Wildlife photographers submitted their best work in the 2020 GDT Nature Photographer of the Year competition — and the results did not disappoint.
There is nothing more breathtaking than the natural splendor of our planet. But, these candid moments in nature often elude us humans.
Luckily, there are talented photographers who can capture these often-unseen moments in the wild so we can appreciate the wonders of our world from the comforts of home.
Over 5,000 stunning nature images were submitted to the Nature Photographer of the Year competition held under Gesellschaft für Naturfotografie or the German Society for Nature Photography (GDT). Entries for the prestigious photography competition were received from amateur and seasoned photographers from across Europe.
According to My Modern Met, the massive pile of entries was carefully narrowed down to the top 10 photographs chosen by a three-jury panel across seven separate categories, including Mammals, Birds, Plants and Fungi, and Landscapes. The special category featured in this year's competition was water.
More than 300 members of the society logged on to vote for the winning image in a poll which was held online for the first time in the contest's 20-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The overall winning photograph was titled "A Hare's Dream," a nature scene captured by photographer Peter Lindel from a series of photographs he took in the northern parts of the German city of Dortmund. The photograph portrays an inquisitive hare staring straight into Lindel's lens as the early-morning sunlight paints an ethereal backdrop.
According to Lindel, the shot was a rare sighting he was fortunate to capture on camera.
"The European hare, once a common inhabitant of open country all over Germany, has become a rare sight," Lindel said in a GDT press release of the competition results.
Lindel added: "While the large number of hares that I used to spot every morning on my way to work in the fields and meadows north of Dortmund, prompted me twelve years ago to explore this area with my camera, it has now become increasingly time-consuming to find hares and present them in an appealing photograph."
The photo, he shared, was taken in July of 2019 during a long search for the perfect shooting location amid the greenery. Lindel's search led him to a simple dirt road where he discovered "the most beautiful morning light, lovely vegetation, and three hares." Lindel described the furry subject in his stunning photograph using four words: dreamy, curious, careful, anxious.
As winner of the competition, Lindel, whose photographs mostly center on the themes of local and African fauna, is entitled to a cash prize and an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III 12-40mm kit which will certainly aid him during his future outdoor photoshoots.
Among the other winning portraits were an arresting scene of a crocodile nearly eye-deep underneath drying mud, a clear shot of a fearsome cheetah struggling with its prey mid-hunt, and picturesque details among water movements captured in a single shot.
Check out more mesmerizing nature photographs from the competition in the gallery above.
Now that you've taken a look at the best nature photographs in the 2020 GDT Nature Photographer of the Year competition, see 33 pictures of animals taking over human spaces during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Then, get ready to weep at these 11 heartwarming photos of koalas returning home after the Australian bushfires.