47 stunning nature photos that will transport you to places around the world

  • Agora, a free photography app, recently held its Wild 2020 contest.
  • This year's finalists captured both breathtaking landscapes and animals in their natural habitats.
  • Out of 9,000 submitted images, a picture by Indonesia-based photographer Wibowo Rahardjo was awarded the $1,000 prize.
  • The winning photo shows an orangutan swinging from a branch and taking a drink of water.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

In March, free photography app Agora launched its Wild 2020 contest, which encouraged photographers to share images they'd taken of animals and landscapes across the globe.

Nine thousand images were submitted, 50 finalists were chosen, and eventually a photographer from Indonesia was awarded the $1,000 prize. 

Here's this year's winning image, as well as some of the other nominees.

"Need to drink" by Wibowo Rahardjo

Rahardjo's photograph, taken in Indonesia, won the Wild 2020 contest in March. Speaking to Agora, the photographer described the scene in his image as "an extraordinary and unexpected moment."

"Orangutans normally steer clear of water, in order to protect themselves from predators such as crocodiles and snakes," Rahardjo said. "You can tell that even if she climbed down the tree to drink, she's being very wary of her surroundings."

"A family moment" by Ilaria Ronchi

Ronchi found these lions in Namibia's Etosha National Park. Though only two cats are seen in her photo, the photographer told Agora that there were actually about 40 of them walking around. She was able to observe them for approximately an hour.

"They were so close that I could take videos from my phone," Ronchi told Agora about the lions. "It was an amazing moment to get some shots, but also to relive my childhood memories of 'The Lion King.'"

"A leopard chilling in a tree in the forests of Kabini, India" by Joe Shelly

As the photo's title explains, Shelly found this leopard lounging on a group of branches in India. 

"Beware of the crush" by @emxpi

A photographer, who goes by the name @emxip online, captured this shot using a drone in Les Sables-d'Olonne, France. Speaking to Agora, they said their equipment was "attacked by a seagul" shortly after taking the photo.

"Come snuggle" by Polina R.

The photographer of this image found her subject while visiting Alaska.

"I laid on the ground in the snow for 30 minutes to get that one shot," she told Agora.

"Contemplating and taking pictures of puffins is one of the best experiences I ever had" by Xavi Domènech

The puffins seen in this photo were found by Domènech on the Faroe Islands.

"I took the picture just before one of them was trying to land," the photographer told Agora. "Just me and one of my colleagues were there. That isolation made the connection even better."

"Curious minds" by Jordi Sark

According to Agora, Sark took this nominated shot in Thailand.

"Dagestan mountains and wild horses" by Alexey Nikitin

 "I accidentally spotted these horses when I flew my drone over the Gunib plateau in the mountains of Dagestan, approximately 200 meters above sea level," Nikitin told Agora. "The horses heard the sound from the drone and galloped, leaving behind a pillar of snow."

"Elephant" by @edgar_mtz

The photographer of this black-and-white image goes by the name @edgar_mtz online. He found the featured elephant while visiting South Africa.

"Faded" by Anskar Lenzen

Lenzen captured this group of zebras while visiting Etosha National Park in Namibia. The photographer told Agora that other people visiting the park that day chose to leave, as "it was a windy morning and the dust brought a rather unusual and special atmosphere."

Lenzen, however, stuck it out, and was able to capture this shot.

"Family walk" by @arturs

Though you might not notice it at first glance, there are actually three bears in this photo: one adult and two cubs. The photographer spotted them on the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia.

"Family Whales" by Simon Pastor

"I searched for a whale for about a month, traveling more than 2,000 kilometers on the south coast of Australia to get this shot," Pastor told Agora. "I'm a lucky man for having found a mother whale and her baby." 

He spotted the pair at Australia's Native Dog Beach.

"Flying mood" by Tamzeed Alam Token

This nominated image was taken by Token in Bangladesh. The photographer told Agora that he attempted to appraoch the birds "very carefully," though they quickly flew away.

"Luckily, I was able to take some flying shots," he told the photography app.

"Fox" by Vadim Malinovskii

Malinovskii captured this fox while visiting the Moscow Zoo in Russia.

"Gnaw and gnaw" by Nikolay Kupchenko

Speaking to Agora, Kupchenko said the fox in his nominated photo ran away after finding a "crust of bread."

"If I had not put the camera in the serial-shooting mode in advance, I would have simply missed everything," he said.

"GURA" by Santiago Lopez

Lopez found this bird at the Katandra Treetops attraction in Spain. The photographer later told Agora that capturing this shot required a tele-zoom lens and "a lot of patience." 

"Hug me" by Himel Nobi

Despite the photograph's title, these two birds are not actually hugging each other — they're engaged in a mating ritual.

"By photographing these kingfishers for almost two months, I developed a friendly relationship with them," he told the photography app. "To observe this beautiful species closely was a treat to my eyes."

"Humpback whale" by Reiko Takahashi

According to Takahashi, the whale seen in this photograph "was very active" as it swam alongside its mother.

"Two years ago, I swam with him — an unforgettable memory," she told Agora.

"Intimate baboon's portrait with the sunset light" by Sergio Saavedra Ruiz

According to Ruiz, he "took advantage of the evening light" in Spain to capture this baboon's "powerful look."

"King of the desert" by Benjamin Gaona

Gaona was visiting a desert in Bolivia when he came across a group of foxes. Speaking to Agora, the photographer said the animals were "used to humans, and therefore dared to approach."

"They tried to attack a person who was with me," Gaona said. "However, I stayed and got close to them to make a nice shot […] Those foxes looked hungry, at the same time in this desert, there can't be much to hunt."

"Leon desterrado de la manada tras una pelea por la supremacía" by Wilmer Valdez Hinojosa

Hinojosa photographed this lion, which had seemingly fought with other animals, in Kenya.

"You can see the scars from previous fights on his face," he told Agora. "It was so impressive to be so close to such a majestic animal."

"Lion setting in the wild" by Mohamed Tazi

Tazi also photographed a majestic lion, though he did so in Tanzania.

"Looking for a big white bear" by Mary Bassani

Bassani aimed to photograph a polar bear in 2018, but didn't find one until she returned to Canada in 2019.

"I was excited and a little scared, but we just stared at each other for a while," she told Agora. "During that moment we were both animals, both nature in the wild. Then he closed his eyes and went back to sleep. It was one of the greatest moments of my trip!"

"Mother and child in the alps" by Jörg Petermann

Though Petermann is based in Germany, he captured these goats in Italy.

"Motherlove" by Marian Flessa

Flessa found this mother-and-child duo in Germany.

"Nature is wild" by Olga Pereira

Pereira photographed this breathtaking landscape in Peniche, Portugal.

"One of these special moments…" by Sandro Rizzolo

Speaking to Agora, Rizzolo said he spotted this deer in Switzerland early in the morning.

"With my binoculars, I could only spot its ears," he said. "I tried to get closer, slowly crept to the edge of the field, and focused on its ears. First try, the deer lifted its head."

"With this image, I want to sensitize people to care about our nature and its habitat — we live together with them and not against them," he continued.

"Our future in the making" by Olivier Vandeginste

Vandeginste captured this erupting volcano while visiting Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland.

"Polar bear family eating a piece of whale" by David Martinez

"This family was feeding on a dead whale and approached our car curiously," Martinez told Agora. "I thought it was easy to take photos of bears from the security of a jeep. My face changed colors when I saw a polar bear sniffing on my window."

"It was one of the most magical moments I have experienced in all my life," he continued.

"Red Kite" by Steve Campbell

Campbell told Agora that there were 15 birds in the sky when he captured this one mid-flight in the UK.

"Relax" by Alan Heisen Gallo

Gallo captured these three monkeys relaxing in a hot spring at Jigokudani Monkey Park in Japan.

"Run" by Răzvan Hosu

At first glance, Hosu's photo appears to show a barren landscape. But upon a closer look, you can see a heard of animals walking alongside the water.

"Snorkeling on the north shore of Kauai" by Brandon Imbriale

"I was swimming along the outer reef at Ke'e Beach just admiring the sea life and beautiful water," Imbriale told Agora. "At one point, a turtle drifted through the current over the reefing. It was feeding and swam up to take a breath when I took this shot."

"Sunbathe" by Oleg Mileev

Mileev spotted this lizard perched on a branch while in Malaysia.

"Sunlight" by Tamim Mohamad

Mohamad took his nominated image in Bangladesh.

"At first my subject was the setting sun, but suddenly the bird came by and became my subject," he told Agora. "It was a beautiful coincidence."

"The Highland Coo!" by James Theo

Theo told Agora that he had always dreamed of photographing a Highland cow, but couldn't find one when he visited Scotland.

"After returning to the Isle of Skye a year later, I finally met this guy and got the shot that I was waiting for," he said.

"The look in his eyes says everything" by Michelle Loois

Loois is based in the Netherlands, and captured this nominated shot in China.

"The most gentle giant of the savanna" by Vitor Esteves

Esteves took this photograph at the Chobe National Park in Botswana during a morning safari.

"A few minutes before this photo, we saw an elephant showing us firmly that we should not get close to her kids by snapping a big tree branch and waving it in my direction," he told the photography app.

"The Prey and Predator" by Mitesh Patel

In Seoni, India, Patel photographed a tiger stalking its prey between trees.

"The Python" by Heather McHenry Wilson

According to Wilson, the snake seen in her photo measured 14 feet long and weighed 100 pounds at the time she saw it. 

"I was wanting to picture the curiosity and strength of these incredible snakes," she told Agora. "They are smart, curious, and very large."

"Watching" by Kent Sampson

Sampson, who photographed this scene in Zimbabwe, told Agora: "Caution and curiosity are what I think of when I look at this picture."

"I like the fact that even though Zebra are used to living alongside Impalas, you can tell from this photo that they're spooked by any such movement or noise, and always on alert for any potential predators," he continued.

"White Pegasus" by Armin Abdehou

Of course, the horse featured in Abdehou's photo isn't a mythical pegasus. Still, the photographer told Agora that he aimed to capture the "free spirit" and "innocence" of a creature that looked like one.

He spotted the animal in Barzan, Iraq.

"Wild out in the wild" by @cipsimaginarium

This nominated photograph features a man leaping in the air as the sun rises before him.

"Wild stag" by Jon Cleave

Cleave photographed this animal while in Scotland.

"Seeing a wild stag up so close is magical, and capturing it on camera in the battering weathers even more so," he told Agora.

"Wild" by Fero Daniska

Daniska is based in Slovakia. His nominated image focuses on a wild creature in its natural habitat.

"Wildlife" by Ashish Kumawat

While in Jaipur, India, Kumawat photographed a monkey carrying its child through a field.

"Zebra" by Marco Tagliarino

"My goal was to obtain a portrait composed exclusively of the animal's fur texture, using its eye as the focal element," he told Agora. "I wanted to create a moment of intimacy between the animal and the person who will look at the photograph."

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