Worm's eye view shot from inside a tree stump lands 1st place in Close Up Photographer of the Year

Close Up Photographer of the Year 5 overall winning entry
The Bird of the Forest - Overall winner of CUPOTY 5 - was shot with a GoPro (Image credit: Csaha Daróczi | cupoty.com)

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!

Close Up Photographer of the Year 5

Wood Ants Firing Acid Secretion - Winner of the insects category (Image credit: René Krekels | cupoty.com)

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. 

The Ice Crown - winner of the Fungi category (Image credit: Barry Webb)

Beach Grass - winner of the Micro category (Image credit: Gerhard Vlcek)

Asymmetrical Threads - winner of the Human Made category (Image credit: Elizabeth Kazda)

Small Wanders - winners of the Young Photographer category (Image credit: Carlos Pérez Naval)

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

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.