Nature Photographer of the Year has announced the winning photos of the 2021 contest. This year’s flattering title of the overall winner went to Terje Kolaas from Norway for his spectacular image of geese migration. Of course, there are plenty more stunning images from this year’s contest, and we bring you the selection of the best nature photos for 2021.
Terje was born in Norway, where he also lives. He teaching Bird Identification at Nord university and working as a nature reserve ranger at Norwegian nature inspectorate. As you can probably assume, he’s also a part-time photographer. He is privileged to have thousands of Pink-footed Geese literally in his garden several months a year. More than 80,000 of them make a stopover in the Trondheim fiord wetland system on their way between the wintering grounds in Denmark, the Netherlands and the breeding grounds in Spitsbergen every spring and autumn. The whole scenario is simply spectacular.
The photographer explains that he has been photographing them for more than 20 years, and at one point he kind of ran out of ideas. But thanks amazing drone technology, the element of air opened up for him a few years ago. Photographing the geese as being one of them, a part of the flock, up in the air actually became possible. Dozens of attempts failed during the last years, but during the strange and rare events of blizzards and heavy snowfalls in late April 2020, Terje realized that the photos of his dreams were within reach. Photographing the geese from the air against a pure and clean snowy landscape. He says that he’s particularly happy with this image, adding: “And I am very happy that the jury of the NPOTY 2021 liked it too!”
Terje’s gorgeous image isn’t only the overall winner, but also the Bird category winner for 2021.
The judges had to choose from 20,061 images, coming from over 97 different countries, which is a new record. Potographers entered their images in 12 different categories and also for the Fred Hazelhoff portfolio award. This award was won by Lea Lee Inoue from the USA. She created a very interesting and cute photo project of a round-tailed ground squirrel family and their emotional range. Here are a few images:
“This is a paradigm shift in thought – that conservation can begin early, at a ground level – with each person awakening to the natural world. With this realization, comes animal respect, conservation and welfare”, Lea Lee explains.
Amongst the other winners, we have Audun Rikardsen in the “Plants and fungi,” category, Roie Galitz in the “Black and White” category, and William Burrard-Lucas in the “Animal Portraits” category. The youth category (11 – 17 years old) was won by the Swiss Levi Fitze with a shot of a young Alpine Ibex.