Amazing wildlife photography scoops top prize at nature contest

(Image credit: Amit Eshel / NPOTY 2020)

Roberto Marchegiani's beautiful wildlife photography is the winner of the 2020 Nature Photographer of the Year competition. The contest is part of a wider series of nature initiatives, from the organization that's put together the Nature Talks Photo Festival in the Netherlands every year (this year, virtually). 

Roberto's image was chosen by the jury because it showed respect for the subject, as chair Magdalena Herrera explains. "This image has a fairy-tale quality that goes far beyond a wildlife document. The contrast of the dark forest with branches like flashes of lightning and the little giraffe, who seems so innocent, is astonishing. We applaud the poetic approach to this moment that was made possible by the photographer's patience and respect for his subject."

"Jurassic Park" is the winning Nature POTY image for 2020 (Image credit: Roberto Marchegiani / NPOTY 2020)

Roberto Marchegiani shot his winning image in Nakuru National Park, Kenya. To have a better chance of finding good light he went on a deliberately organised safari during the rainy season. 

Just before sunset, Roberto and his friends noticed a group of giraffes passing  in front of the forest. With a long lens (600mm) he found a glimpse into the forest. Instead of taking pictures of the giraffes passing by, he kept the framing on a specific point in the forest. The angle was narrow, with a lot of vegetation in the foreground that could damage the image. 

Roberto used the widest aperture that he could to blur the vegetation. ”In the end, I was rewarded by my stubbornness: the giraffes passed exactly in the right place. The scene reminded me of a Jurassic landscape, with a herbivorous dinosaur in the same position as the giraffe.”

Other winners

In 2020, the judges had to choose from a record-breaking 19,547 images, coming from over 95 different countries. 

The runners up featured some big names from the world of nature photographers, including Jo-Anne McArthur in the category Man and Nature, Ruben Perez Novo in the category other Animals, Pål Hermansen in the Category Natural Art and Radomir Jakubowksi in the category Plants and fungi.

Morning lek (Image credit: Levi Fitze / NPOTY 2020)

Party animal (Image credit: Andrew George / NPOTY 2020)

Flyover (Image credit: Jie Fischer / NPOTY 2020)

Evening walk (Image credit: Giacomo_Redaelli / NPOTY 2020)

Electric (Image credit: Joshua Cripps / NPOTY 2020)

Caught In A Blizzard (Image credit: David Gibbon / NPOTY 2020)

The youth category (11 – 17 years old) was won by the Hungarian Lili Sztrehárszki with a shot of a lesser horseshoe bat (the smallest horseshoe bat across Europe).

Tiny details (Image credit: Lili Sztrehárszki / NPOTY 2020)

This year the Natural Photography festival will take place online because of the current circumstances. View all of the category winners, runners up and highly commended photos, or enter your own photos for the 2021 competition from 27 December.

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Lauren Scott
Freelance contributor/former Managing Editor

Lauren is a writer, reviewer, and photographer with ten years of experience in the camera industry. She's the former Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, and previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, Technique editor for PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and Deputy Editor of our sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine. An experienced journalist and freelance photographer, Lauren also has bylines at Tech Radar,, Canon Europe, PCGamesN, T3, Stuff, and British Airways' in-flight magazine (among others). When she's not testing gear for DCW, she's probably in the kitchen testing yet another new curry recipe or walking in the Cotswolds with her Flat-coated Retriever.