The winning images in this year's Nature TTL Photographer of the Year contest have just been unveiled and they range from the breathtaking to the spine-tingling. An elephant dousing itself in dust, a pair of parakeets going beak to beak, and a bone-chilling portrait of a lion are all amongst the incredible winners. 

Over 8,000 photos were entered into the competition this year, with fierce competition from photographers across the globe. Top honours went to US photographer Dennis Stogsdill for his striking image of a drenched caracal in Tanzania carrying a bright pink flamingo in its jaws.

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A Cat and Its Prize – Overall winner and winner in the Animal Behaviour category
We had received word about a serval hunting birds along the shore of Lake Ndutu (lower Serengeti) so we raced over to see. Upon arrival, we quickly realised that it was in fact a caracal and not a serval, and it was hunting flamingos that were feeding in the shallows. Within a minute of arrival, the caracal started stalking and eventually was successful (in dramatic fashion) at hunting one of the beautiful but unlucky birds. In this image you see the caracal walking off with its prize.
© Dennis Stogsdill / Nature TTL

"This is nature at its most raw. The caracal is soaked from chasing the flamingos through the waters, but has come out on top," says Will Nicholls, Founder of Nature TTL. "The contrasting colours against the dark surroundings really make this image pop. A wonderful scene to have been able to observe no doubt, let alone capture exquisitely on camera."

Also joining the winner's circle this year was 13-year-old photographer Achintya Murthy from India who was crowned the Young Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2022 for his image of two malabar parakeets fighting in Karnataka.

Take a look at a selection of the winning and highly commended images:

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I See You – Winner in Wild Portraits category
When a huge lion looks you right in the eyes, you immediately forget that you are sitting safely in the car. Instinctively, you cower and slowly retreat deeper inside the car so as not to provoke a predator. Fortunately, he and his brothers were busy consuming the young buffalo that had been hunted several minutes earlier.
© Tomasz Szpila / Nature TTL
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A Moment of Wilderness – Runner-up in Wild Portraits category
Since I cautiously observed the dog fox for a month, I noticed that this place was well used as a marking spot. The picture is taken with a wide-angle lens with a remote shutter release, so as not to disturb the fox.
© Matt Engelmann / Nature TTL
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African Elephant Puffing Dust – Runner-up in Animal Behaviour category
After wallowing in the mud, this majestic African Elephant was walking towards our safari vehicle in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Africa. It sucked up some dust in its trunk and before long, it turned its trunk upwards and released a huge puff of dust. My camera was set to continuous shutter and I was clicking away like crazy – an exhilarating moment!
© Michael Snedic / Nature TTL
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Ice Bear – Winner in Camera Traps category
A large grizzly bear passes in front of my camera trap. In the Yukon, Canada, a unique phenomena happens every year. The bears will freeze their fur and stay out until the month of December, despite the temperature reaching as low a -30 degrees celsius. This picture was taken by a camera trap set up along the river about 2 days before a snow storm. The temperature was starting to drop to -15 degrees celsius, and the bear was only starting to become an "ice bear".
© Geoffrey Reynaud / Nature TTL
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Top of the World – Runner-up in Camera Traps category
A Snow leopard scans for prey across the jagged peaks of the Ladakh mountain range in India. Thick snow blankets the ground, but the big cat’s dense coat and furry footpads keep it warm. I captured this image during a three year DSLR camera trap project in the Indian Himalayas. Challenges were many: High altitude, low oxygen, luna-esque terrain, finding productive locations, getting the equipment in place, and maintaining it over long periods of time.
© Sascha Fonseca / Nature TTL
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Sunset Ray – Winner in Underwater category
A Pink Whipray splitting a school of Bannerfishes, shot against the setting sun on a late afternoon at the famous dive site "Tuna Factory" that is located close to Malé, the capital of the Maldives. Photographed while SCUBA diving.
© Andy Schmid / Nature TTL
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Caviar – Runner-up in Underwater category
A male Eastern Gobbleguts carrying eggs in its mouth. When the female is ready to make the transfer, the male opens his mouth near her cloaca orifice, as she pushes the eggs out in a cone-like manner. The male uses the tip wedged in his throat to keep them in position, while still allowing himself to feed, and protect the precious eggs. He will continue to hold the eggs for a month before hatching occurs.
© Talia Greis / Nature TTL
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The Journey of a Moth – Winner in the Small World category
I managed to photograph this moth in summer at dusk. To keep track of the flight, I used an LED headlight, and I lit the moth with a flash. I made the twilight mood with multi - exposure inside the camera.
© Tibor Litauszki / Nature TTL
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Pretty in Pollen – Runner-up in the Small World category
A Micro-moth (Micropterix calthella) covered in golden balls of pollen from a creeping buttercup flower found in Mutter's Moor near Sidmouth, Devon, UK. The final image is a compilation of focus-stacked pictures.
© Tim Crabb / Nature TTL
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Nature Fights Back – Winner in the Landscapes category
A thunderstorm passes over a sunflower which, against the odds, has managed to survive on a rubbish dump in the semi-arid Karoo region of South Africa.
© Bertus Hanekom / Nature TTL
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City Hare – Winner in the Urban Wildlife category
During the daytime this place on the outskirts is totally crowded by people going about their daily business. But at night, it belongs to the animals that come out to play under the streetlights.
© Jan Piecha / Nature TTL
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Vantage Points – Winner in the Under 16 category
Malabar Parakeets are wonderful creatures. They are also called blue winged parakeets. They usually flock together and are seen in huge numbers. In the midst of a bunch of activities, it was my privilege to shoot this image from a bird hide. These two are fighting over a stump that had paddy grains as its feed.
© Achintya Murthy / Nature TTL
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Great Crested Grebe – Runner-up in the Under 16 category
My local pond is a great place for grebes. There are at least four breeding species on this pond and they're pretty tame because fishermen are often there. This little great crested grebe was posing for me through all the time that the sun was setting.
© Maksymilian Paczkowski / Nature TTL