Breathtaking photographs win Outdoor Photographer of the Year Award

Francesca Street, CNNUpdated 23rd January 2018
(CNN) — From shoals of fish swimming in the Red Sea to the spectacular Valley of Thor in Iceland, there's no shortage of natural wonders showcased in 2017's winning Outdoor Photographer of the Year entries.
Now in its seventh year, this prestigious competition continues to showcase the best images taken by adventurers across the world.
This year the competition received over 18,000 entries by photographers from over 60 countries.
The overall winner and runner-up won't be unveiled until March -- but the nine category winners have been announced.
The creative categories include "Wildlife Insight," "Spirit of Travel" and "Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year."

Adventures big and small

This shot by Witold Ziomek showcases the Icelandic valley of Thor and won the "At the Water's Edge" category.
This shot by Witold Ziomek showcases the Icelandic valley of Thor and won the "At the Water's Edge" category.
Courtesy Witold Ziomek/Outdoor Photographer of the Year
Winner of the "At the Water's Edge" category is Witold Ziomek, from Poland, who photographed Thórsmörk (the valley of Thor) in Iceland. His spectacular shot captures this mist-ridden gorge from an elevated position, adding to the sense of grandeur.
"Wildlife Insight" was won by Jose Fragozo from Portugal, who captured giraffes roaming in Nairobi National Park, Kenya.
Meanwhile, a particularly dramatic shot was taken by Mikolaj Nowacki, from Poland, who photographed the captain of a yacht traversing the Baltic Sea, en route to the Danish island of Christiansø.
Simon Baxter captured a moment of solitude in a North Yorkshire forest, which which won the "Light on the Land" category.
Simon Baxter captured a moment of solitude in a North Yorkshire forest, which which won the "Light on the Land" category.
Courtesy Simon Baxter/Outdoor Photographer of the Year
"It was a stormy day, but the captain -- who has more than 40 years of experience sailing in open seas -- remained completely calm and relaxed, even though waves were breaking over him every few minutes," says Nowacki in a statement.
Calmer moments were captured by British photographers Simon Baxter and William Mallet. Baxter photographed an eerie private woodland, taking home the winning shot in "Light on the Land." Meanwhile Mallet photographed snails on his asparagus plant in his garden.

Experienced and fledgling photographers

New for this was the aerial category, "A View from Above," won by Tom Sweetman of the United Kingdom for this photograph of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
New for this was the aerial category, "A View from Above," won by Tom Sweetman of the United Kingdom for this photograph of Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Courtesy Tom Sweetman/Outdoor Photographer of the Year
A new 2017 category was "A View from Above," aimed at drone photographers.
Tom Sweetman from the UK won this award with his vibrant shot of rushing rivers in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Meanwhile, 12-year-old Josiah Launstein from Canada won the coveted "Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year" prize for his shot of a Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep in British Columbia in Canada.
12-year-old Canadian Josiah Launstein was crowned "Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year," thanks to this shot of a sheep.
12-year-old Canadian Josiah Launstein was crowned "Young Outdoor Photographer of the Year," thanks to this shot of a sheep.
Courtesy Josiah Launstein/Outdoor Photographer of the Year
"I love bighorns, and Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep are extra-special because they are an endangered species," says Launstein in a statement.
"Photographing at -25 C [-13 F] is always a challenge and I was afraid I wouldn't have time to get my camera on my tripod before the ram disappeared from view," he adds.
Launstein used his natural instinct to capture the moment for posterity.

The portfolio

This shot of Nairobi National Park by Jose Fragazo won "Wildlife Insight."
This shot of Nairobi National Park by Jose Fragazo won "Wildlife Insight."
Courtesy Jose Fragozo/Outdoor Photographer of the Year
The Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition runs in partnership with outdoor gear manufacturer Fjällräven and the overall winner will win £3,000 ($4,180) worth of equipment, garments and accessories.
The grand reveal will take place live on stage at The Photography Show at the NEC, Birmingham, UK on March 17, 2018.
The winners, alongside other outstanding entries, will be showcased in this book.
The winners, alongside other outstanding entries, will be showcased in this book.
Courtesy Outdoor Photographer of the Year
The Outdoor Photographer of the Year team has also compiled a book showcasing some of the best images entered into competition.
The book, "Outdoor Photographer of the Year: Portfolio III," has been published by Ammonite Press: RRP £25 -- UK publication date March 17, 2018, US publication date August 2018 -- RRP $35.
Check out other outstanding entries from this year's competition in the gallery below.
"View from Above" category -- Laura Daly (UK): Daly was on vacation on the Isle of Skye when she took this drone photograph of Duntulm Castle: "I chose to include the bright blue water of the ocean as it perfectly complemented the lush green grass, especially with the soft sunset light catching the walls of the castle," says Daly in a statement. "The view from above captures the beauty and lure of Skye, both natural and man-made."
Courtesy Laura Daly/Outdoor Photographer of the Year
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