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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 10 December, 2019

The winner of the 2016 Nat Geo photography competition

The photographer had to wait two weeks to capture this sight.

SELECTED FROM THOUSANDS of entries, an underwater photo of sardine predation off the Wild Coast of South Africa was selected as the winning image for the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest.

Sardine Run Source: G. Lecoeur/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

The photo, titled ‘Sardine Run’ was captured by Greg Lecoeur of Nice, France. Lecoeur took the photo in June 2015 after waiting two weeks to witness the natural predation on sardines captured in the photo.

The photo captures ‘sardine migration’, an annual hunt where millions of sardines are preyed upon by marine predators such as dolphins, marine birds, sharks, whales, penguins, sailfishes and sea lions.

“The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques to create and drive bait balls to the surface,” Lecouer said. “In recent years, probably due to overfishing and climate change, the annual sardine run has become more and more unpredictable.”

Hence the two week wait.

Honourable mentions

Other winners of individual categories and the photographers’ comments on how they captured the image are equally impressive.

Varun Aditya, of Tamil Nadu, India, placed first in the Animal Portraits category for a photo of a snake called ‘Dragging You Deep into the Woods’.

“I shot this at Amboli, Maharashtra, India, on July 24, 2016, during a morning stroll into the blissful rain forest. Ceaseless drizzles dampened the woods for 10 hours a day; the serene gloom kept me guessing if it was night or day.The heavy fog, chilling breeze, and perennial silence could calm roaring spirits.”

And there I saw this beauty. I wondered if I needed more reasons to capture the habitat, for I was blessed to see this at the place I was at. I immediately switched from the macro to the wide-angle lens and composed this frame.

DRAGGING YOU DEEP INTO THE WOODS ! Source: Varun Aditya/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Vadim Balakin, of Sverdlovsk, Russia, placed first in the Environmental Issues category for ‘Life and Death’ – a photo of polar bear remains in Norway.

“These polar bear remains have been discovered at one of the islands of northern Svalbard, Norway.

We do not know whether the bear died from starving or aging, but more likely if we see the good teeth status, it was from starving.

“They say nowadays that such remains are found very often, as global warming and the ice situation influence the polar bear population.”

Vadim-Balakin-NGNP-Environmental1 Source: Vadim Balakin/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

Jacob Kapetein of Gerland, Netherlands, placed first in the Landscape category for a photo of a small beech tree in a river called ‘Struggle of life’.

To restore original natural dynamics in streams many measures are necessary. In the ‘Leuvenumse beek’ a nature organisation tried to increase heterogeneity of the river bottom and water retention by putting dead wood in the stream system.

“In autumn when rainfall is high, pieces of forest get flooded. Once I saw this little beech in the water, trying to survive under these harsh conditions. I returned sometimes to this place to take pictures.

“One evening all the conditions were satisfactory.”

Struggle of life Source: Jacob Kaptein/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year

As simple as that guys.

Read: The 8 animals with the best comic timing in the world this year

Read: Nat Geo photo competition gives us a glimpse of a strange, alluring world

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