Life finds a way. It’s a cliché, but one borne of the inarguable perseverance of creatures in hostile conditions. The images that follow—part of this year’s Nature TTL Photographer of the Year competition—showcase life’s indomitable nature, as well as some of the remarkable environments that foster it.
The winning image in the Animal Behavior category is this shot of a polar bear patiently waiting for a seal to pop its head out of a breathing hole in Svalbard, Norway.
This mind-blowing shot appears otherworldly, but it actually depicts a spider in a very familiar environment: a pedestrian bridge in Ibbenüren, Germany. The trippy lights around the spider are the lights of (as the title indicates) the traffic intersection beyond the spider, but makes the arthropod appear to float in a turquoise sphere of light.
“Walk on the Hill”
The runner-up in the Under 17 category of the competition was this shot of deer on a hill. Silhouetted on the hill, the deer makes a rather typical shot quite scenic.
A jaguar in Mexico was caught climbing through a broken wall that separates the jungle from a town in Quintana Roo. As animals’ habitats are fragmented, wildlife increasingly comes into contact with humankind. This image won the “Camera Traps” category.
The runner-up in the Wild Portraits category is this shot of a great blue heron’s silhouette in water reflecting a traffic light in Dunedin, Florida.
The runner-up in the Camera Traps category is this intimate shot of a Eurasian blackbird and its chicks, in a nest in the bathroom window of the photographer’s friend.
“Point, Line and Plane”
A lone carpentar ant walks along a leaf in a tree in Australia. This image was the runner-up in the Small World category—indeed, even without a frame of reference, the ant appears determined, though small.
“Austfonna Ice Cap”
The winner in the Landscapes category is this shot of the Austfonna ice cap, the world’s third-largest, which is quickly melting in part due to human-caused climate change.
Two robins tussle in this springtime shot out of Scotland. The image was the runner-up in the Animal Behavior category.
This perspective-warping shot of the Rio Tinto river in Spain, taken by a drone high above the ground, makes the natural colors of the environment pop. It was the runner-up in the competition’s Landscapes category.
The winner of the Small World category shows a dead moth in Rondane National Park, Norway. The moth lies on a bacterial film in the park, and the image’s composition makes the rather macabre scene appear dreamlike.
You’d be excused if the first thing you saw in this photo wasn’t the gorgeous Milky Way galaxy in the night sky. Indeed, there’s a wild boar in the foreground, captured in this winning shot in The Night Sky category.
“Strong Solar Storm Through an Icelandic Cave”
The aurora illuminates the sky behind an Icelandic waterfall, streaming over the face of a cave. The image took the runner-up place in The Night Sky category.
The winner of the Underwater category is this image of jelly blubber, a species of jellyfish, congregatating in the waters off Manly Beach, Australia. The image alters the viewers’ perspective; we don’t know which way is up and which is down, we just know there’s a ton of jellyfish.
A swarm of bees look like one massive black-and-yellow-striped mass in the winning image in the Under 17 category. The bees were relocating—the entire swarming buzzing around to find a new home.
This portrait of a sea lion (Zalophus californianus) is framed by fish on three sides, with six other sea lions in the background. The image won the Wild Portraits category of the competition.
“When We’re Gone”
The winner of the Urban Wildlife category is this shot of a brown rat sniffing around an abandoned house. A motion sensor triggered the camera to snap the photo.
An orca is surrounded by a herring bait ball in this shot from Skjervøy, Norway, the runner-up in the Underwater category.
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