The struggle is over in the World Nature Photography Awards

The struggle is over in the World Nature Photography Awards

The winners have been announced in the third annual World Nature Photography Awards. A haunting glance from a mud-crusted crocodile lying in wait takes the top honors, but there’s a visual feast to enjoy from the other winners and runners-up.

Based in London, this completely independent contest aims to encourage people all over the world to take in different perspectives, and change their own behavior and decisions for the good of the planet and its other inhabitants. To put its money where its mouth is, the World Nature Photography Awards team plants a tree for every one of the thousands of entries it receives.

The overall World Nature Photographer of the Year for 2023 is Germany’s Jens Cullman, who shot the winning image below. Crocodiles are well known for their fast strike and savage power, but Danger in the Mud highlights their other key weapon: patience. This yellow-eyed fella has lain in wait long enough for the mud on his snout to bake into a cracked crust.

Danger in the Mud: the patient eye of a mud-caked predator
Shot in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe – Gold in Animal Portraits and winner of this year’s World Nature Photographer of the Year grand prize

Jens Cullmann

Another that caught our eye was The Ghost of the Rocks, which took out the Gold prize in the Behavior-Invertebrates category. Spainiard Javier Herrantz uses a long exposure to turn a wave washing over a stationary red crab into a misty and atmospheric veil.

The Ghost of the Rocks: a red crab sits stoic as water washes over it
Shot on La Gomera Island, Spain. Gold in the Behavior – Invertebrates category

Javier Herranz Casellas

Then there’s the extraordinary work of Japan’s Norihiro Ikuma, whose shot Ride on You, below, takes us to an underwater landscape that may as well be an alien planet. A stacked pair of Japanese stream toads strike an imperious pose as they watch over an impossibly huge mass of loosely tangled egg strings stretching off into the distance.

Ride on You: Japanese stream toads watching over a tangled mass of egg-strings
Shot in the Owase Mountains, Mie, Japan – Gold in the Behavior – Amphibians and reptiles

Ikuma Norihiro

And it’s not all about the category winners. Portugal’s Antonio Coelho may only have taken out Bronze in the Plants and Fungi category, but his image Foggy Morning, below, is another example of how sometimes a different perspective on planet Earth can place the familiar in a spectacularly different light.

Foggy Morning: Mycenas fungi in gorgeous half-light
Taken in Recarei, Paredes, Portugal – Bronze in the Plants and Fungi category

Antonio Coelho

Check out the image gallery for the rest of the winners and a few of our favorite runners-up. Pop back and check out last year’s winners if you need a little more of nature’s beauty up your optical nerve today.

With the announcement of the 2023 winners, the World Nature Photography Awards has also opened up entries for next year’s competition, with an entry fee of UK£30 (~US$36) getting you six entries – and six trees planted.

Source: World Nature Photography Awards