The first wave of winning images in the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards 2020 have been revealed – and as always, they are truly spectacular.
The amazing shots below are among the winners in the competition’s National Awards, which is aimed at supporting photographers across 63 countries and regions.
One photographer from each nation has been honoured for one standalone image and has now been given the opportunity to showcase his or her work to a global audience at the renowned Sony World Photography Awards 2020 exhibition, which takes place at Somerset House, London, from April 17 to May 4.
Judges sifted through over 190,000 images that were entered into the contest’s open competition – a record number – to select the national award winners.
The overall winner of the Photographer of the Year 2020 title will be announced during the Sony World Photography Awards 2020 ceremony in London on April 16. The winners of the Sony World Photography Awards’ open contest and youth contest will also be announced at the same event.
Scroll down and prepared to be wowed…
Photographer Atanas Chulev is the winner of the national award for Bulgaria with this stunning shot of the Italian Dolomites. He said: ‘The photo was taken in one of the excavated tunnels that were created during the First World War. Most of them can be seen on the Via Ferrata De Luca/Innerkofler route through the mountains’
The winner of the national award for Malaysia is Tien Sang Kok, who captured this jaw-dropping image of galloping horses in Mongolia at sunset. The photographer explained: ‘It is traditionally said that a Mongol without a horse is like a bird without a wing’
The winner of the national award for Australia is Adam Stevenson, who snapped this powerful image on his iPhone X after devastating bushfires swept through Wallabi Point in New South Wales, close to where he lives. He called the picture ‘That’s Nothing to Laugh About’. He said: ‘As I watched the sun set through the smoke, a kookaburra appeared and allowed me to walk right up to it. We shared a moment, watching the sun fade behind the apocalyptic scene… he was laughing’
This image of two rhinos mating in Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in India was captured on an early winter’s morning by Abhijeet Kumar Banerjee. He is the winner of the national award for India. He said: ‘We were on a jeep safari and suddenly we encountered this pair of Indian one-horned rhino mating. Needless to say, it was a unique and rare opportunity’
Runner up in the national award for China is Sutie Yang for this dramatic image of the Northern Lights next to the Seljalandfoss waterfall in Iceland. The photographer explained: ‘I went inside the waterfall and found this little world. The aurora danced outside the cave for a moment, as if it contained the whole universe’
This dramatic shot of the Huangshan mountains in China was shot by Karem Apaza Lopez, who won the national award for Peru. He called the image ‘Dreamy Mountains’. He said: ‘It was impossible for my senses to ignore the wonder of the Huangshan mountains. It was as if they were posing for my lens and allowing me to capture their splendour’
This cute image, left, of a curious monkey in an Indonesian forest, helped Jan Simon win the national award for the Czech Republic. He said: ‘I was amazed by this creature while travelling through Indonesia. I spotted the monkey just sitting there while I was exploring a place called Monkey Forest. It looked like he was just sitting there wondering about the world.’ Pictured right is an image by Will Venter, the winner of the South African national award, showing a water buffalo peeking out from dense foliage. He explained: ‘It had a look as though it wanted us to help it. So many people around the world rely on these amazing creatures for survival, and yet few help to protect its natural environment’
The national award winner for Norway is Bjørn-Arild Schancke, who impressed the judges with this striking shot of an abandoned coal mine on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. He explained that mining in Svalbard ended in 1981
The winner of the national award for Thailand is Kiatthaworn Khorthawornwong, who captured this beautiful autumnal shot of Lake Kawaguchiko and Mount Fuji in Japan
This image, called ‘Spread ’em’, helped photographer Marcus Westburg scoop the national award for Sweden. He captured the unusual photo while in a hide at the Onguma Private Reserve in Namibia. He said: ‘I knew if I were patient enough, I would have a good chance of photographing giraffes as they came in to drink, but I never imagined any of them would squeeze in between the hide and the waterhole! This presented me with a different perspective than I had envisioned. Patience and a willingness to sit quietly in nature is often a reward in itself – although in this case I was delighted to leave with an image like this’
The winner of the national award for Sri Lanka is Lakshitha Karunarathna for this fascinating shot of an otter he captured in Bourne, Lincolnshire. He said: ‘As I spent a whole night photographing a heron in a small pond, this handsome hunter popped up all of sudden right in front of me and started swimming and diving for fish at an unbelievable pace. I could not get a proper shot for some time due to the speed and the unpredictability of this skilful night hunter. After good half an hour of hunting, it took a break and shook the water off’
Winner of the French award is Greg Lecoeur for this incredible underwater shot of crab-eater seals in the Antarctic Peninsula. This image also earned him the top prize in the Underwater Photographer of the Year 2020 competition, as MailOnline previously reported
Claiming second place in the national award for Hong Kong is Kam Moon Lai, who shot this amazing photo of a school of jackfish off the coast of Sipadan Island in Malaysia
Ales Krivec is the winner of the national award for Slovenia after impressing with this snap, which he called ‘Ring of Frost’. It shows an optical phenomenon called ‘halo’, which is produced by light interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere
Runner-up for the national award for Taiwan is Yung-sen Wu, who captured this magnificent shot of a sea lion swimming among fish
Turkish photographer F. Dilek Uyar is the winner of the national award for Turkey for this image of sheep being herded in Bitlis in the east of the country. She described the image as being like a ‘pastoral symphony’
Claiming second place in the national award for the Republic of Korea is Hwanhee Kim for this image he captured of a boy on a raft in the Solomon Islands. He said: ‘Although the weather was a little unfriendly, he seemed happy to meet some new faces’
Photographer Kushal Shahi is the winner of the national award for Nepal with this stunning image of mountaineers fighting against the cold as they climb a Himalayan peak