22 award-winning photos that will make you appreciate the natural world
- The Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) contest celebrates photographers from all over the world.
- Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, started the contest in 2011, and water was the theme for the ninth season of the awards.
- Twenty-two photos were awarded across six categories for the ninth season.
- The winning images ranged from a photo of a couple dancing in the rain to a close-up shot of a fox hiding in the snow.
Jasmine Carey's "Essence of Life" took home the grand prize.
Carey won $125,000 for her photo of a humpback whale floating with its calf. Rain fell on the water, combining with the sun to spotlight the animals.
The scale of both the water and the animals is almost impossible to comprehend.
François Bogaerts won first place in the water category for "The Downpour."
Taken in Iceland, Bogaerts' photo shows a man standing in front of an enormous waterfall.
The subject looks tiny against the rushing water, and Bogaerts used a slow shutter speed to capture the water as it moved.
"What a problem!" took home second place in the water category.
Shanth Kumar Samba Shivam Laila's "What a problem!" was taken during a monsoon in Mumbai, India.
In the shot, people fight their way on top of buses and cars to avoid the rising water, struggling against the tide.
The close-up view of life below and above water in Buchari Muslim Diken's "Octopus Hunter" is stunning.
The photo, which won third place in the water category, shows a boy hunting for an octopus underwater in Ambon, the Maluku islands.
According to Diken, children learn to fend for themselves at a young age in this village.
The boy looks directly at the camera behind a pair of goggles, while an older man watches him from a boat floating on the water. The black-and-white filter adds drama to the shot, as storm clouds form in the sky behind the pair.
Fourth place in the water category went to "Save Me," which was taken by Sourav Das.
A group of children got trapped in a rainstorm and waited for their father to come and help them as they hid under a blanket.
Faces are not visible in the photo, but the connection between the father and his children is clear as one of the kid's heads turns towards him.
The final award winner in the water category went to Yousef Shakar Al Zaabi for "Water — The Secret of Life."
A father and son stop to drink water at a lake in Mongolia in Al Zaabi's candid photo.
The duo cheerfully cups water into their mouths as the sun shines on them. The moment is extraordinary in its normalcy.
"King of the North," a photo captured by Talal Al Rabah, won first place in the black-and-white category.
A polar bear saunters across an iceberg as the night meets the day in Talal Al Rabah's photo.
The viewer can only see the bear's silhouette, but the hint of the sun makes his shape clear.
Anna Niemiec was awarded second place in the black-and-white category for "The Silent Witness."
Niemiec captured an elderly man taking a stroll through a field of 200-year-old trees in Poland. The trees tower over the man, almost as if they're keeping him company as he walks.
Sujan Sarkar's "The Young Dreamers" took home third place in the black-and-white category.
Sarkar captured a group of children playing, creating a natural focus on a boy with a ball by snapping a photo of him through a tire.
Water splashes up as the boys play, and the black-and-white filter makes it hard to see where the sky ends and the ground begins, creating an otherworldly experience.
The shocking white of "Snow Monalisa" earned Fahad Al Enezi first place in the colour category.
An arctic wolf burrows into the snow in Al Enezi's photo, blending in with the icy surroundings.
The only colour in the image comes from the fox's orange eyes, drawing the viewer in immediately. It seems as though the animal could pounce toward the camera at any moment.
Second place in the colour category went to "The Portrait of Sapa," a photo captured by Yose Mirza.
Mirza's close-up of Sapa, a woman with heterochromia, is mesmerising.
Sapa stares directly at the camera, with only her face visible. The light shines on her from the right, making her one blue eye appear even brighter.
Her expression makes it seem like she can see right through the camera into the viewer.
Rashed Al Sumaiti created an optical illusion with "One Soul Opposite Direction," which earned third place in the colour category.
At first glance, it seems as though you're watching a two-headed bear scavenge for food in "One Soul Opposite Direction." But it's actually two bears that blend together as they look around.
The closeness of the animals drives home the connection between all living creatures.
Apratim Pal's "A Journey Outside Our World" won first place in the mobile photography category.
The overhead shot stuns with shades of green, showing a fisherman wading through mossy waters during the winter months.
Although the image is beautiful, it's haunting, as it almost looks as though the fisherman can't actually touch the sea.
"Reflection," taken by Budi Gunawan, earned second place in the mobile photography category.
Gunawan's aptly named "Reflection" shows a sunbird stopping to get nectar, accidentally mirroring the plant it's eating from in the process.
The close view allows you to see the details of the bird's feathers and the plant's leaves.
Mobile photography's third prize went to "Spirituality of Colours" by Abdullah Alshathri.
Alshathri's photo was captured during The Festival of Sacrifice, a ritual that is part of the Islamic celebration, Dhu al-Hijjah.
Pilgrims gather around the Holy Kaaba in this shot, creating a flurry of colour with their movements. They orbit around the Kaaba, seeming to move as one.
"Under the Rain," Fahad Faraj Abdulhameid's self-portrait with his wife, earned fourth place in the mobile photography category.
Fahad Faraj Abdulhameid intended not to take any professional photos while on vacation with his wife, but their spontaneous dance in the rain made him whip out his camera.
The couple hold hands and lean away from one another in joy as rain falls around them. A light from behind them acts as a spotlight.
It looks like they're the only people in the world.
The fifth prize for mobile photography went to Navin Kumar for "Sunset Transparency."
Kumar snapped his award-winning photo of a mosque when a Dupatta, a traditional Indian dress, flew in front of his lens.
The transparent fabric gives the image a bright red colour thanks to the setting sun pouring in from behind. The juxtaposition of the bright colour against the more plain view where the shawl ends is stunning.
"Kingdom of Beauty and Danger," a set of photos taken by Christian Vizl Mac Gregor, won first place in the portfolio category.
Mac Gregor's series of photos focuses on aquatic life, showing sea creatures in black and white.
The pictures were designed to highlight the dangers the animals face from humans each day, despite the ferocity they have. They're a call to protect them.
Zhoufan Cui's "Rafting People on Yalu River" won second place in the portfolio category.
Cui's photos spotlight the North Korean loggers who carry supplies across the Yalu River each summer.
It's a dying way of life because of modern technology, but Cui's work memorialises it, giving the viewer insight into a simpler time.
Hundreds of logs float in the water in this photo.
"The Predator's Fins," taken by AthoUllah, aims to educate the viewer on Blacktip sharks.
Taking home the third-place prize for the portfolio category, AthoUllah's photos show how the fishing industry is killing Blacktip sharks at an alarming rate.
Fishing boats float in the water in this photo, hinting at the destruction to come.
Karrar Hussen captured her series, "October Anger," in Iraq, winning the fourth-place prize in the portfolio category.
Hussen's photos showcase the Iraqi government's violent response to peaceful protests in Tahrir Square in Baghdad, despite the legality of the demonstration.
The images show a city in revolt and a government's startling attempts to quiet their discontent.
The final prize in the portfolio competition went to Fausto Podavini for "Ethiopian Rituals."
Podavini documented the practices of Ethiopian Christianity in his photos, aiming to capture the way the community's religious beliefs are ingrained in their everyday lives.
In this photo, a group of men walk together in religious attire, embarking on one of their traditions as a unit.
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