Selected from over 11,000 entries, a wildlife photo of an orangutan crossing a river in Indonesia’s Tanjung Puting National Park has been selected as the grand-prize winner of the 2017 National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Yearcontest. The photo, titled “Face to face in a river in Borneo,” was captured by Jayaprakash Joghee Bojan of Singapore. He has won $10,000 and will have his winning image published in an upcoming issue of National Geographic magazine and featured on the @NatGeo Instagram account.
Bojan took the winning photo after waiting patiently in the Sekoyner River in Tanjung Puting National Park in Borneo, Indonesia. After spending several days on a houseboat photographing orangutans in the park, Bojan learned of a location where a male orangutan had crossed the river – unusual behavior that he knew he had to capture. After waiting a day and night near the suspected location, a ranger spotted the orangutan the next morning at a spot a few minutes up the river. As they drew near, Bojan decided to get into the water so the boat did not scare the primate. About five feet deep in a river supposedly home to freshwater crocodiles, Bojan captured the photo when the orangutan peeked out from behind a tree to see if the photographer was still there.
On capturing the photo, Bojan said, “Honestly, sometimes you just go blind when things like this happen. You’re so caught up. You really don’t know what’s happening. You don’t feel the pain, you don’t feel the mosquito bites, you don’t feel the cold, because your mind is completely lost in what’s happening in front of you.”
Karim Iliya of Haiku, Hawaii, won first place in the Landscapes category for a photo from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park; Jim Obester of Vancouver, Wash., won first place in the Underwater category for a photo of an anemone; and Todd Kennedy of New South Wales, Australia, won first place in the Aerials category for a photo of a rock pool in Sydney at high tide.
The judges for the contest were National Geographic magazine’s senior photo editor of natural history assignments, Kathy Moran, National Geographic photographer Anand Varma, and photographer Michaela Skovranova.
Contestants submitted photographs in four categories – Wildlife, Landscape, Aerials and Underwater – through National Geographic’s photography community, Your Shot. All of the winning photos, along with the honorable mentions, may be viewed at natgeo.com/photocontest.
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