#1 (Grand Prize) Takayuki Fukada, Japan / All images courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase.
Since the 1990s, an intrepid group of aquascaping artists have gradually raised the bar of what’s possible with the design of a traditional aquarium. Using only natural elements, the aquariums you see here are years in the making to ensure plants and animals all exist in harmony while trying to achieve merits on an exhaustive list of aesthetic criteria. Over 2,000 participants from 60+ countries submit designs for the annual International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC) and here are some of our favorites from this year.
The 2016 winner was Takayuki Fukada (who also won last year’s grand prize) and you can see more photos on Facebook courtesy André Albuquerque of AquaA3.
#2 Chao Wang, China
#3 Junichi Itakura, Japan
#4 Katsuki Tanaka, Japan
#5 Adriano Montoro Nicácio, Brazil
#6 Yoyo Prayogi, Indonesia
#12 Yi Ye, China
#14 Yanfei Qian, China
#18 Wei Chen, China
#19 Yucheng Pan, China
#21 Hoai Nam Vu, Vietnam
#27 Juan Puchades Rufino, Spain
“Hitchhikers” (Lion’s Mane Jellyfish), St Kilda, off the Island of Hirta, Scotland, by George Stoyle
The British Wildlife Photography Awards just announced the 2016 winners of their annual competition in categories including Animal Behavior, Animal Portraits, Urban Wildlife, and an overall winner. The awards, established in 2009, aim to highlight photographers working in the UK, while also showcasing the biodiversity, species, and habitats found in Britain.
George Stoyle, overall winner of this year’s competition, found his subject off the Island of Hirta in Scotland. “I was working for Scottish Natural Heritage on a project to assess the current biological status of major sea caves around some of the UK’s most remote islands,” Stoyle told the BWPA. “At the end of one of the dives I was swimming back to the boat when I came face to ‘face’ with the largest jellyfish I’d ever encountered. As I approached cautiously I noticed a number of juvenile fish had taken refuge inside the stinging tentacles.”
You can see more UK habitats and animal portraits from 2016’s British Wildlife Photography Awards on their website, Facebook, and Twitter. (via Fubiz)
“Welcome to the Party” (Grey Seal), Farne Islands, Northumberland, England, by Adam Hanlon
“Free Bird,” London, England, by Chaitanya Deshpande
Common Weasel (Pic 1), North Yorkshire, England, by Robert E Fuller
“A Mountain Hare by an Ice Cave,” Highlands, Scotland, by Andy Rouse
“Grey Seal Pup in a Sandstorm,” Norfolk, England, by Jamie Hall
“Hello Ducky” (Brown Trout and Mallard Duck), Hampshire, England, by Paul Colley
Tadpoles, Bristol, England, by Jeanette Sakel
“Eye to Eye” (Emerald Damselfly), Cornwall, England, by Ross Hoddinott
Whilst on a road trip in Iceland, we stumbled across a sea of old lava flows that has, over the centuries, been blanketed in thick, green layer of moss, © Dylan Shaw / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
The National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest is currently taking submissions, with entries for the prestigious competition accepted until May 27, 2016. Here we were able to share some of the spectacular early submissions, images that range from lonely snow covered hills to jam-packed metropolises without room for green space. The grand prize winner of the contest will receive a seven-day Polar Bear Safari for two in Churchill, Canada. (via The Atlantic and This Isn’t Happiness)
Spring season in japan, People love to walk in this blue carpet flowers (Nemophila blue flowers) at Hitachi seaside park Ibaraki, © Danilo Dungo / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
During a snow storm I decided to head over to Bryce Canyon NP and enjoy the freshly fallen snow. Visibility was down to almost zero, but then I found this single tree right next to a snow drift and knew this would be my shot, © Photo and caption by Yvonne Baur /National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
This picture was taken during Mt. Bromo eruption, the horse seems a little agitated due to the sound of the eruption, © Reynold Dewantara / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Stunning peaks & thousands of King Penguins on South Georgia in soft early sunrise. The photography challenge was to resist shooting only Penguin close-ups (very tempting for sure) & step back occasionally to be equally amazed by the landscape in which they live. Special Bonus: It was 100 years to the month that Shackeltonís boat (Endurance) finally went under the Antarctic pack ice (Nov 1915), precipitating his epic traverse of South Georgia, before finding help at nearby Stromness (1916), © Photo and caption by Shivesh R. / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
This image was captured very early in the morning after climbing Yellow Mountain at 3 am and waiting for few hours in the cold and wind at -4 degrees. No HDR and no Photoshop was used for the effect of this image, everything is 100% natural. The magic of the nature did its work and I have been lucky, © Thierry Bornier / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
An hours walk on a cold Winter’s morning was needed to get to this location. Looking back over the Trotternish Ridge from the Quirrang on the Isle of Skye is one of my favourite locations, © Photo and caption by Andy Dines / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Performances of Chinese opera are usually held in a mat-shed at the Pak Tai Temple in Taipa village.
In this small temporary make-up room built solely with bamboo and iconic red-blue-white plastic bags, over 10 performers are preparing for the show, © Photo and caption by Antonio Leong / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
Devotees carrying the palki, sedan chair, of Shiva. The Shiva’s Temple, known as Khandoba locally, is a very famous temple situated in the town of Jejuri, in Maharashtra, India. Every year on the day of Somvati Amavasya – a no moon day – thousands of devotees arrives at the temple. The festival’s main ritual is offering of turmeric powder by the devotees. Such large quantities of turmeric powder are used that all the devotees and the temple ground are covered in yellow colour of the turmeric, © Photo and caption by Aashit Desai / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
This amazing stacked architecture of Hong Kong shows the housing of its rather dense population. It’s visually striking to understand that your whole horizon is built from people’s lit windows. It shocks you that each life so big and important to the person himself and his close circle looks just like a tiny star in a huge sky next to millions of the same stars, © Photo and caption by Julia Wimmerlin / National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest
© Warren Richardson – Hope for a New Life. Migrants crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary. World Press Photo of the Year 2015.
The winners of the 2016 World Press Photo contest have just been announced, and the selected images accurately reflect a year of tumult and beauty from across the globe. The winning image titled Hope for a New Life by Australian photographer Warren Richardson depicts a harrowing moment on the Hungarian-Serbian border as a man passes a baby through barbed wire in August of last year. The self-taught photographer camped with a group of 200 people attempting to cross a border for nearly a week while capturing images of their predicament. He shares:
I camped with the refugees for five days on the border. A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first. I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night. I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone.
Seen here is a selection of our favorite photographs, but you can see an entire gallery of the 59th World Press Photo Contest winners here. The finalists were selected from 82,951 photos made by 5,775 photographers from 128 different countries. All photos courtesy photographers and/or their respective representatives, provided here with permission from the World Press Photo Contest.
© Anuar Patjane Floriuk, Whale Whisperers
© Christian Bobst, The Gris-gris Wrestlers of Senegal
© Christian Ziegler. Chameleon Under Pressure. Furcifer ambrensis, female foraging for insects with extendable tongue.
© Daniel Ochoa de Olza, La Maya Tradition. A ‘Maya’ girl sits in an altar during the traditional celebration of ‘Las Mayas’ on the streets of the small village of Colmenar Viejo, near Madrid, Spain Saturday, May 2, 2015. The festivity of ‘Las Mayas’ comes from pagan rites and dates from at least the medieval age, appearing in ancient documents. It takes place every year in the beginning of May and celebrates the arrival of the spring. A girl between 7 and 11years is chosen as ‘Maya’ and should sit still, serious, and quiet for a couple of hours in an altar on the street decorated with flowers and plants, afterwards they walk to the church with their family where they attend a ceremony. Not more than four, or five girls are chosen as a Maya each year.
© Francesco Zizola, In the Same Boat. An overcrowded rubber dinghy sailed from the Libyan coast is approached by the M.S.F. (Médecins Sans Frontières – Doctors Without Borders) search and rescue ship Bourbon Argos in the Mediterranean Sea, in international waters. The migrants on board the dinghy in distress have issued an emergency call and are waiting to be rescued. On the horizon, an offshore oil platform just off the Libyan coast. 26 August 2015.
© John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune. Lamon Reccord, left, scolds a police sergeant during a police violence protest and march at State and Randolph streets Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Chicago.
© Jonas Lindkvist, Neptun Synchro. Malmö FF- PSG på Malmö stadion
© Kevin Frayer, Bliss Dharma Assembly on October 30, 2015 in UNSPECIFIED, China.
© Kevin Frayer on December 10, 2015 in UNSPECIFIED, China.
© Matic Zorman, Waiting to Register. PRESEVO, SERBIA – OCTOBER 7, 2015: A child refugee is covered with raincoat while she waits in line to get registered in Presevo refugee registration camp. Most of the refugees who crossed Serbia try to continue their route towards Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and other countries of the European Union.
© Mauricio Lima – Amazon’s Munduruku Tribe 1. Tapajós River, Itaituba, Pará State, Brazil, on February 10, 2015.
Indigenous children jump into the water as they play around the Tapajós river, in the Munduruku tribal area called Sawré Muybu.
© Rohan Kelly, Storm Front on Bondi Beach. Sunbather oblivious to the ominous shelf cloud approaching – on Bondi beach. A massive “cloud tsunami” looms over Sydney in a spectacular weather event seen only a few times a year. The enormous shelf cloud rolled in from the sea, turning the sky almost black and bringing violent thunderstorms in its wake.
© Sergio Velasco. Colima Volcano in Mexico shows a powerful night explosion with lightning, ballystics and some incandescent rockfalls. Photo taken on dec. 13 at 22:24 hours, 12.5 km away from the crater near a lagoon named Carrizalillos on Comala municipality in the state of Colima.
© Tim Laman, Tough Times for Orangutans
Grand Prize and Nature Winner. Photo and caption James Smart / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “DIRT” Jaw-dropping, rare anti-cyclonic tornado tracks in open farm land narrowly missing a home near Simla, Colorado.
The winners and honorable mentions of the 2015 National Geographic Photography Competition have just been announced, and as usual it’s an astonishing collection of brilliant images captured around the world from the streets of Iran to the skies above Spain. The grand prize winner is “DIRT” by Australian photographer James Smart who photographed a dusty tornado as it just barely misses a house in Colorado. We’ve gathered our favorites here, but to see a few more honorable mentions and explore tens of thousands of submissions, head over to National Geographic.
Places Winner. Photo and caption by Francisco Mingorance / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Asteroid” On the occasion of the preparation of a report on Ríotinto from the air, I decided to include phosphogypsum ponds located in the marshes of red and whose radioactive discharges has destroyed part of the marsh. As an environmental photojournalist had to tell this story and report it but had to do with an image that by itself attract attention of the viewer. I discovered this on a low-flying training that caught my attention for its resemblance to the impact of an asteroid on its green waters. Location: Cardeñas, Andalusia, Spain.
People Winner. Photo and caption by Joel Nsadha / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “At The Play Ground” Bwengye lives in a slum called Kamwokya in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. He cherishes his bicycle more than anything else. He brings it to this playground in the slum every evening where he watches kids playing soccer. Location: Kampala, Central Region, Uganda.
Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Hideki Mizuta / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Hill of Crosses” There are many hundreds of thousands of crosses, the Hill of Crosses has represented the peaceful resistance of Lithuanian Catholicism to oppression. Standing upon a small hill is the place where many spirits of the dead lives. When I visited this place, a girl in the pink dress ran through as if she brought the peace, hope, love. Location: Šiauliai, Siauliu Apskritis, Lithuania.
Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Yanan Li / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Overlooking Iraq from Iran” There are relics left along the Iran-Iraq borders. A group of Iranian female students play around an abandoned tank. Among them, one girl stands on the tank with her arms open. Location: Shalamcheh, Khuzestan, Iran.
Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Mohammed Yousef / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Changing Shifts” In Masai Mara, the cubs of the famous cheetah called Malaika became young enough to start hunting. They moved from one hill to another scanning the lands. Here, they seemed to change shifts as one cheetah leaves the hill while the other takes her place. Location: Masai Mara, Rift Valley, Kenya.
Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Bence Mate / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Colorful chaos” White-fronted Bee-eaters getting together on a bough before going to sleep to their burrows, scraped into a sand wall. I was working on this theme for 18 days, as there were only 5-10 minutes a day, when the light conditions were appropriate, 90% of my trying did not succeed. I used flashlights to light only the ones sitting on the branch, and not to the others, flying above. When in the right angle, the backlight generated rainbow colouring through the wings of the flying birds. Location: Mkuze, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Lars Hübner / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Nothing to Declare” In the countryside, the funerals are usually accompanied by local chapels. When a family member dies, their body is kept in the house, or in a tent built specifically for this purpose. After a set period of time, the deceased, accompanied by a funeral procession is buried. Location: Douliu, Taiwan, Taiwan.
Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Tugo Cheng / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Surrealist painting in nature” As the largest mountain ranges in Central Asia, Tian-shan (‘sky-mountain’ in Chinese), has one of the best collections of natural landscapes in the world and is seen by many as a paradise for outdoor adventures. Thanks to the richness of sediments compounded with the power of erosion by rivers flowing down the mountains, the north face of Tian-shan is carved into stunning plateaus and colorful canyons hundreds of meters deep, resulting in this surrealist painting in nature.
Honorable mention. Photo and caption by Alessandra Meniconzi / National Geographic 2015 Photo Contest. “Acrobat of the Air” A flocks of Alpine choughs (Pyrrhocorax graculus), mountain-dwelling birds, performs acrobatic displays in the air. I was able, during a windy day, to immortalize their impressive flight skills.
#1 (Grand Prize) Takayuki Fukada, Japan / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
While most people are satisfied with giving their pet goldfish some colorful gravel, a plastic plant, and maybe one of those bubbly treasure chests, the entrants to the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest (IAPLC) have turned aquarium design into an artform. The massive tanks require years of preparation and are focused almost entirely on the aesthetic presentation of plants using only natural elements.
The art of aquascaping is still a fledgling endeavor, first started in the 90s by Japanese wildlife photographer Takashi Amano. The annual IAPLC competition has grown dramatically since, with the 2015 contest seeing 2,545 entries from 69 countries. Japan, China, Brazil, and France dominate the top finalist spots (only 13 entries were from the United States). Finalists were announced in September.
The scoring of each aquarium is based on a complex matrix of six criteria: the recreation of natural habitat for fish; the creator’s technical skills; the long-term maintenance of the habitat; the originality and impression of the layout; presentation of natural layout; and the overall composition and planting ‘balance’. Participants face severe penalties for reconfiguring elements from their own past entries, stealing ideas from others, and using plants that may not last long-term in the environment presented.
This year’s grand prize winner was Takayuki Fukada from Japan with his aquarium titled Longing. You can see our previous coverage of the IAPLC here. All images courtesy IAPLC and AquaA3. (via Vice)
#2 范博文, China / Courtesy IAPLC & AquaA3. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#4 Paulo Pacheco, Brazil / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#5 叶毅, China / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#7 刘勇, China / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#8 タナカカツキ, Japan / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#10 Luis Carlos Galarraga, Brazil / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#12 Ana Paula Cinato, Brazil / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#16 张大东, China / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#19 薛海, Taiwan / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#21 Andre Longarco, Brazil / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#22 Olivier Thebaud, France / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.
#23 Michaël Leroy, France / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase. © Aqua Design Amano Co., Ltd.