Siena International Photo Award is one of the photo contests with the highest international participation. The 2018 edition has received nearly 48.000 images from amateur and professional photographers from 156 countries worldwide.

It is split between several categories such as Journeys & Adventures, Fascinating faces and characters, Still Life and others. We will focus on the two categories that interest us the most Animals in their Environment and The Beauty of the Nature which we cover in another article.

Because it is always good to have a reminder of what we are fighting to protect, and because photography has the power to inspire people here are our favourite photos from the following category :

Animals in their environment

1st – Facing Reality

Siena International Photo Awards animals in their environment
© Amos Nachoum/Siena International Photo Awards

The winning image in the category is this incredible shot titled “Facing Reality” of a leopard seal trying to eat a penguin. It was snapped by American photographer Amos Nachoum off Pleneau Island in the Antarctic peninsula. He said: ‘The seal was hiding, waiting to ambush young penguins as they got closer. When a penguin got close enough, the seal moved extremely fast and caught the penguin by its feet dragging it to the open water. I was following parallel to the action. The seal released the penguin twice and the terrified penguin succeeded in escaping, but the seal continued chasing after it, and on the third attempt, drowned the penguin and devoured it’

2nd – The Hunt

the hunt - sienna international photo awards
© Shivang Mehta (IN)/Siena International Photo Awards

The second prize went to photographer Shivang Mehta from India for this in action picture called “The Hunt”. Here is how the author describes it “A young and inexperienced tiger cub attempts to hunt a chital (spotted deer) in Ranthambore National Park, India; but the chital turned out to be too big for this young cub. I captured the moment when the tiger cub was struggling to get the prey down, as his siblings and mother were watching from a distance.”

3rd tie – Sperm Whale Herd

sperm whale herd - sienna international photo awards
© Tony Wu (JP)/Siena International Photo Awards

Tony Wu is going to make jealous a lot of people who go whale watching. Here he went diving in Sri Lanka with hundreds of magnificent whales. The sperm whales pictured here had just emerged from milling around in a gigantic cluster, with many of the whales defecating to such an extent that the water was opaque with secretions. This scene was part of a large, multi-day aggregation comprising hundreds, perhaps thousands of whales.

3rd Tie – Arctic Fox

arctic fox - sienna international photo awards
© Peter Mather (CA)/Siena International Photo Awards

Canadian photographer Peter Maher “encountered this fox scavenging a Caribou’s carcass on the coastal plains of Alaska’s Arctic. I spent two hours slowly approaching it until I took this picture from six feet away, as she finished her meal. It was a surreal and unforgettable experience and a rare opportunity to be accepted into a wild animal’s existence for a few special hours.”


Honourable mentions

Rhino Silhouette

rhino silhouette - sienna international photos awards
© Khaichuin Sim (MY)/Siena International Photo Awards

Taking an early ride out from the camp in Masai Mara National Park, searching for the Great Migration, when Khaichuin Sim saw a rhino from far away standing beside a tree. The backlight from the early sun was too strong, so he took a silhouette instead.

The Beakful of the Hoopoe

the beakful of the hoopoe - siena international photo awards
© Jacopo Rigotti (IT)/Siena International Photo Awards

Looking, as usual, for the nests of the most beautiful bird species in Trentino, Italy, Jacopo Rigotti unexpectedly saw this hoopoe and grasped the opportunity to photograph it.


hyaena - siena international photo awards
© Pierluigi Rizzato (IT)/Siena International Photo Awards

A hyaena is roaming in the water looking for food on a misty morning in the Serengeti National Park (Tanzania). The black and white image conveys a sense of quiet.

Killer Whale in Polar Night

killer whale in polar night - siena international photo awards
© Audun Rikardsen (NO)/Siena International Photo Awards

A killer whale emerges on the surface while hunting in an Arctic Norwegian fjord during the polar night.

Stolen Horn

stolen horn - siena international photo awards
© Fahah alenezi (KW)/Siena International Photo Awards

Despite all efforts trying to protect animals from poachers, cases like this one are very common, where horns are stolen from rhinos. We find this photo particularly moving, as it is to us, as if the rhino is sadly reflecting back on the loss of its horn.

If you liked those, we recommend you head over our article about The Beauty of the Nature category winners if you have not already seen it.

And if you are a photographer and want to participate in the contest, good news, you can submit your pictures until January 31st for the 2019 edition, for that head over to Siena International Photo Awards website.

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