Backyard Friend (from Cities Gone Wild)
With a wildlife corridor passing through their property, a retired couple living on the outskirts of Asheville, North Carolina frequently find four-legged visitors at their back porch, including this beautiful American black bear (Ursus americanus). In fact, residents of Asheville are known for their close relationship with wild black bears in the area. This photographer theorizes that through this coexistence, these bears may be growing more intelligent and increasingly bold—resulting in close contact like that featured here.
Of Blades & Spines
Urchins are often vilified in media coverage of changing kelp forests—they’re the most visible cause of kelp forest loss, devouring algae and replacing lush forests with spine-studded barrens. But in this remarkable photo we see how urchins belong to kelp forests as much as the kelp itself does; more importantly, they play a crucial role as detritivores—eating dead algae and feeding marine life higher up the food chain. Ultimately, urchins are trying to survive in changing seas just like kelp; the loss of their kelp forest homes is a consequence of climate change from which they also suffer.
A difficult scene shows a snow leopard (Panthera uncia) and a Pallas’s cat (Otocolobus manul) both engaged in a struggle for survival—one to feed and the other to stay alive. It is remarkable to see them together at all but especially in this light, as they are typically not active during the daytime. Unfortunately for this Pallas’s cat, she picked an inopportune time to go hunting for pikas for her kittens, and even more unfortunate, these squat felids cannot outrun a leopard due to their stocky bodies. This photographer, with help from forest rangers and permission from the local government, fed her orphaned kittens with road-killed pikas from the area until the cats were able to fend for themselves.
Donglin Zhou is a female wildlife photographer in China. A graduate of Zhejiang University and co-founder of SKW Nature Conservation Agency, Donglin is committed to bringing awareness to wildlife protection through field investigation, rescue, and ecological photography.
terrestrial wildlife winner
Xiamen City is home to thousands of egrets, earning it the nickname ‘the island of the egrets.’ At first blush, this image captured there appears to be a simple photo of an egret getting a surprise jump from its prospective meal. Then, a moment of delight—the meal is chasing a meal of its own!
In 2015, a fire in Jasper National Park necessitated the evacuation of nearly a hundred people and ended up spanning several thousand hectares; months later, this photographer returned to the site and was impressed by the area's resilience. Though the rocky bottom of the mountainside gives the illusion that the spruce trees are still ablaze, the rich foliage assures that this is a park in recovery—but for how long?
Miquel Angel Artús Illana
Miquel Angel Artús Illana is a photographer from and trained in Barcelona, currently residing in Tossa De Mar. He has always been fascinated by landscapes, traveling weekly since he was very young to the native forests and mountains of his home.
Landscapes, Waterscapes, and Flora winner
The Hidden Beauty Beneath Our Feet
Field of Dreams
This year’s Art of Nature winner serves as a photographic Rorschach test! The photographer mentions a range of reactions and theories as to what the mesmerizing lines might be part of. A coastal scene with waves crashing on the cliff or sand rippled with waves in the deep desert? We’ll keep you in suspense no longer: It’s the underside of a mushroom, likely a member of the Lactarius family. The photographer notes that he was drawn back to the unusually vibrant colors displayed on the gills, the blue color in particular, which might indicate the presence of psilocybin or psilocin. Trippy indeed!
J Fritz Rumpf
Fritz was born and raised in Venezuela, surrounded by the most beautiful landscapes and gardens where, from an early age, his parents instilled in him a deep love and respect for nature. Now, he’s traveled all seven continents with his husband in order to photograph unique landscapes and subjects.
art of nature winner
Nose To Nose
Lit by natural light, a veterinary student cradles and nuzzles a newly rescued, four-month-old common wombat (Vombatus ursinus) named Maude. Baby wombats, with their highly sensitive noses, especially appreciate such close contact. Despite their name, the number of wombats like Maude are on the decline, making this tender photo an even starker reminder of our greater role in their species’ survival.
Douglas Gimesy is a professional conservation and wildlife photojournalist whose clients include National Geographic, BBC Wildlife, The Smithsonian, Australian Geographic, as well various mastheads like The Guardian. Initially earning a B.Sc. in zoology and microbiology, he later completed a Masters of Environment and a Masters of Bioethics. Together, these two qualifications helped shape his thinking about which issues to focus on and why—he is now devoted to conservation and animal welfare issues in his homeland and, among other projects, is now creating a children’s book that covers all of Australia's mainland flying foxes.
Cities Gone Wild
This series examines daily life from the perspective of three urban-savvy animals in the United States: American black bears (Ursus americanus), coyotes (Canis latrans), and raccoons (Procyon lotor). Each has proved themselves uniquely equipped to survive, even thrive, at a time when urbanization continues its march into previously natural spaces. The photographer tracked these animals across the United States, documenting the ways in which they have learned to manipulate human infrastructure, utilize our resources to their advantage, and carve out a successful parallel existence among humans. Raccoons use their dexterous, hand-like paws to break into homes, coyotes use stealth to traverse cities undetected, and bears have memorized which neighborhoods to hit up on trash day. Working with local scientists, wildlife managers, and local residents, the photographer spent several years tracking and paying witness to new human-animal relationships being forged as wildlife grows increasingly comfortable living in close proximity to people. Is it possible that urban animals are growing more intelligent than their rural peers due to the unique challenges they face in cities?
Corey Arnold is a commercial fisherman and photographer exploring the complicated relationship between mankind and nature. He creates photographic stories related to his life at sea, working communities, and human animal relationships. His work has been exhibited extensively in galleries and museums worldwide including the Portland Art Museum with local representation by Charles A. Hartman Fine Art. Arnold’s photography has been featured in Harpers, The New Yorker, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time, Outside, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Mare and The Paris Review among others. A National Geographic Explorer and Hallie Ford Foundation Fellow, he has published two books of photography by Nazraeli Press including Fish-Work: The Bering Sea, and Fishing with My Dad.