A photo of two salamanders being consumed by a carnivorous pitcher plant has won the fourth annual Close-Up Photographer of the Year competition.
The competition, which is supported by Affinity Photo, saw more than 9,000 entries from 54 countries this year across 11 categories: Animals, Insects, Plants, Fungi, Intimate Landscape, Underwater, Butterflies & Insects, Invertebrate Portrait, Manmade, Micro (for images created using a microscope), and Young Close-up Photographer of the Year (for entrants aged 17 or under).
Those that particularly stood out to the judges among the winners were Anirban Dutta’s picture of termites under attack from a drongo (Insects winner), a tiny jellyfish that appears to walk on its “hands” by Viktor Lyagushkin (Underwater winner), and a spider that mimics bird poo by Jamie Hall (Invertebrate Portrait winner).
But Canadian photographer Samantha Stephens captured the overall winning photo above, which was also the top pick in the Animals category, in Algonquin Provincial Park, Canada.
“Northern Pitcher Plants normally feast on moths and flies but researchers at the Algonquin Wildlife Research Station recently discovered a surprising new item on the plant’s menu: juvenile Spotted Salamanders,” she says.
“While following researchers on their daily surveys I saw a pitcher with two salamanders floating at the surface of the pitcher’s fluid, both at the same stage of decay. I knew it was a special and fleeting moment. The next day, both salamanders had sunk to the bottom of the pitcher.”
Below are the winners from the remaining 10 categories.
Butterflies & Insects
Young Close-up Photographer of the Year
All these winners as well as the second place, third place, and runners-up in all categories (the top 100 entries) can be found on the Close-Up Photographer of the Year 2022 website.
Image credits: All photos are individually credited and provided courtesy of the Close-Up Photographer of the Year 2022.