Every year, the global environmental organization The Nature Conservancy holds a photo contest to show the beauty of nature and what we stand to lose to climate change. The 2022 Photo Contest saw the largest participation ever, with entries from 196 countries across six categories. The winning photos were carefully selected by an expert panel of judges that included conservation photographer Ami Vitale and the host of YouTube’s Brave Wilderness, Coyote Peterson.
Chinese photographer Li Ping took home the top prize for his drone’s-eye view of a lonely highway in Tibet, bordered on each side by gullies extending outward in the shape of a tree. The image beat out over 100,000 photographs and was a beautiful reward for the effort he put forth to take the photo. To get the best light for the image, he actually slept in a roadside parking lot in order to use his drone in the early morning hours.
Two other photographers received special awards, as their images were singled out by Vitale and Peterson. Vitale’s top choice was Shafeeq Mulla‘s haunting photo of a leopard carrying the carcass of a monkey, its baby still clinging to its body. The well-framed photo gives a glimpse into the harsh realities of the natural world.
Peterson, instead, gave his prize to well-known photographer Florian Ledoux. Ledoux’s photograph shows a female polar bear nursing her two cubs in an abandoned Soviet coal mining settlement in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard.
“The abandonment of the Russian settlement is a powerful statement that nature can and hopefully will reclaim its rightful place and despite the mess we leave behind life finds a way,” shares Peterson. “For an animal like the polar bear, which is physically running out of space for existence due to constantly melting sea ice, the bravery it shows for a mother to find a place of refuge for her cubs is a heartwarming scene amongst the frigid feel this entire vision portrays.”
Check out some of our favorite winners and finalists from the 2022 contest below. And, if you want to get involved, learn more about how you can help save nature on The Nature Conservancy’s website.
By Jessica Stewart
via My Modern Met