Nature TTL Photographer of the Year competition: Mind-bending image of orangutan wins

An image of a climbing orangutan has beaten off 8000 other entries to claim the top prize at the prestigious Nature TTL Photographer of the Year competition.

The picture entitled The World is Going Upside Down was taken in Borneo by Canadian photographer Thomas Vijayan.

While the image appears to be looking at the sky, on closer inspection, it is seen to be a reflection in the water below the tree.

Vijayan said it took him a while to find the perfect location.

"After spending few days in Borneo, I got this frame stuck in my mind," said Vijayan.

"To get this shot, I selected a tree that was in the water so that I could get a good reflection of the sky and its leaves on the tree. The water formed a mirror, making the image look upside-down. Then I climbed up on the tree and waited for hours. This is a regular path for the orangutans to use, so patience would surely pay off."

Will Nicholls, Founder of Nature TTL, called the image "unique".

"It's one of those photos where you can't skim past it. The unique perspective and composition means you are immediately trying to figure out what exactly you are looking at."

The competition is split into eight different categories: Animal Behaviour, Camera Traps, Landscapes, Small World, The Night Sky, Underwater, Urban Wildlife, and Wild Portraits.


Vijayan wins the top prize of £1500 ($A2742) and he hopes the image will spark conversation about conservation.

"This image means a lot to me because presently the orangutan population is reducing at an alarming rate.

"Deforestation and humans are the key cause behind this. Trees over 1000 years old, which are a major asset to our planet, are being cut down for palm oil plantation. As humans, we have a lot of alternative choices to replace the oil, but the orangutans don't have any options other than losing their home. I am very happy to see this image be successful, as it gives me an opportunity to spread the issue to the wider world."

To view all the finalists head to

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