There’s something so special about nature photography, because when done right, it shows us the real beauty of our planet. Every year, the best nature photography in the world is recognised by the GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2022 awards and this time around, the winning and shortlisted images, picked from 6400 entries, are very special.
The ‘Overall winner’ award went to 23 years old Thomas Hempelmann from Greifswald, Germany, who took the title for a picture of a kestrel on a branch full of blossoms. The photographer was cycling home from an unsuccessful photo tour when he spotted the bird of prey sitting on a lamp post. He quickly stopped and got his camera out to take a few shots. Thomas commented: “The pictures were not very special at all. But when the kestrel rose up and then settled between the white blossoms that I had already spotted from the corner of my eye, my heart began to beat faster as I had imagined such a situation many times before. While I was still pondering whether to take off my 2x extender to include more of the tree in the picture, he was already gone again. In the end, it was only a few seconds that made my day and I whistled loudly with joy all the way home.”
First place in the Mammals category went to Jose Fragozo for this beautifully-lit image entitled; ‘Hippo Spout’. The enigmatic frame was captured using a Canon R5, which was paired with a 600mm f/4 IS II USM lens.
Top spot in the ‘Other Animals’ category went to Heinz Buls for an image entitled ‘Stag Beetle Launch’, which showed the power of back-lighting a subject. Heinz used a full-frame Canon 5D Mark III DSLR to capture the image, which won First Place in the category.
The ‘Plants and Fungi’ category proved to be hotly-contested, but the First Place winner was named as Felix Wesch, who claimed the top spot for a serene frame entitled; ‘Foxglove and fern’, which was captured using a Panasonic S1 paired with a LUMIX S 24-105mm lens.
First Place in the Landscapes category was awarded to Steffen Jung, for an image entitled ‘Wasgau side light’, which was captured using a Pentax K-5 DSLR.
Second Place in the Birds category was awarded to German photographer Karsten Mosebach, for an image entitled ‘Barn Owl’. The shot, which was captured with a Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR paired with a 16-35mm, lens took advantage of a slow exposure of 0.8seconds to add motion to the frame.
Second place in the Other Animals category went to German photographer Christian Dietrich Morawitz, who was awarded the honour for this special frame entitled ‘Motion’, which shows a tadpole in motion.
Taking First Place in the Nature’s Studio category was this mesmerising frame from Radomir Jakubowski. Entitled ‘The Wave’, the image shows a crashing wave lit by the sunrise and was captured using a Canon 1DX paired with a Canon 300mm f/2.8 lens.
Finally, also placing in the shortlisted images of the Landscapes category was this colourful frame by German photographer Thomas Black, who picked up the honour for this frame entitled ‘Heather Blossom’, which was captured using a Nikon Z 6 full-frame mirrorless camera paired with a 18-35mm lens.