Incredible Winners of the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

winning photos national geographic nature photographer of the year

‘Face to face in a river in Borneo’ by Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. Grand prize winner, 1st place, Wildlife. While looking for wild orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesia, we witnessed the amazing sight of this huge male crossing a river despite the fact there were crocodiles in the river. Rapid palm oil farming has depleted their habitat and when pushed to the edge, these intelligent creatures have learned to adapt to the changing landscape, This is proof considering orangutans hate water and never venture into a river. I got into the 5-feet deep river to get this perspective.

A haunting image of a timid orangutan wading through an Indonesian river to escape crocodiles beat out over 11,000 entries to take top prize at the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest. Photographer Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan of Singapore will have his image published in an upcoming issue of National Geographic and took home a cash prize of $10,000.

Bojan patiently waited for days to capture the image after learning of the orangutan’s unusual behavior. So determined to get the photo, Bojan actually risked his safety by entering into the crocodile infested river to wait for the orangutan to appear. “Honestly, sometimes you just go blind when things like this happen. You’re so caught up. You really don’t know what’s happening,” Bojan shared. “You don’t feel the pain, you don’t feel the mosquito bites, you don’t feel the cold, because your mind is completely lost in what’s happening in front of you.”

In addition to Bojan’s spectacular photograph, which also won the wildlife category, winning images from the landscapes, aerials, and underwater categories shows the diversity of the natural world. From molten lava spilling toward the ocean to the majestic rock pools of Australia, it’s impossible not to be moved by the power of nature.

The winning images from the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest were selected from over 11,000 entries.

National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘Firefall’ by Karim Iliya, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 1st place, Landscapes. This is nature in its most raw form: Hot liquid rock from the belly of our planet spilled over the side of these sea cliffs, exposed to the air for a brief moment before plummeting through a lava tube under the ocean. There were hissing sounds and explosions as it hit the water. Cooler parts moved like melted candle wax and at one point a section of lava collapsed and the molten lava fanned out. Even at a distance you could feel the heat. This is how the Hawaiian islands are made

National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘Rock Pool’ by Todd Kennedy, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 1st place, Aerials. In Sydney, Australia, the Pacific Ocean at high tide breaks over a natural rock pool enlarged in the 1930s. Avoiding the crowds at the city’s many beaches, a local swims laps.

National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘Fluorescent Anemone’ by Jim Obester, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 1st place, Underwater. Blue-filtered strobe lights stimulate fluorescent pigments in the clear tentacles of a tube-dwelling anemone in Hood Canal, Washington.

winners National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘Illuminate’ by Mike Olbinski Photography, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 3rd place, Landscapes. A summer thunderstorm unleashes lightning on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

winners National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘Mother’s love’ by Alejandro Prieto, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 2nd place, Wildlife. An adult Caribbean pink flamingo feeds a chick in Yucatán, Mexico. Both parents alternate feeding chicks, at first with a liquid baby food called crop milk, and then with regurgitated food.

National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘In Your Face’ by Shane Gross, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 2nd place, Underwater. Typically a shy species, a Caribbean reef shark investigates a remote-triggered camera in Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen marine protected area.

National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘Dushanzi Grand Canyon’ by Yuhan Liao, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 2nd place, Landscapes. Sunlight glances off mineral strata of different colors in Dushanzi Grand Canyon, China.

National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘From above’ by Takahiro Bessho, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 2nd place, Aerials. Snow-covered metasequoia trees, also called dawn redwoods, interlace over a road in Takashima, Japan.

winners National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘White Fighters’ by Bence Mate, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 3rd place, Wildlife. In winter, when all waters freeze, water birds gather around the holes on the lake. Some of them would catch fish, while the rest are determined to steal fish from the others or even catch water birds. White-tailed eagles are such birds, always looking for an opportunity to steal, and in the meantime, they manage to confront and fight everyone, even their conspecifics.

National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘Drip’ by Greg C., 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 3rd place, Aerials. On the flanks of Kilauea Volcano, Hawai’i, the world’s only lava ocean entry spills molten rock into the Pacific Ocean. After erupting in early 2016, the lava flow took about two months to reach the sea, six miles away.

winners National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘Flying fish in motion’ by Michael Patrick O’Neill, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. 3rd place, Underwater. Buoyed by the Gulf Stream, a flying fish arcs through the night-dark water five miles off Palm Beach, Florida.

In addition to the category winners, honorable mentions and People’s Choice awards were also revealed.

winning photos national geographic nature photographer of the year

‘Macaque Maintenance’ by Lance McMillan, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. Honorable mention, Wildlife. A macaque being groomed at the Jigokudani snow monkey park in Japan. The Jigokudani snow monkey park has become a major tourist hot spot, attracting visitors from all over the world hoping to get a glimpse of these amazing creatures huddled together in hot springs. But because of the warmer than usual weather during this time, the macaques were frequently found lazing about on some nearby rocks instead of spending much of their time keeping warm in hot springs.

winning photos national geographic nature photographer of the year

‘Life after life’ by Agathe Bernard, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. Honorable mention, Aerials. As I was en route for a scientific survey, I saw this majestic cedar that had been washed out by a glacial river into the ocean. I asked the pilot to get closer and tilt the helicopter so I could take a photo looking straight down. As we flew over, a flock of white birds passed by. To me, it represents the life cycle perpetuating beautifully and the majestic still remaining long after the tree has died.

National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2017

‘Cold and misty’ by Gheorghe Popa, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. Honorable mention, Landscapes. Morning fog blurs the dead trees of Romania’s Lake Cuejdel, a natural reservoir created by landslides.

winning photos national geographic nature photographer of the year

‘Predators on a Bait Ball’ by Jennifer O’Neil, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. Honorable mention, Underwater. Shot in Bonaire, this photo of tarpon hunting on a school of scad does not show the real predator lurking outside the shot. The real predator are the fishermen who were allowed to net this beautiful bait ball with the permission of the marine park. The netting practices need to be revised by the marine park and there needs to be more education for locals or pristine moments in the sea like this will not be here in another generation.

winning photos national geographic nature photographer of the year

‘Kalsoy’ by Wojciech Kruczyński, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. People’s Choice, Landscape. Kalsoy island and Kallur lighthouse in sunset light, Faroe Islands

winning photos national geographic nature photographer of the year

‘Drift’ by Matthew Smith, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. People’s Choice, Underwater. A Pacific man of war navigates close to the beach on a summers morning breeze. thousands of these nautical sailors end up washed up on australia’s east coast every summer. they are my favourite shade of blue.

winning photos national geographic nature photographer of the year

‘Great Gray Owl’ by Harry Collins, 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year. People’s Choice, Wildlife. A great gray owl hunting rodents in a field in New Hampshire, US. This bird was a rare visitor to this area and was worth the 7 1/2 hour drive to see it. The owl was not baited or called and this photo is during a natural hunt. Baiting has become a hot topic recently and it is very unfortunate that many people do it for the sake of a photo. With these owls in particular if you are patient enough you will see them hunt. They are not shy nor very intimidated by people.

NG Nature Photographer of the Year: Website

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by National Geographic.

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