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2021 BigPicture Natural World Photography Contest Results

Landscapes, Waterscapes, And Flora: Finalist: 'Beautiful Water' By Kazuaki Koseki, Inawashiro, Japan
Landscapes, Waterscapes, And Flora: Finalist: 'Beautiful Water' By Kazuaki Koseki, Inawashiro, Japan

Earth’s best nature, wildlife, & conservation photography.

Is there anyone who hasn’t taken a picture of their cute pets while they’re sleeping or a colorful butterfly at the park? Whenever something beautiful or interesting passes through our minds, it is nice to retain an actual memory of it. Others, however, take photos for entirely different reasons.

When submitting their work to BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition, contestants go above and beyond to capture the right moment. The competition hopes that these incredible images from all over the globe will encourage other people to care for and conserve our planet.

The competition has been held by the California Academy of Sciences for eight years now, and the submissions keep on outstanding.

This image originally appeared on bioGraphic, a science and sustainability website and the official sponsor for the BigPicture Natural World Photography Competition for the California Academy of Sciences.

They were asked to submit photos that portrayed Earth’s biodiversity and showed some of the threats to the environment.

In this contest, entries were due by December 1, 2020. The winners were chosen by a jury consisting of photographers and photo editors.

Rhonda Rubinstein, the co-founder of BigPicture, explained how the judges select winners.

They evaluate each image on a scale of 1-5, taking into account originality, technical competence, composition, overall impact, and artistic merit.

In the end, the image with the highest score overall, regardless of the category, receives the Grand Prize award.

Rhonda Rubinstein mentioned that the Grand Prize winner was awarded $5,000. The categories are Art of Nature, Aquatic Life, Winning Life, Landscapes and Waterscapes, Flora and Terrestrial Wildlife. Photo Story: Out of the Ordinary.

More info: BigPicture | Facebook |

2021 BigPicture Winner

Jo-Anne McArthur, a Canadian photojournalist, received the award this year. It shows her with a baby kangaroo in her pouch, standing in the midst of a smoke-filled landscape. Her photo is titled “Hope Amidst the Ashes.”

During the Australian bushfires, McArthur was accompanied by Vets for Compassion to search for injured koalas.

Grand Prize: ‘Hope In A Burned Plantation’ By Jo-Anne Mcarthur, Mallacoota, Australia

Grand Prize: 'Hope In A Burned Plantation' By Jo-Anne Mcarthur, Mallacoota, Australia

A resilient kangaroo rests in the burned eucalyptus plantation in this iconic moment of Australia. Cataclysmic Australian bushfires in 2019 and 2020 killed or displaced nearly three billion animals.

Eastern grey kangaroos such as this one are the lucky survivors, having avoided a region that was once used for agricultural purposes, then caused by fire.

bioGraphic wrote, “For McArthur, it was a powerful moment: two of Australia’s most iconic species—the kangaroo and the eucalyptus tree—standing at a worrisome crossroads in their history. But the individuals in her frame were also symbols of hope, that life can persist against all odds.”

Finalist: ‘Treasure On Ice’ by Marek Jackowski, Svalbard, Norway

Finalist: 'Treasure On Ice' by Marek Jackowski, Svalbard, Norway

Terrestrial Wildlife, Finalist: ‘Tough Negotiation’ By Ayala Fishaimer, Judean Foothills, Israel

Terrestrial Wildlife, Finalist: 'Tough Negotiation' By Ayala Fishaimer, Judean Foothills, Israel

‘Felis Silvestris’ By Vladimir Cech Jr., Doupov Mountains, Czech Republic

'Felis Silvestris' By Vladimir Cech Jr., Doupov Mountains, Czech Republic

Terrestrial Wildlife, Winner: ‘Boss’ By Michelle Valberg, Great Bear Rainforest, Canada

Terrestrial Wildlife, Winner: 'Boss' By Michelle Valberg, Great Bear Rainforest, Canada

Finalist, Human/Nature: Why Did The Sloth Cross The Road?’ By Andrew Whitworth, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

Finalist, Human/Nature: Why Did The Sloth Cross The Road?' By Andrew Whitworth, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

In the category of Art Of Nature, Sarang Naik of Toplepada, India won with “The Goblet Of Fire”

In the category of Art Of Nature, Sarang Naik of Toplepada, India won with "The Goblet Of Fire"

Amos Nachoum, ‘Facing Reality’, Pleneau Island, Antarctic Peninsula, finalist in Aquatic Life

Amos Nachoum, 'Facing Reality', Pleneau Island, Antarctic Peninsula, finalist in Aquatic Life

The winner of the Aquatic Life competition is ‘Orcas Under The Arctic Sun’ by Andy Schmid, Skjervoy, Norway

The winner of the Aquatic Life competition is 'Orcas Under The Arctic Sun' by Andy Schmid, Skjervoy, Norway

The winner of Aquatic Life is Yung-Sen Wu, Koror, Palau, with “Barracuda.”

The winner of Aquatic Life is Yung-Sen Wu, Koror, Palau, with "Barracuda."