Hungarian photographer Csaba Daróczi has been crowned the overall winner at the 5th Close-up Photographer of the Year (CUPOTY) awards supported by Affinity Photo 2. His winning shot, The Bird of the Forest features a mesmerizing image of a Eurasian nuthatch in flight, taken from within a hollowed-out tree stump shaped like a mushroom.
Csaba's winning photograph was shot during a winter exploration in 2023 in a forest near his home in Hungary. Delving into the heart of nature, he stumbled upon a half-meter diameter hollowed-out tree stump, carefully positioned his GoPro Hero 11 and captured this shot. After reviewing the image he decided to return to the spot in hopes of capturing an animal in the frame and used a sunflower to attract birds and mice.
• This year's winning shot proves action cameras don't just have to be used for sporting events - they can do wildlife too!
Csaba Daróczi will receive a £2,500 ($3,100) cash prize, a Universal License for all three Affinity apps, a NiSi macro focusing rail NM-200S, NiSi macro 77mm close-up lens plus the prestigious CUPOTY trophy. A winner was also selected from each of the 11 categories and will take home a £250 ($318) cash prize, the Affinity Universal software license, a NiSi macro focusing rail, a digital certificate plus global media coverage.
In the fungi category, Barry Webb was awarded the top prize for his image The Ice Crown which shows a 1mm slide mould (Didymium squamulosum) with frost that formed in the shape of a crown. René Krekels’s shot of wood ants defending their nest by spraying acid landed him 1st place in the insects category while 17-year-old Carlos Pérez Naval prevailed in the young photographer category for his image Small Wonders which depicts the tail of a Moorish gecko on a wall-covered in tree-shaped mineral deposits.
A panel of 23 experts, including photographers, scientists, naturalists, journalists, and picture editors, dedicated over 20 collective hours on Zoom calls to select the winners and Top 100 pictures across 11 categories.
Reflecting on this year’s entries, CUPOTY founder Tract Calder commented, ‘Personally, I think this is our best collection of winning images yet, and I’m so grateful to those who entered as it allows us to see and learn from their work and to recognize how incredible and surprising the world is.’
All 100 winning images are now available to view on the CUPOTY website where you can also sign up for the newsletter so you can stay connected and be the first to find out about future competitions.
Not convinced about an action camera? Check out the best cameras for wildlife photography instead and browse a range to suit all budges