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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 (opens in new tab). 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)
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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)
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Party animal (Image credit: Andrew George / NPOTY 2020)
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Flyover (Image credit: Jie Fischer / NPOTY 2020)
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Evening walk (Image credit: Giacomo_Redaelli / NPOTY 2020)
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Electric (Image credit: Joshua Cripps / NPOTY 2020)
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Caught In A Blizzard (Image credit: David Gibbon / NPOTY 2020)
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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)
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This year the Natural Photography festival will take place online because of the current circumstances. View all of the category winners (opens in new tab), runners up and highly commended photos, or enter your own photos for the 2021 competition from 27 December.

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Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 


An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)


In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.