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13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020

From socially distanced penguins to a poor fish trapped in ice, here is our selection of best ones.

With 2020 — finally — coming to an end, the winner of the 2020 edition of Nature Photographer of the Year (NPOTY), which showcases the beauty of the natural world annually with incredible photographs, has been revealed yesterday.

Choosing the winner wasn't an easy feat, however, since this year's entrants set a new record for the competition. 

Organized by Nature Talks, the competition saw a whopping 19,547 images submitted to 12 sections including, landscape, underwater, wildlife, and storytelling from 95 different countries.

The overall winner

The photograph below titled "Jurassic Park" and captured by Roberto Marchegiani in Nakuru National Park, Kenya was chosen this year's overall winner.

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Roberto Marchegiani/NPOTY

The photograph was taken during a safari in the rainy season. Against odds, Machegiani was able to take the image from a narrow-angle with a lot of vegetation in the foreground that could easily damage the image. The photographer said, "The scene reminded me of a Jurassic landscape, with a herbivorous dinosaur in the same position as the giraffe."

Below are our special selection from all categories which were pretty difficult to pick since all entries were extraordinary. Still, here are our 14 pics that, in some cases, reflect the true 2020 spirit so well.

1. "Flyover" by Jie Fischer

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Jie Fischer/NPOTY

This breathtaking photograph, which won a Highly Commended award in the competition, shows birds flying over a sandbank in the middle of the ocean.

2. "I Can Pass" by Adriana Sanz

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Adriana Sanz/NPOTY

This green frog popping his head up over the top of a leaf as if asking "Is 2020 over yet? Can I come out again?" was one of the winners in the wildlife category.

3. "Lone Egret among fall colors of the cypress swamp" by Rick Beldegreen

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Rick Beldegreen/NPOTY

On the list of Highly Commended picks at the awards, Beldegreen's stunning photograph looks like a Monet painting.

4. "Woods in a Pod" by Yuan Minghui

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Yuan Minghui/NPOTY

You probably don't understand what you just saw but don't worry, we didn't either. Also in the Highly Commended list, this photograph shows tiny black seeds growing on a wooden background. 

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5. "World Is Going Upside Down" by Thomas Vijayan

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Thomas Vijayan/NPOTY

An orange monkey hugging a tree in a rainforest with a 2020 twist since it literally feels like the world is going upside down... This one also won a highly commended award.

6. "Striped Hunter" by Karim Iliya

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Karim Iliya/NPOTY

Winner of one of the runner-up awards, the perfectly timed shot shows a fish diving through waters, in search of a meal.

7. "Starling Apocalypse" by Bart Siebelink

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Bart Siebelink/NPOTY

One word: chaos. Yet we know that the birds were flying in perfect harmony and order. This breathtaking short was one of the winners in the landscape category, showing thousands of birds flying through the air.

8. "A World Away" by Oliver Smart

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Oliver Smart/NPOTY

A group of penguins practicing social distancing measures and migrating across a snowy landscape has placed its photographer in the Highly Commended category. 

9. "Splash!!!" By Antonio Leiva Sanchez

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Antonio Leiva Sanchez/NPOTY

2020 couldn't be complete without its ultimate villain: bats. One of the Runner-ups in the Mammals category, this stunning photo shows a bat splashing in the water.

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If you're also curious about how this picture was taken, here is Sanchez explaining it: "For this, I used the technique of High Speed with flashlights combined with continuous light, a complicated photographic technique that would allow me to capture the trails produced by water splashes. After several nights of frustrating attempts, reframing, and adjustments, I got the final image I was hoping for."

10. "Constellation of Eagle Rays" by Henley Spiers

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Henley Spiers/NPOTY

One of the winners in the animal category, this photo shows a group of uniquely patterned spotted rays swimming side by side. It was taken when Spiers was on a dive in the Maldives.

11. "Caught In A Blizzard" by David Gibbon 

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: David Gibbon/NPOTY

It is impossible not to relate to this poor wolf covered in snow during a storm. 2020, much? Gibbon's painting-like picture was part of the Highly Commended list at the awards.

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12. "Nature's Pitfall" by Samantha Stephens

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Samantha Stephens/NPOTY

Winner of the Animals category, this unique photo was taken when Stephens joined researchers and found a pitcher with two salamanders trapped simultaneously, both at the same stage of decomposition.

They were floating on the surface of the fluid, which was as Stephen wrote, "a special and fleeting moment."

13. "Trapped" by Andrea Pozzi

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Andrea Pozzi/NPOTY

What you're seeing is a small fish stuck in ice, much like an insect trapped in amber. The incredible photo, which is the Category Winner of the Nature Art, looks surreal and hard to grasp and is bound to make you think about the absurd conditions that led to this poor animal's death.

14. "Hope in a Burned Forest" by Jo-Anne McArthur

13+ Must-See Photographs From Nature Photographer of the Year 2020
Source: Jo-Anne McArthur/NPOTY

This breathtaking photograph is one of the winners of the animal category. The photographer saw the kangaroo, a lucky survivor of the wildfires which killed an estimated 3 billion animals, with its young stands in the middle of a devastated forest, and after this photo was taken, she hopped away into the burned woods.

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