ghost mushrooms
Ghost Mushrooms Ghost Mushrooms // Nicknamed ghost mushrooms due to its eerie green glow, the scientific names of these bioluminescent mushrooms are Omphalotus Nidiformis.  The glow is very much visible to the naked eyes in complete darkness.  They are found in certain forests in Australia.  Finding them and photographing them can be challenging as they grow and glow for only a few weeks in a year. © Callie Chee/TNC Photo Contest 2022


Australian mushroom tops the cake for “Plants and Fungi” in The Nature Conservancy 2022 Global Photo Contest

Media Contacts

A heavenly bolt of lightning over a volcano in Indonesia, an otherworldly glowing mushroom in Australia, a pair of lions strolling side-by-side in the Kenyan savannah: today, The Nature Conservancy unveiled the winners of its 2022 Photo Contest, with some entries serving as a stark reminder of the critical importance of conservation efforts that help all living things thrive together.

This year’s competition had the largest global participation ever, with entries from 196 different countries and territories across six different categories.

Winning images were selected by a panel of judges that included renowned conservation photographer Ami Vitale and Coyote Peterson, host of YouTube’s Brave Wilderness. From more than 100,000 entries, the contest’s winning photo featured a drone’s eye view of a lonely highway in Tibet, bordered on each side by gullies extending outward in the shape of a tree. It was taken by photographer Li Ping in China, who slept in a roadside parking lot overnight to get this striking early morning shot.

“The diversity of images from around the world gave a glimpse into our fragile planet and all the life that inhabits it,” said judge Ami Vitale. “The contest itself was a mesmerizing odyssey and we are left with a profound message of how interconnected all of us are and what it means to our own survival to intermingle with wildness.”   

Australia photographer Callie Chee won first prize in the “Plants and Fungi” category for her wonderful atmospheric shot of ghost mushrooms in NSW’s southern Highlands.

Nicknamed ghost mushrooms due to their eerie green glow, the scientific name of these bioluminescent mushrooms is Omphalotus Nidiformis. Callie Chee said that the glow is very much visible to the naked eyes in complete darkness. “Finding them and photographing them can be challenging as they grow and glow for only a few weeks in a year,” Ms Chee said.

“Callie’s wonderful picture is a reminder of the ephemerality of beauty and how lucky we are in Australia to live surrounded by it,” said Alison Rowe, Managing Director for The Nature Conservancy Australia. “It is also an invitation for all to reflect on the fragility of nature and the role we can play in preserving her.” 

Another Australian photographer made a splash in the contest. Dasun N. Malaarachchi was awarded an honourable mention in the “Water” category for his beautiful picture of waves crashing under a bridge.    

“The combination of colours and patterns caught my eye,” said D. Malaarachchi. “Bluewater, golden sand, white foam mixed with bright sunlight painted a gorgeous design under the Seacliff bridge.”

“The Photo Contest is an annual highlight at TNC. This year’s incredible images from talented photographers all over the world are a testament to how connected we are to our beautiful planet, and at the same time to the challenges communities face everywhere as their environment is under pressure,” said Ms Rowe.

“It personally inspires me to keep looking for new solutions, new partnerships and new resources to work to conserve the lands and waters on which we all depend, so that future generations can too experience the natural wonders depicted in these stunning photos.”

You can view all the winning images at

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.