Winners of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition were just announced where more than 43,000 images from 96 countries were whittled down to just eighteen. Now in its 49th year, the competition showcases the very best in nature photography and is led by two UK institutions, the Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide.
The overall grand prize went to photographer Greg du Toit from South Africa who took the magnificent, almost painterly photo (above), he calls Essence of Elephants. The photographer had been shooting African elephants since he first picked up a camera and it was his goal to “to create an image that captures their special energy and the state of consciousness that I sense when I’m with them.” Shot from ground-level at a waterhole in Botswana’s Northern Tuli Game Reserve, Greg captured the “gentle giants in an almost ghostly way.”
The shortlist includes 100 photos that are first separated into two age groups – Adult and Young – and then by category like Animal Portraits, Underwater World and Creative Vision. Out of all those images, here were the top 18 that we loved the most.