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Christian Vizl, 2019 Revealing Nature Category Winner

There are many wonderful nature photography competitions around the world, but I suggest they are more about nature and less about photography. And that's fine! I realise this is a controversial statement, but look at it this way: the only photos that can be entered into these nature competitions are those with minimal post-production, and so the expressive photographer with a love for nature can be left out. 

Now before I receive a barrage of emails saying I'm not right, I acknowledge that some of the more progressive nature competitions are now including categories for creative expression. I've judged one of them! And I'm all in favour of traditional nature photo competitions as well, but what we want to offer in the Photo of the Year awards is the opportunity for photographers to creatively explore nature with no restrictions. All you have to do is show us something amazing!

So, does this mean you'll need to enter a composite or something with tricky filters? Certainly not! What continues to amaze me is that despite our post-production abilities, many of the most amazing photographs we see today are single captures of something real. Take a look at last year's Revealing Nature winner by Christian Vizl.

Christian is a purist in many ways. "I believe photography is capable of real service to humanity, promoting empathy and initiating change, so my main purpose as a photographer is to create poetic images showing the incredible beauty of these animals, knowing they carry the power of changing our perception and spark the love and empathy that we all have inside.

"If we want to have a future on this planet, we need to understand that our lives are interconnected to all living animals and our own well being is directly linked to the well being of these animals. As Dr. Sylvia Earle stated, 'No blue, no green, if the oceans die, we die'."

Christian's photo of a striped marlin hunting a school of mackerel was shot some 40 miles off the coast of San Carlos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, using a Nikon D810 with a 15mm lens in an Aquatica housing.