breathtaking

Look: Global photo competition illuminates nature's beauty and drama

Winners took an intimate look at everyday details.

© Samantha Stephens | cupoty.com

© Anton Trexler | cupoty.com

Cannibal insects, foraging birds, and carnivorous plants were just a few of the subjects captured at the fourth annual Close-Up Photographer of the Year competition.

© Pietro Cremone | cupoty.com

This year’s winners and finalists shed light on intimate details of the natural world — many of them hidden in plain sight.

Here are 12 stunning shots from the competition:

© Remuna Beca | cupoty.com

12. A carnivorous northern pitcher plant gulped down these two juvenile salamanders in the competition’s overall winning photo by Samantha Stephens.

© Samantha Stephens | cupoty.com

11. Photographer Barry Webb captured these ice-encrusted Comatricha slime molds on a frigid January day.

© Barry Webb | cupoty.com

10. Starlings forage for scraps outside of a restaurant in Berlin in this portrait by photographer Anton Trexler.

© Anton Trexler | cupoty.com

9. Photographer Pietro Cremone floated 300 feet underwater in complete darkness to capture this portrait of a larval mimic octopus.

© Pietro Cremone | cupoty.com

8. The highway-like structures in this mineralized dinosaur bone were imaged at 10 times magnification by photographer Randy Fullbright.

© Randy Fullbright | cupoty.com

7. An inquisitive nurse shark eyes photographer Remuna Beca’s camera as it swims by in the Bahamas.

© Remuna Beca | cupoty.com

6. Have you ever seen pollen tubes under a microscope? This is a thale cress, with its vibrant tubes lit up in this shot by photographer Jan Martinek.

© Jan Martinek | cupoty.com

5. Two miniature crustaceans of the Podocerus variegatus species sit on a branch with their eggs, as captured by photographer Ricardo Martínez.

© Ricardo Martínez | cupoty.com

4. Drops of dew bead on a banded demoiselle’s wing in this up-close capture by photographer Nathan Benstead.

© Nathan Benstead | cupoty.com

3. This triangular spider is attempting to look like a pile of bird poo to trick unsuspecting insects, as captured by photographer Jamie Hall.

© Jamie Hall | cupoty.com

2. Off with your head! Photographer Takuya Ishiguro snapped the moments after a praying mantis decapitated and began to eat one of its peers.

© Takuya Ishiguro | cupoty.com

1. After termites gathered under a bright streetlight, photographer Anirban Dutta snapped this long-exposure shot of a black drongo bird darting around to snatch bugs.

© Anirban Dutta | cupoty.com