On either side of a highway, gullies formed by rainwater erosion span out like a tree in Tibet, an autonomous region in southwest China.
Grand Prize On either side of a highway, gullies formed by rainwater erosion span out like a tree in Tibet, an autonomous region in southwest China. © Li Ping/TNC Photo Contest 2022


The Nature Conservancy Announces 2022 Photo Contest Winners

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A heavenly bolt of lightning over a volcano in Indonesia, an otherworldly glowing mushroom in Australia, a pair of lions strolling side-by-side in the Kenyan savannah: Today, The Nature Conservancy unveiled the winners of its 2022 Photo Contest, with some entries serving as a stark reminder of the critical importance of conservation efforts that help all living things thrive together.

This year’s competition had the largest global participation ever, with entries from 196 different countries and territories across six different categories. Winning images were selected by a panel of judges that included renowned conservation photographer Ami Vitale and Coyote Peterson, host of YouTube’s Brave Wilderness. From more than 100,000 entries, the contest’s winning photo featured a drone’s eye view of a lonely highway in Tibet, bordered on each side by gullies extending outward in the shape of a tree. It was taken by photographer Li Ping in China, who slept in a roadside parking lot overnight to get this striking early morning shot.

“The diversity of images from around the world gave a glimpse into our fragile planet and all the life that inhabits it,” said judge Ami Vitale. “The contest itself was a mesmerizing odyssey and we are left with a profound message of how interconnected all of us are and what it means to our own survival to intermingle with wildness.”    

In addition to the Grand Prize, the contest also featured a Celebrity Judge Award, chosen by Peterson, and a Guest Judge Choice Award, chosen by Vitale. The first and second place winners of each category will take home $750 USD and $500 USD gift cards, respectively.

“It was an honor getting to judge the work of so many wonderfully talented photographers,” said judge Coyote Peterson. “To witness, let alone capture such stunning images in nature, is a feat more difficult to achieve than most will ever understand. A round of applause for all those who braved the wilderness to capture their images and a standing ovation to all whose work made it into the final selections round!”

The introduction of a Climate category to this year’s contest gave photographers the chance to capture what climate change looks like in communities and ecosystems around the globe, from the devastation of its impacts to the hope inspired by local solutions and community action. The winning Climate photo features the fan-throated lizard (Sarada superba) amongst a wind farm in the Satara district of India. Researchers believe that wind farms have created an environment of few predators for the lizard which is causing changes in their behavior and morphology. The image was taken by Sandesh Kadur of India.

“The Photo Contest is an annual highlight at TNC. These incredible images from talented photographers all over the world remind us how connected we are to each other and to this beautiful planet, and at the same time of the challenges we face,” said Meg Goldthwaite, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for The Nature Conservancy. “It energizes us as we work to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends, so that future generations can enjoy the same natural wonders depicted in these amazing photos.”

As Grand Prize winner, Li Ping will have the opportunity to attend an Extreme-E race in Punta del Este, Uruguay (www.extreme-e.com).

“Like the global photo contest, Extreme E races bring attention to the negative impacts of climate change, while celebrating the vibrancy and vitality of the natural world,” said Ali Russell, Chief Marketing Officer, Extreme E. “We are so excited to offer the Grand Prize winner a one-of-a-kind Extreme-E live experience, where drivers race 100% electric powered cars to the finish line. Extreme E stands for electrification, environment, equality and entertainment—and we are proud to stand with The Nature Conservancy on the road to a better future.”

Additional awards in the following categories were given to: 

Judge Awards

Guest Judge Ami Vitale’s Choice – Shafeeq Mulla, Zambia (@Shafeeq_mulla)

Celebrity Judge Coyote Peterson’s Choice - Florian Ledoux, Norway (@Florian_Ledoux_Photo)


People & Nature

1st Place – Janusz Jurek, Poland (@januszjurek.info)

2nd Place – Komang Arnawa, Indonesia (@nyengen.dadi)

Honorable Mention – Francesca Franchini, Mexico (@trip_in_mexico)

Honorable Mention – Giovani Cordioli, Brazil (@giovanicordioli)

Honorable Mention – Amish Jain, India

Honorable Mention – Marvin Mwarangu, Kenya (@Rio_The_Photographer)

Honorable Mention – Marcelo Paulo Silva, Brazil (@marcelomania)



1st Place - Francisco Javier Munuera González, Spain

2nd Place - Hendy Wicaksono, Indonesia (@hendyfight)

Honorable Mention – Ivan Pedretti, Italy (@ivanpedretti)

Honorable Mention – Waluya Priya Atmaja, Indonesia (@priy_at)

Honorable Mention – Effy Varley, United Kingdom (@effyimages)



1st Place – Kristin Wright, United States (@kristinbraga)

2nd Place – Nick Leopold Sordo, Mexico (@nickleopoldsordo)

Honorable Mention – Dasun Nirmala Malaarachchi, Australia (@dasunnirmala)

Honorable Mention – Tom Shlesinger, Israel (@tom_shlesinger)

Honorable Mention – Tom Fenske, United States (@Tom_Fenske)



1st Place – Anup Shah, United Kingdom

2nd Place – Panos Laskarakis, Greece

Honorable Mention – Tibor Litauszki, Hungary (@tiborlitauszki_naturphtgrphy)

Honorable Mention – Baiju Patil, India (@baiju_patil)

Honorable Mention – Torie Hilley, United States (@torie_hilley_fineart)

Honorable Mention – Rick Dowling, United States 

Honorable Mention – Masahiro Hiroike, Japan (@masahirohiroike)

Honorable Mention – Tibor Litauszki, Hungary (@tiborlitauszki_naturphtgrphy)

Honorable Mention – Fabio Saltarelli, Argentina (@fabiosaltarelli_ph)

Honorable Mention – Jenny Zhao, United States (@rogerandjennyphotography)


Plants & Fungi

1st Place – Callie Chee, Australia (@CallieCheePhotography)

2nd Place – Xiaoling Keller, United States (@xiaolingkeller)

Honorable Mention – Tibor Litauszki, Hungary (@tiborlitauszki_naturphtgrphy)

Honorable Mention – Patrick Krohn, United States (@oneeyeddogstudios) 

Honorable Mention – Jake Virus, United States (@Jake_virus)

Honorable Mention – Cristiano Xavier, Brazil (@cristianoxavier01)

Honorable Mention – Cristiano Xavier, Brazil (@cristianoxavier01)



1st Place – Sandesh Kadur, India (@sandesh_kadur)

2nd Place – Amish Jain, India

Honorable Mention – Jassen Todorov, United States (@jassensf)

Honorable Mention – Ziaul Huque, Bangladesh

Honorable Mention – Marcelo Perez del Carpio, Bolivia (@marceloperezdelcarpio)

Honorable Mention – Jassen Todorov, United States (@jassensf)

Honorable Mention – Florian Ledoux, Norway (@Florian_Ledoux_Photo)


You can view all the winning images at https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/photo-contest/2022-winners

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit nature.org or follow @nature_press on X.