18,000 submissions, 40 countries: meet the winners of the Nature inFocus Photography and Film Contest 2021

In our photo essay series on this annual nature photography competition, we feature stunning images along with creative insights.
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Launched in 2014, PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 560 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery, world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

Photographers who document unique natural history moments and critical conservation issues are honoured each year at the annual Nature inFocus Photography Awards. See our coverage of the 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017 editions.

Nature inFocus was founded by wildlife photographers Rohit Varma and Kalyan Varma. The winners of the Nature inFocus Photography and Film Contest 2021 were announced this week. The annual event has been held online in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

Winner – Animal Behaviour – Priyanka Rahut Mitra

With permission from Nature inFocus, PhotoSparks has reproduced some of the finalist and winner images in this article series. This year the contest received about 18,000 images from more than 2,000 competing photographers across 40 countries, according to the contest organisers.

“Despite the pandemic, year on year, the contests have continued to see increasing participation entries not just from India but across the globe. It has become a truly international competition,” observes Rohit Varma, Co-founder of Nature inFocus.

The competition and conference inspire nature lovers to be more creative, spread the word about nature conservation, and mobilise people to protect the environment.

Photo contest winners include Mohammad Murad (Animal Portraits), Priyanka Rahut Mitra (Animal Behaviour), Prathamesh Ghadekar (Creative Nature Photography), Lakshitha Karunarathna (Wildscape & Animals in Habitat), and Mahisin Khan (Conservation Issues).

Anagha Mohan, all of 15-years-old, won the Young Photographer title.

A Hiss In The Canopy—Pratik Pradhan

The conservation film category was won by Nikhil Talegaonkar and Sandeep Dhumal for their film ‘Khee (Dogs)’. The Natural History film category winner was ‘Lost Kings Of Bioko’.

In the emerging talent category, the conservation film award went to ‘Kaliru’, while the natural history award went to ‘Savannah Warriors’. The Nature inFocus Film Contest is dedicated to wildlife footage captured on mobile phones.

“I am a great fan of India and its exceptional biodiversity,” explains Andy Rouse, an award-winning wildlife photographer, and one of the members of this year’s jury.

There is a lot of passion in young filmmakers to cinematically bring forth the intricacies of the natural world to the common citizen, according to Akanksha Sood Singh, filmmaker and jury panelist.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and do your bit for nature?

Films - Winner - Professional - Natural-History – Lost Kings Of Bioko

Bear In The Woods—Divya Dwaraknath

Deep Cleaning Services—Shashwat Mohapatra

Films Winner Professional Conservation - Khee (Dogs)

Runner-up - Animal Behaviour -  Shuvam Sadhukhan

Runner-up - Animal-Portraits – Panos Laskarakis

Runner-up – Conservation Issues – Gnaneswar CH

Runner-up – Young Photographer - Anirudh Kamakeri

Second Runner-up – Creative Nature Photography – Magnus Lundgren

Second Runner up - Wildscape and Animals in Habitat - Shivang Mehta

Winner - Animal Portraits - Mohammad Murad

Winner - Conservation Issues - Mahisin Khan

Winner - Creative Nature Photography - Prathamesh Ghadekar

Winner - Young Photographer - Anagha Mohan

Films - Winner - Emerging Talent - Conservation - Kaliru

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Edited by Megha Reddy