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Get ready to feast your eyes on some jaw-dropping images that showcase the sheer beauty of our planet. We're diving into the Siena International Photo Awards, where photographers from all over the world have captured Mother Nature at her finest.

For this article, we've gathered the winning images from 2015 to 2023 in the category of "The Beauty of Nature." So sit back, relax, and let's take a stroll through the best of nature's wonders.

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#1

"Show Time" By Hasan Baglar

"Show Time" By Hasan Baglar

1st place winner of 2015

"It's a normal behavior of mantis. They're doing defense. When they're afraid of; raising their arms and spreading their wings. They look like smiling dancers."

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LokisLilButterknife
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1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I love praying mantis. They are such otherworldly looking insects, especially the ones that mimic orchids.

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The "Siena International Photo Awards", alongside the "Drone Photo Awards" and the "Creative Photo Awards", are hosted by Art Photo Travel and are open to all photographers from all around the world.

Art Photo Travel is a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing and celebrating art, history, traditions, and natural wonders from all corners of the globe. According to the organizers, their mission is to introduce people to both popular and lesser-known destinations worldwide.

#2

"El Calbuco" By Francisco Negroni

"El Calbuco" By Francisco Negroni

1st place winner of 2018

"This photograph was taken during a violent night eruption of the Calbuco volcano in the Lagos region, Chile. An incredible dirt storm wraps the fumarole of the erupting volcano."

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#3

"The Awakening Of A Giant" By Francisco Negroni

"The Awakening Of A Giant" By Francisco Negroni

2nd place winner of 2023

"Villarrica is the most active and dangerous volcano in Chile. After 7 years of dormancy, it has started showing signs of activity, prompting authorities to declare a Yellow Alert. The photo captures a stunning lenticular cloud illuminated by the glowing lava from the crater, which is now close to the surface."

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Selecting winners is not an easy task, so to learn more about that as well as the evolution of the "Beauty of Nature" category over the years, Bored Panda reached out to Chiara Venturi, an event coordinator at Siena Awards. According to her, the judges typically evaluate entries in the "Beauty of Nature" category based on criteria such as composition, lighting, creativity, originality, technical skill, emotional impact, and the ability to capture the essence and beauty of nature. "They may also consider factors like the uniqueness of the perspective, the clarity of the subject, and how effectively the photograph communicates a sense of wonder or appreciation for the natural world."

#4

"Tree Frog And Flower" By Liang Wu

"Tree Frog And Flower" By Liang Wu

3rd place winner of 2019

"An interesting picture-portrait of a pygmy frog (Oophaga Pumilio), native to the rainforests of Costa Rica."

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Donald
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1 week ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That's a red eyed tree frog, still from Costa Rica but not a pygmy frog. Agalychnis callidryas for any other Bio nerds out there.

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#5

"Best Friends" By Andi Abdul Halil

"Best Friends" By Andi Abdul Halil

2nd place winner of 2019

"A lizard and a snail photographed in a special moment when they seem to be kissing with affection."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

"This was Mom's shell. So - just keep it respectful, please?"

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Venturi shared that as photography techniques and technology advance, the "Beauty of Nature" category might have expanded to include a wider variety of subjects and artistic styles over time. "There may be an increased emphasis on creativity, originality, and storytelling within nature photography. With the growing awareness of environmental issues, submissions might also reflect a deeper appreciation for the natural world and a desire to raise awareness about conservation efforts.

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Additionally, advancements in digital photography and editing software may have influenced the types of submissions received. While traditional landscape photography remains popular, there may be a rise in abstract or experimental approaches to capturing nature's beauty.

Overall, the 'Beauty of Nature' category is likely to continue evolving as photographers explore new techniques, perspectives, and subjects, reflecting changing attitudes towards nature and the environment."

#6

"Beast" By James Smart

"Beast" By James Smart

1st place winner of 2017

"Chasing this storm in Black Hawk was amazing. After waiting hours for something to develop, the storm began to turn into a supercell. This absolutely stunning ship-like structure invaded and took over the Black Hawk area."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Huge excitement- if you're a photographer! NOT exciting- if you own a house here; sheer terror. Kids watched one from the schoolbus on the way home once...

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#7

"Green Light Forest" By Shirley Wung

"Green Light Forest" By Shirley Wung

1st place winner of 2021

"A mountain path in the middle of a forest is illuminated by a multitude of "sparkling" fireflies that give the landscape a fairy-tale atmosphere. Their bioluminescence is part of the mating ritual, at the end of which the eggs are laid. Unfortunately, pollution hinders the reproduction of fireflies, and it is increasingly difficult to see shows like this one."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Amazing phototgraphy. I've tried to photograph fireflies multiple times- never got close to this.

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Choosing winning images in a photo contest, especially for the "Beauty of Nature" category, involves careful evaluation by a panel of judges. Here are some general insights into the selection process and what makes the winning photos stand out, as shared by Venturi:

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  • Composition: "Winning photos often demonstrate strong composition, with well-balanced elements that guide the viewer's eye through the image. This includes considerations of framing, perspective, leading lines, and the arrangement of visual elements within the frame."
  • Technical Excellence: "Judges look for images that showcase technical proficiency, including sharp focus, proper exposure, and effective use of lighting. High-quality resolution and clarity enhance the overall impact of the image."
  • Creativity and Originality: "Winning photos stand out for their creativity and originality, offering a fresh perspective on familiar subjects or capturing unique moments in nature. Judges appreciate innovative approaches to composition, lighting, and subject matter."
  • Emotional Impact: "Successful images evoke an emotional response from the viewer, whether it's a sense of awe, wonder, serenity, or inspiration. Winning photos often convey a strong emotional connection to the beauty and power of nature."
  • Storytelling: "Some winning photos excel in storytelling, conveying a narrative or capturing a decisive moment that resonates with viewers. Images that tell a compelling story or convey a deeper message about the relationship between humans and nature are often recognized."
  • Uniqueness: "Judges look for images that stand out from the crowd and offer a fresh perspective on the theme of "Beauty of Nature." Originality, creativity, and a unique vision help set winning photos apart from the rest."

Overall, winning images in the "Beauty of Nature" category are those that skillfully balance technical proficiency with creativity, emotional depth, and a fresh perspective. They leave a memorable impact on both judges and viewers alike.

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#8

"El Cordón Caulle II" By Francisco Negroni

"El Cordón Caulle II" By Francisco Negroni

2nd place winner of 2020

"In 2011 I witnessed an incredible dirty storm that occurred during the furious eruption of the Cordon Caulle, located in the region of the Rivers. The storm scared thousands of people who lived in the areas nearby the volcano. Hundreds of people were evacuated and the enormous amount of erupted ash buried many kilometers of forests and fields."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The thunderstorms on the Great Plains sometimes get this robust. I remember 3 where the sky was lit constantly- no pauses- for an hour and a half, till the storm moved away. Yeah, you're darned right to be scared.

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#9

"Travelers" By Mariusz Potocki

"Travelers" By Mariusz Potocki

3rd place winner of 2018

"A group of Chinstrap Penguins (Pygoscelis Antarctica) is resting on an iceberg. When sailing Antarctic waters you will often see different types of icebergs. Some of these floating islands are great resting places for hunting penguins who can travel many kilometers, before jumping back into the icy water."

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Photography has a special way of speaking to people, regardless of language. In our world, where protecting the environment is crucial, photography can be a powerful tool for spreading awareness and helping people appreciate nature more. As Venturi noted, "photography can tell compelling visual stories and fostering emotional connections."

#10

"Lonely Island Sunrise" By Aya Okawa

"Lonely Island Sunrise" By Aya Okawa

3rd place winner of 2022

"Morning calm at the lonely island, just after sunrise and before the world wakes up. Only the photographer and a lone heron fishing at the island’s edge were present to enjoy the moment."

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#11

"Spanish Moss" By Mauro Battistelli

"Spanish Moss" By Mauro Battistelli

3rd place winner of 2020

"Early in the morning on a November day, inside the swamp, looking for the magnificent beauty of the Spanish moss. The late autumn colors made it appear almost monochromatic and the Bald Cypress stood in the still water creating an incredible reflection in the misty atmosphere."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

You know what Spanish moss is related to? Pineapples. What? yup, same family, Bromeliaceae. Told my father that - and he refused to believe it. heh heh.

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#12

"Galaxy Dolomites" By Ivan Pedretti

"Galaxy Dolomites" By Ivan Pedretti

3rd place winner of 2016

"Panoramic view with the moonset at The Three Peaks of Lavaredo (Italy), also called Drei Zinnen, on a night in July at 2450m, during a photographic weekend with some landscaper friends."

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#13

"Migration" By Khalid Alsabt

"Migration" By Khalid Alsabt

2nd place winner of 2018

"In the desert of Dahana, in the center of Saudi Arabia, Bedouins migrate with camels from place to place, searching for food and water. I took this picture while a group of nomads was passing us with their camels, creating beautiful shadows in a peaceful atmosphere."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If a camel slips down a sand dune in the desert- and no one is there to giggle... will there be drone pics anyway?

#14

"Prince Of The Waters" By Yannick Gouguenheim

"Prince Of The Waters" By Yannick Gouguenheim

3rd place winner of 2017

"The common toads start going back to the river in February in order to reproduce. The frozen waters of this small river are by then clear enough and ideal for underwater photography. This image was taken in natural lights and apnea. I chose to work on blacklights to value this iconic species from fresh water."

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#15

"Middle Earth" By Enrico Fossati

"Middle Earth" By Enrico Fossati

2nd place winner of 2017

"Before visiting Assiniboine I thought that certain places only existed in books like The Lord of the Rings. But this place really exists! It is the sum of all the beauties of an alpine landscape, with peaks, lakes, waterfalls, and streams. It is totally wild with a unique atmosphere."

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J L
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Had to look it up: Canada. So many gorgeous national parks in Canada.

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#16

"New Generation" By Fabio Savini

"New Generation" By Fabio Savini

1st place winner of 2023

"Female Northern spectacled salamanders, also known as Savi’s salamanders, lay their eggs on submerged branches in cold waters of an Apennine stream in Italy’s Foreste Casentinesi National Park."

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Lunaofthenest (She/they)
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Let's hope this didn't end up all "Finding Nemo"- godspeed, little lads & lasses!

#17

"Way To Hell" By Nadine Galandi

"Way To Hell" By Nadine Galandi

1st place winner of 2022

"A line of small erupting craters in the West of the Land of Ice and Fire. A river of lava guides the viewer’s eye, while thick smoke rises high into the sky. Seeing a volcanic eruption, hearing and smelling it, and feeling the unbelievable heat on your skin is a unique experience."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Looks like a nice pahoehoe eruption- where the lava is so hot and full of gas it can run- faster than you can...

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#18

"6 Simpatici Occhietti" By Alberto Ghizzi Panizza

"6 Simpatici Occhietti" By Alberto Ghizzi Panizza

3rd place winner of 2015

"Three little damselflies on wild flower."

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#19

"Sensazioni, Etna In Eruzione" By Giuseppe Mario Famiani

"Sensazioni, Etna In Eruzione" By Giuseppe Mario Famiani

1st place winner of 2016

"This image shows the magnificence of erupting magma, ash and gas, during the first days of December 2015, which rose to a height of several kilometers above the summit of Mount Etna."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So you look at the night sky- to feel small? Walk up to an erupting volcano - you'll get smaller.

#20

"Aliens" By Domenico Tripodi

"Aliens" By Domenico Tripodi

3rd place winner of 2021

"During a spring dive at a depth of about 6 meters, I immortalized this small hydromedusa of the Pandea conica genus, among an infinity of tiny tunicates carried by the current of the Calabrian side of the Strait of Messina."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The tunicates are not aliens- they're our relatives. Distant ! But chordate- when juvenile.

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#21

"Natural Recycling" By Ignacio Medem

"Natural Recycling" By Ignacio Medem

1st place winner of 2019

"In less than three days, more than one hundred crocodiles manage to transform a dead hippo into fertilizer for the river."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And an amazing part - crocs almost never attack live hippos, they just smile and wave to each other. How do they keep it straight?

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#22

"Tempest" By Craig Bill

"Tempest" By Craig Bill

2nd place winner of 2015

"This storm was not all that big, but it made up for it in intense electrical energy and light that was just incredible. This image comprises five different lightning bursts layered over each other. After about an hour, the storm lost its gusto."

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Cosmikid
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

time lapse is often spectacular- but always feels just a little like cheating, to me.

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#23

"Sandstorm" By Hannes Lochner

"Sandstorm" By Hannes Lochner

2nd place winner of 2021

"Three hyena, a jackal, and two elephants endure a sandstorm on a hot humid late afternoon, while the wind picks up before the heavens open. The hyenas cool off in the cool water and get rid of parasites. The dry season is over and the rainy season is on the way, promising relief for every animal in dry Chobe National Park."

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DogsAreLife
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1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Amazing what the savannah and desert dwellers can endure. And those in the Arctic and antarctic.

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#24

"Decisive Throw" By Mike Korostelev

"Decisive Throw" By Mike Korostelev

2nd place winner of 2016

"The bear fishes in the river, he sits down, puts his head under the water and pauses looking for fish. Once the fish begin to ignore him and come closer, he makes a crucial lunge and catches them with his paws or teeth."

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Rebekah Fuentes
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How did the photographer get this shot? Remote underwater camera? Amazing!

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#25

"Wave Of Change" By Zak Noyle

"Wave Of Change" By Zak Noyle

3rd place winner of 2015

"In a remote bay miles away from any town, strong currents carried large amounts of trash into the swell as a surfer rides through the trash filled barrel."

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Kelly H. Wilder
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is quite sad. Very few pristine places exist. Humanity is consistent in one thing: we mar everything we touch.

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#26

"Sub Zero" By Tobias Friedrich

"Sub Zero" By Tobias Friedrich

1st place winner of 2020

"Night diving at a temperature of minus two degrees Celsius in Eastern Greenland, swimming among icebergs under the ice of a fjord."

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Lunaofthenest (She/they)
Community Member
1 week ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

As beautiful & ethereal as this is, my first thought reading how it was captured was "But... just, why?" I'm good with my heated blankey & my cat but good for you!

#27

"Etna Night Scape Moving" By Dario Lo Scavo

"Etna Night Scape Moving" By Dario Lo Scavo

3rd place winner of 2023

"Mount Etna during its explosive eruption in December 2021. The explosive pyroclastic material is seen bursting out with a black cloud of volcanic sand, against a dark sky that provides a stunning contrast to the floating clouds. A long exposure shot also captured the snowy landscape, illuminated by the moonlight and stars."

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#28

"Savannah Burning" By Roberto Marchegiani

"Savannah Burning" By Roberto Marchegiani

2nd place winner of 2022

"A sudden fire burned a huge part of the Savannah and the rangers were unable to contain it. The fire lasted for three days and reduced entire hills to ashes. Fortunately, the trees were not affected by the flames."

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