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The 2022 winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, beating out thousands of stunning images

They were all worthy of some buzz.

The 2022 winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year, beating out thousands of stunning images

While we can’t all swim the deepest depths of the ocean or glide across the Amazon’s highest canopies, art and technology has a way of bringing the Earth’s natural splendors directly to us in breathtaking ways.

Since 1965, the Natural History Museum of London’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest has showcased the very best of what nature photography has to offer. This year, the competition attracted more than 38,000 entries from nearly 100 countries celebrating all that is strange and beautiful within the animal kingdom. Images included insects performing bizarre mating rituals, carnivorous snakes snapping up bats midair and flamingos that appear to be walking on clouds.

Out of those 38,000 entries, judges whittled down 19 finalists based on "originality, narrative, technical excellence and ethical practice." Then a top prize was awarded in two different age categories.

Though the museum displays the winning images in exhibitions across the globe, you can take a virtual peek at them below, along with some other honorable mentions.



Adult Grand Title Winner: “The Big Buzz” by Karine Aigner

South Texas, U.S.A.

bee conservationThe big buzz | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

For these bees, nothing says “romance” quite like the hot sands of a Texas ranch in May. Female bees know that love is in the air once the surrounding cacti begin to bloom in springtime. Here we see a close-up shot of a fuzzy, whirling ball of bumbles getting down to buzzzzzzness.

The grand prize winning photo, taken by photographer Karine Aigner is not only visually stunning, but helps shine a light on one of the world’s smallest, yet most important creatures that are in need of our help and attention.

Aigner is one of very few women to take home the grand prize in more than five decades. Following her win, she told NPR, “This one's for every girl out there who, in a male-dominated field, thought she couldn't do it. Because you can do it. You can attain it. You just have to do it."

Aigner is also part of Girls Who Click, a nonprofit that helps girls pursue their passion in nature photography.

Young Grand Title Winner: “The Beauty of Baleen” by Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn

Thailand

baleen whales, whale toursThe beauty of baleen | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn’s award-winning image was the result of patience and an extremely steady hand. Once a nearby Bryde's whale was spotted, Wuttichaitanakorn quickly turned off the engine of his tour boat and caught the image as the boat continued to rock in the swell.

The shot gets up close and personal with baleen, keratin fibers used to filter small prey like plankton.

“I love how the youngster has gone off the beaten track to show a whale in a totally different composition, while capturing behavior like filter feeding. And this, coming from a young photographer, gives me hope that they are not just seeing, but observing the very minute details, learning much along the way,” said wildlife filmmaker and judge Sugandhi Gadadhar.

“Polar Frame” by Dmitry Kokh

Russia

polar bears russiaPolar frame | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

Bears are notoriously curious with little regard for boundary issues when scavenging. Plus with more challenges keeping them from hunting in their natural habitats, bears have been pushed further into human settlements, like this weather station that was closed in the early '90s

Photographer Dmitry Kokh was “astonished” to find more than 20 polars bears living in the abandoned town. Luckily he snapped a photo and lived to tell the tale.

“The Magical Morels” by Agorastos Papatsanis

Greece

conservationThe magical morels | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

Photographer Agorastos Papatsanis brought the magical scene to life waiting for just the right amount of sunlight through the trees and using a wide angle lens and flashes to highlight all the morels’ details.

“Heavenly Flamingos” by Junji Takasago

Japan

flamingosHeavenly flamingos | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

Japanese photographer Junji Takasago apparently had to fight back altitude sickness as he captured a group of Chilean flamingos preening high up in Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt pan, also known as the “mirror in the sky” for its high-definition reflections.

Takasago snapped at just the right angle to create this surreal illusion.

“Shooting Star” by Tony Wu

U.S.A./Japan

sea stars, blue planetShooting star | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

Is it a celestial creature beaming down from outer space? No, it’s a starfish dancing in his own sperm. But it’s beautiful.

“The Beauty of the Familiar” by Mateusz Piesiak

Poland

bird photographyThe beauty of the familiar | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

It took photographer Mateusz Piesiak several attempts to "nail the focus" to bring an intimate glimpse of a young gull's high-speed dive right at the moment of impact with the water. But the results were worth it.

“Ndakasi’s Passing” by Brent Stirton

South Africa

wildlife photographyNdakasi's passing | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

Gorilla Ndakasi was only 2 months old when she became the only surviving member of her family. She was taken in by caregiver Andre Bauma, with whom she spent 13 peaceful years. The photo, taken by Brent Stirton, shows Ndakasi in Bauma's arms as she passes.

“It was Ndakasi's sweet nature and intelligence that helped me to understand the connection between humans and [other] great apes and why we should do everything in our power to protect them,” Bauma recalled.

“New Life for the Tohorā” by Richard Robinson

New Zealand

whales, new zealandNew life for the tohorā | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

Known by the Māori as tohorā, the New Zealand population of southern right whales was hunted to near extinction in the 1800s. Since every new calf makes a difference, this image of … let’s say, courtship … between a male and female tohorā offers new hope.

“Jelly From the Dark Side” by Laurent Ballesta

France

helmet jellyfish

Jelly from the dark side | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

Exposure to direct sunlight is lethal for a helmet jellyfish, forcing it to stay in darkness well beneath thick sheets of ice. Photographer Laurent Ballesta and his team had to seep in light from safe distances to capture this bioluminescent creature.

“The Dying Lake” by Daniel Núñez

Guatemala

guatemalaThe dying lake | Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Natural History Museum

www.nhm.ac.uk

This drone-captured image by Daniel Núñez shows toxic cyanobacteria flourishing on Lake Amatitlán, so much so that it competes with the forest alongside it.

Currently the lake receives around 75,000 tons of waste from Guatemala City each year, devastating the habitat for plants and fish.

Jen Guyton, photojournalist and judge noted, “What really makes this image work is the element of surprise. On first glance, the right-hand side of the image looks like a grassy field. But when you realize that it's water, you immediately understand that something is sorely wrong with this picture - it's a damaged ecosystem, and something must be done to fix it.”

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.
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