Who says a good story can’t begin with mountain spas, marsupials, and the Milky Way? The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has just wrapped up its first-ever photo competition, and some of the winning shots are nothing short of breathtaking.
From serene mountain spas to adorable marsupials and even the majestic Milky Way, these images capture the beauty of nature in all its glory.
Both seasoned professionals and passionate amateurs submitted photo entries, each showcasing a deep appreciation for our national parks’ natural wonders and protected areas.
Enjoy these gorgeous photographs from five winners and three highly commended ones.
David Rogers beautifully captured the sunrise at Wallagoot Gap in Bournda National Park, showcasing an array of vivid colors and a stunning natural backdrop.
Just seeing the picture is so mesmerising, I wonder what it must have been like for Rogers to be there and not just see but feel the scene.
Head of National Parks, Atticus Fleming, said more than 8,000 entries were received, an overwhelming response to the competition in its first year.
“The fact that we had so many entries representing hundreds of different species of plant and animal, and more than 250 national parks, just reinforces how much the community love our parks,” he said.
The Landscapes and Vistas category received a huge number of amazing entries, making it difficult to choose just one winner. Ultimately, the judges decided on two deserving entries: the first was the one we just saw, while the second was Ben Heaton’s ‘Deep Space.’
Joint Winner: Deep Space, Warrumbungle National Park by Ben Heaton
This breathtaking photograph of the starry night makes you marvel at the universe’s ever-expanding, infinite beauty.
Countless stars, like twinkling jewels, are sprinkled across the galaxy, each a reminder of the vastness of the universe and our place within it. The photograph captures the very essence of wonder and awe, transporting us to a place where dreams and reality become one.
It’s also surreal to see how far technology has advanced to capture such natural beauty, and you and I can admire the captivating mysteries of the night sky from the comforts of our own planet. How small we are compared, yet how intimately connected we are to this wondrous world.
Ava Kirkby’s alluring ‘Balls Pyramid’ captured at Lord Howe Island was highly commended for the same category.
Alan Cronin’s ‘Breakfast with Friends’ took the crown for the category of Animals and Plants.
An unusual pair of a grey fantail picking out its breakfast from a curious kangaroo, interrupted by Cronin, who was probably waiting hours for the right time shot.
Highly commended for the same category was Anthony Murphy’s ‘Hitchhiker.’ Murphy captured these eastern stony creek frogs enjoying the summer, chilling in the stream at Willi Willi National Park.
Lisa Russo’s captivating photograph ‘Love under the Milky Way’ was crowned the winner in the Enjoying Nature category.
Behold this stunning photograph of the Milky Way, as if taken from a world beyond ours. Against the inky black canvas of space, the fiery orbs decorate the night sky with their ethereal glow. The couple is naturally spellbound, oblivious to their own headlamps casting a celestial spell in the photograph.
And once again, reminding us of how small we are in this big, big, world is, judges highly commended ‘Ascending Crater BLuff’ by Gelvin Kellet at the Wurrumbungle National Park.
Zoom in on that, those are not just random specks of colour on a gigantic rock.
And finally, for the category of Remote Country, James Hastings’ ‘Mountain Spa’ was crowned the winner.
Nestled deep within the heart of Mount Kaputar National Park lies a natural rock pool that is nothing short of enchanting. Carved out of solid rock by centuries of flowing water, this emerald-green ‘mountain spa’ is a sight to behold. It’s as if time has stood still in this serene sanctuary, a place where nature’s magic thrives and the world’s worries fade away.
The five winners were selected across four competition categories by guest judges from the media: Chris Bath, Edwina Bartholomew, Rae Johnston, and James Valentine.
Bath said the winning photographs have a wow factor that inspires people to visit national parks.
“They give you a sense of the beauty of the Australian bush and the vastness of nature,” she said.
The winners will receive prizes valued up to $2,100 each for a holiday in one of the cabins and cottages in an NSW National Park.
See all the winning and highly commended entries here.
To receive updates on next year’s competition, you can sign up for the Naturescapes mailing list via the NPWS website.