we crossed Rangiroa, the largest of the Tuamotu Atolls and the second-largest in the world," Rezkallah wrote. "The dolphins play in the waves with each ship that passes by."
First place, People and Nature: "Wildebeest Breakfast Balloon Safari" by Michael Hegyi
"A small troupe of wild blue wildebeest watches from a safe distance as a hot air balloon lands on the Maasai Mara, spills out its breakfast safari tourists, and deflates in Maasai Mara National Park, Kenya," Hegyi captioned the photo.
First place, Plants and Fungi: "Seres Lunático" by Jose Pereyra Lucena
"El Cardón, venerated by the native peoples of northwestern Argentina, is surrounded by myths and legends," Lucena wrote. "It is impossible not to be absorbed by its strange beauty."
First place, Reptiles and Amphibians: "Alien Portrait" by Irina Petrova Adamatzky
"In this photograph, the intricate skin of a corn snake is showcased in a unique way, using ultraviolet light," Adamatzky wrote. "Snakeskin exhibits a glowing effect under ultraviolet light, a phenomenon that herpetologists have utilized since the late 20th century to locate snakes in the dark."
First place, Underwater Life: "Phantoms Adrift" by Russell Laman
"Pacific sea nettles swarm in the murky waters off Monterey, California," Laman captioned the photo.
Celebrity judge choice: "Graceful Hoopoe Silhouette at Sunrise" by Hermis Haridas
"This image is a clear display of the patience, coincidence, technical adaptability, and composition that earns top choice in the competition," celebrity judge Cole Sprouse wrote of his choice for the winning image. "Well-constructed and simply beautiful. The outward simplicity of the photo almost makes it easy to forget how much waiting is required to get a shot like this. The high-speed nature of the subject means you have to be dialed in perfectly when the shot arrives."
Grand Prize winner: "Between the Stars" by Tibor Litauszki
"I photographed this moment underwater," Litauszki wrote of the winning image. "I was able to do it by putting my camera in an underwater case, attaching it to a metal weight, and placing it all under the eggs. I waited nearby for it to be dark, and when the newt appeared, I lit it with an LED lamp."
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