Selected from more than 26,000 entries from photographers in 59 countries around the globe, winners of the Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice Awards are displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 24, 2017 through Sept. 2018.
2017 Grand Prize African Lionesses, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya: Lions are the only truly social cats; the females and offspring reside together in prides. Typically hunting in groups, the lionesses prey mostly on large hoofed mammals. Within each pride, females will often reproduce in synchrony and cross-suckle their cubs. “It was early morning in the Great Rift Valley as we searched for a famous pride of lionesses. Since it was very cold, the females were piled on top of each other, forming groups and staying close. This particular set grabbed my attention because they were staring glassy-eyed in different directions. I wanted to capture all possible details in the frame with a tight crop to make a striking black and white conversion.” Nature’s Best Photography site © Lakshitha Karunarathna / Nature’s Best Photography Awards Buy Photo