20 great nature photo winners of nature TTL photographer for the year

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That Nature TTL Photographer Of The Year Awards celebrating the splendor of the natural world and the best in nature photography has announced the winners of its nature Photographer of the year 2021 competition.

More than 8,000 photos of photographers from around the world competed in eight categories – animal behavior, camera traps, landscapes, small world, night sky, underwater, urban wildlife and wild portraits – for the title “Nature TTL photographer of the year 2021” and a grand prize at £ 1,500 ($ 2,120).

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The competition, which is now in its second year, is organized by the online nature photography resource Nature TTL.

The competition is open to photographers of all ages and abilities and will be available for entry again at the end of 2021.

The overall winner

Canadian photographer Thomas Vijayan won the title for 2021 with his image The world is upside down of a Borneo orangutan apparently climbing a tree but on closer inspection is a reflection in the water under the tree.

“Thomas’ image is truly unique and immediately stood out to the judging panel,” said Will Nicholls, founder of Nature TTL. “It’s one of those pictures where you can not skim past it. The unique perspective and composition means that you immediately try to figure out what you are just looking at. ”

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“This image means a lot to me, because at the moment, the orangutan population is declining at an alarming rate,” says Vijayan about his winning shot. “Deforestation and people are the main reason behind this. Trees over 1,000 years old – which is an important asset for our planet – are being cut down to palm oil plantation. As humans, we have many alternative choices to replace the oil, but the orangutans have no choice but to lose their homes. I am very happy to see this image succeed as it gives me an opportunity to spread the problem to the big world. ”

The photographer explains: “After spending a few days in Borneo, and with this frame fixed in my mind, I chose a tree that was in the water so I could get a good reflection of the sky and the leaves on the tree. The water formed a mirror that made the image look upside down.

Then I climbed up the tree and waited for hours. This is a regular route for the orangutans to use, so patience would definitely pay off. ”

Wild portraits

The photographer saw a rather photogenic polar bear for a while on Svalbard, Norway, when he climbed up on a ridge and decided to just rest. All the while, the soft afternoon sky created the perfect backdrop for a “sleepy bear.”

Kangu, who lives under the semi-freedom conditions of the Lesio Louna Reserve in the Republic of Congo, is a western lowland gorilla, now 20 years old, who has lived most of these years in London Zoo. Thanks to Aspinall Foundation He now adapts to nature.

The photographer found this rhinoceros mother and calf resting in the heat of the day, guessing they could later go to a nearby watering hole to drink.

“To get the most out of the dust, I positioned myself to shoot into the sun on the route I expected them to take as they walked, deliberately underexposed to catch the clouds of amber dust.

Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of rhinoceros scraping, I want my image to convey a sense of hope – a new beginning almost – as if it were the first rhinos being forged into a creature herring. ”

The effect of the backlit dust, creating a blurred shadow image, adds to the ethereal effect.

Botswana reintroduced rhinos relatively recently. So far, the program has performed well, but ironically, the safari companies and organizations involved are reluctant to disclose details about rhinos if they attract attention from poaching syndicates.

Yet it is a constant struggle to deter and combat potential poachers.


Manta rays are filter feeders that maintain their enormous size by ingesting large amounts of plankton and small crustaceans such as krill. The Maldives is one of the only places in the world where it is possible to dive with these majestic animals at night.

For this image, the photographer was placed flat on the sand and watched a Manta run around and around while feeding a cloud of planktonic creatures.

Play is very important in the development of young caring sea lions, and they love to play with everything they find in their environment. At Norris Rocks off Hornby Island in Canada, this young sea lion was playing with a starfish.

She swam across to show her beautiful toys to the photographer.

Steller sea lions are listed as almost endangered on the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “By observing their playful nature, I hope people will feel a connection with them and will protect them and their environment,” says the photographer.

Little world

Every year after the first rain, the future kings and queens of fungal-growing termite colonies leave their nest on a wedding flight. They lose their wings minutes later and most will fail in their quest to start a new colony. The flight only happens for a day or two a year, and its timing is completely dictated by local rainfall.

The termites from this colony were attracted to a light. “After taking several shots, I realized that I could only capture the effect of the swarm by using a long shutter speed and gradually panning with the insect’s flight,” the photographer explains.

“As they all moved in different directions, I had to take hundreds of shots to catch what I wanted. It was difficult to focus on composition, having to pre-focus and waiting for a termite to fly into my focus plan. In the meantime, I had many termites crawling over me, but it was eventually worth it. ”

Camera traps

A family of foxes regularly passed the photographer’s garden using a hole in the fence as a passage. “It was the perfect opportunity for me to experiment with my DSLR camera trap to hopefully take some pictures. After weeks of trying, I managed to capture this intimate image of a vixen and her young. ”


Suspended in time, a sense of waiting permeates this valley, where nothing seems to have happened for a thousand years. The shadow of an old camel-thorn tree extends like a black hand to the delicate traces of Namibia’s Tsauchab river; longing for the life that once was.

Urban wildlife

There are many cases of negative human interactions with wildlife. But sometimes there are happier moments, as with these gates that build their nest right inside this store in the Himalayas – probably away from predators.

The barn swallow is revered as the goddess of wealth and fortune. Their appearance is considered the preacher of peace and prosperity. So people accept feces and other nuisances made by the birds.

Under 16 years

Thirteen-year-old Thomas Easterbrook from the UK won the Young Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2021 with this image of a waterfall tackling a strong murmur.

“This walking water came out of nowhere to attack the mumble and I was happy to catch it at work,” said the photographer.


Geological strangeness at Uttakleiv Beach, Norway, with rocks resembling an eye. The shot is set against the beautiful green of the northern lights shining above.

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