The Nature Conservancy 2023 Global Photo Contest Winners

The Nature Conservancy announces two Australian winners on the podium of the 2023 photo contest

Parting the Tide // A grey reef shark parts the tide of a bait ball in the shallows of the Ningaloo Reef.
Parting the tide Parting the Tide // A grey reef shark parts the tide of a bait ball in the shallows of the Ningaloo Reef. © Daniel Nicholson/TNC Photo Contest 2023

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Two Australian photographers feature on the winners’ podium of two categories of The Nature Conservancy (TNC)’s 2023 photo contest.

Ashley Sykes won third place in the Plants & Fungi category for her enthralling shot of ghost mushrooms, photographed in a coastal woodland area in Gerroa, NSW.

With an incredible shot of a grey reef shark parting the tide of a bait ball in the shallows of the Ningaloo Reef, Daniel Nicholson was awarded third place in the Underwater Life category. “This was a once in a lifetime experience, as millions of small fish were gathered together and forced into the narrow alleys of a shallow coral reef by hunting predators. This photo was taken inside the baitball, as a shark burst out, hunting its next mouthful of fish,” Daniel said.

Quote: Alison Rowe

Last year, the photo contest received 100,000 entries. With more than 189,000 entries this year from 191 countries and territories, our two Australian winners did a fantastic job

Managing Director, The Nature Conservancy Australia

A prestigious panel of judges, including photographers Javier Aznar, Smita Sharma, Morgan Heim, and renowned natural history photographer Frans Lanting, selected the winners from more than 80,000 individual photographers.

This year’s contest doubled the number of categories and saw a huge increase in stunning submissions that help connect us to the power and the peril of the natural world, from a serene coral reef in Guatemala to a pair of tigers in the middle of a fight in India.

The 2023 grand prize will be awarded to Tibor Litauszki from Hungary, for his underwater photo of a newt eating freshly-laid frog’s eggs.

The judges will award over $25,000 in prize money. In addition to the Grand Prize winner, who will receive a camera kit worth $5,000, the judges have also selected a first, second and third place winner for each category, plus honorable mentions.

“Our annual photo contest is an inspiration. Photographers from all walks of life helped give voice to nature by showing us what mattered to them,” says Alex Snyder, 2023 Global Photo Contest Director and Judging Coordinator. “The judges and I were taken on a visual journey as we reviewed thousands of images from amateurs and professionals alike. These impactful images underscored not only the power of photography but the importance of The Nature Conservancy’s global efforts in conservation.”

“Whether you’re a scientist collecting data in the field or a photographer capturing the wonder of the natural world, we are all conservationists,” said Ms Rowe.

“Our earth is full of both beauty and danger, power and peril, and these images illustrate how protecting and restoring nature must be a top priority for us all. We each have a part to play in combating the crises of climate change and biodiversity loss,” she said.

TNC Photo Contest - Full list of Awards

Judge Awards

Celebrity Judge Cole Sprouse’s Choice - Hermis Haridas, United Arab Emirates (@Hermis.haridas)



1st Place - Estebane Rezkallah, France (@panchovilaaa)

2nd Place - Bambang Wirawan, Indonesia (@bro_matra)

3rd Place - Giovanni Allievi, Italy


People & Nature

1st Place - Michael Hegyi, United States (@michaelhegyiphoto)

2nd Place - Mano Aliczki, Hungary (@manoaliczkiphoto)

3rd Place - Randall Hudson, United States (@kcstorys)

Honorable Mention - Narayan Malu, India

Honorable Mention - Fatih Yilmaz, Turkey (@rotadefterim)

Honorable Mention - Md. Safayet Hossain Shanto, Bangladesh (@safayethossainshanto2017)


Plants & Fungi

1st Place - Jose Pereyra Lucena, Argentina (@josepereyralucena)

2nd Place - Vittorio Ricci, Italy

3rd Place - Ashley Sykes, Australia (@Ausmashmash)

Honorable Mention - Gero Heine, United States (@geroheinephotography)

Honorable Mention - Mohammed Salman, India



1st Place - Jeanny Tang, Hong Kong

2nd Place - Alan Taylor, United States (@alantaylorphotography)

3rd Place - Rubens Rebouças, Brazil (@rubensreboucas)

Honorable Mention - Jorge Castro Urbiola, Mexico (@thesantogrial)

Honorable Mention - Gianluca Gianferrari, Italy (@camouflajj)



1st Place - Alessandro Carboni, Italy (@alessandro_carboni)

2nd Place - Roberto Valdez, Ecuador (@robinski__)

3rd Place - Adam Mowery, United States (@adammoweryphoto)

Honorable Mention - Cosmin Ovidiu Stan, Romania (

Honorable Mention - Bruce Hogle, United States



1st Place - Siddhartha Ghosh, India

2nd Place - HJ Yang, United States

3rd Place - Luisa Pericoli, United States (@vittoria_thecutestfrenchie)

Honorable Mention - Bing Lin, United States (@earth.abloom)



1st Place - Raphael Alves, Brazil (@photoraphaelalves)

2nd Place - Mustafa Binolm Turkey (@mustafabinol)

3rd Place - Luisa Lynch Harris, Spain

Honorable Mention - Zhenhuan Zhou, Canada (@zzh_hiland)

Honorable Mention - Adra Pallón, Spain



1st Place - Agnieszka Wieczorek, Poland (@polatinaphotoandtravel)

2nd Place - Neelutpaul Barua, India (@neel.barua.photograph)

3rd Place - Derek Robertson, United States (@derekrobertsonphotography)

Honorable Mention - Maman Sukirman, Indonesia

Honorable Mention - Mostafijur Rahman Nasim, Indonesia


Insects & Arachnids

1st Place - Benjamin Salb, United States (@bens_small_world)

2nd Place - Soumya Ranjan Bhattacharyya, India

3rd Place - Lei Bo, China

Honorable Mention - Tibor Litauszki, Hungary (@tiborlitauszki_naturphtgrphy)

Honorable Mention - Jaime Daniel Fajardo Torres, Ecuador (@Jaime.f.torres)


Underwater Life

1st Place - Russell Laman, United States (@russlaman)

2nd Place - Cai Jialing, China (@homoplankton)

3rd Place - Daniel Nicholson, Australia (@barefoot.wandering)

Honorable Mention - Juan Carlos Huitrón Baca, Mexico (@biton72023)



1st Place - Grzegorz Długosz, Poland (@gdlugosz_photography) 

2nd Place - Mike Krehbiel, United States (@krebbs28) 

3rd Place - Juan Jose Murillo, Colombia (@jjmurillorolon) 

Honorable Mention - Mario Labado, United States (@bobby_labado) 

Honorable Mention - Petr Bambousek, Czech Republic (@sulasulacom) 


Reptiles & Amphibians

1st Place - Irina Petrova Adamatzky, United Kingdom (@microcosmic_world)

2nd Place - Petr Bambousek, Czech Republic (@sulasulacom)

3rd Place - Joseph Mullica, United States (@Scarletkingcowboy)

Honorable Mention - Sergio Emmanuel Comisso, Argentina (@emmanuelcomisso)

Honorable Mention - Christian Passeri, Germany (@chrissparrows)

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.