30 PHOTOS from 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

#21

“Above the Polar Bear.” Dear future generation, I hope we will still be able to see the Arctic wildlife as we do now. It is threatened as the environment is changing. I was able to witness many scenes of wildlife and I can guarantee you this is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Here, the polar bear might be interpreted as holding back the melting sea ice. Incredible and unique, this was shot six meters above a polar bear during wildlife reportage in Nunavut and Greenland during the summer of 2017. © Florian Ledoux

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer

 

#22

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer

“Migrant in the Muck Field.” Migrant workers come from Mexico and other countries farther south to the Ohio muck fields. The big white hats they are wearing protect them from the hot summer sun. Together with the black and green lines, this image comes to its artistic right. © Joost Boerman / 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

#23

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer

“A Sad Story for a Mother Giraffe.” A very emotional scene of a lioness dragging a recently killed baby giraffe, only a few days old, with the mother giraffe looking on. © Mike Hall / 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

#24

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer

“Face to Face in a River in Borneo.” While looking for wild orangutans in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesia, we witnessed the amazing sight of this huge male crossing a river, despite the fact there were crocodiles in the river. Rapid growth of palm oil farming has depleted their habitat, and when pushed to the edge, these intelligent creatures have learned to adapt to the changing landscape, This is proof, considering orangutans hate water and never venture into rivers. I got five feet deep into the river to get this perspective. © Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan

#25

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer

“Spaceship Superstar Supercell.” A supercell thunderstorm on the Kansas Plains appears to explode in all directions right before our eyes in May of this year. We were able to stay in position and photograph this storm for over 4 hours. We watched it become a supercell and we watched the supercell die. One of my favorite chase days to date. © Ryan Wunsch

#26

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer

“Iceflowers.” This photo was made in my hometown, Thiersee, a small village in the heart of the alps. I had to wait until Lake Thiersee, which is frozen all winter, began to melt in the spring. For just a few days you can see these natural patterns in the melting ice—but not without a drone. So I told my daughter to make a boat trip with her red kayak. © Stefan Thaler

#27

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer

“Raccoon Dog.” A raccoon dog hiding among nettles and dead branches was watching me as I approached and took a photo. © Lukas Adamec / 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

#28

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer

“Alien.” This is one of my favorite photos of my favorite critter. Shot with a +25 magnifier, it really brings out the detail in this otherwise very small skeleton shrimp. Its face is clear, its reddish eyes are visible, and the way it faces my camera with its arms wide makes it almost symmetrical. Its clear color matches the hydra that it is living on. Plus the colors in the background really make this an interesting and beautiful photo. Don’t think there are aliens on earth? Look no further! © Adam Silverman

#29

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer

“Rivers Collision, Costa Rica.” Tortuguero is one of the most remote national parks of Costa Rica—a pristine park where there are no cars, no traffic, and no pollution at all. I was looking to take some shots of nature, but since I was on an island, walking was not getting me far. I took out the swimming option; the river was crowded with crocodiles! So I decided to explore the area with my drone. I immediately noticed the difference in the colors of the rivers. © Enrico Pescantini / 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

#30

2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer

“The Last Gasp.” A ferruginous hawk surprises a prairie dog in Colorado. © David M. / 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year