Thomas Vijayan’s photo of an orangutan clinging to a tree will make you do a double take – and that’s precisely what the judges of Nature TTL Photography Awards loved about it. “It’s one of those photos where you can’t skim past it. The unique perspective and composition means you are immediately trying to figure out what exactly you are looking at,” said Will Nicholls, founder of Nature TTL.
For his photograph, Mr Vijayan, a native of Kerala, took home the grand prize of 1,500 pounds and the title of Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2021. He was adjudged the overall winner of the competition, which saw over 8,000 entries.
To capture the incredible shot of the orangutan, Mr Vijayan selected a tree that was in water and waited for hours for the perfect timing. “After spending few days in Borneo, I got this frame stuck in my mind,” said Mr Vijayan, who hails from Kerala and is now settled in Canada. “To get this shot, I selected a tree that was in the water so that I could get a good reflection of the sky and its leaves on the tree. The water formed a mirror, making the image look upside-down.”
“Then I climbed up on the tree and waited for hours. This is a regular path for the orangutans to use, so patience would surely pay off,” he said.
The photograph, titled ‘The World is Going Upside Down’, is a special one for the photographer. “This image means a lot to me because presently the orangutan population is reducing at an alarming rate,” says Mr Vijayan of his winning image. “I am very happy to see this image be successful, as it gives me an opportunity to spread the issue to the wider world.”
Over 8,000 images were entered into the competition this year. 13-year-old Thomas Easterbrook, from the United Kingdom, was crowned the Young Nature TTL Photographer of the Year 2021 with his image of a peregrine falcon tackling a starling murmuration.
In the ‘Camera Traps’ category, ‘Silhouetted Wood Mouse’ by John Formstone won the top prize.
‘Manta Space Ship’ by Grant Thomas was the winning photo in the ‘Underwater’ category.
In the ‘Wild Portraits’ category, a picture of a “rather photogenic” polar bear took home the top prize. ‘Sleepy Polar Bear’ by Dennis Stogsdill was taken in Norway.
You can learn more about the other winners of this competition here.
Thomas Vijayan’s photograph of a group of playful langurs was also “Highly Commended” in the ‘Animal Behaviour’ category of Nature TTL Photography competition. The picture had earlier been honoured in the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2021.
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