The Nature Conservancy is an organization which was established in 1951 to to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends.
The organisation also runs the Global Photo Contest which features the powerful artistry of nature photography. For this year’s contest, a record-breaking 57,489 entries were received from 135 countries. Photographers were asked to submit their best work to five different categories—Landscape, Water, People & Nature, Wildlife, and Cities & Nature.
The overall prize was awarded to French photographer Camille Briottet for her stunning image of two stallions frolicking in the marshlands of Camargue. The incredible action shot highlights the joy and beauty of these animals left to roam free. In contrast, American photographer Andre Mercier took home second prize for an ominous image that is a startling reminder of what we’re losing. Taken in Iceland, The End is Near shows a piece of ice floating in the mist. Soon to melt away, it was once part of a larger glacier.
“The quality of entries this year is stunning. It was very difficult to select the winner,” said Bill Marr, director of photography for The Nature Conservancy and one of the contest’s judges. “TNC’s Photo Contest is a wonderful intersection for those who love nature and those who love photography. We have wonderful entries from all over the world, from beautiful Western landscapes to squirrels in a backyard in Austria. Photography is a common language for all.”
Here are all the winners and some of our favorites. What did you think was the best image?
1 ‘Stallions Playing' by Camille Briottet (France).
Grand Prize. “The power of the animal kingdom.”
2 'The End if Near' by Andre Mercier (USA).
Second place. “This ice could be thousands of years old, and only recently broke off the Vatnajokull Glacier at Jokulsarlon Bay in Iceland, and will soon melt into the sea.”
3 ‘Serenity' by Jeremy Stevens (USA).
Water. “Aldeyjarfoss Waterfall in Iceland, January 2018. The places that are hardest to get to are often the best and most peaceful.”
4 ‘Slender Slots' by Tanner Latham (USA).
People & Nature. “Squeezing through one of the incredibly narrow slot canyons in Escalante National Monument. Taken on a week long expedition through the deserts of southern Utah.”
5 'Frog Hug' by Terra Fondriest (USA).
Third place. “Down at the mud puddles on our road, we found several young bullfrogs hopping around. Up on our hilltop, wet spots are few and far between, so our mud puddles are home to a constant flow of tadpoles, frogs, and toads. My daughter loves all critters, her goal is to create a wildlife rehab center someday. She constantly inspires me with her care towards every living thing.”
6 'Watching You Watching Me' by Megan Lorenz (Canada).
Wildlife. “Red Fox in Bonavista in Newfoundland.”
7 ‘Her Majesty' by Aristo Risi (Australia).
Water. “A plastic bag in its natural habitat, the ocean. Shot in Shellharbour in 2017. Plastic was once worshiped, now it destroys everything we love. Nature connects us all, we have a duty to protect her.”
8 'Reclamation' by Jesse Yang (USA).
Cities & Nature. “The eeriness of exploring this ghost town in United Arab Emirates went away after an hour or so of exploring. But, I still felt uneasy about entering some of these ‘homes.' It felt like I was trespassing, so I tried being oddly respectful. The Arabian Desert obviously didn’t feel the same way, reminding me that nature will always reclaim what we abandon.”
9 ‘O Caçador (The Hunter)' by Roberto Moccini Formiga (Brazil).
Wildlife. “A large white shark hunts in the waters of Guadalupe
10 ‘My Home My City' by Kwok Kui Andus Tse (China).
Cities & Nature. “Lion Rock is a symbol of Hong Kong, including me, many Hong Kong people are also growing under the mountain, it also represents the spirit of Hong Kong people.”
11 ‘Namibian Curves' by Paul Zizka (Canada).
Landscape. “We were on our Chronicles of Namibia workshop, wrapping up a wonderful evening of shooting in the Sossusvlei area. On the drive back to camp, this most simple composition caught my eye. I couldn't resist and stopped the group to get this shot.”
12 ‘Lava Explosion' by Elyse Butler (USA).
Judges' Special Recognition. “On the Kīlauea Lava Flow in Kalapana, lava hits the ocean creating an explosion of molten basalt rocks and acidic steam plumes skyward. When hot lava vaporizes cool sea water it blasts lava rock fragments every direction and creates a billowing cloud of laze ‘lava haze’ made up of a mixture of acidic seawater steam, hydrochloric acid, and tiny shards of volcanic glass.”
13 ‘Energía Pura y Fuego (Pure Energy and Fire)' by Hernando Alonso Rivera Cervantes (Mexico).
Landscape. “Colima volcano erupting during the night showing its strength, was taken in the Yerbabuena, Comala, Colima, volcanic eruptions in small quantities help reduce global warming.”