Every now and then, it’s worth taking a step back from our busy lives to appreciate nature. And what better way to do that than with a series of perfectly timed photos, showing nature at its most awe-inspiring? Indeed, from brutal showdowns between bears and wolves to something as simple as a prairie dog smelling the flowers, these pictures couldn’t have turned out any better.
20. This bear catching its next meal
Fish may be slippery creatures, but that hasn’t helped this water-dwelling trawl escape its predator’s clutches. And to say that whoever was behind the camera for this awesome shot had perfect timing would be an understatement. Yes, it’s a truly remarkable shot that perfectly captures the harsh reality of the food chain.
19. This eclipse on a wing
Snapping a photo of an eclipse is an impressive feat on its own. After all, they’re rare enough that not everyone will be in the right place at the right time to get the opportunity. But to be in the right place at the right time to photograph a bird in front of an eclipse? That’s a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
18. These birds leaving the nest
These adorable goldeneye chicks are heading out into the big, wide world for the first time – having spent their entire lives in a nest – and this photographer was there to capture the incredible moment forever. It’s not often we see the formative years of nature’s creatures great and small, which makes this picture truly special.
17. This squirrel catching a peanut
Squirrels aren’t known for being particularly ferocious animals, but when you get up close with one, it’s easy to see why they might deserve that reputation in the animal kingdom. Indeed, this squirrel isn’t about to let anything come between it and that peanut. Just look at the determination in its eyes…
16. This bird washing its face
At least, we presume it’s washing its face. After all, this would be a really weird drinking technique. Or maybe it’s just practicing its drilling? Either way, it’s proof that superfast shutter speeds are the perfect tool in any photographer’s arsenal, because nature isn’t going to slow down for you.
15. This raven devouring the sun
We can’t believe this photographer just sat back and allowed this raven to completely consume the sun, destroying all life in the galaxy. Well, okay, what we really can’t believe is how perfectly timed this shot was. Really, what are the odds of the bird and the sun lining up so harmoniously?
14. This osprey swooping on its prey
Is there anything quite as majestic and awe-inspiring as an osprey on the hunt? Indeed, it’s no wonder it’s also known as the river hawk. Its huge wingspan and deadly claws surely spell certain doom for any fish it sets its sights on. Yes, it truly is Mother Nature at her best.
13. This prairie dog admiring flowers
It turns out it’s not just humans who are impressed by nature. Indeed, this prairie dog is apparently equally transfixed by the wonders of the natural world, including these daisies. Native to North America, these squirrel-like rodents prove that nature photography can be wondrous without being brutal.
12. This airborne dolphin
As if the serious air this dolphin is getting wasn’t already impressive enough, it’s also gone and totally outshone the albatross flying nearby. Indeed, it’s almost as if the aquatic mammal knew a photographer was waiting, camera poised, and picked the perfect moment to show off. Well, it worked – colour us impressed.
11. This Jedi squirrel
Yes, the perfect timing of this photo really does make it look like one of the squirrels is harnessing a superpower to control the other. And if that superpower is the Force? Well, let’s just say we’re glad Star Wars is real after all – even if it is relegated to solely the animal kingdom. And if it isn’t, well, this is still an awe-inspiring photo.
10. This leaping ray
It turns out that dolphins aren’t the only ones who like to show off for the camera. Yes, apparently one of the mobula ray’s favorite pastimes is jumping out of the water, soaring through the air and flapping its wings. Truly, Mother Nature is beautiful. We’re just grateful someone was around to capture it in action.
9. These feeding tree swallows
No, this isn’t a pair of birds just learning how to French kiss. In fact, they’re tree swallows, with the parent bird feeding its open-beaked young. Somehow, we’re not sure we’d be on board with being fed like this, but it’s amazing to see it happen in the animal kingdom.
8. These posing deer
The photographer here must have shouted “Cheese!” – or whatever the deer equivalent is – because all three deer have turned around simultaneously to pose for the camera. But since they were walking single file, it essentially looks like a three-headed deer. Then again, perhaps that’s exactly what it is. Either way, nature is amazing.
7. These friendly bears
Believe it or not, these are both black bears by species – one is just a rare white kermode bear, found in British Columbia, Canada. And that may go some way to explaining why they’re so friendly with each other. Indeed, they almost appear to be shaking hands here, as if they’re old acquaintances meeting for the first time in years. Talk about perfect timing.
6. This leaping frog
You’d be forgiven for doing a double take upon being told that that’s a frog in the picture. After all, it really doesn’t look like one. But eventually, you realize it’s actually the frog’s feet, with its legs extending off-camera as it hops off of the rock. Considering how fast and far frogs can jump, this photographer’s timing is absolutely sublime.
5. This swooping owl
This mouse’s day is about to get much, much worse. But that’s nature for you – cruel and merciless. Then again, the owl has to eat. And watching it do its thing is absolutely awe-inspiring; particularly when you see the determination in its eyes and the way its talons are perfectly poised to grab its prey. Really, this photo couldn’t be better timed.
4. This bear punching a wolf
No one said all of Mother Nature’s creatures lived in constant, perfect harmony, but this is really taking it to the next level. To be honest, we’re just amazed the photographer managed to capture this shot at all. After all, they have to risk their own wellbeing even to sit in the proximity of such dangerous creatures – let alone being lucky enough to see this happen.
3. This perfectly timed wave
Yes, this really is a wave on Lake Tahoe. The catch? It’s only about six inches tall. But that doesn’t make it any less awe-inspiring. In fact, the photographer behind this shot, Grant Ly, had to spend most of the day out on the lake to capture it – a fact that just makes it all the more impressive.
2. This magnificent humpback whale
There’s so much going on in this picture that it’s hard to know where to look. Indeed, between the beautiful humpback whale bursting out of the water, the majestic rolling mountains in the background and the storm creeping in overhead, it’s the perfect snapshot of everything that’s so awe-inspiring about nature.
1. This elephant impaling a buffalo
It’s very rare that any animal would decide to take on a fully-grown elephant, but this buffalo apparently gave it a go after being disturbed during a nap. Indeed, he charged at the female elephant and headbutted her. In response, she impaled him with her tusks. Nature really is ruthless, but what’s more astonishing is that someone managed to capture this amazing scene in a photo.