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."(opens in new tab)
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.”
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.(opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)
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).(opens in new tab)
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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Best binoculars (opens in new tab): binoculars for wildlife, nature and astronomy
Best trail cameras (opens in new tab): for wildlife photography and nature watching
Best portable hides for wildlife photography (opens in new tab)
Amazing image of tree-hugging tiger wins 56th Wildlife Photographer of the Year (opens in new tab)