It's the natural world like you've never seen before.
From a gorilla embracing its caregiver to a lost koala in a forest destroyed by forest – these are some of the stunningly winning images in the annual BigPicture: Natural World Photography Competition.
More than 6,500 photos have been submitted, from photographers around the world – all capturing exciting moments of life on Earth & inspiring action to protect and support it & # 39 ;.
This year's winning photo was won by photographer Audun Rikardsen from Tromsø, Norway. It depicts a showy display of a black grouse that seems to impress female birds on top of its lookout post on the coast.
Other winners of the category are an overwhelming shot from the island of Senja in Norway, an unusual underwater photo of a bear hunting for salmon in Russia and three polar bears in Alaska with bloody noses, indicating that they have just enjoyed dinner.
All 50 winning images will be on display at the annual BigPicture photo exhibition that will open on July 26 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Scroll down in a wonderful world …
Armand Sarlangue scored the top prize in the landscapes, water landscapes and flora category with this stunning photo of the island of Senja in Norway. Although not the most famous destination in the country, it is growing rapidly in popularity. One mountain in particular is largely responsible for that fame. Segla is a peak that symbolizes the robustness and wildness of Northern Norway, with a height of almost 650 meters (2,100 feet) above the sea. Here reindeer still roam the tundra while humpbacks, orca's, and sea eagles chase herring along narrow fjords
The winner of the human / nature category was photographer James Gifford with this incredible photo taken at the Senkwekwe Center for Orphaned Gorillas in Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here, André Bauma, the main responsible person, takes his daily life to care for the animals. James said: & # 39; While I was watching from a distance, one of André's indictments hugged him in a hug, giving me the chance to capture their remarkable relationship. I have never witnessed such a close and natural bond between a species of wildlife and a human & # 39;
The winner of the terrestrial wildlife category was Mikhail Korostelev for this underwater photograph of a huge brown bear that was fishing for salmon in the South Kamchatka Reserve in Russia. To increase his chances of getting started, Mikhail ventured into the reserve, an isolated reserve of 322,000 hectares on the tip of the easternmost peninsula of Russia that is federally protected. Not only is this the home of the largest of all protected brown bear populations in Russia, the rivers of the reserve see some of the largest salmon runs along the Pacific coast. Along the Ozemaya River, one of the favorite places to fish in the bears, the photographer submerged a remote-controlled camera and waited. Soon a curious bear happened on the unusual object that was at the bottom of the river and when Mikhail started to investigate, he broke this breathtaking photo
Daniel Dietrich was a finalist in the terrestrial wildlife category with this amazing photo of three polar bears walking along a pile of whale bones on Barter Island in northern Alaska. Their blood-stained noses indicate a recent fresh meal. As top predators, polar bears dominate the arctic ecosystem and are typically solitary hunters, except when they learn from their mothers, such as the brothers and sisters depicted here
This image of a cute koala was hijacked by Julie Fletcher on Kangaroo Island in South Australia and was a finalist in the terrestrial wildlife category. In 2018, Australia experienced its third-hottest year ever – temperatures that, combined with historic droughts, created the best conditions for forest fires. For slow moving koalas, the chance of surviving fast burning fires such as this one is small, making Julie's discovery on this day all the more surprising. After explaining the desolate, fire-ridden forests, Julie watched as the determined koala, scorched with fur, climbs a tree and begins to burn on charred, crispy leaves. She said: & # 39; He was watching me all the time with an intensity that told the story & # 39;
The winning shot of the entire competition, called Taking Center Stage, was this beautiful image of a male black grouse captured by photographer Audun Rikardsen in Tromso, Norway. What initially drew Audun on this spot high above the sea was a golden eagle he had seen at the same spot. He spent many cold winter days photographing the eagle. But in the spring it was replaced by a new topic: a grouse. Not only was the black grouse quickly used to Audun's fast-shooting camera shutter and flash, he said it almost seemed like the bird liked being in the spotlight
The winner of the winged life category was Piotr Naskrecki, who won with this intricate shot of small winged carpenter ants captured in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique. Most termite-building termites in sub-Saharan Africa are eyeless, wingless, underground creatures. But once a year, termite women produce winged offspring intended for another existence. When the first heavy rainfall marks the end of the dry season, millions of these creatures appear in a dramatic appearance, en masse. Piotr said: & # 39; A few minutes after landing on the ground, most people break their wings and look for partners. Within a day, the floor can be literally carpeted with discarded wings, and lined walkways for a variety of other creatures – including the small, winged carpenter ants in this photo, who had just made a mating flight & # 39;
Jinggong Zhang was a finalist in the aquatic life category with this dramatic shot of a female octopus in the Philippines. Although males are dwarfs of only about 15 millimeters (less than an inch) in length, adult females often extend up to two meters while following eye-catching membranes of two of their elongated arms while open ocean. When threatened, a woman will expand her skirt-like membrane and wave it like a wavy flag
Photographer Buddy Eleazer was highly praised in the terrestrial wildlife category with this shot of a gemsbok in the Namibian desert. The antelope-like creature sends a beam of fine sand over the steep flank of a rust-red dune. Although the climb is strenuous and the sun is glowing hot, a relief is waiting at the top. Along the ridge the antelope finds a cool, moist inner wind that blows from the nearby Atlantic Ocean. By simply breathing in this cooler air through its complex nostrils, the animal is able to reduce the temperature of the blood that is destined for its brain, preventing the desert resident from overheating in this otherwise ruthless environment
Pier Mane was the winner of the aquatic life category with this shot of a sea iguana on the Galapagos Islands. Iguanas are the only lizards that venture under the waves – and they make it a habit. With food options scarce along the volcanic coastlines of the island, marine iguanas have evolved to forage at sea. Diving to a depth of up to 25 meters with a single breath, they graze on algae that grow in cold, nutrient-rich waters
Chiara Salvadori was the winner of the art of the nature category for this beautiful recording on the high plains of north-western Argentina. Standing at an altitude of 12,795 feet, surrounded by the grim beauty of the Salar de Antofalla, one of & # 39; the world's largest salt pans, she saw the colors of the landscape change and were shaped by the shadows of clouds that quickly passed over us flocked. One of the things that stood out most in Chiara was the absence of humanity here. Indeed, the dry salt bed of the Salar provides little support in the way of life. Even along the edges and on the slopes of towering volcanoes in the area, only the strongest plants and animals survive
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