Photo exhibition captures nature’s drama and beauty

PHOTO GALLERY: This image of a rarely-encountered inland taipan captured by photographer Damian Esquerré in the gibber plains of South Australia is among entries shortlisted for the 2023 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition.

Jun 09, 2023, updated Jun 14, 2023
World's Deadliest (detail), by Damien Esquerré.

World's Deadliest (detail), by Damien Esquerré.

Now in its 20th year, the annual competition managed by the South Australian Museum attracted 2182 entries from 550 photographers across 10 countries.

They include photographs of flora, fauna and landscapes in Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and New Guinea, with the competition spanning 10 categories such as animals in nature, threatened species, astrophotography and “our impact”.

This year, the competition introduced the “macro” category, which acting director of the SA Museum, Justine van Mourik said builds on the competition’s sustained growth over the past two decades.

“Over the last 20 years it has been wonderful to see this competition go from strength to strength. Now, more than ever, it plays an important role in reconnecting people with nature and raising public consciousness on the urgent need to preserve our delicate ecosystems and the precious species they serve,” van Mourik said.

Damian Esquerré’s World’s Deadliest was taken near Coober Pedy in South Australia and is shortlisted in the animals in nature category.

“Finding and photographing the inland taipan was a frustrating mission in the extremely arid gibber plains of South Australia,” Esquerré said.

“This taipan has the most powerful venom of any snake. However, the rarely-encountered reptile has bitten humans very few times and they pose no threat if left alone.”

Other South Australian photographs among the shortlist announced today include William Godward with Southern Glow, which showcases “the Milky Way galaxy setting over the coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula”, and Karoliina Kase, who captured a perished spotted harrier caught up in the fencing of a dairy farm at Lake Alexandrina for the “our impact” category.

Editor-in-chief of Australian Geographic Chrissie Goldrick said the photographs shortlisted in the 2023 competition were “fresh” and found new ways of “documenting the natural world and engaging the viewer”.

“It is great to see the way this competition evolves year on year,” Goldrick said.

“Nature has never been at greater risk than now and the talented photographers who participate in the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year have a golden opportunity to help focus attention on the precious things we stand to lose.”

The overall winner and category winners of the 2023 competition will be announced on August 24, with the resulting exhibition showing at the SA Museum from August 26 to October 29.

A selection of the shortlisted images in the 2023 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition:

Aftermath, by Matty Smith, SA – Animals in Nature.

Spotted harrier caught up in a fence, by Karoliina Kase, SA – Our Impact.

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Neighbour’s Dispute, by Ofer Levy, WA – Animals in Nature.

Hang time, by Nathan Watson, WA – Animals in Nature.

Newly Fledged, by Angela Robertson-Buchanan, WA – Threatened Species.

A Bee-eater Rainbow, by Gary Meredith, WA – Animals in Nature.

Somewhere Under the Rainbow, by Davis Robinson, NSW – Animals in Nature.

Dune, by Paula McManus, SA – Landscape.

World’s Deadliest, by Damien Esquerré, SA – Animals in Nature.

Cretaceous Stride, by Ethan Mann, Qld – Urban Animals.

Southern Glow, by William Godward, SA – Astrophotography.

Weaners, by Andrew Peacock, Antarctica – Animals in Nature.

Blue, by Mary Gudgeon, Indonesia – Macro.

Adventure Ball, by Charles Davis, NSW – Monochrome.

See a gallery of all shortlisted images here.


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