Photos Capture Erupting Volcanoes, Snowy Landscapes, and Quiet Moments in Nature

Winners were chosen in 10 categories.

bike with flower mural

Thanh Nguyen Phuc / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

From the powerful beauty of erupting volcanoes to the passionate play of a galloping horse in the snow, photographers have captured magical moments in nature, landscape, and travel.

Frogs, sunrises, and elephants are subjects of some of the winners and short-listed images in this year’s Open competition of the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards. Presented by the World Photography Organisation, the contest recognizes the best single images in 10 categories including landscape, travel, and natural world and wildlife.

“Bike with Flowers," above, by Thanh Nguyen Phuc of Vietnam, was the winner in the travel category. The photographer described the winning image:

A hundred years ago there were just 36 streets and now there are many more, but the street culture remains strong in Hanoi. There are lots of shops in the main streets but people in the old streets prefer to get serviced by mobile street vendors. I spent a weekend following street vendors and found that they were walking or riding their bikes all day. Here is one of my favourite moments.

More than 170,000 images were entered into this year’s Open competition. There were 10 category winners and more than 100 photographers named to the short list. The overall winner of the competition will be announced in mid-April.

"Creativity and originality were very important in choosing a winning image and it was terrific to see the excitement and joy of the photographers when they captured the moment,” said Hideko Kataoka, director of photography at Newsweek Japan, who judged the Open competition.

“The photographs in this competition each make a coherent visual statement about a situation or particular circumstance in an elegant visual way. As can be seen in many images in the shortlist this year, black and white photography holds a special place in the hearts of many photographers. The simplicity of black and white has the power to distil the content of an image, and direct the viewer's attention to the subject.’’

Here are some of the winners and short-listed photos and what the photographers had to say about their work.

“Crowned Tree Frog”

crowned tree frog

Dinorah Graue Obscura / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Dinorah Graue Obscura of Mexico was named to the short list in the natural world and wildlife category for this image of a "chocolate" frog.

On a night walk that I did in September, in Guapiles, Costa Rica, we came across this jewel of the rainforest: a crowned tree frog. It seemed as if it was made of chocolate—and if you look closer, it has a beautiful crown. The symmetry on its head is just perfect.

“Foggy winter sunrise at St. Thomas Church”

church in the snow

Peter Leyer / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Peter Leyer of Hungary was named to the short list in the landscape category for this photo.

A winter morning at St. Thomas Church, in Slovenia. I had already photographed the area the summer before, and decided to return here in the winter. I wanted to capture the white-clad landscape with the mountains lit by the first rays of sun in the background.


volcano lava eruption overflow

Luis Manuel Vilariño Lopez / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Luis Manuel Vilariño Lopez of Spain earned a spot on the landscape short list for this volcano image.

Magma rises directly from the mantle, driven by gigantic gas bubbles 10-15 metres [33-50 feet] in diameter, which burst at the surface. As a squall blanketed the Reykjanes peninsula with clouds and heavy rain, I ascended to the base of Geldingadalir, Iceland's youngest volcano. I flew my drone blindly through the clouds. When I reached the crater the lava was emerging with unusual force, scattering the incandescent rock like oil on a canvas.

“The Journey”

baby elephant in front of herd

Ewa Jermakowicz / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

A wandering baby elephant is the subject of this short list image from Ewa Jermakowicz of Poland. It was entered in the natural world and wildlife category.

Elephants usually travel in large herds, protecting their youngest by keeping them hidden in the middle of the group. But kids are just kids, regardless of the species, and try to test their limits. This little elephant managed to escape from its mother for a short couple of seconds, proudly leading the family and making a lot of dust with its tiny legs.

“Cleanse and Care”

elephants bathing in green water

Sujon Adikary / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Sujon Adikary of Bangladesh is on the short list for travel for this photo.

A group of elephants relax, and lie down in a murky river as locals bathe alongside them, which creates a cloud effect in the murky water. The animals, part of a circus, are cleaned twice a week in the shallow waters of the Karatoa stream in Bangladesh.

“Highland Cattle (Bos taurus taurus)”

Highland cattle in the snow

Albert Beukhof /2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Albert Beukhof of the Netherlands was named to the short list in the natural world and wildlife category for this photo of a Highland cow (Bos taurus taurus) covered with snow and ice in Deelerwoud, the Netherlands.


volcano erupting

Fernando Famiani / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Fernando Famiani of Italy was named to the shortlist in the landscape category for his volcano photo.

This night eruption of the Etna volcano was taken from San Teodoro at 2 am. Three eruptive vents are seen, which simultaneously eject columns of lava up to 1000 metres [3280 feet] high. The town in the foreground is Cesarò, and the lights at the bottom are from the municipality of Bronte.

“Anger Management”

stallion kicking up dust

Scott Wilson / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Scott Wilson of the United Kingdom won in the natural world and wildlife category for this photo of a wild mustang stallion kicking up dust in northwestern Colorado.

“Mangrove Swirl”

mangrove swirl

Stuart Chape / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Stuart Chape of Australia made the landscape short list for this aerial view taken from a helicopter of mangroves in an estuary at Yamba, New South Wales, Australia.

“The Honey Collector”

honey collector with bees

Utsab Ahamed Akash / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Utsab Ahamed Akash of Bangladesh is the winner in the lifestyle category for this image.

The honey collectors collect in winter. They place the bees’ nests near the mustard field as they can produce more honey that way. We often see this kind of scene in the Bangladesh countryside.

“Winter sunset”

winter sunset

Martin Morávek /2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Martin Morávek of the Czech Republic landed on the short list in the landscape category for this photograph of a winter sunset in Krkonoše National Park.

“Natural Patterns”

macaw in flight

Memo Gómez / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Memo Gómez of Colombia was named to the short list for natural world and wildlife for this macaw image.

In February I visited Doradal, Colombia, to photograph Macaws in flight—to promote the conservation of this family and raise awareness of illegal trafficking. I sought to sensitise the community by showing the Macaws living and being active in nature. I went to an area that they used to visit and waited on a terrace, spending three days there to get the shot.


horse running in the snow

Jessica Mohn / 2022 Sony World Photography Awards

Ronaldo the horse gallops runs through the snow in this image from Jessica Mohn of Germany. It made the short list in the natural world and wildlife category.

With this picture, I want to communicate a feeling of freedom and power, because that is exactly what I felt while capturing this moment. Ronaldo running wild through knee-high snow in February 2021, in my beloved hometown in Germany. We haven't had so much snow in years, making it quite special to experience his zest for life in this magical season.
View Article Sources
  1. "Open Competition 2022: Category Winners and Shortlist Announced," World Photography Organisation. 15 March 2022.