Awe-Inspiring Finalists in Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 Contest

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Photo Credit: Andrey Gudkov/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015, Facebook

The Wildlife Photographer of the Year is the longest-running and most prestigious nature photography competition in the world, providing a global showcase of the very best nature photography. This year’s finalists are especially visually stunning.

Pictured above is Russian photographer Andrey Gudkov’s Komodo Judo who nailed his dream shot of dueling dragons battles. The dragon face-off took place at the Komodo National Park in Indonesia.

Competition organizers explained: “Though [Andrey] had visited in August, when males are most likely to battle over females, he had never been lucky. But on this December morning, on Rinca Island, he had found two large males hissing angrily at each other.

“To his surprise the confrontation escalated. The lizards reared up on their hind legs, supported by their long, muscular tails, and suddenly everything came together: two formidable dragons ‘dancing the tango’ at the crest of a hill against a beautiful backdrop, without the usual tall grass obscuring the action.”

Andrey seized his opportunity, knowing that the creatures can move fast and that their bites are venomous.

It came from the deep, Fabien Michenet

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Photo Credit: Fabien Michenet/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015, Facebook

A tiny juvenile octopus, measuring just 2 centimeters across, swims in the deep water off the coast of Tahiti, French Polynesia. Its transparent body reveals internal organs and chromatophores (color changing cells) on its tentacles.

Great egret awakening, Zsolt Kudich

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Photo Credit: Zsolt Kudich/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015, Facebook

When the River Danube flooded into Hungary’s Gemenc forest, more than a thousand great egrets flocked to the lake to feed on the stranded amphibians, fish and invertebrates.

The shark surfer, Thomas P Peschak

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Photo Credit: Thomas P Peschak/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015, Facebook

Many sharks are found at Aliwal Shoal near Durban, South Africa, making it the perfect place to test a prototype surfboard with an electromagnetic shark deterrent.

To drink or not, Carlos Perez Naval

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Photo Credit: Carlos Perez Naval/Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015, Facebook

A California ground squirrel is fended off from a water dish by a gull on the beach at Morro Bay in California.