A bobcat fleeing a pond with its catch of the day, a photo taken by David Turko of Florida, was the grand prize winner in the 47th annual National Wildlife Magazine Photo Contest announced Friday by the National Wildlife Federation.
Of the 23,000 entries from around the world, the fifteen winners came the U.S., Canada, England, Hungary, Kenya and Kuwait.
“The 2018 entries painted a vivid picture of wildlife and wild places, from avian artistry to underwater majesty to the struggle and beauty of life on the edge,” the National Wildlife Federation said. “Each photograph celebrates the power and beauty of nature and inspires its protection.”
All photos copyrighted and used with permission.
As spray flies from sopping fur, a bobcat flees from the pond where it snagged its prey—an unsuspecting coot, its wings still flapping in its last moments of life. Photographer David Turko caught this unforgettable moment after making an unplanned detour on a visit to New Mexico’s Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, where he was photographing migratory birds.
Framed by the glow of street lights along Kuwait City’s bustling Persian Gulf shore, two Arabian red fox kits explore the night just outside their den. “They felt safer at night,” says Mohammad Murad, who watched this family of five kits nearly every day for more than two months.
Thousand Oaks, California
After two years of planning, Loi Nguyen landed a coveted permit to visit Canada’s Wapusk National Park in hopes of photographing polar bears heading to Hudson Bay. Long days of waiting paid off when his group spied this mother and her two cubs, curled in a sleeping ball. When they awoke, the cubs nursed, nuzzled and played.
People in Nature
A solitary skier moves in perfect peace through fresh powder as low-lying winter sun casts sensuous shadows across Spaulding Meadows in Juneau, Alaska. “I love how my wife’s shadow bends in the curve of the snow,” says photographer Mark Kelley. “It was so incredibly beautiful, with sunlight flowing across these lush mounds. For us, this conveys an amazing sense of serenity.”
Literally holding his breath to get the shot he envisioned, photographer Kyler Badten hovered some 30 feet below the surface of Caribbean waters off the coast of Mexico’s Isla Mujeres. Vision became reality when a whale shark passed overhead, just below diver Akira Biondo, whose outstretched hand appears to be gently touching the animal below her.
On a late summer day in her Illinois backyard, photographer Teresa Considine watched a wasp repeatedly “buzz” a monarch butterfly sipping nectar from goldenrod. To avoid its apparent tormenter, the butterfly gracefully flipped upside down to continue feeding undisturbed—a moment Considine was thrilled to capture.
A common blackbird in southern Hungary battles its own reflection in a cottage window as photographer Ritzel Zoltan records the action. “This homestead is surrounded by a small forest,” he says. “Many birds live nearby, and some need to protect their territory.”
Riding a small Zodiac off the coast of Brown Bluff in Antarctica, photographer Eric Guth housed his camera in a dome port and dipped it into the sea, hoping to capture an over-under shot of a massive iceberg. When a group of crabeater seals swam into the frame, they graced the image with unexpected magic.
Leathery skin and scruffy earth contrast with the tender sight of a baby elephant framed within its mother’s massive girth. Photographer Anup Shah caught the pair in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve.
Charleston, West Virginia
While slowly moving along Tanzania’s Rufiji River in a tiny boat, Deborah Albert suddenly saw a massive Nile crocodile plunging down a sandbank toward the water. Twisting her body, she caught a few frames before the croc submerged and vanished.
Clipper Mills, California
A delicate face-off unfolds as two clear-winged Satyrid butterflies perch on a fiddlehead fern in Costa Rica’s Rio Tuis Valley. A lifelong butterfly lover, photographer John Hendrickson saw several of these creatures feeding on rotting palm fruits on the forest floor.
Landscapes & Plants
Sinuous curves of damp sandstone come into vivid relief as light from a spring sky spills into Upper Antelope Canyon in Arizona. Pleased that a night of rain enhanced contrast in the rock, photographer Richard Higgins used “exposure bracketing” of five images to create this artful portrait.
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Some people might see just a frozen window. But when photographer Shauna Stevens wandered past this icy pane as the sun set on a frigid January day, she saw a swirling landscape of ice, its crystals painting a portrait of grasses, trees and sky.
With a dancer’s grace and unlimited drive, a male black-headed weaver brings yet another blade of grass to build his nest in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve. “He worked nonstop from sunrise to sunset,” says photographer Manoj Shah, who watched the bird for a week as it created this home to attract a mate.
Palm Coast, Florida
Late-day light casts a halo of feathers on baby great egrets nesting together in a rookery in St. Augustine, Florida. Having seen these bobbing heads from a distance of some 30 feet, photographer Dave Bowers waited for what he hoped would be a magical moment. “I wanted eye contact, which creates emotion,” he says. “I like to humanize the natural world. That makes people care about nature and want to preserve it.”
Also on BNQT: