For many people confined to their homes in efforts to overcome the COVID-19 outbreak, the uncertainty and isolation can be become all-consuming. A nature fix can offer some temporary relief from the pandemic-fuelled anxiety. And we've got just the thing. Last week, the winners in the inaugural Nature TTL Photographer of the Year competition were announced, just in time to provide wildlife-lovers with a much-needed visual distraction.

Photographers from 117 different countries submitted 7,000 entries covering everything from damselfly close-ups to heavy breathing bears. The ultimate prize went to French photographer Florian Ledoux for his remarkable drone photo of crabeater seals on an ice float in Antarctica.

Above the Crabeater Seals – Overall winner and winner in wildlife category
© Nature TTL/Florian Ledoux

"I am so excited to be chosen as the overall winner, I was never expecting this," Ledoux explained in a press release, adding that he is thrilled to be able to bring awareness to the state of the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

"It is also important that anyone inspired by this style of drone image understands the importance of wildlife, and being ethical in your approach. Ensure that your drone does not spook animals or disturb them, and always conduct yourself within accordance of local regulations," says Ledoux.

Winners in other categories included a black-and-white image of a damselfly taken by Chinese photographer Minghui Yuan, and an action shot of a drongo hunting in the midst of an inferno, snapped by 15-year-old Saptarshi Guyen from India.

Chinese Painting – Winner in Macro category
© Nature TTL/Minghui Yuan
Phoenix – Winner in Under 16 category
© Nature TTL/Saptarshi Gayen

"The judges had a tough choice to make," wildlife cameraman, and organiser of the competition, Will Nicholls said regarding the winning image. "But the detail and strong composition of the seals surrounded by the broken ice made it stand out from the crowd."

Here's a look at some of the other winners and highly commended photos:

Home Sweet Home, Highly Commended in Macro category
© Nature TTL/Jesslyn Saw
Startled Owl – Runner-up in wildlife category
© Nature TTL/Paul Holman
I'm not going easy, Winner of the People’s Choice Award
© Nature TTL/Robert Ferguson
Badger Blues – Highly Commended - Wildlife category
© Nature TTL/Dave Hudson
Fox – Highly Commended in Under 16 category
© Nature TTL/Matej Borjancic
Mating red-eyed damselflies – Runner-up in Macro category
© Nature TTL/Robert Page
Trailblazer – Highly Commended in Macro category
© Nature TTL/Christian Wappl
The Cradle of Life – Runner-up in Under 16 category
© Nature TTL/Tamás Koncz-Bisztricz
Breathing – Highly Commended in Wildlife category
© Nature TTL/Bence Máté
Nothing here but this tree – Highly Commended in Macro category
© Nature TTL/Caitlin Henderson

Header image: Bence Máté