Photo Contest

2023 Photo Contest Winners

A shark creates a hole in a massive bait ball of small fish as it swims through looking for a meal.

The Nature Conservancy is proud to announce the winners of our 2023 contest.

The Nature Conservancy is proud to announce the winners of the 2023 photo contest.

Your images gave voice to nature and showed us the power and peril of the natural world.

The following photos submitted to our 2023 photo contest captivated our judges the most.


Grand Prize Winner

Litauszki Tibor, Hungary

Celebrity Judge Choice

Hermis Haridas, United Arab Emirates

This image is a clear display of the patience, coincidence, technical adaptability and composition that earns top choice in the competition. Well-constructed and simply beautiful. The outward simplicity of the photo almost makes it easy to forget how much waiting is required to get a shot like this. The high-speed nature of the subject means you have to be dialed in perfectly when the shot arrives.
Cole Sprouse, Celebrity Guest Judge

A bird in flight is silhouetted against a background of light and dark--the golden light of sunrise and a dark stripe of shadow.
A Hoopoe took flight with its wings spread in a smooth motion across the canvas of the early-morning sky that was illuminated by the sunrise's bright hues. I saw that this bird would occasionally grab its prey in the air and other times on the ground. Additionally, I observed that each time it caught its prey, it flew in the same direction to a nearby tree.​



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First Place, Aerials

Agnieszka Wieczorek, Poland

A small community of boxy white building sits like an island surrounded by brilliant golden yellow farm fields.
Inspired by yellow colour I decided to take a photo with a drone showing an aerial perspective of a small settlement of the city of Swidnica, Poland, which was built in the middle of a field. In the spring months the buildings are surrounded by beautiful rapeseed fields.​

Second Place, Aerials

Neelutpaul Barua, India

Third Place, Aerials

Derek Robertson, United States

Honorable Mention, Aerials

Maman Sukirman, Indonesia

Rectangular fish pens create an abstract geometry on the surface of a lake.
Freshwater Fish Farming Freshwater fish farming area at Lake Balang Tonjong, Antang Village, Manggala District, Makassar. Freshwater fish farming is a form of animal husbandry that produces fish as a source of animal protein that is beneficial for human health.​

Honorable Mention, Aerials

Mostafijur Rahman Nasim, Indonesia

People and blankets create a brightly colored patchwork on the roof decks of three long boats. A smaller green decked boat floats at an angle behind the larger vessel in the center.
Bangladesh is a densely populated country. The scenario of public transport changes during Eid festival as people leave Dhaka in over crowded transports. In the photo, huge crowded launches (water vessels) are seen in Sadarghat launch terminal in Dhaka. People took position on the roof of the river trucks.



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First Place, Birds

Grzegorz Długosz​, Poland

Second Place, Birds

Mike Krehbiel, United States

A brown and white bird leaps into the air above the Kansas prairie, folding its wing tips into itself to hide its face.
This lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus) image was taken in western Kansas. I was in a blind overlooking a lek on April 1, 2023. It was a cold morning and by the time the activity died down enough to exit the blind I was shivering. I wasn't sure if it was due to the cold or the excitement of getting an opportunity to witness the non-stop activity of the prairie chicken.​

Third Place, Birds

Juan Jose Murillo​, Colombia

Honorable Mention, Birds

Mario Labado​, United States

Honorable Mention, Birds

Petr Bambousek​, Czech Republic​

White birds crowd the sides of a rock outcropping. A long bird is in flight, framed by an opening in the cliff. Waves crash on the rocks in the background.
The giant cliffs that line the shores of the archipelago are home to a variety of attractive bird species. Probably the most spectacular colonies are those of the northern gannets (Morus bassanus). In this photo I tried to capture as best I could just the unique environment of the terrier colonies with the typical combination of strong winds and rough seas.



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First Place, Climate

Raphael Alves, Brazil

A woman sits at the window of a blue house, holding a baby in her arms. Below her, a young boy looks up at her from the deep water that flows beneath the house.
Euridice Castro, 33, holds her nephew Otavio, in the window, while her son Aquiles plays in the rising rivers, in Anama, Brazil on May 24, 2021. Anama has been an "amphibian city" for years. Without work, adults stay at home most of the time; children, without classes and without public leisure spaces, are left playing in the flooded areas.​

Second Place, Climate

Mustafa Binol, Turkey

Mustard yellow fields frame a large fallow field. Hummocks of gray dirt are pushed up at the end of parallel tracks.
Although this is actually an irrigable land, it became dehydrated due to the decrease in the water level as a result of excessive water use. The vehicle, which has deep well drilling equipment, is about to start work to dig a new and deeper well on the land below, which has become ineffective. We must have water for a healthy future with conscious agriculture.​

Third Place, Climate

Luisa Lynch Harris, Spain

A helicopter drops a bucket of water on a wildfire. A second helicopter turns and flies in the opposite direction. A bird flies in the air between them.
In Tenerife on August 16, 2023 the largest fire in Spain was declared. For days we watched the mountains burn behind our houses. This photo taken from behind my house shows the importance of firefighting services, including helicopters, which were essential to control and extinguish the flames. This photograph was taken from the town of Santa Úrsula on August 27, 2023.​

A helicopter drops a bucket of water on a wildfire. A second helicopter turns and flies in the opposite direction. A bird flies in the air between them.

Honorable Mention, Climate

Zhenhuan Zhou, Canada

A fence winds and bends up a snow covered hill towards the house sitting atop it.
"It looks so peaceful".​ In early February 2022, southern Ontario was hit by the worst snowfall in decades. I captured this photo of a horse farm, which was turned into a winter wonderland by the snowstorm.

Honorable Mention, Climate

Adra Pallón, Spain

Four people in fire gear hold a water hose and stand at the edge of a forest. The air is orange and thick with smoke. Bits of ash and debris float in the air around them.
Several firemen working directly against the advancing fire in the largest fire in the history of Galicia, Spain, one of the regions with the highest number of forest fires in Europe. After several days the fire was still out of control. According to EFFIS (European Forest Fire Information System) data on fire seasons, 2022 has been the worst year of the century.​



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First Place, Freshwater

Jeanny Tang, Hong Kong

Second Place, Freshwater

Alan Taylor​, United States

Third Place, Freshwater

Rubens Rebouças, Brazil

A single tree grows on a small circle of land surrounded by water. The tree is covered with white egrets roosting for the night.
A small island with a tree welcomes a flock of herons every evening, who come from far away to rest for the night until they leave again the next morning. The image was taken at a small lagoon in Uberlândia, Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Honorable Mention, Freshwater

Jorge Castro Urbiola, Mexico

A salamander floats just beneath the surface of the water.
(Ambystoma velasci) The beauty of a river monster. In spite of finding water levels well below normal, drought and lack of rain, this salamander may choose to be a salamander and walk away, if the water stress continues. They are organisms highly adapted to natural conditions, I am very impressed. San Luis Potosi, Mexico.​

Honorable Mention, Freshwater

Gianluca Gianferrari​, Italy

Rows of leafless, white barked birch trees are reflected back in the still water that surrounds them.
Po is the largest river in Italy. In the past, the floods have always been the cause of great damage and decades ago embankments were built to contain them. Due to climate change, these floods are increasingly rare. During the last flood I took this photo of the semi-submerged birches. I chose a long exposure to get a watercolor effect in the reflection on the water. A warning of nature​.


Insects & Arachnids

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First Place, Insects & Arachnids

Benjamin Salb, United States

Second Place, Insects & Arachnids

Soumya Ranjan Bhattacharyya​, India

A yellow insect stands on top of a fungus as spores curve and disperse in the air around it.
A yellow leafhopper came and sat on a spore dispersing bracket fungus. It stayed there until the fungul spore dispersal gained pace. I captured this moment inside the moist deciduous forest of Goa in India.​

Third Place, Insects & Arachnids

雷 波 / Lei Bo, China

Honorable Mention, Insects & Arachnids

Tibor Litauszki, Hungary

A long shutter exposure shows the flight of a green moth, creating multiple images of the insect as it flies through the air.
An antlion flies in the summer night in Hungary's Kiskunság steppe. To show the dynamics of the movement, I chose a long shutter speed. I followed it with an LED light, I set the focus to manual. The flash flashed on the second shutter. Only a few sharp pictures turned out.​

Honorable Mention, Insects & Arachnids

Jaime Daniel Fajardo Torres​, Ecuador

A long legged spider hangs suspended from an egg sac spun from its own silk. The round sac seems to glow with a soft golden light.
This is a species of spider known as ogre spiders, of the genus Deinopis. The photograph was taken at night in the middle of a mature forest in northern Ecuador in the tropical rainforest of the Ecuadorian Chocó, a place considered a hotspot. The spider photographed was generating its egg sac with its own web.​



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First Place, Lands

Alessandro Carboni​, Italy

Tall evergreens and low plants colored red and gold and obscured and softened by a heavy fall of snow.
This picture represents one the most intense moments I could remember during my life. It was September, when after a two-week wait I was lucky enough to experience an amazing mix of extraordinary elements, which I will never forget: the impressive display of the autumn colours at their peak and the first snow of the season.​

Second Place, Lands

Roberto Valdez​, Ecuador

A column of steam rises from the snow capped dome of a volcano. Clouds fill the valley between the volcano and the the snow covered glacier in the foreground.
Cotopaxi Volcano from the Antisana Glaciers After several hours of ascending and navigating the vast crevasses of the Antisana volcano's glacier, as the first rays of sunlight began to shine, I spotted the illuminated Cotopaxi in the distance with a massive column of steam rising from it. I carefully positioned myself between crevasses, pulled out my camera, and took the shot with a slow shutter speed, trying my best.

A column of steam rises from the snow capped dome of a volcano. Clouds fill the valley between the volcano and the the snow covered glacier in the foreground.

Third Place, Lands

Adam Mowery, United States

Honorable Mention, Lands

Cosmin Ovidiu Stan, Romania

An image made in the Apuseni Mountains, mountains that are part of the Western Carpathians. I witnessed a special sunrise seen from Poiana Calineasa towards the Poiana Horea - Belis area. Wild forests under the warm sunlight. The image was made on May 1, 2023.​

Honorable Mention, Lands

Bruce Hogle, United States

A glowing line of fire edges the horizon. Plumes of smoke rise in the orange tinged sky. The fire line is blurred and reflected in the surface of a lake.
Planned Burn at Chase State Fishing Lake This is the late evening on April 17, 2014 with the planned pasture burn creeping along the ridge of the hill at the end of the lake. The evening was cool and got downright chilly by 1:30 AM when we finally quit photographing. Driving back from a ranch outside Elmdale, KS, I spotted the red glow, which looked like there might be a chance it would be reflecting in the lake, and it was!​



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First Place, Mammals

Siddhartha Ghosh​, India

Second Place, Mammals

HJ Yang, United States

Third Place, Mammals

Luisa Pericoli, United States

Honorable Mention, Mammals

Bing Lin, United States



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First Place, Oceans

Estebane Rezkallah, France

Four dolphins swim beneath the surface of the water in front of a boat. A fifth dolphin bursts out of the water, leaping vertically.
These dolphins jumped and played in front of our boat as we crossed Rangiroa, the largest of the Tuamotu Atolls and the second largest in the world. The dolphins play in the waves with each ship that passes by.

Second Place, Oceans

Bambang Wirawan, Indonesia

Two men free dive on a coral reef, floating in crystal blue water. One hold a large woven fish trap. The other uses a long grabbing device to catch sea creatures.
The sea tribe in Alor, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia are wise people; their commitment to protecting the surrounding sea is truly extraordinary. Using simple equipment they catch fish only according to their food needs and the rest they sell in the market.

Third Place, Oceans

Giovanni Allievi, Italy

A massive wave crashes on the shore, creating a wide curtain of water. The base of the wave is pale green. The white foam spray blends into the low hanging storm clouds.
Rough sea 12 A sea wave charges towards the shore during a fierce storm. For two decades, I've dedicated myself to documenting the mesmerizing spectacle of ocean waves crashing on the shore. This ongoing project is a visual ode to the sea's enduring allure, a diary of its ever-changing moods. Varigotti, Italy. © Giovanni Allievi/TNC Photo Contest 2023


People & Nature

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First Place, People & Nature

Michael Hegyi, United States

Second Place, People & Nature

Mano Aliczki, Hungary

A tall wading bird with a thin beak is visible between the legs of a man as he walks by in an urban park.
A gray heron (Ardea cinerea) perches in a pond in an urban park in Budapest, Hungary as people walk by; the bird went unnoticed by most of the passers-by, just as we often do not generally notice the creatures living around us in the city. However, we do not need to leave the city to meet wildlife. If we slow down, we can see how many living creatures we share our habitat with.

Third Place, People & Nature

Randall Hudson, United States

Honorable Mention, People & Nature

Narayan Malu, India

Honorable Mention, People & Nature

Fatih Yilmaz, Turkey

A large flock of sheep curve up a mountain path, kicking up a thick cloud of dust that glows golden in the sunlight.
In Anatolia, Turkey, people engage in animal husbandry for their livelihood. After a harsh winter, the valleys overflow with lush grass, but it is not easy to reach this food source in rough terrain. The shepherds and their flocks, who walk 10 km every day to the foot of Mount Nemrut, leave behind a dusty story of their journey.

Honorable Mention, People & Nature

Md. Safayet Hossain Shanto, Bangladesh

A man sits in a canoe as it floats through a dense mangrove forest. Blue plastic crates hold guavas for sale.
The floating guava vendor collects and sells his fruit by boat; the guava market is crowded every year during monsoon. The vendor’s income goes to support his family, including education for boys and girls. Atghar Kuriana, Swarupkathi, Barishal, Bangladesh.


Plants & Fungi

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First Place, Plants & Fungi

Jose Pereyra Lucena​, Argentina

A large cactus reaches up to the sky like a human hand against a night sky of brilliant stars. Snow capped mountain peaks line the horizon.
El Cardón, venerated by the native peoples of northwestern Argentina, surrounded by myths and legends. It is impossible not to be absorbed by its strange beauty. A direct shot on a winter moonlit night.​ Province of Salta, Argentina, 2021

Second Place, Plants & Fungi

Vittorio Ricci, Italy

Third Place, Plants & Fungi

Ashley Sykes, Australia

White capped mushrooms with glowing green gills grow from the side of a log.
This is a group of ghost mushrooms, Omphalotus nidiformis. They grow and then disappear quickly on warm nights after a few rainy days, particularly on rotting and decaying tree stumps in coastal forests. This clump I photographed was in a coastal woodland area in Gerroa, New South Wales, Australia. March 21, 2022.​

Honorable Mention, Plants & Fungi

Gero Heine, United States

Bright yellow patches of quaking aspen trees are broken by curving stands of lodge pole pines. Burn scars reveal lines and curves of lodge pole pines, broken up by patches of quaking aspens in their fall color display, forming an almost abstract pattern. I took this image in northwest Glacier National Park with a medium telephoto lens to "flatten" the scene to let the peripheral vision wander.​

Honorable Mention, Plants & Fungi

Mohammed Salman, India


Reptiles & Amphibians

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First Place, Reptiles & Amphibians

Irina Petrova Adamatzky​, United Kingdom

Second Place, Reptiles & Amphibians

Petr Bambousek, Czech Republic

A small yellow frog sits on the end of a bird-of-paradise plant. A light in the background creates a diffused glow behind the frog.
(Dendropsophus ebraccatus) I found this beautiful frog resting at the edge of a flower in the garden of my hotel in Costa Rica. I used the decorative lights from the opposite building as background, and a subtle diffused flash to lighten the frog. EXIF: OM System OM-1, OM System 90mm/3.5 IS, ISO 640, f/3.5, 1/40s, tripod, diffused flash​.

Third Place, Reptiles & Amphibians

Joseph Mullica, United States

Honorable Mention, Reptiles & Amphibians

Sergio Emmanuel Comisso, Argentina

A small toad sits in a pool of light, bright against a black background. The toad's image with its bulging white throat is reflected in the water.
This common toad sings in his pond to attract females, and at the same time, warn his opponents that the pond belongs to him, through the waves generated by the vibrations caused by his throat. Cordoba, Argentina.

Honorable Mention, Reptiles & Amphibians

Christian Passeri, Germany

An African bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) attacks a rival in an attempt to defend its mating territory. These big frogs congregate in shallow waters during rain season, where they fight in order to be able to mate with the females. During the few hours I spent observing them, the dominant male, as seen in the picture, was defending the middle of the water puddle from all his rivals, attacking them one by one.​


Underwater Life

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First Place, Underwater Life

Russell Laman, United States

Second Place, Underwater Life

Cai Jialing, China

Third Place, Underwater Life

Daniel Nicholson, Australia

Honorable Mention, Underwater Life

Juan Carlos Huitrón Baca, Mexico

Close view of the surface of a coral. Orange ridges are covered with bright green scales.
Macro photo of a hard coral of the genus Mycetophyllia. Guatemala is not well known for its coral reefs and yet they have very interesting corals around Cabo Tres Puntas. This coral was found at 12 meters depth.​ Cabo Tres Puntas, Guatemala, March 2023.