Winners of the Nature TTL Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021
The winners of the
have been announced, with a 'mind-bending' orangutan image by Canadian photographer Thomas Vijayan taking out the grand prize. Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2021
Over 8,000 images were entered into the competition, with nature photographers from all over the world competing for the £1,500 ($2,700 AUD) cash prize.
© Thomas Vijayan / Nature TTL Animal Behavior and Overall Winner Image title: The World is Going Upside Down
The World is Going Upside Down, gives an intimate look into the world of an orangutan. The image appears to be looking at the sky, but on closer inspection is seen to be a reflection in the water below the tree.
“Thomas’ image is really unique, and immediately stood out to the judging panel,” said Will Nicholls, Founder of Nature TTL. “It’s one of those photos where you can’t skim past it. The unique perspective and composition means you are immediately trying to figure out what exactly you are looking at.”
“This image means a lot to me because presently the orangutan population is reducing at an alarming rate,” says Vijayan of his winning image.
“Deforestation and humans are the key cause behind this. Trees over 1,000 years old - which are a major asset to our planet - are being cut down for palm oil plantation. As humans we have a lot of alternative choices to replace the oil, but the orangutans don’t have any options other than losing their home. I am very happy to see this image be successful, as it gives me an opportunity to spread the issue to the wider world.”
© Thomas Easterbrook / Nature TTL Under 16 Winner Image Title: Spoilt for Choice
13-year-old Thomas Easterbrook, from the United Kingdom, was crowned the Young Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2021 with his image of a peregrine falcon tackling a starling murmuration.
In total, photographers competed amongst 8 different competition categories celebrating the natural world: Animal Behaviour, Camera Traps, Landscapes, Small World, The Night Sky, Underwater, Urban Wildlife, and Wild Portraits. You can see the category winners and runners-up below.
Animal Behaviour runner-up, Fish Caught by Surprise by Johan Wandrag. Taken in South Africa, a fish is caught in the moment it is snapped up by a crocodile. The look of surprise really made this shot stand out to me. Canon 7D Mark II with Sigma 150-600mm lens. 1/3,200th, f/8, ISO 400. © Johan Wandrag / Nature TTL Camera traps
Camera Traps Winner, Silhouetted Wood Mouse by John Formstone. Captured on my DSLR camera trap in a patch of small woodland to the rear of my house. One off-camera flash was positioned to the rear of the subject in an effort to create this silhouette. Nikon D3300 with 12-24mm lens. 1/250th, f/8, ISO 400. © John Formstone / Nature TTL
Camera traps runner up, Pine Marten in an Abandoned Cottage by James Roddie. A pine marten inside an abandoned cottage in the Scottish Highlands. I ran a camera-trap in the abandoned house for several months after seeing pine marten scat (droppings) outside the entrance. Nikon D750 with Nikon 20mm f/1.8 lens. 1/200th, f/11, ISO 1,600. © James Roddie/ Nature TTL Landscapes
Landscapes Category Winner, Tree of Life by Jay Roode. Suspended in time; a sense of waiting pervades this valley where nothing seems to have happened for a thousand years. The shadow of an ancient Camel Thorn tree reaches out, like a blackened hand to the delicate tracings of the Tsauchab River; yearning for the life that once was. Canon 5D Mark III with 100-400mm lens. 1/800th, f/9, ISO 250. © Jay Roode / Nature TTL
Landscapes Runner-up, Bouquet of Flowers by Fanny Reed. Patterns formed by mineral deposits trapped in lagoons. Nikon D850 with Nikon 70-200mm. 1/1000th, f/4, ISO 100. © Fanny Reid/Nature TTL Small world
Small World Category Winner, Dance of the Termites by James Gifford. Every year after the first rains, the future kings and queens of fungus-growing termite colonies leave their nest on a nuptial 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 per year and its timing is dictated completely by local rainfall. The termites from this colony were attracted to a light, but after taking several shots, I realised that I could only capture the effect of the swarm by using a slow shutter speed and gradually panning with the flight of the insects. As they were all moving in different directions, I had to take hundreds of shots to capture what I wanted. It was tricky focusing on composition, having to pre-focus and wait for a termite to fly into my focal plane. Meanwhile, I had many termites crawling all over me, but it was worth it in the end. © James Gifford/ Nature TTL
Small World Runner-up, Nature’s Pitfall by Samantha Stephens. Canon 5D Mark III with Laowa 15mm macro lens. 1/100th, ISO 1250. The Night Sky
The Night Sky Category Winner by Ivan Pedretti. On Uttakleiv beach, in Norway, these particular rocks looked like an eye. The shot is set against the beautiful colours of the Northern Lights above. Sony A7R II with Sony 16-35mm lens. 20 seconds, f/2.8, ISO 1,600. © Ivan Pedretti / Nature TTL The Night Sky Winner Image Title: The Eye
The Night Sky Runner-up, Sleeping Dragon by Amos Ravid. Night photography at minus 25 degrees Celsius can be a a bit challenging. And yet, it is most enjoyable and satisfying. This photo is from Ogoy Island in Lale Baikal, Russia. It is also known as the Dragon Island, hence I call it The Sleeping Dragon. Nikon D750 with Nikon 14-24mm lens. 30 seconds, f/3.5, ISO 4,000.
Underwater Category Winner, Manta Space Ship by Grant Thomas. For this image, I was positioned flat on the sand, watching one Manta looping around and around whilst feeding on a cloud of planktonic creatures which had gathered. After some time, the manta drifted closer and closer to me until eventually I was able to capture this shot. © Grant Thomas / Nature TTL Underwater Winner.
Underwater Runner-up, Round by Zhiyue Shi. I searched aimlessly for my target underwater, and then I found it. Under the irradiation of light, it presents such a natural circle. Taken in the Philippines. Canon 5D Mark IV with Canon 100mm macro lens. 1/250th, f/18, ISO 640. © Zhiyue Shi / Nature TTL
Underwater Highly Commended, Bluebottle Sunrise by Grant Thomas. Thousands of bluebottle jellyfish regularly wash up all along the Sydney coastline. They collect in shallow rock pools that offer perfect shooting conditions during sunrise. Canon 5D Mark III with Tokina 10-17mm lens. 1/160th, f/29, ISO 400. © Grant Thomas/ Nature TTL Urban Wildlife
Urban Wildlife Category Winner, Winged Family Members by Kallol Mukherjee. There are many instances of negative human interactions with wildlife. But sometimes there are good things, like with these barn swallows building their nest right inside this shop in the Himalayas - safely away from predators. Nikon D850 with Tamron 15-30mm lens. 1/30th, f/5.6, ISO 2,500. © Kallol Mukherjee / Nature TTL Urban Wildlife Winner
Urban Wildlife Runner-up, The Fox of Arabia by Mohammad Murad. Arabian Red Foxes usually breed in the desert far away from humans. This is a really rare case and one that I monitored for almost three months. Canon 1DX Mark II with Canon 500mm f/4 lens. 1/25th, f/4, ISO 2,000. © Mohammad Murad/ Nature TTL Wild portraits
Wild Portraits Category Winner, Sleepy Polar Bear by Dennis Stogsdill. We were watching this rather photogenic polar bear for a while in Svalbard, Norway, when he climbed a ridge and decided to just rest. All the while the soft afternoon skies created the perfect backdrop for a “sleepy bear”. © Dennis Stogsdill / Nature TTL Wild Portraits Winner
Wild Portraits Runner-up, The Cauldron of Creation by James Gifford. I found this rhino mother and calf resting in the heat of the day and guessed they might go to a nearby waterhole later to drink. To make the most of the dust, I positioned myself to shoot into the sun on the route I expected them to take when they left, deliberately underexposing to capture the clouds of amber dust. Canon 1DX Mark II with Canon 200-400mm lens. 1/5000th, f/5, ISO 500. Under 16
Under 16 Runner-up, Fight in the Mountains, Raphael Schenker. I took this picture whilst on a long hike in Switzerland. I saw how the father of these two mountain goats was teaching them how to fight. Canon 5D Mark IV with Canon 100-400mm lens. 1/8,000th, f/5, ISO 1,250.