Current Issue #488

12 Stunning 2017 Nature Photographer of the Year Finalist Photos

12 Stunning 2017 Nature Photographer of the Year Finalist Photos

Every year the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition presents incredible perspectives on natural landscapes, animals and our effect upon them. 2017 is no different, with a huge range of fascinating nature photography to take in. Enjoy this selection of 12 finalist photos from the competition, courtesy of the South Australian Museum.


Arborek Jetty – Tracy Jennings

I spent about six hours under the jetty at Arborek in awe and wonder of the schooling fish, but this scene was only visible for a minute or so. As a boat pushed off from the jetty a beam of light highlighted the small patch of reef.


Branching Out – Drew Hopper

Golden light illuminates the ghost gums during a spectacular sunrise on the edge of the escarpment from Point Lookout, New England National Park, New South Wales.


First Wave – Matty Smith

A young and critically endangered hawksbill turtle ducks under its first wave just minutes after hatching. Its struggle will be long and tiresome and the odds of survival are sadly stacked against it. A slow shutter speed used with a flash enabled me to capture the amazing ambient light.


Fungus Fair – Raoul Slater

Too often we burn up time, carbon and inspiration in our search for the big subject. I am proud that my last six winning entries were taken in my garden or after a short stroll down the road. The humble scenes at our feet can be epic.


Ghost Forest –  Jason Freeman

Drought conditions reveal the longevity of past land-clearing decisions, with stumps remaining as memorials to their greener past. Getting in close allowed me to use the roots to lead the viewer’s eye through the image, telling the story, with the background kept sharp to convey scale and give depth.


Guthega Wombat – Charles Davis

After three days of snow storms I knew the warm sunshine would bring the wombats out into the open. They’re very stubborn and once on a path they will stick to it. I positioned myself in the wombat’s path – it headed towards me without a care in the world.


In My Heart – Dylan Fox

Hamersley Gorge is one of my favourite places in Karijini National Park. It is an hour’s drive from most of the other gorges. The rock formations are unique, as well as their colours and textures. This is one of the smooth rock pools carved out of the otherwise rough surface.


Jumping for joy – Beau Pilgrim

A bottlenose dolphin jumps high above the water after riding the bow wave of a boat moments before. The dolphin took off quickly away from the boat towards a wave and I was able to focus on the wave before capturing the whole sequence of the dolphin ‘jumping for joy’.


Now You See Me – Timothy Chew

The Australian sea lion is an endangered species with active conservation efforts underway in Seal Bay. This playful pup was blissfully frolicking in the sand but became quite intrigued as I approached. Our gazes locked momentarily before the distractions of surf and sun proved too strong for this young Aussie.


Rainbow Bee-Eater orientating dragonfly – Stuart Blackwell

This male rainbow bee-eater returns to the same branch to toss and orientate his catch prior to entering the in-ground nest and feeding the young. This was shot near the North Para River, where there are deep sandy soils perfect for burrowing and nesting and an abundance of insects.


The Rock – Jack Campbell Shick

Named after Henry Lidgbird Ball, Balls Pyramid rises to 552m, 23km to the south-east of Lord Howe Island. Locals call it ‘The Rock’. I have been there many times and still find myself taking pictures of the ever-changing beauty of this sea stack.


Windblown Egret – Jennie Stock

A little egret (Egretta garzetta) in breeding plumage was feeding in a shallow section of Herdsman Lake on a windy day when it turned and the breeze ruffled its feathers.

The Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition will exhibit at the South Australian Museum from August 11.

Explore the full gallery of finalists at

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