Gear Inspirations

10 images that show exactly how beautiful our world is

The winning images from the Nature TTL contest is absolutely what photographers need to see right now…

While many photographers around the world are experiencing lockdown, the winning images from the popular Nature TTL photo contest have provided some much-needed relief and inspiration. The international competition saw 7,000 entries from 117 countries and submissions included entries from genres including wildlife, landscape, and macro photography.

The title of Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2020 went to French photographer Florian Ledoux, who took the £1000 grand prize with an image entitled ‘Above the Crabeater Seals’, which was captured using a DJI Phantom 4 Pro drone flying above the ice floats in Antarctica. Florian’s image also took First Place in the Wildlife category, too.

Image by Florian Ledoux/Nature TTL

Runner-Up in the Wildlife category went to Paul Holman for his amazing image, entitled ‘Startled Owl’, which was captured in the UK using a Canon 7D Mark II paired with a Canon EF100-400 Mark II lens. Paul commented; ‘The baby little owl made an appearance within the window during a burst of early morning sun. A couple of jackdaws spooked by his presence started dive bombing him. After a few passes I noticed the jackdaw’s reflection in the adjacent windowpane and decided to try and capture this behaviour. The startled look on the little owl’s face adds a little humour to the image.’

Image by Paul Holman/Nature TTL

This spectacular frame from Bence Máté was Highly Commended in the Wildlife category. The backlit image of the brown bear, entitled ‘Breathing’ was shot in Romania and captured using a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II paired with a 400mm lens.

Image by Bence Máté/Nature TTL

Taking top honours in the Landscape category was this frame by Marek Biegalski. Entitled ‘Shadow Game’, the image shows a flock of sheep sheltering from the heat under a tree in Tuscany, Italy and was captured using a DJI Mavic Pro.

Image by Marek Biegalski/ Nature TTL

Runner-up in the hotly contested Landscape category was this frame from Alessandro Cantarelli. Entitled ‘Viking Rainbows’ and shot in Iceland using a Canon 5D Mark IV paired with a Samyang 12mm f2.8 fisheye, Alessandro commented;  ‘I am very attached to this photograph, both because of the technical difficulty and because it took years to make it. Over the last few years, I have found myself dozens of times in Iceland, several of which I was lucky enough to witness incredible conditions on the Vestrahorn. Seeing such a powerful sunrise on the right was already magical, and the very intense rain made things difficult for me but it gave me a great gift: a double rainbow on my left that perfectly compensated the strong light on the right.’

Image by Alessandro Cantarelli/ Nature TTL

This frame from Brandon Yoshizawa is quite literally out of this world and was Highly Commended in the Landscape category. Entitled ‘Flower Power’ and captured with a Nikon D750 paired with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens, Brandown explained the image; ‘An incredible display of man and nature. The exhaust plume of a SpaceX rocket is lit by the low sun at twilight. The plume takes on the shape of a flower with the trail almost looking like a broken stem as it shoots out from behind the snow capped Sierra Nevada mountains. I couldn’t have asked for a better scene as it shot up over a brilliant display of colourful fall aspens. One of the most incredible things I’ve been able to witness and capture on a camera. This shot is comprised of two exposures: one for the sky and one for the foreground without moving the camera.’

Image by Brandon Yoshizawa/Nature TTL

Winner of the Macro category was this minimalist frame from China-based photographer Minghui Yuan. Entitled; ‘Chinese Painting’, the image was shot using a Nikon D7000 DSLR paired with a Tamron 180mm/3.5 macro lens and shows a damselfly resting on some grasses.

Image by Minghui Yuan/Nature TTL

Runner-up in the Macro category went to UK-based photographer Robert Page for his image, entitled ‘Mating red-eyed damselflies’ that was shot with a Nikon D7200 paired with a  500mm f5.6 lens. Robert explained the frame; ‘I have observed and photographed damselflies on the ponds in my local park in London for years. Last summer, during the July heat-wave on an especially hot and muggy but overcast day, I went with the intention of trying to capture some shots using exposure compensation as I’d recently begun experimenting more with it.  The damselflies were out in great numbers all over the surface of the water and due to the lack of direct sunlight I was able to shoot with a bit of positive compensation to leave the water white or near white. It then just became a question of looking for the most photogenic pairing and this group stood out due to the symmetry. This breeding behaviour lasted exactly 1 day, as the next day I went back and the activity had already subsided for another year.’

Image by Robert Page/Nature TTL

Christian Wappl was Highly Commended in the Macro category for this image, entitled ‘Trailblazer’, which was shot in Thailand using a Canon EOS 5DS paired with a Canon EF 16–35mm f/4L lens. Christian commented; ‘It was past midnight in the forest of the Peninsular Botanic Garden (Trang, Thailand), but a light still shone in the dark. A large firefly larva (Lamprigera sp.) emitted a constant glow from its light organs.’

Image by Christian Wappl/Nature TTL.

Another Highly Commended entry in the Landscape category was this superlative frame from Dipanjan Pal. Entitled ‘Coexistence’ and shot in Iceland using a DJI Mavic Pro drone, Dipanjan commented about the image; ‘This is a scene very close to one of the popular mountains of Iceland. While flying my drone to the mountain with my drone’s camera pointed downward, I suddenly noticed this beautiful landscape with the blue river perfectly pop-ping against the black sand. The sun peeking through the clouds added more drama to the scene.’

Image by Dipanjan Pal/Nature TTL