2015 BigPicture Winning Images

$5,000 Grand Prize Winner: Flying Egrets

2015 Competition Winner: Flying Egrets

Great egret (Ardea alba)
Danube-Drava National Park, Hungary


More than 1,000 great egrets find sanctuary on a dry lake bed temporarily flooded by the Danube’s overflows. This elegant species has dramatically recovered since the late 19th century, when hunters killed the birds for their showy and fashionable breeding feathers. A hunting ban and other protections, such as the preserve at Gemenc, helped. A slow shutter speed and large depth of field captured this dawn spectacle. “The egrets aloft resemble foamy clouds, while those standing on the ground motionless have sharp silhouettes.”

grand prize



Zsolt Kudich

Budapest, Hungary

Kudich’s passion is creating images that capture nature’s fragile balance in an artistically powerful way. His work has garnered attention and accolades in many magazines, books, and photography contests. His latest project took him to eight countries to explore a string of reserves along the Danube River—the basin’s last surviving untouched floodplains.


Category: Aquatic Life

$1,000 First Place Winner: Small World

2015 Competition Winner: Small World

Spinyhead blenny (Acanthemblemaria spinosa) & Stony coral (Colpophyllia sp.)
Bonaire, Caribbean Netherlands

View finalists in this category



Beth Watson

Salem, Missouri – USA

Watson found her true passion when she began scuba diving and took a camera under water. Her calling is to convey the importance of preserving our splendid and fragile ocean ecosystems.


Category: Art of Nature

$1,000 First Place Winner: Pearl

2015 Competition Winner: Pearls

Kariba weed (Salvinia molesta)
Taoyuan, Taiwan

View finalists in this category



Yingting Shih

Taoyuan, Taiwan

Shih teaches photography as an assistant professor of visual communication design at China University of Technology in Taiwan. He hopes his images encourage viewers to pause and savor the artistry of nature that’s around us everywhere.


Category: Conservation

$1,000 First Place Winner: The World in Our Hands

2015 Competition Winner: The World in Our Hands

Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)
Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe

View finalists in this category



Hilary O’Leary

Harare, Zimbabwe

O’Leary, a native of Zimbabwe, rides
bikes, adores horses, and revels in the great outdoors. For her, the African bush is the best place to arrive and the hardest to leave. “My camera goes everywhere with me.”


Category: Landscapes, Waterscapes & Flora

$1,000 First Place Winner: Nature’s Canvas

2015 Competition Winner: Nature’s Canvas

Athel tamarisk (Tamarix aphylla)
Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, United Arab Emirates

View finalists in this category



Mark Seabury

Sydney, Australia

Seabury got into photography during his twenties in his international travels as a surfer. In recent years, he has spent many days at sea, aiming his lens at whales from above and below the water.


Category: Things with Wings

$1,000 First Place Winner: Shake It Off

2015 Competition Winner: Shake It Off

Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Memphis Zoo, Tennessee – USA

View finalists in this category



Michael Pachis

Memphis, Tennessee – USA

Pachis’s passion for photographing wildlife is his creative outlet from a 40-year career as a computer technologist. Through his images, he hopes to evoke empathy for animals as fellow inhabitants of our world.


Category: Terrestrial Wildlife

$1,000 First Place Winner: Snow Monkey

2015 Competition Winner: Snow Monkey

Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata)
Jigokudani Monkey Park, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

View finalists in this category



Jasper Doest

Vlaardingen, Netherlands

A self-taught photographer, Doest wants to give a voice to the wild creatures who share our planet. His work has won acclaim in the UK-based Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.


Division: Youth

First Place: Alberta

2015 Competition Winner: Alberta

Great horned owl (Bubo virginianus)
Pincher Creek, Canada

View finalists in this category



Jenaya Launstein

Pincher Creek, Canada

Since age 10, Launstein wanted to be a wildlife photographer. In the seven years since then, she has collected numerous awards for her images, including Youth Photographer of the Year in the 2013 Nature’s Best Photography competition.