+
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.”

All images provided by Kat Chao

A photo of Kat and her mom, and a bowl of her mom's famous curry

True

Whether it’s the mac n’ cheese that reminds you of simpler times, or the exotic spiced chicken recipe you acquired from your travels, every meal tells a story.

This rings especially true for people whose families immigrate to different countries to start a new life. Immigrant parents often not only save every penny, but spend most of their time away working in order to build a future for their children. Each comfort meal they manage to provide their kids in the very few spare hours they have tells the story of love and sacrifice.

For Kat Chao, that meal was her mother’s Korean curry.

korean foodA photo of baby Kat and her mom and dad

Growing up, Kat’s mom worked weekends to support her family. But that didn’t stop her from waking up Saturday morning to dice up some beef and fresh veggies and throw them into a large pot so that Kat’s dad could heat it up and serve it with some rice to her and her brothers later.

Curry was a quick, easy and inexpensive way to feed a full house, but it served more than just practical purposes. As Kat would wake up to the enticing aroma, she was reminded that her mom was always taking care of her, even if she couldn’t physically be there.

koran curryYUM

As Kat grew a little older, her attitude towards her mother’s curry shifted. Instead of looking forward to it, she would “roll her eyes at it,” as is customary of the rebellious teen. Those less-than-positive feelings were only exacerbated by the media constantly labeling carbs, therefore rice, as “bad.” As a kid who struggled with weight, her comfort food became a source of discomfort.

But as an adult, and now a mom herself, Kat has reached a full circle moment.

korean recipes, albertsonsKat, all grown up with her own familiy

As she makes her own kids the exact same curry dish (okay, maybe a leaner cut of beef, and organic veggies…but otherwise exactly the same!) Kat finds a whole new appreciation for the recipe, knowing how hard her mom worked to even make it happen.

Kat was lucky to have grown up with a meal to look forward to each night. Other kids aren’t so lucky. 1 in 8 kids currently experience food insecurity in the United States. But there’s an opportunity to decrease those numbers.

For every O Organics product you purchase, the company will donate a meal to someone in need through the Albertsons Companies Foundation—for up to a total of 28 million meals.

Is there a dish from your childhood that you’ve longed to rekindle with? You could do like Kat does and give it an O Organic twist. Luckily, the O Organics brand has a wide array of affordable ingredients, so creating healthy swaps is easier than ever. Plus, you can provide nourishment to another family at the same time.

Just think—the next meal you prepare could make all the difference to someone else. If every meal tells a story, that’s certainly a story worth telling.

Pop Culture

Woman who lives on a cruise ship for free shares the 4 things she can’t do

Living on a ship isn’t perfect. It’s just close to perfect.

A beautiful ocean liner

Upworthy has covered a few stories about people who decided to live permanently on cruise ships because it's cheaper than living on land or in a nursing home. These stories have connected with millions because they say a lot about the modern cost of living but are also aspirational.

Christine Kesteloo has become popular on TikTok with over 680,000 followers because she shares what living on a cruise ship is really like. Kesteloo is the wife of the ship’s Staff Chief Engineer, so she gets to live on the boat for free. She only has to pay for alcohol and soda, which she gets for half off.

“I live on a cruise ship for half the year with my husband, and it's often as glamorous as it sounds,” she told Insider. “After all, I don't cook, clean, make my bed, do laundry or pay for food.“

Keep ReadingShow less
Albertsons

No child should have to worry about getting enough food to thrive.

True

When you’re a kid, summer means enjoying the fun of the season—plentiful sunshine, free time with friends, splashing in pools and sprinklers. But not every child’s summer is as carefree as it should be.

For some, summer means going hungry. According to Feeding America, food insecurity affects 1 in 8 children in the U.S., largely because families lose the free or reduced-price meals at school that help keep them fed during the school year.

But back-to-school time doesn’t make food insecurity disappear, either. Hunger is a year-round issue, and with the increased cost of groceries, it’s gotten harder for families who were already struggling to put food on the table.

So what can be done—or more specifically, what can the average person do—to help?

The good news is that one simple choice at the grocery store can help ease the burden a bit for those experiencing food insecurity. And the even better news is that it’s also a healthy choice for ourselves, our families and our planet. When we’re out on our regular shopping trips, we can simply look for the O Organics versions of things we would already buy.

But wait—aren’t we all feeling the pinch at the checkout stand? And isn’t organic food expensive? Here’s the thing: Organic food is often much more affordable than you might think. The cost difference between organic and non-organic products keeps narrowing, and many organic and non-organic foods are now almost identical in price. Sometimes you’ll even find that an organic product is actually cheaper than its brand-name non-organic counterpart.

Since 2005, O Organics has helped give health-conscious shoppers more options by making organic food more accessible and affordable. And now, it’s helping those same shoppers take action to fight food insecurity. For every O Organics product you purchase, the company will donate a meal to someone in need through the Albertsons Companies Foundation—for up to a total of 28 million meals.

Look for the O Organics label in every aisle.O Organics

Here’s what that means in real-world terms:

Say you’re throwing an end-of-summer backyard BBQ bash. If you were to buy O Organics ground beef, hamburger buns, ketchup and sea salt potato chips, you’d be donating four meals just by buying those four ingredients. If you added O Organics butter lettuce and O Organics sandwich slice pickles, you’d be donating two more meals, and so on.

And where are those meals going? Albertsons Companies Foundation works with a network of national and local charities fighting hunger, and regional divisions choose organizations to fund locally. So every O Organics product you purchase means a meal on the table for someone in your area who might not otherwise have the nourishment they need.

No kid should have to worry about getting enough food to thrive. We all make conscious choices each time we walk down a grocery store aisle, and by choosing

O Organics, we can make a difference in a child’s life while also making healthy choices for ourselves and our families. It’s truly a win-win.
Family

A viral photo of a calm dad and a screaming toddler holds an important parenting lesson

He exemplified patient parenting when his daughter started having a meltdown at the store.

Actor Justin Baldoni exemplified patient parenting when his daughter had a meltdown at the store.



Young kids don't always pick the best times to have emotional meltdowns.

Just ask any parent.

Grocery stores, malls, and restaurants (or any place with lots of people around) in particular seem to bring out the worst in our little ones, prompting explosive tantrums that can make even the most stoic parent turn red-faced with embarrassment.

But why be embarrassed? It's just kids being kids, after all.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Sorry, Labradors. After 31 years, America has a new favorite dog.

The American Kennel Club has crowned a new favorite.

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.

Keep ReadingShow less
Education

A teacher asked a great question about superintendent pay. Then, all hell broke loose.

Her earnest question about inequality in our education system was met with a grotesque abuse of power.


Why should a superintendent get a raise while teachers in the same district struggling to make ends meet see their paychecks flatline — year after year after year?

Teacher Deyshia Hargrave begged the question. Minutes later, she was handcuffed and placed in the backseat of a cop car.

The scene was captured below by YouTube user Chris Rosa, who attended a board meeting for Vermilion Parish Schools in Louisiana.

You can watch Hargrave begin speaking about 33 seconds in. The situation starts becoming contentious around 6:35 minutes. Hargrave is arrested at 8:35, and then walked outside in handcuffs and placed in the back of police vehicle.


Keep ReadingShow less

When Lily Evans set out to walk her dog, she had no idea the story of that walk would later go viral on the internet.

When she took to Twitter to recount her experience, she opened with a simple question, one that many men have probably wondered for a long time — though women already know the answer.

(Before you click through to the thread itself, note that Lily's Twitter account is expressly for adults and may be NSFW.)


Keep ReadingShow less
Science

Breastfeeding mom's touching encounter with an orangutan has people swooning—and debating

"She sat with me for approximately half an hour, kept stroking the glass and lay down next to me as if to support and protect me."

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

Keep ReadingShow less