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National Geographic has announced the winners of its annual Nature Photographer of the Year awards, showcasing the awe-inspiring beauty and fragility of the natural world around us.

Selected from thousands of entries, Frenchman Greg LeCouer won the “Grand Prize” for his underwater shot of sardine migration on the Wild Coast of South Africa (see Slide 1). LeCoeur took the photo in June 2015 after waiting more than two weeks to capture the natural predation on sardines.

“Millions of sardines are preyed upon by marine predators such as dolphins, marine birds, sharks, whales, penguins, sailfishes and sea lions,” LeCouer said. “The hunt begins with common dolphins that have developed special hunting techniques to create and drive bait balls to the surface.”

LeCouer has won a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions and two 15-minute image portfolio reviews with National Geographic photo editors.

Other standout images include a solemn photo of a polar bear resting on a rocky shore off the Barter Islands in Alaska (see Slide 19,) which came away with an honorable mention in the “Environmental Issues” category. The photographer Patty Waymire noted “there is no snow when, at this time of year, there should be.”

In the other categories, Varun Aditya, of Tamil Nadu, India, won the Animal Portraits category for a photo of a snake; Vadim Balakin, of Sverdlovsk, Russia, placed first in the Environmental Issues category for a photo of polar bear remains in Norway; and Jacob Kapetein of Gerland, Netherlands, placed first in the Landscape category for a photo of a small beech tree in a river.

Check out the winners above, and then head over to National Geographic for the stories behind each of them.

Feeling inspired? Here’s a comprehensive guide to shooting great photos on the iPhone 7 Plus.

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