Winning Photographs from Around the World Focus on Nature

Competition showcases National Awards winners from 50 countries.

Geneva Under Thunder

Raphael Barbar / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

There's a wild red fox pausing momentarily in its hunt for food, a woman in Serbia with mounds of peppers, and a snaking sand dune in Death Valley.

These are a few of the striking photographs that are National Awards winners in the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards. The National Awards program is an initiative set up by the World Photography Organisation and Sony to support local photographic communities around the world. This year, photographers from 50 countries took part.

Above is "Geneva Under Thunder," the winning entry from Switzerland. Photographer Raphael Barbar describes his photo: "I took this picture from the Salève, a mountain near Geneva. I was coming home from work when I saw the storm, so got out to take some pictures."

More than 330,000 images from 220 territories were submitted to the 2021 Sony World Photography Awards. Of those, more than 165,000 were entered to the Open competition from which the National Awards winners are chosen.

The overall winners in the Student, Youth, Open and Professional competitions will be announced on April 15.

Here are some of the winners of the National Awards with comments from the photographers about their images. You can find all the National Awards winners on the competition's website.

"Serbia's Red Gold Pepper Harvest"

Serbia's Red Gold Pepper Harvest

Vladimir Zivojinovic / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Vladimir Zivojinovic, Serbia

"A woman prepares threads of red paprika in Donja Lokosnica, Serbia. In this village in a valley in South Morava, some 250 of the 280 households are involved in the growing of pepper – although depopulation means this number is in decline. Around 500 tons of ground pepper is produced in a 250-hectare area."

"Fox Portrait"

Fox Portrait

Davide Giannetti / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Davide Giannetti, Italy

"Following a hard rainfall in the National Park of Abruzzo, I spotted this wild red fox looking for food."

"Wrong Place Wrong Time"

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

Murray Chant / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Murray Chant, New Zealand

"This piece of ice had rolled around in the shallows until it assumed a worn and organic form. I photographed it at dusk and lit it from below."



Patrick Mueller / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Patrick Mueller, U.S.

"A snaking dune in Death Valley meets the saddle of the surrounding mountains."

"Horse Against Black Background"

Horse against black background

Michaela Steiner / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Michaela Steiner, Austria

"I photographed this beautiful horse in the entrance to its stable, using only natural light and a black background."

"Autumn Float"

Autumn Float

Saowanee Suntararak / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Saowanee Suntararak, Thailand

"Autumn season at Lake Kawaguchi in Japan. Mount Fuji with autumn leaves is very popular in the photographers, and I love taking photo in this season, too."

"Julian Alps"

Julian Alps

Aljaž Žnidaršič / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Aljaž Žnidaršič, Slovenia

"My friend and I were on our first climb of the winter. We’d hoped to ascend three mountains on the same ridge, but because of the conditions, we had to turn back before the final peak. This image expresses the struggle we faced in deciding whether to turn round or continue."

"The Queen"

The Queen

Naser Alomari / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Naser Alomari

"This photo was taken in Kuwait. I use Mavic air 2 for this photo. It is hard to choose motion technique specially with drone. After many shots am happy with this result."

"Oydis and Gunnar"

Oydis and Gunnar

Emil Wieringa Hildebrand / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Emil Wieringa Hildebrand, Norway

"Last picture from a personal shoot this October. 2020 feels like we're all just bumping our heads against a big wall together."

"Ramaroshan, Achham, Nepal"

playing volleyball in Nepal

Prajwal Bhattarai / 2021 Sony World Photography Awards

Prajwal Bhattarai, Nepal

"Volleyball is the national sport of Nepal, and is particularly popular in the higher mountains. This entrance through the stone wall leads to a public-school compound where villagers play volleyball once classes have finished. When I made this image, the ground was engulfed with fog, silhouetting the volleyball-playing men."