2016 Photo Competition Winners

We’re pleased to share some of the winning photos from the 2016 Photo Competition. You can also view a video with all of the winning images here.  Congratulations to Mark Seabury, for his photo ‘Eye Spy’ which was the overall winner of the The Nature Conservancy Australia’s 2016 Photo Competition!

‘When you examine the photo closely, your eye finds more and more detail to discover. The eyes of Humpback Whales are normally hidden and shaded, so it is unusual to find one “looking” with such a strong, clear gaze. It is also in such an unusual position, dead vertical, with only its snout out of the water. Again something that normally is not part of humpback behaviour. An exceptional overall winner.’ – Esther Beaton, competition judge and professional nature photographer.

'Eye Spy' by Mark Seabury

We were truly overwhelmed and amazed with the quality of stunning photos entered in 2016. We received 16,120 beautiful photos that celebrate Australia’s natural beauty and we’re so grateful to everyone who entered a photo and voted. The judging panel, including Ben Goode, Esther Beaton and Michael Snedic, had a very difficult time selecting the winning photos but we’re thrilled to share a video with the winning photos here!

Other category winners included:

People in Nature: Louisa Kelland – Dawn Walker

‘This photo is startling in its composition of all the converging diagonal lines. The horizon line has detail, plus there are repeating patterns in both the boardwalk and the side rails. And the use of colour tops off the image. The warm sky is reflected in the wet boardwalk and creates a glow around the figure, as if it is being embraced. Absolutely beautiful.’ – Esther Beaton

© Louisa Kelland

Mobile: Josh Murphy – Sky on fire

‘The fiery sky and lightening was captured perfectly in this shot. It’s all about being in the right place and the right time, finger ready to take the photo.’ – Michael Snedic

© Josh Murphy

 Landscape: Kirsty Morrell – The Spark

‘I love a lightning photo that is well composed with a secondary interest – and this image does it brilliantly. The single strike between the dead trees is perfectly timed nature at its best.’ – Ben Goode

© Kirsty Morrell

Urban:  Hai Pham – Reflections

‘This photo immediately stood out to me the moment I first saw it. The amazing light and great composition capture my attention first and the balloons in the distance make the image a standout winner.’ – Ben Goode

© Hai Pham

Wildlife: Kyle Behrend – The Hunt

‘A special moment captured perfectly. Great composition, timing and exposure. Brilliant!’– Michael Snedic

© Kyle Behrend

 People’s Choice: Alexis Buenaflor – Blossoms in Winter

© Alexis Buenaflor

Mark said he was thrilled to win the category with his image of a whale ‘spy hopping’ in the water.

“I’ve been photographing whales for the last ten years and am fascinated about understanding their behaviours and curiosity when interacting with people,” he said. “This photograph captures a whale behaviour called ‘spy hopping’, where whales poke their head above the water to take a look around and see what’s happening above the surface. It’s like these majestic mammals of the sea understand we are watching them and are trying to connect with us in some way. In this shot, I wanted to capture this by showing the whale between two worlds, ours above the surface and its below, at the precise moment when it is about to make that connection.”

Judged by renowned nature photographers Ben Goode, Esther Beaton and Michael Snedic, the trio were blown away by the caliber of Mark’s entry.

“Mark demonstrated the skill of a far more experienced photographer. ‘Eye Spy’ proves what an incredible eye he has for photography, although he wasn’t without tough competition,” Esther said.

“This is the second year I’ve been judging The Nature Conservancy Australia’s photo competition and this year’s entries raised the bar, making the judging process much harder.”

And congratulations to our highly commended winning photographers:

  • Landscape: Phillip Roach – A hail-battered Procyon Peak stands guard over Square Lake
  • Mobile: James Toh – Sunset storm
  • People in Nature: Ryan Mazure – Ticket to the moon
  • Urban: Rod Evans – Milky Way over Byron Lighthouse
  • Water: Jarrod Castaing – Dove Lake
  • Wildlife: Peter Brown – Just Hangin’