Photography

The bizarre and beautiful winners of the 2020 BigPicture photo award

The bizarre and beautiful winn...
Terrestrial Wildlife Winner. 'Speed and Strategy'
Terrestrial Wildlife Winner. 'Speed and Strategy'
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Aquatic Life Finalist. 'Hold on Tight'. A male common toad (Bufo bufo) beneath a small waterfall in France’s Lez River
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Aquatic Life Finalist. 'Hold on Tight'. A male common toad (Bufo bufo) beneath a small waterfall in France’s Lez River
Aquatic Life Winner. 'Berg Buffet'. Crabeater seals in Antartica
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Aquatic Life Winner. 'Berg Buffet'. Crabeater seals in Antartica
Art of Nature Winner. 'A river gone awry'. Along the Río Tinto in western Spain, layers of multicolored sediment combine with blood red water
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Art of Nature Winner. 'A river gone awry'. Along the Río Tinto in western Spain, layers of multicolored sediment combine with blood red water
Human/Nature Finalist. 'Snack Attack'. After an unsuccessful attempt at grabbing a snack, this African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) took out its frustrations on the roof of an open-air kitchen in Malawi’s Kasungu National Park
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Human/Nature Finalist. 'Snack Attack'. After an unsuccessful attempt at grabbing a snack, this African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) took out its frustrations on the roof of an open-air kitchen in Malawi’s Kasungu National Park
Human/Nature Winner. 'The Cost of Cats'
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Human/Nature Winner. 'The Cost of Cats'
Landscapes, Waterscapes & Flora Winner. 'A Sticky Situation'. Sundew, Drosera intermedia
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Landscapes, Waterscapes & Flora Winner. 'A Sticky Situation'. Sundew, Drosera intermedia
Landscapes, Waterscapes and Flora Finalist. 'Mushroom Magic'.
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Landscapes, Waterscapes and Flora Finalist. 'Mushroom Magic'.
Terrestrial Wildlife Finalist. 'Hippo Huddle'. Botswana’s Okavango River
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Terrestrial Wildlife Finalist. 'Hippo Huddle'. Botswana’s Okavango River
Terrestrial Wildlife Winner. 'Speed and Strategy'
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Terrestrial Wildlife Winner. 'Speed and Strategy'
Grand Prize Winner. 'Shelter in Place'. Mountain Hare, Lepus timidus, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland, UK
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Grand Prize Winner. 'Shelter in Place'. Mountain Hare, Lepus timidus, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland, UK
Winged Life Winner. 'Pond Skim'. Mozambican long-fingered bat (Miniopterus mossambicus) taking a sip of water in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique
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Winged Life Winner. 'Pond Skim'. Mozambican long-fingered bat (Miniopterus mossambicus) taking a sip of water in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique
Photo Story Winner. 'Guardians of the Giraffe'. Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, Kenya
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Photo Story Winner. 'Guardians of the Giraffe'. Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, Kenya
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In its seventh year the BigPicture photography competition has rapidly cemented its position as one of the most impressive nature photography contests around, and this year’s winning images are no exception, from the gorgeous grand prize winning shot of a mountain hare sheltering itself to a mind-bending snap of a cheetah almost catching its impala prey.

Presented by the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, the photography competition spans six different categories, including winged animals, aquatic life and terrestrial wildlife. A Photo Story category also looks for the best series of images on a given theme, which this year was Coexistence.

Grand Prize Winner. 'Shelter in Place'. Mountain Hare, Lepus timidus, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland, UK
Grand Prize Winner. 'Shelter in Place'. Mountain Hare, Lepus timidus, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland, UK

The Grand Prize this year went to UK photographer Andy Parkinson, for a sublime shot of a mountain hare curled up trying to weather a brutal storm on the Scottish highlands. Suzi Eszterhas, chair of the 2020 competition jury, suggests the winning shot not only captured something common from an extraordinary new perspective, but also offers a compelling metaphor everyone in the world can currently relate to.

"In this photo we see a hare as we've never seen it, curled up in a ball and looking rather like a sculpture as it's bathed in sub-arctic light,” says Eszterhas. “Andy has created an image that has it all: technical perfection, artistic skill, and behavior. To me this is an image of beauty and resilience that speaks to weathering a storm. An image that I believe the world needs now more than ever."

Photo Story Winner. 'Guardians of the Giraffe'. Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, Kenya
Photo Story Winner. 'Guardians of the Giraffe'. Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, Kenya

Winner of the Photo Story category was US photographer Ami Vitale’s deeply touching series of photographs looking at a wildlife sanctuary in northern Kenya. The conservation project is managed by the indigenous Samburu people who are working to protect wild animals from poachers.

Human/Nature Finalist. 'Snack Attack'. After an unsuccessful attempt at grabbing a snack, this African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) took out its frustrations on the roof of an open-air kitchen in Malawi’s Kasungu National Park
Human/Nature Finalist. 'Snack Attack'. After an unsuccessful attempt at grabbing a snack, this African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) took out its frustrations on the roof of an open-air kitchen in Malawi’s Kasungu National Park

Other highlights include an elephant trying to sneakily steal a snack from an open-air kitchen in Malawi, a bat in Mozambique swooping down for a drink of water, and a magical shot of non-hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Take a look through the gallery to see more this year's stunning winners and finalists.

These images originally appeared on bioGraphic, an online magazine about science and sustainability and the official media sponsor for the California Academy of Sciences' BigPicture: Natural World Photography Competition.

View gallery - 12 images
3 comments
Worzel
Gives amateur photographers something to strive towards.
buzzclick
Beautiful. Thanks for giving us a taste of these amazing images, and the precious wildlife that lives with us.
ljaques
Love the elephant and giraffe.