The German Nature Society celebrates the best nature photography of 2022


“The Florist” by Thomas Hempelmann. Overall winner.
“This kestrel could hardly have chosen a prettier perch. The photo was taken in Greifswald, northern Germany.

A young wildlife photographer has risen to the top of the competition and won the title of Nature Photographer of the Year at the annual competition of the German Society of Nature Photographers. Thomas Hempelmann is only 23 years old, but he has proven to be a force in the world of photography. His image of a male kestrel perched on a flower-filled branch beat out 6,400 other photos for the win.

The GDT Nature Photographer of the Year is an annual celebration for the 400 members of the society. Through several categories that celebrate all aspects of nature, the photographs demonstrate their exceptional talent. From exotic locations in Kenya to the forests of Germany, the images show how award-winning photography can be captured anywhere. In fact, the story behind Hempelmann’s winning photo is a perfect example.

Hempelmann was returning home from a mundane photographic tour when he stopped to photograph a bird of prey on a lamppost. Those photos might not have been remarkable, but what happened next certainly was. “When the kestrel got up and then settled between the white flowers that I had already spotted out of the corner of my eye, my heart started beating faster because I had imagined such a situation many times before. “, shares the German photographer. “While I was still considering whether to remove my 2x extender to include more trees in the image, it was already gone. In the end, it was only a few seconds that made my day and I I whistled for joy all the way back.

The other category winners are equally impressive. Felix Wesch’s photo of foxgloves and ferns resembles an oil painting and Radomir Jakubowski’s image of a wave frozen in time is a sculptural masterpiece. Other notable images include Stefan Imig’s portrait of a beech tree. The photographer won this year’s special prize celebrating beech, which is one of the most ecologically important tree species in Germany.

Take a look at more winners and runners-up below.

The GDT Nature Photographer of the Year is an annual celebration of the German Society for Nature Photography.

Hippo coming out of the water in the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya

“Hippo Spout” by Jose Fragozo. Winner, Mammals.
“At sunrise in the Masai Mara National Park (Kenya), a hippopotamus emerges emitting a cloud of water droplets.”

Foxglove and fern in a birch forest near Wahner Heath, West Germany

Foxglove and Fern by Felix Wesch. Winner, Plants and Fungi.
Foxglove and fern in a birch forest near Wahner Heath in western Germany.

Barn owl hovering above an LED light

“Barn Owl” by Karsten Mosebach. Finalist, Birds.
“A barn owl flies over an LED light. A flash fires at the end of the exposure time and a dark cloth darkens the background.

Ritualized fight of stag beetles at sunset on the Swabian Jura

“Takeoff” by Heinz Buls. Winner, Other Animals.
“Ritualized combat between stag beetles at sunset on the Swabian Jura.”

A wave, illuminated by the rising sun.  Black lava rocks provide a dark background.

“The Wave” by Radomir Jakubowski. Winner, Nature’s Studio.
“A wave, illuminated by the rising sun. Black lava rocks provide a dark background.

400 members from 11 countries submitted their best work for consideration.

wood anemones

“Spring Dream” by Stefan Wagner. Finalist, Plants and Fungi.
“Each year in March, wood anemones (Anemone nemorosa) grace the forest floor and invite our dreams to blossom after a usually gray winter.”

Winter sunrise in Wegelnburg, Palatinate

“The Illumination of Wasgau” by Steffen Jung. Winner, Landscapes.
“Winter sunrise in Wegelnburg, Palatinate.”

Detail of a red fly agaric

“Curved” by Frauke Fuck. 4th Place, Nature’s Studio.
“Detail of a red fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) near Remscheid in the Bergisches Land region of Germany.”

Young California sea lion playing with kelp

“Seaweed Toy” by Celia Kujala. 5th place, Mammals.
“A young California sea lion plays with kelp off the Coronado Islands (Mexico) while another juvenile watches.”

A foggy day in the floodplains of the Marche, a border river between Austria and Slovakia

“Reflections in the Meadows of March” by Joachim Wimmer. 3rd Place, Landscapes.
“A misty day in the floodplains of the Marche, a border river between Austria and Slovakia.”

A green toad's tadpole in a muddy puddle

“In Motion” by Christian-Dietrich Morawitz. Finalist, Other Animals.
“A green toad tadpole in a muddy puddle.”

Old beech tree at Kellerwald-Eidersee National Park

“Common Beech in the Fog” by Stefan Imig. Special category in cooperation with the NABU-Foundation for National Natural Heritage: The Beech—Tree of the Year 2022.
“Old Beech at Kellerwald-Eidersee National Park.”

German Society of Nature Photographers (GDT): Website | Facebook | instagram

My Modern Met has granted permission to feature GDT photos.

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