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After an intense but wholesome competition, the judges have made their decisions and chosen the winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards in 2023. And we can’t wait to share the most beloved photos with you this year!

There were a total of 6 winners in different categories, but the overall winner this year was Jason Moore with his fabulously fun photo ‘Air Guitar Roo.’ Moore also won the Creatures of the Land category with his incredible shot. Scroll down to check out this year’s crème de la crème to boost your mood with a little bit of Vitamin C(omedy). Hopefully, these photos will get you inspired about conservation and they might just convince you to head into the great outdoors with your camera!

The team behind the spectacular Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards was happy to answer Bored Panda’s questions. You’ll find our interview with them as you read on.

More info: ComedyWildlifePhoto.com | Facebook | Instagram | X

#1

Junior Category Winner & People's Choice Winner "Dispute" By Jacek Stankiewicz

Junior Category Winner & People's Choice Winner "Dispute" By Jacek Stankiewicz

"I caught this scene while watching birds in the Bialowieza Forest. Young greenfinch was still fed by parents. However, from time to time birds looked like having argument. My friends interpret this scene in two ways. 1 A young naughty kid is arguing with a parent. 2. One kid is reporting to the parent that its brother did something wrong: look he has broken the glass in the window."

© Jacek Stankiewicz / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

Professional photographers and passionate conservationists Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tom Sullam founded the contest back in 2015. Their goal was to create a refreshing, fun, and free-to-enter photography competition, in order to showcase the funniest images of Planet Earth’s wildlife.

Sullam, the co-founder of the contest, shed some light on the role of timing in wildlife photography. He told Bored Panda that its importance cannot be understated.

“It is THE essence of the art. The single best tip to get that decisive moment is to watch your subject and see how it moves, where it turns its head, how it flicks its tail, how its back, legs, neck move, and so on,” the photographer shared some practical advice with everyone.

#2

Highly Commended: "Don't Look Down" By Brian Matthews

Highly Commended: "Don't Look Down" By Brian Matthews

"A puffin does an inverted snoopy impression while watching jelly fish."

© Brian Matthews / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

“Learn to see these movements—in this way, you can pre-empt the behavior. You cannot predict behavior but you can pre-empt a movement and be ready to fire that shutter! Obviously, the right settings on your camera goes without saying!”

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Meanwhile, Michelle Wood, a member of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards organizing team, clarified a few things regarding the use of photo editing software and post-processing. In short, the competition requires entrants to be very transparent about what they do.

“We have quite straightforward guidelines on this. All images entered also have to be submitted as a raw file so we can see the original capture and check the quality,” Wood explained to Bored Panda.

“We also ask for the surrounding shots of the image to make sure that the entry is authentic,” she added.

#3

Highly Commended: "The Happy Turtle" By Tzahi Finkelstein

Highly Commended: "The Happy Turtle" By Tzahi Finkelstein

"Swamp Turtle Dragonfly, jezreel val the swamp turtle is surprised and smiles at the dragonfly resting on its nose"

© Tzahi Finkelstein / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

#4

Highly Commended: "Snowball" By Jacques Poulard

Highly Commended: "Snowball" By Jacques Poulard

"This picture was taken in Spitzberg, in a very cold winter, the white grouse is coming to me and looks like a snowball with eyes."

© Jacques Poulard / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

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Point 9 in the competition’s Terms and Conditions states that: “No digital manipulation. You can, of course, make basic digital corrections (including tone and contrast, burning, dodging, cropping, sharpening, noise reduction, and minor cleaning work) but DO NOT ALTER THE INTEGRITY OF THE IMAGE,” the organizers explain.

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“If you reach the finals, we will ask for the original image and we have the finest team of digital detectives on the planet to make sure every image is verified. These guys are serious pixel Sherlocks, so pay attention, no cheating!” This means that what you see is what you get! It's all authentic.

This year’s contest was absolutely humongous in scope. A jaw-dropping 1,842 people took part in the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards in 2023, submitting a whopping 5,300 entries. Not only that but the contest was truly global: the competitors were from 85 countries around the world.

#5

Underwater Category Winner "Otter Ballerina" By Otter Kwek

Underwater Category Winner "Otter Ballerina" By Otter Kwek

"An otter ballerina gracefully dances in an Arabesque position. The otter was leaping while attempting to grasp the overhanging leaves, and during an unusual landing, it ended up in the Arabesque pose. I showed this photo to a ballet teacher, and she commented that the otter is a natural but just needs to tuck in its tummy a bit — precisely what a ballet teacher would advise."

© Otter Kwek / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

#6

Highly Commended: "Monday Blahs" By John Blumenkamp

Highly Commended: "Monday Blahs" By John Blumenkamp

"This Great Gray Owl spent most of the afternoon posing majestically and looking, well, wise. But for a moment or two after doing some elegant stretching, he/she would slump and give a look of 'is Monday over yet?' I really like the uniqueness of the Comedy Wildlife Awards, and that they emphasize conservation while taking a fun and special look at wildlife. While out shooting I often find myself smiling or laughing with some of the behaviors of various species, and this annual event is a great way to bring that fun element of nature to others. While photographing the great gray owl shown in my image, I had been busy working to capture that majestic looking pose. As the owl preened and then sat still for a short while, it stretched once more and for a quick moment gave the pose shown. As it did, I grinned and thought… now that’s funny!"

© John Blumenkamp / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

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Moore, the overall winner, took a photo of a female Western Grey Kangaroo in the outer suburbs of Perth, Australia. He won a once-in-a-lifetime safari in the Masai Mara, Kenya, with Alex Walker’s Serian. He also won a unique handmade trophy from the Wonder Workshop in Tanzania, as well as a photography bag from THINK TANK.

“I had been out with my camera photographing some waterfowl at a nearby lake. I had been up at sunrise to take advantage of the ‘golden hour’ light, but it turned out to be a disappointing morning on the water,” Moore opened up about the day he took his brilliant photo, ‘Air Guitar Roo.’

“After leaving the lake, somewhat dejected, I decided to swing past an area of open bushland that I know of, because there are often a ‘mob’ of Kangaroos feeding and sunning themselves in a field close to the road (it’s on my way to and from work so I drive past it every day),” he said.

#7

Overall Winner & Creatures Of The Land Winner "Air Guitar Roo" By Jason-Moore

Overall Winner & Creatures Of The Land Winner "Air Guitar Roo" By Jason-Moore

"Firstly, let me start off by identifying the species of Kangaroo - it’s a Western Grey Kangaroo. The animal is a female - evidenced by her size (females are significantly smaller than males) and if you look closely, you can see signs of a pouch in the middle of her belly. The photo was taken in Aug 2021 (late winter in the southern hemisphere), in the outer suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. As you probably know, we have a Mediterranean climate in South Western Australia [...] and as a result we are blessed with a beautiful wildflower season in late winter and early spring. 

I decided to swing past an area of open bushland that I know of, because there are often a “mob” of Kangaroos feeding and sunning themselves in a field close to the road. [...] I ended up shooting about 40 or 50 frames of the Kangaroos with various content. [...]

The shoot turned out to be a great session, and I am quite fond of several images that I captured. However, when I saw this animal strike this pose it immediately brought a smile to my face and I knew that I had captured something special. I have also been lucky enough to capture photos of two males having a fight, which can get pretty vicious with their kung fu kicks and judo like wrestling matches."

© Jason Moore / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

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#8

Highly Commended: "One For The Family Album" By Zoe Ashdown

Highly Commended: "One For The Family Album" By Zoe Ashdown

"At RSPB Bempton Cliffs, each year between March and October, around half a million seabirds use the chalk cliffs towering above the North Sea to nest and raise a family. 
Gannets mate for life and they return to the same nest year after year to raise their young.
Lying safely at the top of the cliff face I was able to observe the affection shown between the gannets each time one returned to the nest.  They have a greeting ritual, they rub beaks and entwine their necks; it’s how they strengthen their bond.  But it’s also a brilliant opportunity to catch them in various poses. 
I didn’t realise I’d taken this image until I got home, but as soon as I saw it I laughed out loud!  They look like proud parents, posing with their baby - definitely one for the family album!"

© Zoe Ashdown / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

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“When I arrived, there were a number of Kangaroos in the field. The morning light was still favorable so I grabbed my camera and headed off to a spot where I could get down to eye level with my subjects, amongst the biting ticks (the lengths we go to, just to get that perfect image.) I ended up shooting about 40 or 50 frames of the Kangaroos with various content including Mums, Joeys, and also some action shots of them bouncing along through the yellow field,” the photographer shared.

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Moore actually took the original photo all the way back in August 2021. “The shoot turned out to be a great session, and I am quite fond of several images that I captured. Not many people know that Kangaroos are normally fairly docile and even a bit boring most of the time, if I’m honest. However, when I saw this Roo striking the air guitar pose, it immediately brought a smile to my face, and I knew that I had captured something really special.”

‘Air Guitar Roo’ was very popular with all the judges for its “happy vibe and feel-good factor,” what the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards is all about, at its core.

#9

Highly Commended: "That Wasn't Here Yesterday" By Wendy Kaveney

Highly Commended: "That Wasn't Here Yesterday" By Wendy Kaveney

"A white-winged dove appearing to fly head-on into a cholla cactus skeleton."

© Wendy Kaveney / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

#10

Portfolio Category Winner "I Finally Learned To Fly... Or Not?" By Tímea Ambrus

Portfolio Category Winner "I Finally Learned To Fly... Or Not?" By Tímea Ambrus

"The ground squirrel jumped as if he could fly. Unfortunately he has no wings. To his surprise he fell back to the ground."

©Tímea Ambrus / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

Aside from the overall winner, there were 6 category winners. Among them was young photographer Jacek Stankiewicz with ‘Dispute,’ featuring two greenfinches. Stankiewicz won the Junior Award and also nabbed the Affinity Photo People’s Choice Award—the public vote. 2023 is the very first year that this award has been won by a junior entry.

“One of the greatest pleasures we experience in this competition is seeing the incredible standard of photography, combined with humor, which consistently increases each year. This year’s People’s Choice Award winner is like the cherry on the cake. To have a junior entrant win this major prize is extremely rewarding for us,” competition co-founder and pro photographer Sullam said.

#11

Highly Commended: "Fox With A Cigar" By Dakota Vaccaro

Highly Commended: "Fox With A Cigar" By Dakota Vaccaro

"While I was working deep in the Virginian woods, a family of grey foxes took up residence under the deck of the abandoned cottage next to my work housing. One day while practicing their hunting skills on bits of moss and branches, one of the kits lunged at a small chunk of wood and started rolling around with his prize. Tired after his hunt the kit lounged on his belly still holding the wood in his mouth which gave the strong resemblance of a cigar. I was very envious of the kit at this moment cause who wouldn't want to just lay around all day relaxing."

© Dakota Vaccaro / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

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multanocte avatar
Multa Nocte
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4 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The problem with young animals is that they are SO cute that you have an almost irresistible urge to want to cuddle them, which, of course, is the last thing that is good for either of you. 🥺

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#12

Highly Commended: "The Rainforest Dandy" By Delphine Casimir

Highly Commended: "The Rainforest Dandy" By Delphine Casimir

"This picture was taken in the monkey forest in Ubud, Bali. This place is a crazy place where monkeys are king! sometimes they give a show, sometimes, they climb on you to look for fleas or steal the piece of biscuit you are trying to eat :-D. Their kingdom, called the rainforest forest has three hindu temples. This forest is special even magical and sacred to the Balinese people. Maybe our dandy is the reacarnation of a divinity?"

© Delphine Casimir / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

“We want more juniors to enter, we want to take our conservation message and our love of photography to the younger generation and this result proves that young photographers have as much chance of winning as anybody else. The unique combination of humor and photography allows for a much broader range of winners, and we are so thrilled to award the PCA title to Jacek this year.”

Among the other category winners was Vittorio Ricci who won the Creatures of the Air Award for a photo of a striated heron, ‘Unexpected Plunge’ and Otter Kwek who aced the Under Water Category with his Ballerina Otter photo taken in Singapore.

Timea Ambrus won the Portfolio Award with a collection of 4 images showing a ground squirrel while the Video Award went to Lily Bernau for her film ‘Too Cold’ about a penguin seemingly refusing to go into the sea.

#13

Highly Commended: "Boing" By Lara-Mathews

Highly Commended: "Boing" By Lara-Mathews

"Taken at Westerfolds Park, a beautiful and surprisingly wild pocket of land in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, famous for its kangaroo population. The mob was enjoying some morning sunshine when this joey decided to get silly and try his hand at boxing."

© Lara Mathews / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

#14

Creatures Of The Air Winner "Unexpected Plunge" By Vittorio Ricci

Creatures Of The Air Winner "Unexpected Plunge" By Vittorio Ricci

"An unusual and almost miserable end of a perfect moment, previously prepared, for a successfull fishing."

© Vittorio Ricci / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

The judges also felt there were 10 entries that ought to be recognized as Highly Commended Winners: Tzahi Finkelstein, John Blumenkamp, Zoe Ashdown, Brian Matthews, Lara Matthews, Delphine Casimir, Pratick Mondal, Wendy Kaveney, Jacques Poulard and Dakota Vaccaro.  

If you’d like to see this year’s finalists in full, check out Bored Panda’s earlier article. In the meantime, be sure to take a peek at the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards top entrants from previous years, too: 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018.

#15

Highly Commended: "Look At Right Bro" By Pratick Mondal

Highly Commended: "Look At Right Bro" By Pratick Mondal

"The photo was taken in Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India. This park is heaven for nature lovers. The park is full of lush greenery and habitat of mammals & migratory birds. During my trip, I planned for Jackal & Hyena shooting apart from birds. There are plenty of Jackals & Hyenas in the park. Upon reaching the spot, I was waiting for the moment to capture. Even after waiting hours, there was no call from the jackal or Hyena. Still I was waiting. Suddenly a deer in the far distance appeared on the road and stood exactly in the middle of the road and started looking at me. Seeing the arc behind the deer I tried to capture the frame I pre-visualized. Suddenly, a Macaque also came in the middle of the road too and started itching, extending its hand outside which was hilarious. Without further delay, I captured the beautiful and rare moment of 'Itching Macaque with deer in the background'."

© Pratick Mondal / Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2023 Report

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