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2019 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition winners revealed

May 30, 2019 6:45PM

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“Resilience”, shot on Kangaroo Island, SA, in 2018 is a finalist in the 2019 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition. Picture: Julie Fletcher media_camera“Resilience”, shot on Kangaroo Island, SA, in 2018 is a finalist in the 2019 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition. Picture: Julie Fletcher


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A koala looking over her bushfire-ravaged* forest home on Kangaroo Island, South Australia has made the winners’ list of an extraordinary international photography exhibition.

In another winning local entry, entitled “Breakfast with Bats”, animal rescue workers in Victoria care for grey-headed flying foxes.

These are not just beautiful pictures for the sake of looking at something cute or pretty.

The purpose of the BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition is to “ inspire action to protect and sustain*” the natural world.

media_cameraThe first-prize winning photograph, titled “Black Grouse Showing Off”, Tromsø, Norway. Picture: Audun Rikardsen
media_camera“Breakfast with Bats” photographed in Victoria, Australia. Picture: Doug Gimesy

In one image, a cheeky baby monkey swings cheekily on the low-hanging tails of his elders*.

In another, a flamingo rescued by a vet inspects the socks created to help heal his severe foot wounds after he flew into a hotel room window.

media_camera“Fun For All Ages”, Kabini, India. Picture: Thomas Vijayan

These powerful photographs are among the 50 winning entries from more than 6500 photos submitted to the 2019 BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition. The competition is in its sixth year and is open to professional and amateur* photographers around the world.

Other winning entrants include a stunning view of Norway’s Senja Island — which boasts an incredible landscape that looks like a scene from the TV series Game of Thrones — and a jaw-dropping underwater shot of a determined bear hunting for salmon in Russia.

This year’s grand prize-winning image was by photographer Audun Rikardsen of Tromso, Norway, and shows a black grouse looking to impress female birds.

All 50 winning images will be featured in the annual BigPicture photography exhibition from July at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, US.

media_camera“The Human Touch” shows a gorilla embracing a caretaker at Virunga National Park, Democratic Republic of Congo. Picture: James Gifford
media_camera“Brown bear. Underwater view”. A brown bear spots an underwater camera as he hunts for salmon in Kamchatka, Russia. Picture: Mike Korostelev
media_camera“Duality”, Senja Island, Norway. Picture: Armand Sarlangue
media_camera“Flamingo Socks”, Julianadorp, Curaçao. Picture: Jasper Doest
media_camera“Rainbow Lorikeet Eating Nectar” taken at Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia. Picture: Cortez Austin
media_camera“Changing Borders”, Big Island, Hawaii, US. Picture: Luis Manuel Vilariño Lopez
media_camera“Sea Dragon”, Galápagos, Ecuador. Picture: Pier Mane
media_camera“Longest Migration”, Northern Yukon, Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, US and Canada. Picture: Peter Mather
media_camera“Throne of Kelp”, Farne Islands, UK. Picture: Ellen Sophie Cuylaerts
media_camera“Snow Sparks”, Goričan, Croatia. Picture: Petar Sabol
media_camera“Crab Eater Seal Resting on the Ice”, Antarctica. Picture: Florian Ledoux
media_camera“Travelling to the Edge”, Namib-Naukluft Desert, Namibia. Picture: Prince (Buddy) Eleazer
media_camera“The Last Jump”, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador. Picture: Javier Aznar González de Rueda
media_camera“Golden Evening”, Hokkaido, Japan. Picture: Lakshitha Karunarathna
media_camera“Piggyback Ride”, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique Picture: Piotr Naskrecki
media_camera“Bohemian Skirt”, Anilao, Philippines. Picture: Jingong Zhang
media_camera“Feeding Turtle”, Sea of Cortez, Mexico. Picture: Steven Kovacs
media_cameraA Close Relationship Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Picture: Julien Faure
media_camera“Losing Wings”, Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique. Picture: Piotr Naskrecki
media_camera“Boneyard Waltz”, Kaktovik, Alaska, US. Picture: Daniel Dietrich
media_cameraLongest Migration Northern Yukon, Alaska and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, US and Canada. Picture: Peter Mather


  • ravaged: ruined
  • sustain: strengthen or support to keep something going
  • elders: oldest, most experienced people or animals in a group
  • amateur: for a hobby, not for a job


Amazing photos of ancient cultures

Weird, wacky, wonderful nature photos

Photo of the year tells a whale’s tale

Photos capture hidden world of tiny life forms


  1. What natural disaster happened on Kangaroo Island before the photo was taken?
  2. What is the purpose of the competition?
  3. How many entries were there?
  4. How many years has the competition been going?
  5. What country is Tromso in?


1. Inspiring pictures
The purpose of the BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition is to “inspire action to protect and sustain” the natural world.

Look at the pictures attached to this article. Which picture do you find most inspiring? Why does this picture inspire you to protect and sustain our natural world?

Write a short paragraph identifying the picture you found ‘spoke to you’ and explain why this picture inspires you the most. What is it about this picture that you find inspiring and makes you want to protect and sustain our natural world?

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science, Sustainability, The Arts – Visual Arts 

2. Extension
Beauty in nature is evident all around us. Go for a walk around your school, look for ‘beautiful and inspiring’ things in nature. Look for large and small things. It might be something as large as a tree, or as small as a spider in a spider web. What you find beautiful and inspiring may be different to other students. When you have found something take a photo of it. Be sure to capture the best angle! Print out the photo, give it a name and write a short paragraph to explain why this image ‘spoke to you’ and ‘inspires you to protect and sustain’ the natural world.

Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Sustainability, The Arts – Visual Arts, Technologies – Digital technologies

A picture says 1000 words
But there is always more to the story than what we see in that one still image. The before events that lead to the picture, and what happened after are often forgotten.

Pick one of the pictures and imagine what happened before (the beginning), during  (snap- the picture is captured) and after (the end) the image was taken. Write your version of events. You might like to use the caption that goes with the pictures, or you may wish to completely reimagine the whole thing. It’s up to you.

Don’t forget your VCOP to give your story voice.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Which photo do you like best? Why?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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