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NatGeo Nature Photographer of the Year 2016 Announced

NatGeo Nature Photographer of the Year 2016 Announced

Like every year the planet earth’s most coveted photography title for the NatGeo Nature Photographer of the Year 2016 has been announced. NatGeo received thousands of photos that showcase the awe-inspiring and diverse natural world around us. Here are the prizes for the winners. Read NatGeo Nature Photographer of the Year 2016 Announced.

Official Prizes
• Grand Prize: A 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos with National Geographic Expeditions
Each category will feature three winners:
• First Place: $2,500
• Second Place: $750 and a signed National Geographic book
• Third Place: $500

The Grand Prize winner for this year’s contest is Sardine Run by G. Lecoeur.

Sardine Run by G Lecoeur NatGeo 2016 Nature Photographer of the Year
Sardine Run by G Lecoeur NatGeo 2016 Nature Photographer of the Year. Category: Action

He captured this image during the migration of the sardines along the wild coast of South Africa. Natural predation, sardines are preyed upon by cape gannet birds and common dolphins. The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques. With remarkable eyesight, the gannets follow the dolphins before diving in a free fall from 30 to 40 meters high, piercing the surface of the water head first at a speed of 80km/h to get their fill of sardines.

The First Place Winner for landscape category is Struggle of life by Jacob Kaptein.

Struggle of life by Jacob Kaptein. Category : Landscape
Struggle of life by Jacob Kaptein. Category : Landscape

To restore original natural dynamics in streams many measures are necessary. In the ‘Leuvenumse beek’ a nature organisation tried to increase heterogeneity of the river bottom and water retention by putting dead wood in the stream system. In autumn when rainfall is high, pieces of forest get flooded. Once he saw this little beech in the water, trying to survive under these harsh conditions. He returned sometimes to this place to take pictures. One evening all the conditions were satisfactory.

The First Place for Animal Portraits went to DRAGGING YOU DEEP INTO THE WOODS! by Varun Aditya.

DRAGGING YOU DEEP INTO THE WOODS! by Varun Aditya
DRAGGING YOU DEEP INTO THE WOODS! by Varun Aditya. Category: Animal Portrait

A morning stroll into the blissful forest ! Ceaseless drizzles dampening the woods for 12 hours a day; The serene gloom which kept him guessing if it was a night or a day. Heavy fog, chilling breeze and the perennial silence could calm roaring sprits; And there He spotted this 20cm beauty the Green vine snake ! He wondered if he needed more reasons to capture this with the habitat; For he was blessed to see this at the place he was at. He immediately switched from the macro to the wide angle lens.

Here is what Varun had to say to Nikon, 
“My tryst with photography started at a young age when I was in school. It was through all the traveling in my childhood, that I developed a taste for nature.

I then moved to London to do my MBA and that is where my photography journey started. I fell in love with the city and started clicking photos on the mobile and shared it with parents and friends back home. I then persuaded my parents to get me a DSLR and continued clicking photos. I started following famous photographers on 500px and Nat Geo and would get inspired by them and learn some important lessons from it.

Photography became an addiction and a stress buster. Slowly, I developed an interest for action photography and realized I had a craze to freeze anything which moves. Freezing things is possible only in photography, and this pushed me to visit all the parks in London to capture flying birds. I also realized the challenges in taking such pictures but that is what people loved to see. So, my action photography started with the birds. In 2013, I won in a competition conducted by Nat Geo, and got the chance of traveling to Panama, Costa Rica. I was fortunate to travel with Micheal Melford who is the landscape photographer of Nat Geo for 40 years and learned a bit of photography during the trip.

Furthermore, I have also worked with photographer ‘Saravanan Sundaram’ and toured places thus gaining some wonderful insight into these magnificent creatures.

I was recently awarded Nat Geo Nature Photographer of the Year for a picture of a Green Vine Snake. The picture was shot in Amboli, Maharashtra during the monsoons. The land is well known for its unique Flora and Fauna and is a paradise for amphibian and reptile lovers.

The main purpose of my trip was to capture the “Malabar Gliding Frog” which is native to the Western Ghats. On this particular day, having shot a Malabar Gliding Frog which was on a tree, I began searching the ground for its tiny fluorescent green tadpoles. It was then that I spotted this “Green Vine Snake” on a small dead branch/stem, just behind the walking path. When I spotted the snake, I was standing at the back of it. And then I walked to the front of the snake (facing the snake’s face). That was my first encounter with a snake at such a short distance.

Since I used the macro lens for capturing the Malabar Gliding Frog, I initially began photographing the snake with the same lens. But the beautiful habitat with the thick forest and a deep pathway sparked me to switch to wide angle lens AF-S NIKKOR 16-35MM F/4G on my Nikon D4S. I had to approach it very slowly by lying down on the muddy ground for the eye level and moving inch by inch. It was a young snakelet around 10-15cms in length. As it was a very mildly venomous snake, I gathered the courage to get really close and composed it using the wide angle lens. I took a series of shots and then left the place.”

You can also check out the photographs from 2015 here.

Check out all the category winners here on NatGeo.

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