+
upworthy
Science

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.”

True

Making new friends as an adult is challenging. While people crave meaningful IRL connections, it can be hard to know where to find them. But thanks to one Facebook Group, meeting your new best friends is easier than ever.

Founded in 2018, NYC Brunch Squad brings together hundreds of people who come as strangers and leave as friends through its in-person events.

“Witnessing the transformative impact our community has on the lives of our members is truly remarkable. We provide the essential support and connections needed to thrive amid the city's chaos,” shares Liza Rubin, the group’s founder.

Despite its name, the group doesn’t just do brunch. They also have book clubs, seasonal parties, and picnics, among other activities.

NYC Brunch Squad curates up to 10 monthly events tailored to the specific interests of its members. Liza handles all the details, taking into account different budgets and event sizes – all people have to do is show up.

“We have members who met at our events and became friends and went on to embark on international journeys to celebrate birthdays together. We have had members get married with bridesmaids by their sides who were women they first connected with at our events. We’ve had members decide to live together and become roommates,” Liza says.

Members also bond over their passion for giving back to their community. The group has hosted many impact-driven events, including a “Picnic with Purpose” to create self-care packages for homeless shelters and recently participated in the #SquadSpreadsJoy challenge. Each day, the 100 members participating receive random acts of kindness to complete. They can also share their stories on the group page to earn extra points. The member with the most points at the end wins a free seat at the group's Friendsgiving event.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

3,700-year-old Babylonian stone tablet gets translated, changes history

They were doing trigonometry 1500 years before the Greeks.

via UNSW

Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Mom’s blistering rant on how men are responsible for all unwanted pregnancies is on the nose

“ALL unwanted pregnancies are caused by the irresponsible ejaculations of men. Period. Don't believe me? Let me walk you through it."

Mom has something to say... strongly say.

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as Mormons, are a conservative group who aren't known for being vocal about sex.

But best selling author, blogger, and mother of six, Gabrielle Blair, has kicked that stereotype to the curb with a pointed thread on reducing unwanted pregnancies. And her sights are set directly at men.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

Keep ReadingShow less
Science

She tattooed half her face and you'd never know it. Her skills are just that good.

This incredible medical tattoo technology is giving renewed hope to burn victims.

All images via the CBS/YouTube

Basma Hameed runs a tattoo shop, of sorts...


Meet Samira Omar.

The 17-year-old was the victim of a horrific bullying incident.

Keep ReadingShow less
Images via Alan Taylor/Flickr, used with permission.

Updating the kitchen.


Remember those beloved Richard Scarry books?

Books from when you were a kid?

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

Voice recordings of people who were enslaved offer incredible first-person accounts of U.S. history

"The results of these digitally enhanced recordings are arresting, almost unbelievable. The idea of hearing the voices of actual slaves from the plantations of the Old South is as powerful—as startling, really—as if you could hear Abraham Lincoln or Robert E. Lee speak." - Ted Koppel

Library of Congress

When we think about the era of American slavery, many of us tend to think of it as the far distant past. While slavery doesn't exist as a formal institution today, there are people living who knew formerly enslaved black Americans first-hand. In the wide arc of history, the legal enslavement of people on U.S. soil is a recent occurrence—so recent, in fact, that we have voice recordings of interviews with people who lived it.

Keep ReadingShow less