Best of the best in 2016: The year's biggest photography competition winners

Award-winning wildlife, landscape, travel and news photography from around the world.

American photographer Tim Laman was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016, beating almost 50,000 entries from 95 countries. His image, Entwined Lives, shows a critically endangered Bornean orangutan making a 30-metre (100-foot) climb up the thickest root of a strangler fig that has entwined itself around a tree emerging high above the rainforest canopy in the Gunung Palung National Park, in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. See more here.

Winner, Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016: Entwined Lives by Tim Laman, USATim Laman/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016

George Stoyle won the 2016 British Wildlife Photography Awards with his photo entitled Hitchhikers, which shows tiny young fish seeking refuge among the tentacles of a Lion's mane jellyfish in the waters around St Kilda, off the Island of Hirta, Scotland. See more here.

George Stoyle's Hitchhikers; a Lion’s mane jellyfish shot at St Kilda, off the island of Hirta, ScotlandGeorge Stoyle/ British Wildlife Photography Awards

Matthew Cattell won this year's Landscape Photographer of the Year competition with a striking shot of starlings whirling over Brighton's derelict West Pier. Now in its tenth year, the contest celebrates the UK's most beautiful and dramatic scenery through the eyes of the nation's best amateur and professional photographers. See more here.

Advertisement
Landscape Photographer of the Year 2016 winner: Matthew Cattell, Starling Vortex, taken in Brighton, East Sussex. "During the winter months hundreds of thousands of starlings assemble at Brighton Pier to roost for the night. The birds gather in large flocks and perform beautiful aerial displays before dropping down to the relative safety of the structure below," says Matthew. "Standing on the pier allows the viewer to witness these murmurations from within as the birds flow and cascade around you. The windy conditions had whipped up the foam on the surface of the sea and I liked the way the motion of the incoming tide mimicked the movement of the birds. Rather than ‘freeze’ the action I used a longer exposure to exaggerate this vortex of motion. I retained the ruins of the West Pier to help locate the image."Matthew Cattell/Landscape Photographer of the Year

A dramatic view of Mount Rainier won the top prize in this year's search for the USA Landscape Photographer of the Year. Portland-based photographer Alex Noriega becomes the third person to win the Overall Adult Winner category and the $15,000 (£12,225) prize. His picture of Mount Rainier rising above low clouds, seen from high above Tipsoo Lake was chosen from thousands of entries celebrating the beauty of the American landscape. See more here.

Sunrise light illuminates Mount Rainier as it rises above low clouds, seen from high above Tipsoo Lake, Washington. By Alex Noriega.Alex Noriega/USA Landscape Photographer of the Year

An underwater photo of sardine migration on the Wild Coast of South Africa was selected from thousands of entries as the grand prize winner of the 2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year contest. Greg Lecoeur from Nice, France, won a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos with National Geographic Expeditions and two 15-minute image portfolio reviews with National Geographic photo editors. He took the photo in June 2015 after waiting two weeks to witness the natural predation on sardines captured in the photo. See more here.

Grand prize winner Greg Lecoeur's Sardine Run: "During the sardine migration along the Wild Coast of South Africa, millions of sardines are preyed upon by marine predators such as dolphins, marine birds, sharks, whales, penguins, sailfishes, and sea lions," explains Greg. "The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques to create and drive bait balls to the surface. In recent years, probably due to overfishing and climate change, the annual sardine run has become more and more unpredictable. It took me two weeks to have the opportunity to witness and capture this marine predation."Greg Lecoeur/2016 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year Contest

Anthony Lau from Hong Kong was named the 2016 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year for his picture of a horseman riding through the snow in Inner Mongolia. Lau, whose photo was selected from thousands of entries, wins a seven-day polar bear photo safari for two at Churchill Wild's Seal River Heritage Lodge in Manitoba, Canada. Lau took the photo, entitled Winter Horseman, in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China after an early morning hike. He and his travel companions were driving back to their hotel for breakfast when they came across a team of riders showing off their skills. See more here.

Grand prize winner: Winter Horseman by Anthony LauAnthony Lau/National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest

The Atkins CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year 2016 was awarded to Sara Lindström for her picture Wildfire. Swedish-born Sara picked up photography while studying in South Africa and is now based in the Canadian Rockies. Her projects have seen her travel across more than 50 countries, capturing the beauty of the more remote corners of the earth. The competition aims to inspire a global audience to think differently about contemporary social and environmental issues, including sustainable development, pollution and human rights. See more here.

Environmental Photographer of the Year 2016 winner: Sara Lindström, Wildfire. "It was an exceptionally warm day in July in southern Alberta when I came across this massive pinkish smoke plume rising high towards the sky," says Sara. "The big flames were thriving on the dry land and had me completely mesmerised in fear and awe."Sara Lindström/Environmental Photographer of the Year 2016

A dramatic photo of a volcano erupting won the 13th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest. The judges chose Albert Ivan Damanik's shot of ash clouds billowing out of Indonesia's Mount Sinabung from more than 46,000 submissions from photographers in 168 countries and territories, with eight other winners in categories including Mobile, Altered Images and Sustainable Travel. See more here.

Grand prize winner: Remaining on the Slopes of Mount Sinabung by Albert Ivan Damanik. Volcanic material flows from Mount Sinabung, as seen from the village of Jeraya, North Sumatra, Indonesia on 26 June 2015. Mount Sinabung intermittently spewed burning ash and gas a week after authorities told residents to evacuate the danger zone that lay with within a radius of 4.4 miles from the crater."Albert Ivan Damanik

Chinese photographer Yu Jun beat thousands of amateur and professional photographers from around the world to win the title of Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016. The judges chose Jun's image illustrating the phenomenon of Baily's Beads during a total solar eclipse on 9 March 2016. Made up of several stacked images, the camera reveals what is usually hidden from the naked eye, illustrating the uneven surface of the moon, as beads of sunlight seep from behind the dark lunar disc. See more here.

Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year winner: Baily’s Beads by China's Yu Jun.Yu Jun

Iranian photographer Asghar Khamseh was named L'Iris d'Or Photographer of the Year in the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards for his incredibly powerful portraits of acid attack victims. His series, Fire of Hatred, highlights the increasing number of acid attacks in Iran. The violent act of acid throwing is primarily against women and children. These attacks are committed with the intent to disfigure, maim and destroy the social life and future of the victim, and tend to happen in situations such as family conflict, rejected marriage proposal, revenge and requests for divorce. See more here.

Advertisement
Shirin Mohamadi, from Tehran, said no to her suitor. He attacked the 18-year-old with acid on the first day of the new year in 2012. Shirin lost her right eye, nose, one of her ears. Her mouth was severely damaged and other parts of her body burned deeply. She has undergone a lot of operations and continues to need more.Asghar Khamseh/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

The overall winner of the Open and Youth sections of the 2016 Sony World Photography Awards was Kei Nomiyama with a photo of fireflies among a forest of bamboo. A record-breaking 230,103 photographs from 186 countries were entered into in the world's biggest photography competition. See more here.

Low Light winner: Enchanted Bamboo Lights by Kei Nomiyama, Japan. "Fireflies blink in a beautiful bamboo forest. This picture was taken under a little moonlight."Kei Nomiyama/Sony World Photography Awards 2016

A moonlit image of refugees crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary was selected as the World Press Photo of the Year. Taken at night on 28 August 2015, this man and child were part of the movement of people seeking to cross into Hungary before a secure fence on the border was completed. Australian freelance photographer Warren Richardson explained how he took the picture: "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." See more here.

World Press Photo of the Year: Hope for a New Life by Warren Richardson. A man passes a baby through the fence at the Serbia/Hungary border in Röszke, Hungary, 28 August 2015.Warren Richardson, Australia, 2015

The winner of the 2016 Red Bull Illume – described as the world's greatest action and adventure sports photography competition – was Lorenz Holder from Germany, with this photo of BMX cyclist Senad Grosic performing a trick on a bridge in Gablenz, Germany. More than 34,000 images were submitted by photographers from 120 countries in 11 categories. See more here.

Winner of the Masterpiece category: Lorenz Holder, GermanyLorenz Holder / Red Bull Illume

The annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition recognises excellence in photography taken under a microscope. First place was awarded to Oscar Ruiz PhD for his image of a four-day-old zebrafish embryo, bringing the world face to face with his research on facial development and cellular morphogenesis. Ruiz uses the zebrafish to study genetic mutations that lead to facial abnormalities such as cleft lip and palate in humans. See more here.

Advertisement
A four-day-old zebrafish embryo by Dr Oscar Ruiz of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston.Dr Oscar Ruiz

The Royal Meteorological Society and The Royal Photographic Society awarded the overall Weather Photographer of the Year 2016 title to Tim Moxon for his photo Tornado on Show. Tim Rudman, internationally known fine art and landscape photographer, said: "Tim Moxon's dramatic photograph fulfils all the requested criteria supremely well. It captures in a moment, and at close quarters, an intensely dramatic weather event, showing both the formation and impact of the tornado. The inclusion of the storm chasers adds scale and a human element, which irresistibly engages the viewer. The exposure is spot on and the composition compelling." See more here.

Overall Weather Photographer of the Year winner Tim Moxon with Tornado on Show. "
A classic severe weather set-up in the high plains of Colorado near the town of Wray yielded one of the most photogenic tornadoes of the year," says Tim. "We were just ahead of the storm as the tornado started and tracked with it as it grew from a fine funnel to a sizeable cone tornado. At this moment the twister was at its most photogenic while its parent supercell continued to be manageable. We were among a number of people, including those you see in the shot, nervously enjoying the epic display. Taken on 4 May, 2016."Tim Moxon / RMet-RPS Weather Photographer of the Year 2016

The 2016 EyeEm Photographer of the Year title was awarded to Zacharie Rabehi, 28, from Paris, France, for his photo of an acid attack victim in Agra, India. He says: "A vast majority of acid attack victims are women, with a heavy concentration of such attacks occurring in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Shaboo faced an acid attack when she was just one month old, resting on her mother's lap. The reason remains unexplained. The attack killed her mother, and her father was sent to jail." See more here.

A victim of an acid attack in India won France's Zacharie Rabehi the 2016 EyeEm Photographer of the Year award.Zacharie Rabehi/EyeEm

Dronestagram, the first social network dedicated to aerial photography, allowed enthusiasts to share their aerial photos in three categories: Nature/Wildlife, Sports/Adventure and Travel. More than 6,000 images were submitted and a panel of judges chose the winners on creativity, photographic quality and respect of the theme. The Nature/Wildlife category was won by Michael Bernholdt and his photo of a patch of pine trees surrounded by a snowy landscape in the Kalbyris forest in Denmark. See more here.

Michael Bernholdt won the Nature/Wildlife category for Dronestagram, with his image of the Kalbyris forest in Denmark.Michael Bernholdt

The iPhone Photography Awards grand prize was awarded to Siyuan Niu of China for his entry Man and the Eagle. This photo was selected from thousands of entries submitted by photographers from 139 countries around the world. All images must have been taken with an iPhone, iPod or an iPad, without the use of desktop image processing programmes such as Photoshop, but IOS apps like Snapseed and Enlight are allowed. See more here.

iPhone Photography Awards winner: Man and the Eagle by Siyuan Niu from China. Siyuan Niu

An image of a fan-throated lizard that took three years to capture was revealed as the overall winner of the ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2016. Pratik Pradhan's patience paid off as he won the Judges' Choice award in the Zoological Society of London's (ZSL) fifth annual wildlife photography competition with his entry Ready, Set, Go. Pradhan captured the image on the Chalkewadi plateau in India. He said: "I observed this male who repeatedly took the same path while scanning his territory and checking out all of the females. It was not easy to maintain a sharp focus on the lizard running towards me while keeping it at eye level. They have a thin flap of skin called a gular appendage, between their throat and their abdomen, which they can flap and flash at will. Normally these are whitish or creamish in colour, but what's interesting is that during the breeding season the males develop a wonderful coloration ranging from blue to black to red and orange." See more here.

Overall winner of the ZSL Animal Photography Prize 2016: Ready, Set, Go by Pratik Pradhan.Pratik Pradhan

Finally, International Business Times UK announced that Goran Tomasevic of Reuters was our 2016 Agency Photographer of the Year. The Serbian photographer, who has spent much of the last 25 years covering wars around the world, was once again right in the middle of the action, capturing detailed photos that went beyond the news stories to show the personalities and idiosyncrasies of the people caught up in them. He also won our readers' poll (Toby Melville of Reuters was placed second, Louisa Gouliamaki of AFP took third and Jack Taylor of Getty Images won Essay of the Year for his Notting Hill Carnival photos). See more here.

A fighter of Libyan forces allied with the UN-backed government fires a shell with a Soviet-made T-55 tank at Islamic State fighters in Sirte, Libya on 2 August, 2016.Goran Tomasevic/ Reuters

© Copyright 2017 IBTimes Co., Ltd. All Rights Reserved.