25 photos that won the BigPicture Natural World competition (26 photos)

17 June 2024
Category: competitions, 0+

For 9 years now, the California Academy of Sciences has been holding the BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition, a photo competition where anyone can submit their own photograph of wildlife.

A total of 7,000 works were submitted to the competition this year, but the commission selected only one main winner, who received a $5,000 award, seven winners in different categories, who received $1,000, and a number of authors who received an honorary prize. At the same time, the jury that selected the winners tried to select works that most widely depicted the biodiversity of our planet.

Sea lion fall

This melancholy scene was filmed by American David Slater in Monterey Bay. As he writes, even when lifeless, the sea lion gives back to the place where it lived and becomes part of the world around it, allowing other creatures such as starfish to live.

Rising star

Speaking of stars. Tony Wu from Japan was able to capture an amazing moment: how starfish reproduce. They simultaneously release eggs and sperm into the water, creating future offspring.

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Danger Lurking

Although Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe is suffering from drought, animals can hide in mud pits that are still damp. Such a charming crocodile was captured by American Jens Kallman during a tour of Africa.

Forest Elf

Spaniard Mario Sea Sancheza says nuthatches are very popular birds in his country, but they are so agile that they are difficult to photograph. Because they spend most of their lives hiding among the trees, the Spaniards called them forest elves.


Hungarian photographer Bence Mate took an unusual photo. On the one hand, he showed the river beaver, which some time ago was considered an endangered species in Hungary, but after a number of measures its population has increased. On the other hand, Bence took a photo of a web that is attached to a tree that is about to fall because of a beaver - a little more and the home of one creature will become a reality to serve another.

Frame within a frame

Capturing a spectacular photo of a bat in flight is difficult, but Indian man Sitaram Rahul spent three weeks observing fruit bats before he fully studied their habits and was able to take an unusual photo.

Peace in dill

Ruben Perez Novo from the Spanish city of Ares was able to photograph a simple caterpillar, which will soon turn into a swallowtail, while it crawls on dill and sometimes chews it for lunch. This future metamorphosis brought Ruben leadership among photographers.

Scorpio fish

“A night hunter and master of camouflage, this fish can remain motionless for a long time, making it a good model for photography,” writes Taiwanese photographer Magnus Lundgren.

Forest nymphs

Photographer Juan Jesus Gonzalez Ahumada from Spain was impressed not by the animals, but by the honey mushrooms that grew on fallen pine cones.

Bee ball

Karin Aigner from Texas, USA, became the main finalist and winner of a check for $5,000 for her photo with bees. As Karin writes in the annotation to the photo, these are cactus bees that live in desert lands. They are loners, but during the mating season they form balls of males and females.

The Last Frontier

This image, taken by Florian Ledoux in Norway, perfectly shows the variability of ice. On the right it is boring, but dense and safe for a person or a polar bear, and on the left there is a beautiful extravaganza of thin ice drifting in the frosty water.

Underwater colorful blizzard

Tom Schlesinger from Israel spent more than a year trying to capture this very shot of coral spawning. It happens only once a year and lasts from a couple of days to a couple of weeks, and you have to guess the exact time.

House of Feathers

Indian Pallavi Laveti was able to capture pelican chicks and took one of the first places, evoking tenderness and warm emotions among the jury.

Dancing bears

In his video, David Hap from Romania showed that their country is home to 60% of the entire planet’s brown bears, and they have long had a special relationship with them. Between New Year and Christmas, several Romanian communities dress up in bear skins and bring live bears to the festival in an old-fashioned way to drive away evil spirits and have a good year.

City of Angels

Photograph by Silvano Paiola from Serbia shows a nearly fallen poplar forest in autumn.

Young Hunters

Piotr Naskrecki from Mozambique demonstrates saddle-billed storks during a morning fishing trip. These birds are not afraid of humans, but they are so shy that Peter had to try.

Ghost of the Mountains

Indian Sandesh Kadura was able to photograph a snow leopard, whose color changes depending on the time of year and the height of the mountains. Where it is high and cold, leopards are gray, and where it is warm and low, they are brown. All this to be able to merge with nature.

Joint custody

Italian Dominico Roschigno was able to film an amazing moment while diving: a male goby protecting the eggs of his partner, laid in a shell next to a pregnant seahorse.

Gold from the Bay

Steve Mandel from the USA decided to participate with macro photography taken using a microscope. Here you can see diatoms, which absorb carbon dioxide and produce 30% of all the oxygen on the planet.

Little thief

Matt Theophilus from Australia shows the bowerbird, a small bird that, during mating season, ostentatiously steals things, such as plastic lids, to insert them into the nest and show the female how serious she is about having offspring.

Beautiful wings

Japanese Takui Ishiguro took his shot in the swamps as a dragonfly took off. It’s interesting, but the cooler it is outside, the brighter the insect’s wings seem.

Gulliver in Lilliput

The same Jewish photographer who photographed the coral spawning won another award for his unusual image of a sea bass, which is much larger than its neighbors, but swims very delicately, as if trying not to harm anyone.

Hi handsome

A male grouse ruffles his feathers to attract a mate. This moment was filmed by American Benjamin Olson.

Fox City

Canadian photographer Peter Mather spent many days observing foxes near the town of Whitehorse so that they would get used to him and allow him to take the best photo.

Ermine game

A photograph by José Grandio, taken in the French Alps, shows one of the most common animals that can be found in those places. It is curious that between autumn and winter, stoats sit out in burrows for some time until their brown summer coat finally changes color to white.


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