Ansel Adams perhaps put it best: “Some photographers take reality…and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation.” The natural world, and all the colors and forms within it, needs no alteration to be awe-inspiring. In fact, the beauty and harmony of an untouched landscape or the grace of an untamed animal are the standards by which we measure our most beloved creations. So it’s no wonder that nature is the subject of so many powerful photographs.
“Its image mirrored in icy water, a polar bear travels submerged–a tactic often used to surprise prey. Scientists fear global warming could drive bears to extinction sometime this century.” Photo: Paul Nicklen, via International League of Conservation Photographers
The International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP), a group made up of working professional conservation photographers, likely considered thousands of pictures when compiling their list of the top forty. Clearly, with a limitless number of beautiful places and things in the natural world–and no shortage of photographers eager to snap a picture of them–deciding on the best photographs was no easy task.