From conversations to conservation – how the Nature inFocus photography competition hopes to drive environmental action

In our final photo essay on this annual nature photography competition, we feature more 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 570 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.

Award winners of the annual Nature inFocus Photography and Film Contest were recently announced in Bengaluru. Nature inFocus was founded by wildlife photographers Rohit Varma and Kalyan Varma.

The annual event has been held online in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic. See our coverage of the 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017 editions, and Part I and Part II of the 2021 edition.

Going Astray—Karamjeet Singh

With permission from Nature inFocus, PhotoSparks has reproduced some of the finalist and winner images in this article series. Award prizes are Rs 50,000 (category winner), Rs 25,000 (runner-up) and Rs 10,000 (second runner-up).

Rohit and his team hope to host a physical festival in 2022. “It has been two years since our last festival. We miss bringing our community together under one roof for a couple of days, where we get to share and learn from each other about the latest developments in research, conservation, photography, filmmaking, and more,” he explains in a chat with YourStory.

This year, the contest received about 18,000 images from more than 2,000 competing photographers across 40 countries. But the jury could not decide on a winner for the Nature inFocus Photograph of the Year prize.

Blue Symphony—Kallol Mukherjee

“The jury were unable to freeze on a single image that stood out from among all the category winners,” Rohit says.

Photographs are currently not sold through the Nature inFocus portal. “If anybody wishes to buy an image, they can reach out to photographers directly,” he adds.

Nature inFocus Productions will start releasing its films in 2023 as well. “We have recently partnered with On The Edge Conservation to make seven short films on Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species from the Western Ghats,” Rohit describes.

Vishwas Ugale - Rusty Spotted Cat

These films are part of the campaign titled Western Ghats on the Edge. “They are being developed to make our audience in India and outside aware of the importance of the Western Ghats and endemic species of this biological hotspot,” he explains. Three short films have been released so far.

Rohit has over 16 years of stints in companies like AMD, SanDisk and CyberMedia. He then turned fulltime to his passion of photography, and founded Nature inFocus.

“The competition is not just about a contest, but about inspiring people to do more with their cameras, to think beyond the ordinary, to make images and films that stand out and drive action,” Rohit signs off.

Now, what have you done today to pause in your busy schedule and find new avenues for your creative core?

Sebastian Di Domenico

Hamster Wheel Of Life - Kai Kolodziej

Winner - Wildscape and Animals in - Habitat - Lakshitha Karunarathna

Aniket Thopate

Ashok Behera

Kai Kolodziej

Kallol Mukherjee

Love Is Orange—Jeet Agrawal

Magnus Lundgren

Pay Through The Nose - Lakshitha Karunarathna

Plastic Island—Devendra Chauhan

Pratik Pradhan

Rajesh Chaudhary

Vikas_Dogra - Shikra with starlings

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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