Polish wildlife snapper’s incredible photo of a lion staring at the lens wins prestigious international nature photography competition
A Polish wildlife photographer has been named best Wildlife Portrait photographer after winning the prestigious Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2022 competition.
Tomasz Szpila’s stunning portrait of a lion in the Moremi Game Reserve on the eastern side of Botswana's Okavango Delta topped the podium in the 'Wild Portraits' category.
Describing the nerve-wracking story behind the shot, the 45-year-old from Bielsko-Biała said: '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.”
The award is the latest from a string of distinguished competitions Szpila, who describes himself as an amateur photographer, has won.
These include taking first place in Glanzlichter 2022, and honourable mentions in Nature Photographer Of The Year 2021 and Nature Photography Magical Nature 2021.
The Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2022 awards, which ‘celebrates the natural world’ received over 8,000 entries from across the globe.
Another Polish photographer to capture the extraordinary beauty of Planet Earth was landscape photographer Marek Biegalski, whose breathtaking shot of lava erupting from Iceland’s Fagradalsfjall Volcano was awarded ‘Runner Up’ in the ‘Landscapes’ category.
Explaining the photo, Biegalski said: “Lava poured out of the crater – changing Iceland’s map forever.
“The eruption began on 18 March 2021 in the Geldingadalir valley at the Fagradalsfjall Volcano mountain on the Reykjanes peninsula.
“I captured this image on the 17th of September, as the eruption and lava flow that day was spectacular.”
Yet another Polish photographer to be awarded is Poznań’s Maksymilian Pączkowski who was chosen as runner up in the Under-16s category for his photo of a bird on a lake during Golden hour.
Entitled ‘Great Crested Grebe’, Pączkowski described the image saying: “My local pond is 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 great crested grebe was posing for me through all the time that sun was setting.”