The stunning winning images of the 2020 Photo Is Light World Photography Contest revealed


Get a close-up view of a 17ft (5m) great white shark or see the steam wafting from a giant cauldron of noodles courtesy of these amazing photographs. 

All winners and runners-up in the prestigious 2020 Photo Is Light World Photography Contest, the photos fit into categories including architecture, landscape, nature and people.  

Francisco Negroni was named the competition’s overall winner thanks to an electrifying photo showing a lightning-enveloped 2015 eruption of Calbuco volcano in Chile’s lake region. 

He said he has been photographing volcanoes since 2008, with ‘long exposure skills and geographic knowledge’ key to achieving such shots. 

But he added: ‘I do not recommend taking pictures of volcanic eruptions. It is very dangerous. But if you still want to try, I would say stay as far away and as safe as possible. Nowadays, with [powerful] lenses and cameras you don’t need to be so near.’

Other images poured in from around the world, from the Shetland Islands in the UK to the bright lights of Dubai and from the coast of Ibiza to the croc-infested waters of the Nile. Scroll down to see some of the highlights…

Florent Gooden from France managed to hold his nerve as he photographed a 17ft- (5m) long great white shark splashing back into the water after breaching in waters off Guadalupe Island, Mexico. His shot secured him a place in the top ten of the nature category

This electrifying photograph came first in the landscape category and was declared the overall winner of the 2020 Photo Is Light World Photography Contest. It was taken by Francisco Negroni and shows a lightning-enveloped 2015 eruption of Calbuco volcano in Chile's lake region. The judges said the image was both 'terrifying' and 'incredible'

This electrifying photograph came first in the landscape category and was declared the overall winner of the 2020 Photo Is Light World Photography Contest. It was taken by Francisco Negroni and shows a lightning-enveloped 2015 eruption of Calbuco volcano in Chile’s lake region. The judges said the image was both ‘terrifying’ and ‘incredible’

Xavier Mas from Spain captured this terrific shot of a storm brewing at dawn on the coast of Ibiza, which earned him third place in the landscape category

Xavier Mas from Spain captured this terrific shot of a storm brewing at dawn on the coast of Ibiza, which earned him third place in the landscape category

Ivan Perreti came second in the landscape category with this atmospheric shot of an otherworldly Icelandic scene. The shot was taken from the Stokksnes headland during winter with its black sand beach in the foreground and the majestic Vestrahorn mountain in the background. Pedretti, from Italy, said of the composition: 'I like the difference in colours between the white mountains and the black dunes with the yellow grass'

Ivan Perreti came second in the landscape category with this atmospheric shot of an otherworldly Icelandic scene. The shot was taken from the Stokksnes headland during winter with its black sand beach in the foreground and the majestic Vestrahorn mountain in the background. Pedretti, from Italy, said of the composition: ‘I like the difference in colours between the white mountains and the black dunes with the yellow grass’

British photographer Tracey Lund captured this incredible image of two gannets battling for a fish under the water's surface. She took the image during a trip to the Shetland Islands and the judges awarded it the silver medal in the nature category

British photographer Tracey Lund captured this incredible image of two gannets battling for a fish under the water’s surface. She took the image during a trip to the Shetland Islands and the judges awarded it the silver medal in the nature category

This photo, titled 'Blue Eye', was taken by Czech photographer Petr Polach. He took the eerie image while diving in the Otoch Ha cave in Yucatan, Mexico, in November 2019 and it made the top ten in the landscape category. Polach said his photography accompanies his sports activities, which includes diving, and he has adapted his equipment to 'be able to take photos underwater and in flooded caves'

This photo, titled ‘Blue Eye’, was taken by Czech photographer Petr Polach. He took the eerie image while diving in the Otoch Ha cave in Yucatan, Mexico, in November 2019 and it made the top ten in the landscape category. Polach said his photography accompanies his sports activities, which includes diving, and he has adapted his equipment to ‘be able to take photos underwater and in flooded caves’

This mesmerising post-sunset shot of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi was taken by German photographer Judith Kuhn

This mesmerising post-sunset shot of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi was taken by German photographer Judith Kuhn

Nitin Michael from the United Arab Emirates made it into the top ten in the nature category with this close-up shot of two curious lion siblings. Michael said he was pleased with the way the legs of the cub in the foreground frame the cub behind

Nitin Michael from the United Arab Emirates made it into the top ten in the nature category with this close-up shot of two curious lion siblings. Michael said he was pleased with the way the legs of the cub in the foreground frame the cub behind

Tim Driman from South Africa titled this shot, taken on the river Nile, the ‘Jaws of Death’. He watched on as a 16ft (5m) crocodile attacked a smaller crocodile in ‘a vicious act of cannibalism’. The image made it into the top ten in the nature category

Tim Driman from South Africa titled this shot, taken on the river Nile, the ‘Jaws of Death’. He watched on as a 16ft (5m) crocodile attacked a smaller crocodile in ‘a vicious act of cannibalism’. The image made it into the top ten in the nature category

Jianhui Liao captured this atmospheric shot, titled Large Pot Noodles, during a celebration of the goddess Nuwa's birthday in Shexian County, China. The villagers can be seen wearing traditional Qing Dynasty costumes as they tuck into the feast. Liao's well-angled capture was one of the top ten images in the people category

Jianhui Liao captured this atmospheric shot, titled Large Pot Noodles, during a celebration of the goddess Nuwa’s birthday in Shexian County, China. The villagers can be seen wearing traditional Qing Dynasty costumes as they tuck into the feast. Liao’s well-angled capture was one of the top ten images in the people category 

Italian photographer Ivan Pedretti captured the Milky Way over the Three Peaks of Lavaredo - one of the Dolomites’ most distracting features - in this impressive nighttime panorama. Pedretti said at first ‘it was a cloudy night, then it started to rain’, but he decided to stay put for a few hours and the ‘sky opened up’. Thanks to his patience, he secured a place in the top ten of the landscape category

Italian photographer Ivan Pedretti captured the Milky Way over the Three Peaks of Lavaredo – one of the Dolomites’ most distracting features – in this impressive nighttime panorama. Pedretti said at first ‘it was a cloudy night, then it started to rain’, but he decided to stay put for a few hours and the ‘sky opened up’. Thanks to his patience, he secured a place in the top ten of the landscape category

This nail-biting shot showing a cheetah sprinting after a gazelle was captured by Canadian photographer Thomas Vijayan, with the judges placing it in the top ten in the nature category. Vijayan revealed that it was actually a happy ending. After he took the shot 'the cheetah started playing with the gazelle fawn like its own cub and after sometime let it go free to its mother'. He added: 'Even the animals value the life of other animals'

This nail-biting shot showing a cheetah sprinting after a gazelle was captured by Canadian photographer Thomas Vijayan, with the judges placing it in the top ten in the nature category. Vijayan revealed that it was actually a happy ending. After he took the shot ‘the cheetah started playing with the gazelle fawn like its own cub and after sometime let it go free to its mother’. He added: ‘Even the animals value the life of other animals’

A flamboyance of flamingos in the rain taken by Chinese photographer Xiangli Zhang. It came third in the nature category

A flamboyance of flamingos in the rain taken by Chinese photographer Xiangli Zhang. It came third in the nature category 

Dutch photographer Roman Robroek titled this photo ‘Piano in the Dust’. He said he captured the shot in ‘a very impressive abandoned palace’ in Poland that dates from the 13th century and is currently under renovation. The image landed a place in the architecture category top ten

Dutch photographer Roman Robroek titled this photo ‘Piano in the Dust’. He said he captured the shot in ‘a very impressive abandoned palace’ in Poland that dates from the 13th century and is currently under renovation. The image landed a place in the architecture category top ten

Chinese photographer Jianglin Chen took this photo, which is titled 'Full Load'. It landed in the top ten of the people category

Chinese photographer Jianglin Chen took this photo, which is titled ‘Full Load’. It landed in the top ten of the people category

This chill-inducing shot, taken in Mongolia, is another impressive entry from Thomas Vijayan and it came first in the nature category. Vijayan said it was 'extremely cold' and at first he thought he was taking a picture of a wild horse, but when he looked at the photo later he saw that it was actually a Pallas's cat. This small wild cat has been classified as 'near threatened' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 2002 due to habitat loss and hunting

This chill-inducing shot, taken in Mongolia, is another impressive entry from Thomas Vijayan and it came first in the nature category. Vijayan said it was ‘extremely cold’ and at first he thought he was taking a picture of a wild horse, but when he looked at the photo later he saw that it was actually a Pallas’s cat. This small wild cat has been classified as ‘near threatened’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) since 2002 due to habitat loss and hunting

This image, showing the extended Waal bridge near the city of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, was taken by Jeroen Lagerwerf, who bought his first camera just two years ago and admits he's 'pretty new to photography'. Despite his lack of experience, Lagerwerf's amazing image was ranked in the top ten in the architecture category

This image, showing the extended Waal bridge near the city of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, was taken by Jeroen Lagerwerf, who bought his first camera just two years ago and admits he’s ‘pretty new to photography’. Despite his lack of experience, Lagerwerf’s amazing image was ranked in the top ten in the architecture category

After spending a few days in Borneo, Vijayan managed to get this incredible shot. He said he climbed a tree and 'waited for hours' before getting the 'beautiful frame', which shows treetops reflected in the water below as an orangutan edges up a trunk. The image made it into the top ten of the nature category

After spending a few days in Borneo, Vijayan managed to get this incredible shot. He said he climbed a tree and ‘waited for hours’ before getting the ‘beautiful frame’, which shows treetops reflected in the water below as an orangutan edges up a trunk. The image made it into the top ten of the nature category

This stirring photo showing a monk wearily pushing a giant prayer wheel was taken by Chinese photographer Wei Wang. The image made it into the top ten of the people category

This stirring photo showing a monk wearily pushing a giant prayer wheel was taken by Chinese photographer Wei Wang. The image made it into the top ten of the people category

Azim Khan Ronnie from Bangladesh captured this beautifully lit shot. It shows devotees attending prayer during a religious festival called Rakher Upobash, or Kartik Brati. He said as a photographer, his 'essential aim is to capture the moments of life and give them significance by making them static in time'. Ronnie's image came in the top ten of the people category

Azim Khan Ronnie from Bangladesh captured this beautifully lit shot. It shows devotees attending prayer during a religious festival called Rakher Upobash, or Kartik Brati. He said as a photographer, his ‘essential aim is to capture the moments of life and give them significance by making them static in time’. Ronnie’s image came in the top ten of the people category

This vibrant long-exposure shot of downtown Dubai was captured by Judith Kuhn from Germany. The photographer ventured to the 42nd floor of the luxury Shangri-La Hotel to bag it. Light trails from the traffic fill the roads with the impressive Burj Khalifa skyscraper clearly visible beyond. Kuhn said that the perch she picked is ‘ideal at sunset and in the evening blue hour’. Her image claimed a spot in the top ten architecture category ranking

This vibrant long-exposure shot of downtown Dubai was captured by Judith Kuhn from Germany. The photographer ventured to the 42nd floor of the luxury Shangri-La Hotel to bag it. Light trails from the traffic fill the roads with the impressive Burj Khalifa skyscraper clearly visible beyond. Kuhn said that the perch she picked is ‘ideal at sunset and in the evening blue hour’. Her image claimed a spot in the top ten architecture category ranking



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